High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest


Category Archives: Crop Updates

Steph: Occupied Buddy Seats
Steph Osowski

Gilliland, Texas – It takes me exactly 27 minutes and 14 seconds to get from the field to the elevator, scale/probe, unload, scale and get back to the field. However, I’ve never had the opportunity to combine a 450-acre field of wheat (talk about heaven — 450 acres without changing fields ONCE), so John got pushed outta the driver’s seat, and I hopped in. I also wanted to see what these red machines are all about. My review, you ask? It’s pretty awesome. Our wheat stats have stayed about the same with 20-25 bushels per acre and 58-60 pound test weights.

My buddy seat was occupied for awhile today by Miss Breanna. She is Farmer Glen’s niece, and we had ourselves a time. We spent a good portion of the afternoon talking about our favorite colors, swapping stories and singing along to Shania Twain on the radio. She also likes Johnny Cash, and said she would have ridden in the combine with me all day long — a girl truly after my own heart. She climbed off the combine, and then shortly after climbed right back up the ladder to give me a hug so, I’d be lying if I said she didn’t take a little piece of it with her. Continue Reading

Laura: It has started!
Laura Haffner

Wichita County, Texas: May 24 – Mark it in the books – the official start to the cutting season. I had almost forgotten how I love to hear the hum of the machines. The low sound almost has a calming effect on the soul, and nothing can beat the smell of fresh cut wheat!

Due to moisture, some fields have some patches that remain to be cut, so we don’t have official yield data to report yet. Test weights are coming in around 58 lbs per bushel. Hail damage has affected yields, and some fields have been zeroed out at our first stop. Today’s forecast shows a high of 99, and tomorrow shows 101 with a little wind. It should be prime cutting weather, if we can avoid the small chances for rain in the forecast. Continue Reading

Steph: Commence
Steph Osowski

Gilliland, Texas – You know how they say everything is bigger in Texas? That’s no lie. I kid you not. I had a mosquito the size of a quarter bite me today. Around dusk, Josh the Elevator Worker and I had to dance around like fools while unloading my truck in an attempt to keep them away. Not like it worked much — my arms and neck are covered in little red welts. Battle scars on the first full day of cutting, what more could you ask for? Harvest is HERE. The yields are between 20-25 bushels per acre with test weights coming in at 58 pounds. With a whopping distance of four miles to haul the grain in to the elevator, we are seeing some major progress and were able to do 250 acres on day one with our combine.
Continue Reading

Steph: Road to Texas
Steph Osowski

Gilliland, Texas – I had a nightmare last night that my tractor/grain cart load fell off my trailer… never had I been so happy to be jolted awake by reality at 3 a.m. Sometimes road stories are bizarre and out of control like that. This road story is the exact opposite.

We were graced with perfect travel conditions and the road to Texas went off without a hitch. When we were embarking on our final travel day this morning, Bossman John asked me if I had $16 to pay for the campsite since he had no cash (and also said he would give me $20 back. As an economics major, that’s a no-brainer). I had $16 exactly and not a penny more.
Continue Reading

The Lingering Harvest of 2016
Steph Osowski

Grafton, ND – It is October 6th and I sit here being able to tell you that we are not done with wheat harvest yet. Sugar beets are being harvested, potatoes are being dug, soybeans and edibles are being combined and there is still some wheat that has yet to be taken off. We have had some desperate calls from farmers in the area that normally wouldn’t have their wheat custom harvested but since they can’t get through their fields with their wheeled-combines, the one combine we had tracks put on has been a busy little bumblebee. Dad has switched out the concaves on the combine with tracks at least 3 different times because he switches crops so often. It still amazes me how that thing can just drive right through water standing in the field. However, we have discovered it isn’t a foolproof system — the track combine has still been stuck. We have had anything from a tank puller to a 4-wheel drive tractor having to yank us out of some of the holes we have found ourselves in. It is truly unbelievable. As for the rest of Osowski Ag,  Brandon is helping out until the bitter end when college will start for him in November. Mom has gotten back on her regular work wagon but occasionally will spoil us and still bring supper out to the field.

The days have been long and the nights have been… well, the same actually. This time of year is the time to buckle down and get as much work in as you can to prepare for the long winter months. What I mean is this; dad needs help during the day for wheat/bean harvest and then Peter and I have a farmer that I take night shift for driving beet truck. I have been told recently that if you stack your feet on top of one another, try to nap and your feet topple to the sides that that is enough rest and you are good for another 8-hours. I think that is a trick I may put to the test before long. It still doesn’t know how to quit raining up here seeing as we received around half an inch in the last couple days- so that’s fun. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all you readers out there for your continued support of this program and our crazy lifestyles we love. This year has certainly been an interesting one but if I’m being honest, that’s something I can truly say for each and every harvest season. I know I’m lucky to have the opportunity to be able to say that. An even bigger thank you goes to High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture for bringing this program to life and doing everything they can to support us out in the field. The gratitude we correspondents and harvest crews alike have for you is immeasurable. So again, thank you!

