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Condition Assessment of Trucks Used for Soybean Transport in Mato Grosso, Brazil

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  141905584,  2014 Montreal, Quebec Canada July 13 – July 16, 2014. (doi: 10.13031/aim.20141905584) @2014
Authors:   Christopher R. Wilhelmi, Mary-Grace C. Danao, Richard S. Gates, Rodrigo S. Zandonadi, Alan C. Hansen
Keywords:   Grain, postharvest, loss, handling, truck transport

Abstract. Truck transportation plays a significant role in moving products from agricultural regions in Brazil’s Center-West to port cities in the Southeast. The Brazilian truck fleet is estimated at 2,113,417 vehicles. As of 2014, 61.1% of the total tonnage of goods were transported by road. After harvest, soybeans are first transported to a facility where they are cleaned, dried, and stored. The characteristics of the trucks used for this initial transfer can vary by operation. Information regarding the truck model, trailer configuration, trailer material, trailer condition, and loading practices was collected for 23 unique vehicles at 10 farms in Sinop, Mato Grosso. Trailer condition and overloading have been linked to grain losses during transportation. Each truck was assessed, with photographic documentation, for suitability in transporting grains. A total of six different brands of semi-tractors were encountered. Bitrams were the majority at 43%, followed by single trailers at 35%, and solid body trucks at 22%. Nearly four out of five trailers were steel framed with wooden floors and walls. The remainder were solid steel. Trailer heights varied from 1.7 m to 2.3 m, but heights of 2 m were most common. All trailers were equipped with plasticized tarps that were manually closed after loading. No trailers were aluminum or hopper bodied, which are most common in the United States. Overall, key features that mitigated postharvest loss were solid metal trailers, tight-sealing plasticized tarps for protection from moisture and to reduce spilt grain, and unloading methods which allowed for the complete emptying of the trailer.

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