Flatbed Rigged for Farm Efficiency

September 26, 2015 02:50 AM

J.D. Dulaney’s truck is transformed into a rolling shop on wheels

Time is money to J.D. Dulaney, but in 2014, he was losing time constantly running from field to shop. A single trip out of the field carried little consequence, but over the course of a season, the efficiency waste mounted to a slow bleed that ultimately affected all areas of his operation.

Dulaney, who farms 4,000 acres with Gen 4 Farms in Clarksdale, Miss., was driving a typical pickup with a toolbox in the bed. The toolbox, along with an air compressor, took up most of the bed and left little room for hauling. “Even if it was just a roll of poly, I’d have to use a trailer. I kept asking myself, ‘Where can I make myself more efficient?’”

A flatbed truck option made sense to Dulaney, but he knew tool placement was the key to efficiency. For six months, he thought over the design, picked his placement, ordered the parts, and in less than two days, assembled what serves as a moving shop. The result was a skirted Knapheide flatbed on a 2015 Chevrolet 2500HD crew cab rigged with essential farm tools.

Dulaney mounted a Quick Draw toolbox at the front of the bed and welded a wire rack on top. The toolbox slides out 60% on either side, allowing total access. It includes a tool organizer, which Dulaney sectioned for sockets, big wrenches, hand tools, drills, spray cans and much more. 

On the driver’s side of the bed, he set a tailgate box beside the Quick Draw for air gauges, snap wring 
pliers and Allen wrenches. Beside the tailgate box, he built a catch-all basket for ratchet straps, hammers and utility items. A hose reel is mounted beside the tailgate box. “The bed cost $4,200, and the Quick Draw box cost $1,000. Everything else was in hand but just had to be configured,” Dulaney says.

Beside the hose reel sits a K2 cooler held by two I-bolts and turnbuckles to prevent sliding and theft. On the backside of the K2 cooler, the drain plug is fitted with 1⁄2" straight threads. “I screwed in a hydraulic adapter and ball valve with a 1' hose. Now I have a place to wash my hands in the middle of a field, and I always have clean water to rinse a part,” he says.

On the passenger bedside, a removable air compressor is mounted on a metal plate atop a rubber mat. To easily remove the compressor when he pulls a gooseneck, Dulaney takes out the four bolts, unplugs the power supply and it’s off in minutes. The bed is covered with a tough horse-stall mat, which works better than normal truck mats that would slide and bunch. At the end of the bed sits a vice.

Dulaney has a Ranchhand Bullnose front bumper on the Chevrolet 2500HD—no more worries about collision damage from deer or wild pigs. A football goal-style rack can be inserted in seconds into a front receiver to carry pipe or suction lines along the headache rack—no trailer required. 

“This is the first crop season for my truck, and it cuts down drastically on my travel time. I wish I’d have done this 10 years ago,” he says. “Some guys might want to consider a long-wheel base instead of a short-wheel base like mine.”

As harvest begins, Dulaney’s flatbed truck follows combines and 18-wheelers as the last vehicle into the fields. “If something breaks, everything we need to make the fix is there. Between my truck and the cellphone, that’s all I need to get back up and running.”

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