Getting through the mud to stored grain

Wet weather can ruin grain-hauling plans. See Matt Undlin’s surefire solution

This wooden rig mat road was built by Matt Undlin.

As farmers we are always at the mercy of Mother Nature and lately it seems that weather patterns are getting even more intense.

Outside Kyle, Saskatchewan, we had over 33 inches of rainfall last growing season but a fairly average snowfall. For Matt Undlin, a farmer in Lansford, North Dakota, the exact opposite was true. “Rainfall was average and the snowfall was incredible. We had six feet on the level and 20 feet in the trees and yard,” Undlin told me in response to the amazing photo he shared on Twitter in the spring.

With spring arriving, temperatures warming and snow melting Matt was faced with a problem more than a few farmers will understand all too well. He needed to get into his bin yard to haul, but it was too wet and swampy to get trucks in and loaded without also getting them stuck. “Hauling grain has reached a new level. The cost of storing grain isn’t cheap,” wrote Undlin as he posted his solution to Twitter: a wooden walkway to the bins.

Rig matting

Captive Oilfield Rentals out of Estevan, Sask., said they have never installed a rig mat road for a farmer but would be happy to if asked. Their turn around time from when contacted to when trucks are being loaded with prebuilt 8’x14′ rig mats is two hours and that they distribute and set up across Western Canada.

If you’re dealing with this problem and are considering calling Captive Oilfield Services for a quote you should have a couple things worked out first. They’ll need to know the square footage required as well as the width of road you are looking for. Their rental contracts can be made up for days, weeks or months. Of course if you are feeling inspired and have some spare time on your hands you could always go a head and build your own.

Laramie Eyben farms in Vermilion, Alta., and struggled with excess water and mud in his bin yard this spring as well. He said the winter snowfall was average but this spring has been wetter then normal. I asked Eyben if he had considered using rig mats to create a road. He said, “I used to truck in the oil field so I have used them in the bush before and have talked about using them many times.”

Laramie Eyben shared this photo of his snowy, muddy yard this spring. photo: Laramie Eyben

Buying rig mats

For those who would be more interested in buying used rig mats instead of renting, Laramie said that they usually pop up on the Edmonton Kijiji website, and are sometimes sold at Ritchie Brothers Auctions.

If you do buy used rig mats to put your own access road in and are looking for another use for them when things dry up, there have been farmers using them as bin pads for hopper bottom bins. Or just save them. The way things are going with the weather, I’m sure they will come in handy sooner than later.

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