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Category Archives: All Aboard

Janel: Nebraska Soybeans and Wet Corn
Janel Schemper

Holdrege, Nebraska – I love this time of year.  Fall is wonderful! Typically, we just work all day every day which is pretty much my favorite thing to do in my life! It’s just easier to go to work. I am happy working and feel my best when I’m harvesting full blast (I think this is true for all harvesters). 

We began cutting soybeans in mid-September and had a good start. Now, this fall harvest has been delayed because we’ve had rain.  We had a three inch rain about ten days ago and that kept me out of the field for three days. I got to harvest five days since and then we just recently had a couple more inches of rain. The forecast this week includes lots of big chances of more rain. I know our customers want their crops harvested and trust us that we do our very best to accomodate. We want to get everyone’s crops harvested as soon as possible. We do understand! This rain is certainly putting us behind schedule.

The soybean yields have been good. The crops in this area are typically irrigated either by pivot or gravity irrigation. The pivot corners may be dryland. However, the pivot corners can be gravity irrigated as well or a swing tower pivot can irrigate most of a typical pivot corner. I did harvest a quarter of soybeans with four dryland corners that yielded 80 plus bushels per acre. The dryland corners are decent this year due to timely rains during the growing season. In fact, it’s been difficult to cut the corners separate if necessary because they look just as good as the irrigated in most fields. 

I have also harvested wet corn this fall and that is a young man’s game. The irrigated corn yields are typically high but this requires a lot of people to get involved aka manpower. One combine can keep busy two tractor grain carts and four trucks. It’s busy business that is for sure. I do enjoy it regardless! The wet corn moisture was 30 percent and the yield was high. 

I’ve recently read my all aboard harvest emails and have gotten so many thanking me for my summer harvest reports and now requesting fall harvest reports and photos. Your wish is coming true! I’m happy to share my fall harvest photos too! It’s such a pretty time of year. I also had emails asking where Moo was at because I didn’t include any pictures of Moo in my last post. Moo is always with me and she keeps me laughing!
I have a funny story about Miss Moo. Four Holdrege FFA girls brought out lunch to our field on Saturday. There was an extra sandwich and I won’t let good food go to waste and so I let Moo have it all! It was a 6-inch turkey and cheese sub sandwich. Moo was so sleepy the rest of the day and slept so much. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan that makes people sleepy. Well, it was working well for Moo. I opened a bag of chips a few hours later while combining and she always wants what I’m having. This time she didn’t even hardly wake up. She was sleeping on the floor of the combine cab and I was trying to give her a chip and she was so sleepy she barely opened her eyes and just had no interest in a potato chip. I certainly do believe the myth that turkey makes you sleepy! Moo demonstrated just that! 

I hope you all are enjoying fall. To me, fall is all about lots and lots of harvesting, husker football on the radio on Saturday’s and high school volleyball (Sierra, Samantha and Sabrina are all playing volleyball this fall)! Fall is a great season no doubt about it!

Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Our harvest mood captured in a photo! Miss Moo and I harvesting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Moo and I harvesting soybeans in Nebraska in September. This is our typical harvest mood! We love it! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Moo sleeps so peacefully in the combine until the header and rotor is shut off then she’s awake. Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
We both love AutoTrac! Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in mid-September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in mid-September. The combine operator is Jared Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
This is my kind of day! I love picking corn! Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
I got to go to Samantha Schemper’s volleyball game! She’s a freshman and is a great volleyball player! Sawyer Schemper cheers for her at the games! He says, “go #1, go Sam!” Schemper Harvesting had a rain delay so I got to enjoy Sam’s away game at the new gym in Minden. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
This was a truck wash kind of day! Schemper Harvesting was delayed due to a 3 inch rain in Nebraska in September so we keep busy doing shop work. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Moo gets the best naps of a lifetime in the combine cab! Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in mid-September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Moo is so wonderful! We were driving Jared’s truck to his field! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Seriously, what a cute little boy! Sterling Schemper is 2 and loves field time! Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Sterling loves field time and so does Moo! Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Sterling enjoying field time! Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. The combine operator is Lonny Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. The combine operator is LaVern Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
My mom has too much fun at the shop! Sage and Sterling having fun with Grandma Carlene Schemper! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in October. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in October. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in October. Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in October. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
I dislike it when this happens. I was pulling weeds off the draper belt and sickle and then this happened. Ouch! Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in October. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Sterling and I enjoying combine time together! Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting picking wet corn in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
This is the yummy turkey and cheese sub sandwich Moo loved having for lunch one day in the field! Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Carlene Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in mid-September. (Photo by Carlene Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Joe and Jack Ridder rode in the combine one evening with Janel. This was Jack’s first ever combine ride! Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Carlene Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Jared Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Samantha Schemper was running combine #3 on a Sunday! Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in October.  She’s got combine goals!!  #combinegoals (Photo by Jared Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Fall Harvest
Samantha Schemper was running combine #3 on a Saturday!  Schemper Harvesting cutting soybeans in Nebraska in September. (Photo by Jared Schemper)

