High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest


Category Archives: New Holland

Tracy: The impending disaster
Z Crew

Claude, Texas – Thoughts of how I was going to write this blog post have been swirling in my head for several days.

Harvest 2017 is still very young. Most of the custom harvesters were on the road and in the fields by the end of May – just barely a month ago. However, before we even left home, we began to see a glimpse of what we might be up against. The three major variables that I am thinking about are low wheat acres (smallest on record since 1919), low commodity prices and the weather.
Z Crew: Because it's what harvesters do!
To me, there’s nothing prettier than a cut wheat field.
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Tracy: Full speed ahead!
Z Crew

Claude, Texas – Good grief! We go from not sure what to do next to full speed ahead! We just completed our sixth consecutive day of being in the field (06/15). 

Last night, I had a few things to catch up on – one being bills that needed to be paid. I had to look at my phone to see what the date was. My brain did this weird little thing when I saw it was the 14th. I felt like I had completely lost a day (or two). It was the strangest feeling. You see, when we’re out here doing what we do, it’s just day after day after day. No reason to really know what the date is until you have to step back in the “normal” world once in a while… like to pay bills.  Continue Reading

Steph: It happens
Steph Osowski

Apache, Oklahoma – Have I mentioned how much I love small town America? Because I really do. For today’s small town love demonstration, I will tell you that the bank had an area setup at the elevator and was cooking burgers for all the harvest crews. As I was un-tarping, one of the ladies asked me how many were in my crew. Upon hearing my response of, “There’s just 3 of us,” she replied, “Okay, we will make you 10 burgers then.” I mean, who I am to turn down free food?

I thought about not posting about this next incident but, it might be exactly what someone out there needs to read to feel better about their own mishap. I’m just gonna go for it. So the other day, I hauled to a new elevator. When you drive truck for a harvest crew, this can be a daily occurrence. Elevators come in all shapes and sizes as well as the scales and pits that go with them. Short, tall, skinny, fat, fast, slow – they make them all sorts of ways. Today’s featured scale is skinny. When the scale workers didn’t recognize my truck with my first load, they automatically came out to spot me. Continue Reading

Tracy: Joining the party
Z Crew

Claude, Texas – After all the pre-harvest preparations, details taken care of and tears shed, we can finally say we joined the #harvest17 party today (6/10). 

We woke up to a heavy fog again this morning and very cool temps. But, the weatherman had been warning us of the impending heat and wind. It had been decided the night before we would get up early and move our equipment to a 400-acre field west of our current headquarters. By the time we made the move and had everything situated, we hoped the field would be ready to sample.  Continue Reading

Tracy: The Harvester’s Motto
Z Crew

Claude, Texas – We’ve made two test cuts within the past couple of days (6/8 and 6/9). The first result was 20 percent and the second (which was just Thursday) was 17.2 percent. It was 60 degrees this morning. Needless to say, I grabbed the sweatshirt as I headed down the steps to make our morning coffee. Great conditions for humans living in a trailer house but not good wheat cutting weather! 

Jim’s been tinkering on trucks and the Yellow Beast – mostly just to stay busy (I think), but I know there were some things he put off at home hoping he’d have some time before we got started down here. After taking the first test cut, he realized he had a minor issue with the air conditioning in the combine, so it meant a trip to the New Holland Harvest Support trailer. And… a good excuse to hit the Amarillo Walmart.  Continue Reading

Steph: Visiting hours
Steph Osowski

Apache, Oklahoma – One of my (many) favorite aspects of this blog is the ability to promote the agriculture industry that has made me who I am today. I’m definitely that person who will hear a nearby conversation going on about GMOs or hormones in beef and interrupt with an, “Excuse me but, did you know…” Those of us who love this industry will agree that it is our duty to spread the word and spread knowledge for everyone to hear. That’s the thing about a passion; it doesn’t feel like work.

The Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children brought three young men out to our field the other day to get a first-hand harvest experience. They loved it! These boys all came from different backgrounds but all found something they enjoyed about the harvester’s life. They were telling me how cool they thought my job was, how cool my LIFE was, and one even admitted he now wanted to be a harvester when he grew up. That right there deserves a moment of silence, because instilling that feeling in any youth is something to commemorate. Continue Reading

Tracy: Destination… harvest 2017
Z Crew

Claude, Texas – We made it!

It’s always a good feeling after you’ve worked so hard to get to the point of driving out of the yard and pointing the trucks south. The transition of “home, home” and harvest has been solidified, and there’s no going back. The feeling of arriving at your destination, however, is even better! This is especially true if you made it there with little to no issues. We had no issues. Oh…wait…I’m wrong. There was one wheel seal on the Pete that started leaking. Jim noticed it on Monday morning just as we were getting ready to leave Hays, Kansas. Continue Reading

Steph: Café Exposé
Steph Osowski

Apache, Oklahoma – There’s something about finishing up harvest at a stop and just as the back wheels of the combine touch the combine trailer, a light drizzle of rain starts across the area. It’s almost like Mother Nature saying, “Hey, here’s to a job well done.” It’s the perfect ending and an even more perfect sendoff, because traveling in the rain is easy on the tires. 

We have now moved to our next stop on the harvest trail — Apache, Oklahoma. John has had a couple guys from this area work for him before, so it’s nice to have some locals to help us out. For example, the first night we got to town, it was later in the day. The campground was seemingly empty and dark with no signs of phone numbers to change that status. Well, it may have appeared that way to a passerby; but when you know a local, he can phone the owner because he’s obviously a friend of his. Everyone knows everyone in small towns, and it’s a beautiful thing. Continue Reading

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

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.
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