High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest

Janel Schemper

Janel Schemper joined All Aboard Wheat Harvest this year and will be a full-time correspondent. Schemper Harvesting has been family owned and operated for the past 50 years.

Janel: Blue header time – yea!
Janel Schemper

Dodge City, Kansas – I love this time of year. I get to use my blue Shelbourne Reynolds header for wheat harvest at two of our stops here in Kansas.  A stripper header is annoyingly expensive but is fun to run. I love blue header time.   When I began harvesting with a Shelbourne Reynolds header 5-plus years ago, I was not happy about it. I just kept thinking about the added machinery expense and operation cost. The custom harvesting business has big risks and having another header to harvest wheat seemed so silly to me. Also, the government doesn’t have a program to insure our costs. There is no government program for the custom harvesting business. Also, learning to operate “another” piece of machinery just seemed ridiculous. However, my attitude changed very quickly, and it’s a super header to operate. My combine never runs out of horsepower having a blue header in front of it. There are many advantages with using a blue header, but I’ll discuss more at another time. It’s a whole different concept.

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5 Responses to Janel: Blue header time – yea!
Janel Schemper

  1. Janel, I am Sharon Drake, from Winfield, Ks. 5 miles north of the Oklahoma border. I think harvest is over or almost. Not sure numbers,but from what we hear was a good crop.
    In my family when I was growing up, June was not only wheat, but hay of Alfalfa, wheat straw bales and oat bales. My parents anniversary, Dad’s birthday was always celebrated in the field. Loved that time of summer.
    Thank you for sharing your family and work along the way. You are very good at poetry. I hope you have that poem saved for future generations. Be careful. Sharon Drake

  2. wow beautiful poem!looking forward on the article on the stripper header when your up to it. please & thanks

  3. Thanks so much to take time to post those great pics , good here the headers are in some high yielding/good bushel weight wheat.Love the pic of Miss Moo & your boots !!

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Janel: I LOVE the Kansas wheat harvest
Janel Schemper

Pratt, Kansas – I love the Kansas wheat harvest and for so many reasons! Wheat harvest in Kansas feels like sweet summertime to me. I have so many harvesting memories in the Wheat State. Kansas is one of my favorite places to be and to harvest wheat. Honestly, the White House should be in western Kansas. Everyone here just loves President Donald Trump, or at least that’s all I hear. It’s so peaceful and beautiful out here. All of the people I know from Kansas are just genuinely friendly and really good people, and some are my favorites in the world. Yes, western Kansas is the place to be especially at wheat harvest time. Everywhere you look, it’s all golden. 

We’ve been harvesting full blast the past few days here in the Pratt, Kansas area, and it feels good. The wheat has been yielding well. The ground conditions have been dry and the humidity during the day has been under 50 percent, which means the wheat is drying and the cutting conditions are on point. We have been on the edge of a couple of storms lately, but we haven’t had much rain. So luckily, we just keep cutting wheat. Continue Reading

3 Responses to Janel: I LOVE the Kansas wheat harvest
Janel Schemper

  1. I couldn’t agree more about the people in Kansas. I grew to love them and their state during my wheat harvest days. Hard working, salt of the earth people who make you feel like family right off the bat. The people in “fly over country” can still be heard when need be! Know what you mean about the little fawns too. I have run over two different ones in years past drilling no till soybeans in heavy cover. Their natural instinct to stay still doesn’t work to well with machinery. Just makes you sick. Stay safe and give Moo a hug.

  2. Killing fawns with equipment extends into the irrigated mountain meadows some years.
    At the Dickens Family’s Cross-L east of Walden, CO just at the foot of the Medicine Bows, we developed a sweep attached to the front of the horse-drawn mower tongue, which would usually stir up hidden fawns.
    Not always, just usually.
    Those mountain ranchers would put up two open sided stacks of hay for deer and elk well away from the willow stands where the cattle and horses sheltered separately.
    “Cow stacks” had high pole sides to keep the game out, then they used horse drawn hay sleds to feed along the willows.
    Winter feeding at 20-40 below was a favorite occupation. The draft horses often disagreed, but once started would move along to get done and back to the warm barn.

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Janel: For one second I thought Moo went hog wild
Janel Schemper

Pratt, Kansas – I just spent two days getting equipment moved from the Weatherford, Oklahoma area up to the Pratt, Kansas area; and on the way I saw combines cutting everywhere along the highways we traveled. Most were custom harvesters but some were farmers, and a few looked to be like farmers helping farmers. For the most part, the ground conditions looked dry, but on the Oklahoma/Kansas border I saw that there were a few fields that got tracked up really pretty badly. Wheat was left uncut in the fields, because the ground would not hold the combine up. Getting stuck is no fun, so they left it for another day when the ground will be drier. We did get caught back up to the harvest at Pratt, where the wheat is just borderline ready. The highway is full of combines too. The harvesters keep coming through Pratt loaded up and heading north. I’m sure wheat harvest here will be in full swing in just a day or two, depending on what the weather does.   Continue Reading

One Response to Janel: For one second I thought Moo went hog wild
Janel Schemper

  1. Seeing those wild hogs like that makes me think they can be real destructive. I bet they can tear up a field real bad. How far north do you see those darn hogs ? Moo seems like a really good buddy. Quite the cute kids.