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. You can contact Janel at janel@allaboardharvest.com

Tracy: Thank YOU!
Z Crew

Limon, CO – The final proso millet windrow was picked up and ingested by The Beast on Friday afternoon – which also coincidentally marked the first day of Fall. We can now close the books on the 2017 summer harvest. Before I go into more, I’d like to begin this post with saying thank you to all who have made it possible to share our story with you.
Z Crew
Before we got started with the millet harvest, Taylor, Callie and Eli made a trip to visit us. We had the opportunity to take a couple of days and go into the Colorado Rockies. (photo credit to Taylor Josoff Photography)


When putting something this large together, it takes so much more than just an idea. Someone has to put that idea into place and make sure it can be turned into a reality. This is the Z Crew’s ninth year of contributing to the All Aboard Wheat Harvest program. I was around when it was just an idea and Pete Weil did everything he could to make it a reality. It is now a reality, Pete, and one that so many love and appreciate (see what you did?)! There have been many people involved with this program since its inception and because this is only my second year of writing, I hesitate to start naming names. You know who you are and I want you to know how very much I appreciate your love and dedication to the program. Thank you for giving us an outlet to tell our stories…to educate others what it takes to get their food to their table.

Besides the idea and the people who make it happen, it takes money and that’s where our sponsors come in. Again, over the years, there have been various sponsors step up to the plate and make this all happen. Without you, you know it couldn’t and wouldn’t happen. Thank you to our 2017 sponsors! Some have given more than others but it takes everyone to make it happen. The sponsors who deserve the love and appreciation for making this all happen for harvest 2017 are:

John Deere
Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and the 10-Acre Challenge 
Unverferth and the UHarvest System
AgriPro and Syngenta
Brent Grain Carts
National Association of Wheat Growers
U.S. Wheat Associates
Colorado Wheat 
Colorado Farm Bureau
Nebraska Wheat
KFRM

I purposely left two businesses off the list because I wanted to give an extra special shout out to ITC Holdings and Kiowa County Media Center. Because of you, the Combine Cam continues to offer the All Aboard Wheat Harvest followers another segment of the harvest story – a live feed (when the cell service and weather cooperate). This summer was not a good one for the Combine Cam due to weather. Between the drought and hail, it was shut down way sooner than normal. It was a huge disappointment to me not being able to continue to provide the live feed as we have in the past but I guess it’s all a part of the 2017 harvest story…one like I’ve never seen before. Just like everything else with harvest, we can only HOPE for a better story in 2018! 

So, THANK YOU! To all of you. And to you, the reader. For seeing something that’s worth taking time out of your busy schedule to be a part of. For me, it’s just our job. I don’t see it through the eyes of someone outside looking in. I’ve often thought it would be interesting to take the view that you have and see for myself what it is that pulls you into our lifestyle. I know one thing (well maybe two), I feel blessed to be a part of this segment of agriculture and I wouldn’t change anything about how we’ve spent the last 35 years of our married life. I would have never dreamed my last summer of harvest with my parents and grandparents wouldn’t be my last!

I began this post informing you we picked up our last proso millet windrow the afternoon of 9/22. We had been going pretty much every day for the previous 18 days. Some days were longer than others. The mornings were sometimes a bit “dewy” and it would take most of the morning to dry off. Other days, we could get started about 9:30 or 10:00. The days are beginning to get shorter so most evenings ended about 7:00. Moisture was plentiful when the proso needed it during the growing season. That resulted in a better than average crop with heavy test weight. Our farmer family isn’t done with the millet harvest. We have been able to help them with just half of what they have laid down. But it’s time to head home for soybeans and corn. The rains moved in on Saturday (9/23) and we knew by the time the millet was dry enough to start being picked up again, it would be too late for us to help.
 
Z Crew
This is what proso millet looks like prior to being swathed and laid into a windrow.
 
Z Crew
Proso millet windrow.

Z Crew
The view from the driver’s seat.
 


What’s next for the Z Crew? The plan is to clean the combine and maintenance on the trucks prior to making the first of two trips home. Our farmer family will continue their harvest of millet and corn without us. I just heard Jim tell someone he hopes to make the first trip mid to later part of this week and then he’s hoping to be back in the soybeans mid to later part of next week. 

