Soy-based grease pad for trucks

STC Partners with trucking companies to promote soy-based 5th wheel lube pads

June 20, 2024 | Mike Steenhoek

Expanding soybean markets and improving the environment can come in small packages. Soybean farmers continue to pursue any opportunity to diversify markets for soybeans and soy products while meeting the growing imperative for environmental sustainability. A recent partnership between the Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) and trucking companies highlights how both objectives can be simultaneously advanced.

The STC conducted a promotional initiative in which it provided free samples of soy-based fifth wheel lubrication pads to trucking companies and farmers throughout the country. The pads are produced by Gear Head Lube (, a Cedar Falls, Iowa, based manufacturer of environmentally sustainable lubricants.

“These products have been in existence for a number of years but given the STC’s extensive relationships within the transportation sector, we concluded we could play a meaningful role in increasing the awareness and the utilization of these soy-based fifth wheel lube pads,” explains Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition. “Unfortunately, there can often be a significant delay between the development of an innovative and effective product and the widespread utilization of it. The STC’s goal of this project has been to increase awareness and the motivation to use these soy-based fifth wheel lube pads so that the benefits can be more accelerated.”

The square-shaped soy-based fifth wheel pads are three by three inches in size and a half inch thick. Application involves simply placing a pad by hand at both the nine and three o’clock positions on the fifth wheel. After the trailer is hooked up, the grease from the pads is evenly distributed around the fifth wheel with no mess. The pads, comprised of over 80% U.S. soy, are listed on the United States Department of Agriculture’s Certified Biobased Product program.

The STC capitalized on its relationships within the trucking and agricultural sector to widely distribute free samples of the pads for individual testing on both large and small truck fleets. Ruan, one of the largest family-owned transportation management companies in the nation, partnered with the STC in evaluating the pads for their own fleet. The benefits of utilizing them became quickly apparent.

“At Ruan, we examine each aspect of our business to identify opportunities to implement more sustainable practices,” says Mike Elliott, Technical Maintenance Operations Manager for Ruan. “The use of soy-based fifth wheel pads is one such example. These pads are very effective, easy to use, and affordable. And as a product listed on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Certified Biobased Product program, they are better for the environment. We look forward to expanding our usage of this product across the fleet in the future.”

On average, a semi-truck uses 20 lbs. of fifth wheel grease a year. With approximately three million semis operating in the country (source:, this amounts to a market in the United States of 60 million pounds of fifth wheel grease each year. Fifth wheel grease is predominantly petroleum-based and applied by hand, grease gun, or via small plastic pouches that often become litter after application. Utilizing the soy-based pads have proven to be an environmentally sustainable alternative that are easier to apply while providing better lubrication over the entire fifth wheel.

“Farmers are always looking for opportunities to use products derived from the soybeans we grow,” says Chris Brossart, a soybean farmer from Wolford, North Dakota, and chairman of the North Dakota Soybean Council and the Soy Transportation Coalition. “I have utilized the soy-based fifth wheel lube pads on the trucks at our family farming operation. They are incredibly easy to use and are very effective. Finally, they are a great example of how soy-products continue to provide sustainable solutions for our environment.”

To inquire further about the STC project, contact Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition, at 515-727-0665 or