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Janel: Miss Moo And I Have New Wheels
Janel Schemper

Holdrege, Nebraska – Holy cow!  It’s springtime already, and there are no more days off.  Harvest is quickly approaching, and there is so much to do and so little time.  It’s always a stressful time of year trying to get everything ready for harvest.  I certainly have feelings of not only stress but also fear and anxiety during this time of year due to having to hire the crew too.  I have been going on harvest my entire life.  However, it’s a big job getting ready for harvest – no doubt about it.  I am blessed though because of who I get to go to harvest with!  No joke. Continue Reading

10 Responses to Janel: Miss Moo And I Have New Wheels
Janel Schemper

  1. We think the DEF is a good interim fix to reduce emissions but can’t wait for a simpler, cheaper, more efficient fix for cleaner burning engines. Hated the thought of it but since we have been using it it is really not too bad. Good luck for a great harvest and enjoy that new ride!

  2. Hi Janel, Our family bought one of your 2010 9770’s from Landmark Imp. here in Smith Center,Kansas. I’m guessing Moo is the one that put teeth marks in a couple of the plastic parts on the seat(ha ha). Also we see your dads name written on the ladder every time we climb up to the cab. It has been a great combine. Best of luck this summer.

  3. Remember going through Holdrege every year on harvest ’68 to ’83 and never once had to wait on a train there, must have been dumb luck; Good luck this year love your views on Trump, there has to be some way around that DEF crap.

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Janel: Wheat Harvest Is My Summer Routine
Janel Schemper

Holdrege, Nebraska – Hello!  I am Janel Schemper and this is my first AAWH blog.  I am a third generation custom harvester.  I’ve been going on harvest my entire life.  The 1950s was the start of my family business known as “Schemper Harvesting.”  My grandpa, Jerry Schemper, was brave enough to leave his farm and went out on the road and made himself a living in the custom harvesting business.  My Dad, LaVern Schemper, is the oldest of six kids and is a second generation custom harvester.  I have a lifelong bond with my parents (LaVern and Carlene) and three older siblings (Julie, JC and Jared) through our family business.  The combine cab was where I spent my time with my Dad or siblings riding along with them and learned all about operating a combine.  Continue Reading

8 Responses to Janel: Wheat Harvest Is My Summer Routine
Janel Schemper

  1. Hi Janel
    Nice column. I have been following this website for 3+ years. It’s interesting to hear how others live.I will be watching this year as well. Bye

  2. I know exactly what you mean because I grew up in a family wheat harvest business and traveled from Oklahoma to Montana cutting those amber waves of grain. My dad started his business the year I was born (1958) but we did not go as a family until 1967. Before I was able to be a hand in the field I helped my mom with cooking and laundry detail, interspersed with a few hours of swimming at the local pool or riding bikes with the other harvest kids. If mom did have to take a load to the elevator she always wanted me along to untarp her truck, but I didn’t mind because it usually meant a free bottle of my favorite soda in a hot afternoon. As soon as I was able, I was unloading on the go in the field but couldn’t drive to town because I wasn’t old enough to have a license. Dad slowly trained me on the combine, running for someone while they had a short break for a meal (heaven forbid if the combine was stopped for any reason other than a breakdown or to be refueled and serviced). I couldn’t even say what year I became a full-time truck or combine operator because it happened so gradually. All I know is I loved spending my summers with my family, sleeping in a 27′ trailer house either on a farmers yard or in a small town trailer court. The places we worked are like hometowns to me and the people we worked for were extended family. After receiving a teaching degree, I still was able to make the harvest run during the summer months. Then I met an Oklahoma wheat farmer and my harvester days came to an end. Now I’ve seen harvest from the other side for over 30 years. And our harvesters are like extended family to me. I look forward to reading AAWH this summer and reliving my days as a “wheatie.”

  3. Easy to see your passion, Janel!
    Wonderful to get a glimpse into your life….well said.
    Have a safe & prosperous 2017 season.

  4. Wonderful blog Janel!
    Loved our twenty two years on harvest, raising four kids while working in all conditions. Your story brought back so many memories, it is a lifestyle that you have to experience to understand. Still miss it!

  5. Wow what a great attitude about work ethic and agriculture ,something a farm parent is very proud of in their children when they stay on the farm !Glad to see your love of Ag show through .

  6. Loved your article,. Have a blessed and safe harvest. From this farmers daughter to another. Keep up the good work. Found you on Sue Steinke’s facebook.

  7. Parabéns pela dedicação que tem pelo seu maravilhoso trabalho,trabalho este que nos traz o pão de cada dia dando sustentabilidade a nossas vidas.

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