Personally, this is always a difficult transition for me. Even though I am anxious to get home to be with the kids and grandkids again, it’s the change of what is currently “normal” and routine to a new “normal” and routine (even though it’s familiar) that is very difficult. I don’t think I can explain it to you in words that would make sense. When we picked up that last windrow and I dumped the last bin full of grain in the truck, I texted Tara of Mark Heil Harvesting. Of all people, I knew she would understand. And she didn’t let me down. Her reply was EXACTLY how I felt, “I’m sad for you. I understand completely how you feel. It’s a little bit of a relief but mostly just such a chilling, empty feeling to turn it off and climb down the ladder after the last dump and know you’re not coming out to run in the morning regardless of how nice the weather is. Doesn’t matter what the calendar or thermometer say — on that day, there’s a little winter on the inside.”  

YES! She nailed it!

Until next time…
Z Crew
Before we ever got started with the millet harvest, Taylor, Callie and Eli made a trip out to see us over the Labor Day weekend. Because we were unable to be in the field, we took the time to head to the Rockies. I promised Eli we would play in a stream and climb a mountain. Here he is with his Papa having a great time throwing rocks in the lake.
 
Z Crew
Taylor and Callie being their silly selves – Cottonwood Pass, Colorado
.
Z Crew
Playing in the magical river at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado. Sand and water…what more could a boy need? Maybe a dump truck or two.
 
Z Crew
The last picture of the three amigos as we were making our way back to the trailer house. They would head home again early the next morning.
 
Z Crew
Typical view through my window – nearly every day.

Z Crew
There was a stretch of time where these clouds built up almost every night. It would shower just enough to prevent us from getting a good start the next morning. Made for a pretty picture, though!

Z Crew
Looks like Jack found a space ship in the field! This is the base of one of the 190 wind turbines being built in the surrounding area of the fields we cut. Each base takes at least 30 truckloads of cement. After it’s set, the dirt will be replaced and it will look like this:

Z Crew
Lots of bolts to work with! I wonder if they ever have any issues with the holes of the tower lining up with them? The countryside will certainly look different next year!
  
Z Crew
At one point, there were three different farming actions taking place on this farm…swathing, harvesting and planting the 2018 wheat crop. This picture was taken on 9/11. Since then, the field has turned green with the HOPE of next year!

Z Crew
Just one of the benefits of this job – a beautiful sunset to enjoy nearly every night!

Z Crew
One morning before we headed to the field, I took a picture of my “garden” to show the girls. My two buckets of flowers were shining brightly this particular day!

Z Crew
Jack and Jim looking pretty deep in thought! I’m guessing they were trying to figure out how the move to the next field was going to happen.

Z Crew
Jim and The Pete…with Pikes Peak in the background.

Z Crew
Pretty much my same position most days! Can you see Pikes Peak in the background?

Z Crew
Yep, another one of those sunsets!

Z Crew
The final sunset of Summer 2017. Sorta ready to shut the book on this adventure and think about 2018! I CAN’T WAIT TIL SPRING!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and
John DeereTracy Zeorian can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.

Janel: North Dakota Didn’t Disappoint
Janel Schemper

Holdrege, Nebraska – We finished harvesting spring wheat and canola in the northeastern North Dakota area just recently. We had harvest weather and put in some good long days of harvesting. It was good and went fast because the weather held!  I enjoyed every single second of it as I love the North Dakota harvest dearly.

We used our pick-up headers to harvest canola. We also cut canola and spring wheat with our MacDon headers. Everything went pretty well. The yields were good and for the first time all harvest, it finally felt like what harvest is supposed to be like!  It was super busy with a clear forecast! We started early in the mornings and worked late into the evenings.  It was just the way I like harvest to be.  We had meals in the field and the equipment and trucks were busy due to high yielding wheat and canola. I was very happy with the acres we did get to harvest. The farmers we work for are absolutely great people and are always very much appreciated. I love harvesting wheat and canola so much in North Dakota that I wished we could have stayed longer and had about another 7 to 10 days of harvest work to do. Canola is one of my favorite crops to harvest.  The scenery is beautiful and the fields are nice in North Dakota. The month of August in North Dakota was dry overall and so there was no mud to deal with, which was a plus. I always look forward to getting to North Dakota and putting in some big days of harvesting and that is just what we got this year. I was sad to have to leave so soon but again the weather was great and we got the crops harvested quickly.

I spent four days traveling from North Dakota to home in Nebraska for our fall harvest. We had a decent trip home but we fought the wind for the majority of the trip. The wind was really terrible one day of the trip home. I myself had to back track for equipment three times. I’m happy to be home now and thankful for a safe trip.  Each year it’s always a stressful one.

Overall, the 2017 summer harvest was the most unusual harvest I’ve experienced yet. I didn’t get to start at our first stop on our harvest route because the wheat acres were short and yields were low.  There were times where we were super busy this summer and then times where all at once we weren’t. There were many harvest ups and downs. I’m ready for fall harvest and will soon be looking forward to the 2018 wheat harvest.