As for me, I have a holiday booked for a solid month and a half to head back to South Africa and then spend some time in Europe on the trip home. People always ask me how I can do such far and long trips and my response is always the same; you just gotta book it and go from there. Hopefully we will be finished with harvest by Christmas, right?

Till next harvest, have a great year and we look forward to sharing our stories with you next season!
Waiting on the headland.
Waiting on the headland in my beet truck. To the left is the pull tractor and to the right in the beet harvester.
Dad getting pulled out by the tank puller AND 4-wheel drive.
Dad getting pulled out by the tank puller AND 4-wheel drive.
Beans.
Beans.
Grandpa Hiladore running grain cart. Isn't he the cutest?!
Grandpa Hiladore running grain cart. Isn’t he the cutest?! Note the lunch box and thermos — can’t go anywhere without those!
Peter and I, ready to haul beets.
Peter and I, about to embark on a beet harvest shift.
A cute little barn by the river.
A cute little decrepit barn by the river, surrounded by perfect fall colors.
Osowski Ag bids farewell!
Osowski Ag bids farewell!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.

2016 Wrap Up
Emma Misener

Dell Rapids, SD — I cannot believe it is the middle of September already. Every year when the summer harvest wraps up and the fall season begins, I get the same feeling of disbelief. Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday we were fixing the big, green beasts and starting our first wheat field of the season. Now the harvest trail has led us to our next stop in South Dakota. Here we will inspect the machines we have in storage, fix what needs repaired (not much I presume), and wait the allotted time it takes for the fall crop to mature. My guess is that the soybeans for our farmer is about two-three weeks away. The corn will be ready after that. The crop maturity varies a lot this year it seems. Some is a maybe a week away, others at least three. Maybe it is due to the varieties planted or possibly if the rains this summer hit the field or not. Overall, it looks to be a good fall season.
That is just how farming goes. It is a gamble. I imagine it is very hard to see the time, money and effort into planting a crop be destroyed by the elements. I suppose that’s why being a farmer and having great faith go hand in hand. Just like any job really. No one likes to see their hard work destroyed or belittled. No matter what the lifestyle is, we all need God. He helps us through the ups and downs. I believe He never makes bad things happen or good things happen, He teaches us how to deal with or rejoice in those things that arise in our lives. He lets us know that He is here for the long haul and that we can depend on Him to get us through. This year has been stressful, just like any other year, but I am content because I know that He is here and He will help us through. All we can do is our best and He will do the rest. But doing our best can sometimes be the challenge. We are human, we make mistakes, but He knows that. We will continue to disappoint. In the end it only matters if we do our best.

Here are a few fun pictures!
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘ALL’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘A-board’ LOL
DSC03138
‘Wheat’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘H’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘A’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘R’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘V’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘E’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘S’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘T’
Emma: 2016 AAWH
‘!’
Thanks to our farmer Mike for pitching in and having fun with us spelling out All Aboard Wheat Harvest! It will be forever in my memories and it was laughable time!

I always try to say something profound, encouraging and motivating in my ending post of the season. I am always looking on the bright side of things. To my friends I am known as the eternal optimist. Haha! I am not sure about that, but the only thing I can think of at the moment and has never really escaped my mind this year is this:

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.”
 
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta

A final tip of the hat to all followers! I have had a great year and have enjoyed the stories you all have shared with me. Thank you for following along with Misener Family Harvesters and AAWH. I hope you have a prosperous and happy rest of the year and continue to be blessed in the future. Keep on keepin’ on. Never loose faith.

Be safe and God bless you and yours.
-Emma Misener

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com.

Field Swamps 101
Steph Osowski

Grafton, ND – I kid you not, there are fields with ruts from one end to the other.  No matter where the combine drove, it left a rut-shaped tattoo. That is what 95 percent of the fields look like in Walsh County, North Dakota. Since we got our tracks put on last week, dad’s phone has been ringing off the hook with more wheat to cut and it’s been the best kind of scramble. 40 acres here and 60 acres there and maybe a quarter somewhere in there each day, all for different farmers in the area. The thing about tracks is that when roading the combine from place to place, the header must always be removed and thrown on the trailer. Also, the tracks only allow for a whopping speed of 15 mph even in the highest gear the combine has to offer. Good thing we have lots of practice loading combines on trailers!

