07 Jul Janel: Drought report ahead
Goodland, Kansas – We’ve been busy harvesting wheat since May and will be busy for a few more weeks; but I am sorry to report that after we’re finished cutting wheat in Kansas, Colorado and Western Nebraska, we’re not sure what we’ll have to cut up north. South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana are in a severe drought and there are reports of no winter wheat at all and the spring wheat is going to be a really sorry crop this year due to the drought. Harvesters have to have income to make payments. If there is no income, payments are not made. Harvesters count on Montana and the Dakotas for big acres and yields to complete their summer wheat run.
Custom harvesting is certainly a risky business to be in due to Mother Nature – no doubt about it. Mother Nature can be so good, but she can also be so bad. One bad harvest run can ruin a harvester’s business. This drought is seriously bad for us harvesters. We’re all stressed out just thinking about it. No joke, I even had a report of freeze damage in South Dakota on June 24th. Crazy, I know. Whatever wheat turns black is a result of the freeze damage, so you just have to wait and see what areas got hit. We’ll know what we’ve got when we get up north later this month.
We’re still using the blue headers, and they have been working well. I hear questions often about why do we use the blue headers. That is an excellent question. There are many advantages. The combine thrashes the wheat heads and hardly any straw, which saves on time and fuel. The combine can gain speed due to not having to run all of the straw through the combine. For example, if 70 bushel wheat is being cut, the combine could typically harvest at about 2 mph. A combine using a blue header harvesting 70 bushel wheat could typically harvest at about 4 mph. This results in more acres and harvesting more quickly. It is efficient. Fewer hours on the combine and less fuel used are both major advantages. It’s a whole different concept, and I like it! However, the No. 1 reason the farmer requests using blue headers is because the tall wheat straw left standing in the field is like garden mulch. It holds moisture and is just what the field needs for future crops. I would bet on the Shelbourne Reynolds header becoming more and more popular.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Janel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.