Our entire crew is home now and we’re all getting ready for soybean and corn harvest. I’d like to write another blog or two on soybeans and corn but I’m not for sure if I’ll have a chance to accomplish that but for now I’d like to say thank you to all of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest followers.  I am very happy with High Plains Journal and thankful for this opportunity to share my harvest life through writing and photography. I have certainly appreciated and enjoyed this journey. I am very proud of agribusiness and this beautiful country. The American wheat harvest is amazing to me as well as American agriculture. I’d like to thank our primary partners, John Deere and High Plains Journal, as well as other partners of AAWH including: ITC, Syngenta’s Agri Pro Division, Unverferth, and Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. 

I’d like to give a special shout out to my parents, LaVern and Carlene Schemper, today is their 44th wedding anniversary!

Thanks again All Aboard Wheat Harvest followers, High Plains Journal and sponsors. Have a great fall! 

Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. Lonny Schemper is the combine operator. I love harvesting this field. The scenery is beautiful all the way around the field! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
This is canola seed. The seed is crushed and oil is extracted. The oil is used for cooking! #canolaoil (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting wheat in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting wheat in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Jared Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
I love my combine shadow! Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting picking up canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting wheat in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. The combine operator is JC Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. Amazing fall colors are just beginning and I enjoy the beautiful scenery as usual in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. The combine operator is JC Schemper and the tractor grain cart operator is Dennis. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting wheat in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. The combine operator is JC Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting cutting canola in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting finished up on wheat in North Dakota in mid-September. (Photo by Jared Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Schemper Harvesting loaded up and on the road going south for fall harvest. Here we were stopped for a quick lunch break. LaVern Schemper is pictured here. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 Eastern North Dakota Harvest
Four days of traveling from North Dakota to home and I was thankful for a safe trip home. It’s always a stressful one. (Photo by Janel Schemper)


All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Janel Schemper can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com.

Steph: There’s no place like harvest
Steph Osowski

Grafton, ND – Upon leaving Colorado after my Harvest Support adventure left, the Graham Family that I became familiar with (and let me tell you, to know them is to love them) came to bid farewell to me and Monte. The three Graham kids were asking all sorts of questions and the one that stuck out the most was when little Chase exclaims, “I won’t ever see you again!” My heart broke a little because it was so adorable but my response was simple. “Oh yes you will — we’re harvesters!”

The Harvest Support truck finished up the season the last week of August and I’ve been back home ever since. It’s amazing how long a person can be gone from home and it somehow feels like you never left. It is also amazing how dirty my apartment got without anyone actually living in it for months but that’s another story.

Harvest around here is without a doubt in full swing. Wheat is pretty well taken care of so now the transition to fall crops has begun. Between daycare, nannying and hauling potatoes for the harvest, I’ve been anything but idle. Sugar beet harvest will begin first week in October and that’s basically considered a holiday in this area. I kid you not, people use their vacation time from their “day jobs” to come haul beets for local farmers. I even have a friend from college coming up from  Minnesota to get in on the action. It’s a kind of a big deal.

What a roller coaster year, huh? To be honest, nothing surprises me anymore. Growing up a harvester, there’s one thing for certain and that is — nothing is certain. Always expect the unexpected. In fact, expect it with a smile. To me, there’s nothing better than the unexpected because that’s truly when we grow as human beings. Staying in the comfort zone gets you nowhere. High Plains Journal continues to be awesome from year to year, providing me with this program to tell you harvester tales and my gratitude only grows from year to year. A big ol’ thanks also goes to John Deere, Syngenta, Unverferth and the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. You’ll never truly know how appreciative us corespondents are for your support to our livelihood! There’s no place like harvest.

You might be asking yourself, “where in the world will Steph go next?” Well, I’ll be heading to South Africa again this winter and scheduled a couple solo trips on my way home (Abu Dhabi, UAE and Nice, France). Once you get the travel bug, it demands serious attention. And as recently discovered, more and more attention each year. I read somewhere that you weren’t born to just work, pay bills and die. Kind of a harsh way to put it but, I plan to have many stories for the rocking chair when I grow old.

Until next year — I wish everyone a prosperous fall harvest and a safe and toasty winter. Happy harvest!

Quote of the Day – “Why’d you break it? Grandpa wants to work.”

Stuff Harvesters Do –
Naturally gravitate towards other harvesters. In a crowd, at a restaurant, attending a concert… anywhere.

