All Aboard Harvest | Megan: Home Sweet Home
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Megan: Home Sweet Home

Megan: Home Sweet Home

By working some very long days, we were finally able to finish up in Chadron this past weekend. The wheat ended up yielding between 30 to 50 bushels per acre, with test weights around 57 to 61 pounds per bushel, and protein between 9 to 10 percent. Brandon, James, and I moved back home to Hemingford to join Dad and the rest of our family helping him. While we were gone, Dad and Mom were able to get a good start on much of our wheat, as well as some of our customer’s wheat. Who would have guessed that one TR 98 combine would help us out so much?

Now that our crew is reunited and we can run the two CR 9070s and the TR 98 together we have been knocking out fields quickly. For the most part things have been going smoothly, but like always, harvest has a way of presenting challenges. There have been a few minor complications with the TR 98, but that’s to be excepted with the many hours it has on it.  Yesterday the header drive chain broke on it and later in the day Dad and James changed out the fuel filter – it’s been working much better ever since. In addition, now that we’re running three combines, our wheat production is up a considerable amount and the trucks have had a hard time keeping up with us. We took out one of our older semis and grain trailers from “retirement” and have been using this rig when our other two semis get behind.

In addition, the Farmer’s Coop Elevator in Hemingford receives a tremendous amount of wheat from the area. Box Butte County produces primarily wheat and majority of it is hauled into the grain elevator in Hemingford. With an excessive amount of wheat being brought into the elevator it is certainly challenging to quickly and efficiently unload trucks in a timely fashion, especially during the “heat of harvest” when numerous loaded trucks are being sent to town constantly. Fun fact of the day: Over ten years ago the wait time at the Hemingford grain elevator used to range up to eight hours for a single truck to be unloaded. After many renovations, upgrades, and new grain bins being built, the wait time in town is now significantly shorter. So far, a single truck has been able to get through the entire elevator process in less than an hour this summer – what a relief!

The nice thing about being home is all the wonderful help we receive from the rest of our family. My sister, Ashley, came home for the weekend to help run combine and my Uncle Carl and Aunt Lynda have been around much of the past week to help move vehicles, drive truck, run combine, pick up parts, get fuel or anything else that we need to keep us up and running. Also, my grandparents have been bringing out meals to us lately since we are all so busy keeping things going in the field. During home harvest it really does take the entire family to keep our business operating!

Chadron storm 2
While we were working in Chadron we had a couple different storms come through. This particular storm looked pretty ugly as it built in the distance all afternoon.

Chadron storm
Although this storm hit fast and furious we were lucky enough to get the combines and grain cart unloaded in time. After about 15 minutes of rain there were puddles scattered around but we were able to start cutting again a few hours later in the day once the grain had dried out.

TR 98
The TR 98 up and ready to run! It can’t cut nearly as fast as the CRs do, but it certainly keeps up pretty well, especially with Mom driving it.

Unloading
Home harvest at its finest!

Carl in pickup
Uncle Carl converses with my Dad over our two-way business ban radio. Notice our new snazzy All Aboard Wheat Harvest logo our pickup is now sporting!

With grandparents
Grandpa Bob and Grandma Jo deliver lunch to the field for us. At 87 years old we are very grateful they are able to still help us out so much. In this photo: Brandon, Ezra (our younger cousin), and Mom stand next to Grandma and Grandpa.

Mud hole
Due to the wet summer we’ve had at home we have run across many mud holes like this one. They are simply low spots in the field and are usually not a problem for us. However, the large amount of rain has filled most of these with water, causing the wheat in and immediately around them to die.

Moving down highway
A view from the grain cart as the combines move down the highway toward a new field. When traffic comes from either direction the combines travel towards the ditch so vehicles can pass. We try to keep our headers on for short moves but many times we have to load up the headers on the header trailers to make the move easier and quicker.

Ezra and Brandon eating
My younger cousin, Ezra, and Brandon sit on the pickup to eat a quick supper. At home we tend to take the time to stop and eat quick meals in the field. During the rest of the summer we usually eat more “on the go.”

Megan and Lynda
Aunt Lynda and I smile for a quick picture during our tailgate supper. Can you tell it’s been a long and exhausting day?

Ezra in tractor
Ezra shows me how he drives the tractor. For the last couple days Ezra has been out in the field experiencing harvest with us. He has seen the entire process through since he spent many hours riding in the combine, grain cart and semi. At 8 years old Ezra has reminded me how new and exciting harvest can be at that age. He even made us some new seatbelts out of bungee cords for the tractor!

Stubble at dusk
The word in town is that harvest is about 50 percent done in Box Butte County (this includes the town of Hemingford, city of Alliance and many acres of farmland.)

At night
Brandon unloads his combine at the truck as we try to finish up for the night. After the grain elevator closes in town we usually try to fill up the semis and grain cart before quitting. That way the next morning we can have half the crew take the semis to town to get unloaded while the rest of the crew goes to the field to service. It’s one of our tactics of being “small and mighty” and trying to multitask to get things done efficiently.

Blast to the Past – Today’s Flashback:

Coming home in '99
1999: A picture taken from the front of our house as the crew begins to pull in at home. As a child this was by the far the most anticipated event of the summer for my siblings and me because we would get to spend time with Dad for a couple weeks and help out with harvest.

Home harvest in '01
2001: Harvesting the circle corner of wheat in front of our house with the two TR98s. Ten years later and we now use one “98” as cleanup crew while the CRs power through the field.

Megan can be reached at megan@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard 2011 is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

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