If you’re driving a combine, you need to be extra careful where you go in order to stay on solid ground. If you’re driving grain cart, you need to make sure to unload the combine extra often to keep it as empty as possible. There is also a good chance you’ll be taking the long way to the trucks to steer clear of the ruts and getting stuck yourself. If you’re driving truck, you may need to park on the road in order to not get caught full in the field with no way to move. The wheat is of good quality so it’s well worth the hectic harvest. The protein is between 13 and 14 in content and test weights are in the 60s.

I feel like a bit of a broken record lately with my posts but we seem to be stuck in a weather pattern that is determined to complicate harvest as much as possible. This past weekend, it began raining around 11p.m. and continued to be rainy and cloudy until Tuesday morning. And, low and behold, there is rain in the forecast for Wednesday afternoon and on to the end of the week. Looks like the crops will get to have another swimming lesson before harvest will begin again.
Introducing the tracks.
Introducing… the tracks.
Making dust amongst the water.
Making dust amongst the water.
Grain cart action.
Grain cart action.
Ruts on ruts.
A field of ruts.
A wheat field or a puddle?
A wheat field or a wheat puddle?
It's unbelievable how much these tracks can go through.
It’s unbelievable how much these tracks can go through.
Dad and Farmer Lloyd, surveying the mess of a field.
Dad and Farmer Lloyd, surveying the mess of a field.
Side view.
Side view.
Farmer Lloyd yells at me "your camera is going to break" as he smiles for the camera. :)
Farmer Lloyd yells at me “your camera is going to break” as he cracks a smiles. 🙂
Peeking through.
Peeking through.
Crusing around the corner.
Cruising around the corner.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.

Keep Calm and Harvest On
Steph Osowski

Grafton, ND – We were granted a whole week of harvest before Mother Nature reigned down on us again come the weekend. See what I did there? She reigned and she rained. It was the week of my birthday so that must be why it went so well, don’t you think (it was on the 25th of August)? We have been bouncing from one farmer to another either trying to find wheat that is ripe enough to cut or a field that is dry enough to drive around on. We have been harvesting for almost a month off and on and we have yet to completely finish up a farmer. The thing is everybody is very understanding because they know they aren’t alone — everyone in the area is struggling with the same issue.

Wanna know the hot commodity around here? Tracks. It would be a good year to own a couple sets to be able to rent out because it is becoming one of the only ways to achieve progress. Dad made some phone calls and found a set to rent. The guy we are renting from charges by the acre rather than by the month to rent the tracks, which will be much cheaper in the long run. With the rains the area received again last weekend (anywhere from one to four inches), we are glad we got them! Farmer Randy went and retrieved the tracks for us and while driving back to the farm with them through Grafton, he had many phone calls asking where he got the tracks and who they were going to because they would like to have a word with the recipient. Hopefully if it dries up in the next couple days, I can give you all an update on how they work for us!

I did mention it was going to be an intermittent harvest this season but I didn’t fully realize the truth of it until now. I can’t remember a time when we have ever been so behind with harvest. Dad mentioned the other day that it hasn’t been this wet around here since 1993 so makes sense why I don’t recall that year… I was two years old. I can add two never before experienced harvest experiences to my resume this year; being a part of one of the best wheat harvests the state of Kansas has ever seen and also, being a part of one of the wettest harvests Walsh County, ND has ever seen. All we can do at the end of the day is to keep calm and harvest on!

View from the grain cart.
View from the grain cart.
Little ball of fire.
Little ball of fire.
Wheat.
A hose came loose but, we caught it quickly! Still made quite a mess though.
A hose came loose but, we caught it quickly! Still managed to make quite a mess.
Little hydraulic spill.
Little hydraulic oil spill in the wheat field.
Dad and Peter getting some parts configured.
Dad and Peter getting some parts configured.
Dusk cutting.
Dusk cutting.
Couldn't get enough of this lighting...
Couldn’t get enough of this lighting…
Combine.
Combine.
Sunset.
Sunset love.
Like I said, couldn't get enough!
Like I said, couldn’t get enough!
CAPTURED.
CAPTURED.
Coming to the end for supper.
Brandon coming to the end for supper.
Chicken alfredo...YUM.
Homemade chicken alfredo… YUM. Birthday supper at its finest.
Tis the season for corn on the cob.
Tis’ the season for corn on the cob.
Okay, one more sunset shot.
Okay, one more sunset shot.
My birthday cake!!!
My birthday cake!!! Strawberry 🙂
Isn't it so pretty? It was absolutely delicious.
Isn’t it so pretty? It was absolutely delicious.
Mama bear.
Mama bear.
Mama bear and I.
Mama bear and I.
Peter and I.
“Peeta”, when pronounced in the South African accent.
Tracks!
Tracks! Photo credit goes to Brandon on this one. I stole it from his Instagram.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.