Cabover Alert FINAL:
C&K Harvesting – 115
Anderson Harvesting – 131.5
MacDon Harvest Support – 73

Rainbow captured on the way out of Colorado.
Rainbow captured on the way out of Colorado.
Repping the HarvestHer brand!
Repping the HarvestHer brand!
Unloading the potatoes out of the the live-bottom truck I'm driving for Lone Wolf Farms.
Unloading the potatoes out of the the live-bottom truck I’m driving for Lone Wolf Farms out of Minto, ND.
At the warehouse where all the trucks unload.
At the warehouse where all the trucks unload.
Conveying their way into the warehoue.
Conveying their way into the warehouse.
Sunrising on the day.
Sunrising on the day.
Heart shaped potato!
Heart shaped potato! See, carbs really are love.
Mounds and mounds of taters.
Mounds and mounds of taters.
Lone Wolf Farms; est. 1938. 4000 total acres that vary between potatoes, sugar beets, wheat and soybeans. Classic family farm ran by 2 brothers (Chris, Josh) their dad (Keith) and grandfather (Dean). The fave color is, of course, "red like the potatoes."
Lone Wolf Farms; est. 1938. 4000 total acres that vary between potatoes, sugar beets, wheat and soybeans. Classic family farm ran by 2 brothers (Chris, Josh) their dad (Keith) and grandfather (Dean). Their fave color is, of course, “red like the potatoes.”
Potatoes is all about moving parts.
Potatoes is all about moving parts.
Trucker selfie in my HarvestHer shirt.
Trucker selfie in my HarvestHer shirt.
Sunrise.
Sunrise.
Nanny life. That face he made was PRICELESS.
Nanny life. That face he made was PRICELESS.
Had to include a couple favorites from the wheat run.
Had to include a couple favorites from the wheat run.
Happy harvest!
Happy harvest!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.

Janel: Legendary Jamestown, North Dakota
Janel Schemper

Jamestown, North Dakota – This Jamestown, North Dakota farm we are currently on is “almost” like home sweet home and has become a special place to me as we’ve been coming here since 1989.  This farm family is one amazing farm family.  I really appreciate all of them and getting to visit with them when we are here harvesting.  I went home to Nebraska for school from this farm many times.  When I think about all of the harvest memories I have here it’s just a big ol reminder of how time flies.  I can remember riding in the combine here with my sister and falling asleep in the buddy seat and also riding in the truck with my mom and hauling all of the loads of spring wheat and barley to grain bins on the farm.  This past year my mom found a picture of me running combine and on the back of the picture it said, “Jamestown, North Dakota 1994.”  I wasn’t even a teenager yet and I could run a combine all by myself!  It’s all amazing to me at how time really does just fly by!

I’ve been told it’s a drought year here but all of the crops look good to me. We have been cutting spring wheat and the yields have been in the 55 to 65 bushels per acre range, the test weights have been 60 plus and the protein has been good at 15 and 16 percent.  The wheat was not sprayed and the grain wasn’t too dry.  Almost every load was 15 percent moisture or higher.  The cutting conditions have been rather tough as well.  Howard Hale called me while I was out cutting wheat and we discussed the low wheat acres, high row crop acres and the cutting conditions.  I always enjoy getting a call from Howard Hale for a Harvest USA report.  I listen to his morning and afternoon programs almost daily.

However, our run here was short because there just aren’t that many wheat acres here anymore. Almost everything is planted to corn and soybeans.  I can remember when everything in the Jamestown area was spring wheat and barley and every acre was windrowed.  I can’t believe how things have changed so much.  We’ll finish up and get moved up to the Grand Forks, North Dakota area and harvest spring wheat and canola.  The forecast looks sunny for 10 days so hopefully just maybe we can have a good run at our next and last stop on our wheat harvest run! 

Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Just look at those beautiful North Dakota colors! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
A beautiful day of harvesting spring wheat near Jamestown, North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Wheat is my favorite North Dakota crop. This year there is so much corn planted here. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
My brother Jared Schemper has been driving truck lately hauling grain from the field to the elevator. I like it better though when he is in his combine in the field. I enjoy harvesting crops with him because he is the best combine operator. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
It’s a drought year and this wheat field still produced 65 bushel spring wheat! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
These are lentils. Jared Schemper brought me a sample of lentils from Montana.  Lentils look like certs and are as soft as silk. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
These are chickpeas. Jared Schemper brought me a sample of chickpeas from Montana. I think they look like mini pumpkins. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Harvesting spring wheat on a cloudy day in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Harvesting spring wheat on a cloudy day in North Dakota. The combine operator is LaVern Schemper. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
Harvesting spring wheat on a cloudy day in North Dakota. (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
I love this time of day! Combine shadows followed by a sunset! (Photo by Janel Schemper)
Schemper 2017 - North Dakota Wheat Harvest
I can remember harvesting this field when I was 12 years old. It was planted to barley and was making nearly 100 bushels an acre. We had three combines and the combine operators were JC, Jared and me. I remember we had everything full and were sitting there waiting on a truck to come back to the field. It was mid-August and it was just about time for us to go back home to Nebraska for school. I remember JC and Jared having a conversation about being concerned about what Dad was going to do for help since we were leaving for school. Jared was 15 and was excited to get back home for football and I loved playing volleyball. We were Dad’s crew and it was always sad to leave harvest but yet we were excited to get back to school and play sports! (Photo by Janel Schemper)


All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Janel Schemper can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com.

Laura: The end is approaching
Laura Haffner

North Dakota: Last week I wrote that the crew was racing to beat the rain. They were able to finish the field, but caught rain the next morning. As a result, they were out of the field a couple of days. Then they cut three and a half days before hitting green in the crop again. In the middle of the of those few days of cutting, Ryan made the comment, “We’re really starting to feel like we’re harvesting now!”  What he was referencing was typically we’re used to “binge” harvesting, meaning we cut for a week or sometimes several weeks straight and then catch a break. Here we have been making steady progress and chipping away acre by acre. There just hasn’t been any “bingeing” due to the weather conditions so it just feels a little weird. It has been such a strange year, and with the weather up north, it just keeps getting stranger. Nevertheless, we have been thankful for each acre we’ve cut despite the inconsistency in the cutting days. The crew finished up the durum wheat and have moved on to canola. The canola has been yielding in the 25-30 bushel per acre range.

Fall harvest is approaching but not exactly around the corner.  Since harvest has been moving at a slow pace up north, most have been able to keep up with the flow, so there doesn’t seem like there’s many extra acres available after we finish this job.  The end to our summer run appears to be in sight.

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
The farmer’s and our combines teamed up for the last field of Durham. (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Wheat is finished! On to canola! (Photo credit: Ryan)


High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Getting into the canola (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Many of the farms in the area have on farm storage. Its been nearly a month since we’ve taken a load to the elevator. (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
The next load is about to head into the bin. (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Canola harvest (Photo credit: Ryan)


High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
The green canola gave us the opportunity to view the eclipse. Everyone was impressed! (Photo credit: Ryan)
 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Charel)
Charel snagged a picture of Ryan for me! (Photo credit: Charel)
 


All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

The Mattson Farms 2017 Harvest Scrapbook
Z Crew

Chester, Montana – 
It’s pretty quiet on the farm today…everyone is enjoying a well-deserved break in the action! The Mattson Farm’s 2017 harvest is in the books! We finished on Wednesday (8/16) afternoon at 3:08 pm. I know this because we had a “pool” set up with everyone’s guess. I was off by about six hours; I guessed 9 pm. 

This has been a great adventure! I haven’t been a part of a large crew since 1981. That was the last summer I was part of Hancock’s Custom Combining (my dad and grandpa). I thoroughly enjoyed all of the activity, the interaction of the larger crew and all the laughing! It gets a bit quiet when it’s just the two of us. The days seem to go much faster when there is chatter on the two-way and lots of movement in the field. And when we all gathered in the garage for the evening meal, it was fun getting to know everyone on a more personal level. I honestly feel like we’ve benefited from this experience way more than we could have ever thought possible. 

Thank you to the entire Mattson crew for making Jim and me feel so welcome! For giving us the opportunity to do something instead of nothing (because we had no acres of our own to cut). For the additions to our Christmas card list!! And…Jim never had to pick up a grease gun once!
(video credit Jim Zeorian)


Z Crew
Last morning of the 2017 Mattson Farms harvest.

Z Crew
Last morning of the 2017 Mattson Farms harvest.

Z Crew
Mynhardt putting fuel in “my” combine.

Z Crew
Jim looks pretty serious while dumping his last truckload.

Z Crew
Let the celebration begin!

Z Crew
The entire Mattson Farms 2017 crew (Ahmia, Kennedy and Gabe are missing).

So, because the crew is so much larger and because the only pictures I ever share are my own, I asked the crew to send me some of their favorite ones to share with you. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see something a little different than what I typically include in my updates.
Z Crew
The orchestra leader, Vince. (photo credit Jim Zeorian)

Z Crew
The day the kids from the city came to the farm to learn about harvest…and it rained. (photo credit Vince Mattson)

Z Crew
Vince and Connor. (photo credit Vince Mattson)

Z Crew
Vince and a few of the crew – Johnathan, Travis and Mynhardt. (photo credit Vince Mattson)

Z Crew
(photo credit Travis Naillon)

Z Crew
(photo credit Travis Naillon)

Z Crew
(photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
Morning huddle – Johnathan, Travis, Vince & Mynhardt (photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
Eliza (photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
Brody (photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
Eliza and Brody riding with their mama (Megan). (photo credit Megan Mattson Hedges)

Z Crew
(photo credit Koos)

Z Crew
(photo credit Koos)

Z Crew
In front of the “party bus”. Vince in front. Back left to right – Mynhardt, Travis, Koos and Johnathan. (photo credit Koos)


Z Crew
Vince & Jim. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

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Kerry & Connor. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

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Kerry & Brie. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

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Janice and Connor. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Janice and Connor. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Evening chores – Johnathan and Mynhardt. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

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Kerry and Eliza. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

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Morning coffee – Jim and me. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
Morning coffee with the truck drivers – Butch, Bill, Al and William. (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

Z Crew
(photo credit to Kerry Mattson)

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Connor  (photo credit to Kerry Mattson)


(video credit Jim Zeorian)

(video credit Jim Zeorian)
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Tracy Zeorian can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.