Montana: Big Field Country
Laura Haffner

Cut Bank, Montana: Montana is known as “big sky country.” However, Ryan also likes to refer to it as “big field country” and it is these large fields that help make up for lost time.

It’s been a little hard on the guys as they’ve been out of commission due to the weather or wet wheat for much of the time over the past several weeks. However, for better or worse, that is part of the game we’re in and the way it goes some of the time. On the days they couldn’t run, they filled their time with a trip to Glacier National Park, played pool and rested. Mark reported that some of the guys went rafting at the park and the scenery was great. He definitely recommends it and would enjoy going back when he had some more time to partake in the park’s activities.

Harvest is in full swing now. As I mentioned above, the large fields have really helped with efficiently due to not having to move equipment as often from field to field. The field the crew is currently on is over 800 acres and they are hauling to the farmer’s bins, so one truck can almost keep up. Mark says that about three-quarters of the acres we’re cutting have been hailed with around 50% loss. The yields are around 30-40 bushels per acre. The remaining non-hailed acres, are yielding 60-80 bushes per acre.

The end is in sight and if everything goes well, they should complete their portion of the 2016 wheat season early next week. It will be just in time too as its nearly time for corn harvest back here in Kansas!

HPH-2016-Glacier National Park 3 (Mark)
Charel, Albert, and Shawn pose for a picture together in Glacier National Park. (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2016-Glacier National Park 2 (Mark)
What’s not to love about views like these? (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2016-Glacier National Park (Mark)
WOW, pretty much sums this photo up! (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2016-Monanta Mark 1
Kirby evaluating his next move. (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2016-Monanta Mark 5
I wonder if Opa (Harold) was sharing the secrets of life with Charel. (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2016-Monanta Mark 2
Albert and Shawn waiting their turn. (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2016-Monanta Mark 3
Harold’s turn. (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2016-Monanta Mark 7
An example of the large field size. (Photo Credit: Mark)

HPH-2016-Monanta Mark 6
What a view! Wheat against a backdrop of mountains. (Photo Credit: Mark)


All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

Ruts on Ruts
Steph Osowski

Grafton, ND – They say you learn something new every day. Well, yesterday I learned that there is truly no shame in turning your rear-wheel assist on and leaving it on throughout the entire field. It’s better to be safe than sorry, right? That is the name of the game with these wet fields. We are all but tip-toeing through these fields and sometimes, even our tip-toes sink. The protein has remained between 14 and 15 for content so the farmers are being more lenient than usual with the moisture (rather than only cutting at 13 percent or lower, somewhere in the 14s works to ensure the wheat comes off the field). The kick they receive for having high protein more than makes up for it.

Yesterday, we field hopped. We would make a pass, take the sample to town and see if a second pass was possible. The first field has a 16.2 percent moisture reading so that was a no-go. The second field had a 17 percent moisture reading so our odds were decreasing rapidly. The third field we tried had a great moisture reading, 13 percent! The only problem was that the ground was as soft as a sponge and couldn’t hold the combine up for longer that 500 feet. We got so stuck that it took a tug with Farmer Brian’s four-wheel drive tractor plus another tug from our very own four-wheel drive Versatile that we had to fetch from our farm.

The final attempt at combine progress was me taking the unstuck combine 10-miles west to another farmer’s field, Farmer Lloyd. Half a pass later and I was on the verge of getting stuck. In the words of Dad, “We’ve banged our heads against the wall enough today, just park it.”

Bread Count – We no longer haul the grain for the farmers because they all have their own trucks, so I must discontinue the bread count. But we had a good run!

Quote of the Day“Suck it up buttercup, we are finishing this field.” (an attempt at giving the combine a pep talk)
Towing the rope.
Towing the rope.
To the frame.
Sunk to the frame.
Got a little lean.
Got a little lean to it.
And we're stuck again.
These photos are starting to look familiar, I can imagine.
4-wheel drive to the rescue.
4-wheel drive to the rescue!
Blowin' smoke.
Blowin’ smoke.
Dad and Farmer Brian.
Dad and Farmer Brian, discussing the situation at hand.
More ruts.
And some more ruts.
Checking out the wheat.
Checking out the wheat.
Green stubble.
Green stubble.
Almost my favorite part of the day!
Almost my favorite part of the day! Can you guess what it is?
Unloading on the go.
Unloading on the go.
Ahh yes, sunset love.
Ahh yes, sunset love.
There goes another day.
There goes another day.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Steph at stephanie@allaboardharvest.com.