Steph: Change of scenery (again)
Steph Osowski

Monte Vista, CO – Harvest is unpredictable. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times over from each individual correspondent. This year has brought around many changes for individual harvesters and crews alike and in the spirit of that, another change has occurred in my usually predictable summer schedule.

Given the amount of acres burned up in western ND, the acres promised ended up not being the acres given. Having a full crew with less acres than you bargained for is a difficult situation to be in. Right as all this was happening, there was an opportunity for me to join the New Holland Harvest Support team for the duration of harvest. 

So, here I am, from harvest crew member to Harvest Support member, from campground to Holiday Inn. Monte and I got to the San Luis Valley in Colorado just a couple days ago and have been making field visits to the Graham’s who live and harvest in this area. Barley harvest will be in full swing come the weekend but some progress has been made, slow as it may be. This area is unbelievably beautiful — I find myself gawking at my surroundings frequently in a day and being grateful for the opportunity to be in the location as well as the position I’m in. What a summer, huh?

Quote of the Day – “Did the combine always rumble like that or can I only hear it now since I got my new hearing aids?”

Stuff Harvesters Do – Consider beef jerky its own food group.
Grain cart selfie!
Grain cart selfies! Chase, myself and Casey.
The background is to die for.
The background is to die for.
Way too cool.
Way too cool.
The Rockies.
The Rockies.
Monte of Harvest Support, likely giving some combine advice to the Graham girls.
Monte of Harvest Support, likely giving some combine advice to a couple of the Graham girls.
Shelby to my right, Chase at my hip. These kids are great! Just mising Haedyn.
Shelby to my right, Chase at my hip. These kids are great! Just missing Haedyn, who is behind the camera taking the photo. Some true harvest kids right here.
Chase riding with his mama, Casey, in the grain cart.
Chase riding with his mama, Casey, in the grain cart.
That face though... ha ha!
That face though… ha ha!
Blowing dust.
Blowing barley dust in every which way.
Love all the wildflowers growing in all the ditches.
Love all the wildflowers growing EVERYWHERE.
Unloading on Casey in the grain cart.
Unloading on Casey in the grain cart.
Chase reminds me SO much of my brother when he was little.
Chase reminds me SO much of my brother when he was little.
Trucks all lined up (with a gorgeous mountain backdrop to boot).
Trucks all lined up (with a gorgeous mountain backdrop to boot).
Dave and his epic mustache.
Dave and his epic mustache.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.

What makes a team (and I’m not talking football)?
Z Crew

Chester, Montana – Definition of team: “A group of people with different skills and different tasks, who work together on a common project, service, or goal, with a meshing of function and mutual support”.

The business of custom harvesting – or any harvesting – requires having a good team. If there is even one bad apple, it upsets the whole group. But, having a great team is one to celebrate and will be remembered for a long time!
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do.
Ahmia with Brie and Connor (Picture credit Kerry Mattson)

I always told our girls, “There is no one job more important than another on this crew. It takes each and every one of us to get the job done”.  We each knew our job when it was time to pack, load, work and then pack, load, move and do it all over again.

Oftentimes, it feels like the members of the crew who are in the field are the most important ones…wrong! The one(s) providing the support of the team/crew should be viewed just as important (but is sometimes overlooked).

When a team is working together as a team should, it doesn’t function quite as well when one of the members is no longer part of the group. That’s how I felt last night when we came in from the field. I was again missing Ahmia this morning when it was time to make lunches. And I KNOW Kerry is missing her probably more than any of us.
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
Ahmia (on the right) brought the kids to the field before she had to head for home.
 
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
Kerry shed way less tears than I would have but I’m so bad with goodbyes. And I know my kids would agree with me!

I know how Kerry is feeling. When you become dependent on someone to pick up the slack and can depend on, the void is felt when they’re not there anymore.  Ahmia was hired to replace Kerry at home while she was in the combine and to help Brie and Connor (Vince and Kerry’s two kiddos). I mentioned her in my first post since arriving here at Mattson Farms. Ahmia also replaced Kennedy when she had to go back to college. Remember? They were tag-teaming the job.

When I first met Ahmia, I knew nothing about her. She was pretty quiet while she sat there ever so respectfully listening to the rest of the group as they gathered for the evening meal. I watched her watch everyone else. I also watched her jump in and do what needed to be done. I have always told my girls if there was any one thing I hoped I could teach them, it would be not to wait to be asked to do something. If you see something that needs to be done, just do it. Ahmia just did it.

One of the days that we had some time before going to the field, I visited with Ahmia. So smart, so respectful, so helpful, so responsible. “How old are you, Ahmia?” I asked. Her reply, “I’m 13. I’ll be in the 8th grade this year.” NO WAY!!! When I told Jim this, his reply was, “I think she’s fibbing. She’s got to be 18 or 19.” So when I was alone with Kerry, I asked her how old Ahmia was. She said, “13”.

What a kid she is! She took complete responsibility for the kids and all that was required with the job.  She babysat the kids all day. We would sometimes leave as early as 9:30 and not get home for 12 hours. In that time, not only did she take care of the kids, she woke up early and helped prepare 16 lunches, sometimes baked goodies for breakfast for the crew, prepared the evening meals (main dish was already done but she would also make a side dish and dessert), baked cookies, and even upon request – baked apple crisp. She can make better biscuits than I’ll EVER make.  When I had time to visit with her, Ahmia loved talking about her family, her grandma and how she enjoyed helping her uncle around the farm. She drives combine, tractor and just learned to drive a semi. I should remind you…she’s 13.

Over the past two weeks, Ahmia became one of the crew…one of the team. But she had to go home yesterday so she could begin doing what most 13 year olds do – attend school, volleyball practice and be with her friends.

And we miss her!

Someone once told me I put too much responsibility on my kids during the summer. My reply to them was, “How better could I teach them life lessons than by letting them experience life lessons?” I knew that when my girls were old enough to be on their own one day, they would be just fine. Ahmia will be just fine! And I know that young lady will do amazing things one day.

To you, Ahmia, I’d like to thank you for all your hard work, for always having a smile on your face, for jumping in and doing the job without having to be asked, for taking care of the rest of the team, for just being an amazing person! It was an honor to get to know you.  I hope you enjoy the 8th grade and have fun. I also hope we get to see you again one day.

And to Ahmia’s parents…thank you for raising such a responsible, awesome young woman!

A few pictures of what happened Monday (8/14). 
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
Cutting chickpeas with the Sweet Grass Hills on the horizon.
 
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
As I mentioned in my previous update, the chickpeas are very fragile and can split if too dry or if handled very often. One step in this game is eliminated and we go back to doing it the “old fashioned” way – the Z Crew way. There are no tractor/grain carts used in this process simply to eliminate one more transfer and one more auger.
 
Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
It just doesn’t look as beautiful on here as it did in real person!

Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do.
The #1 benefit of this job? The sunsets!

Z Crew: Because it's what Harvesters do!
Another field in the books!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Tracy Zeorian can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com.

Laura: Week In Review
Laura Haffner

Montana/North Dakota: The crew in Montana finally got about a five day window to cut. That was just enough time for them to finish the winter wheat harvest. The next plan is to move on to the spring wheat. However, the moisture level is hovering around 22.5 percent, so that is still several days off.

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Mark)
Unloading on the go in the wide open spaces of northern Montana. (Photo Credit: Mark) 
High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Mark)
Another shot from the crew in Montana. (Photo Credit: Mark)
High Plains Harvesting 2017 (James)
The sun setting on Montana’s winter wheat harvest. (Photo Credit: James)
Meanwhile, the crew with Ryan in North Dakota continues to fight moisture, hence why news has been so limited. They recently finished field peas. I’ve had some questions regarding their edibility. I learned the answer is, “Yes!” The yellow peas are for foreign food aide. Green peas are sold to India for human food consumption. The peas made around 15-25 bushels per acre.

After finishing the field peas, they moved on to durum wheat. This kind of wheat is used to make pasta and has a higher protein content. It’s important to get it out as quickly as possible. Each rain can change the color of the grain which then effects the grade. It starts out a bright, golden color and dulls with each rain. We are gradually making progress harvesting the durum, but have struggled to really get rolling strong. The crew has seen a fair share of late starts, lots of moisture testing, and days we just haven’t been able to cut at all. They’ve been fighting the showers, humidity and sometimes cold, cloudy weather. They keep getting 0.3 inches of rain then, 0.8″, .15″, etc. Whenever they can go, they go hard. Tonight (Monday) there’s a 90% chance of raining so they’re going as long, and hard as they can. They’ve been dry in North Dakota, so despite the showers, the ground is still holding up well. The highest durum yields so far have been around 45 bushels per acre. 

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Field peas that the crew in North Dakota were harvesting. (Photo Credit: Ryan)
High Plains Harvesting 2017 (RYAN)
Combines in the distance. (Photo Credit: Ryan)
High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Waiting to take the next load to the bin. (Photo Credit: Ryan)
High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Pieter)
That’s a beautiful field of wheat! (Submitted by: Pieter)
High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
It stays light pretty late in the north country! (Photo credit: Ryan)
High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Ryan)
Trying to beat the rain on Monday night. (Photo Credit: Ryan)
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.