High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest


Category Archives: Videos

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

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

Laura: Texas Wheat Harvest Video
Laura Haffner

North Texas – To all of you wishing you were out cutting in a field or those who just need something to get you through until harvest reaches your area, I made you a little something.  Enjoy!



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

Tracy: Be patient heart…it will only hurt a little while
Z Crew

Manley, Nebraska – The preparations have been ongoing for quite some time. The talk about harvest and when we’ll be leaving has been happening for more than a month. I’ve often thought about creating a sign and start wearing it every day about the first of April. What would this sign say? It would say…”I don’t know when we’re leaving”. Maybe I should just create a t-shirt! So, THINKING about harvest and DOING harvest are two different things…two different worlds. 
Continue Reading

Patiently Waiting and Q&A
Laura Haffner

Garrison, North Dakota—The kids and I survived the long trek to North Dakota. They really did as well as I could have hoped, but that doesn’t mean this mama wasn’t just a little stressed.  But, all’s well that ends well! For now, I’m just going to pretend the return trip doesn’t exist!

I have been in North Dakota before, but this is my first time for an extended stay. What beautiful country I find myself in. Gently rolling farm land can be seen in all directions. We are staying just a few short miles from the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea, the third largest man-made reservoir in the United States. The weather has been warm, but pleasant with just a hint of coolness in the breeze.

After cutting nonstop for weeks, the harvest has finally caught up to itself. The wheat isn’t quite ready here (nor in Montana where Mark is), so we’ve been getting to have some much needed family time. It seems we have a few days together back-to-back and then we may go for weeks with very minimal time together. I’m trying to soak it in while we have it. We’ve tried to do a few out of the ordinary fun things like take the kids to the lake to play on the beach and water. Too bad prime lake time coincides directly with prime harvesting time otherwise we might make it a habit. Ryan’s tan lines (not pictured) made it obvious we aren’t lake people! We’ve also done more ordinary things like going to the park and getting to go for runs/walks as a family.

That’s the latest harvest news, such as it is. Hopefully I can write later in the week that we’re going. This stop has on-farm grain storage so they will let us cut at 16 percent moisture, which will help us get started a little sooner.

In the mean time, while we wait for harvest, I thought I may address several questions that have popped up over the season with a common theme. I attempted to do something new a few weeks ago and make a video to answer all the questions, but I think I need a little practice in broadcast journalism before we go live with that. Nothing says “humbling” more than listening to your own voice on video. I could probably make a bloopers movie from all our rejected footage. I would get almost to the end of my information and then I’d get stuck on the word rotor. For some reason, I kept saying router. Ryan would say, “Honey, practice. It’s a rotor, roooooowwwwwwww-ter…” To which I would be, “I know what a rotor is and how to say it, I just can’t spit it out!” Then there were toddler interjections and baby babble and the ill timed radio chatter or Ryan forgetting we were live and comment on something. It was hilarious! As a result, here are written answers.

Why do we run stripper headers? Many of our farmers desire to run stripper headers to aid them in their no-till conversation practices. Since the headers just take the grain from the head, the remaining plant is left standing in the field. This helps holds snow in place in winter in snowy areas and shades the ground helping with weed suppression.

What caused the wheat to go down (become lodged)? Some examples of conditions that may cause it to go down are excess moisture weakening the straw, wind, grain too heavy for the straw to support, or a combination of these conditions.  

What is the main way a stripper header is different than the draper headers? The headers are very different. The most basic explanation is the draper headers cut the wheat stem at a desired height, then, the majority of the plant is fed into the combine. Stripper headers “comb” the plants, if you will. This combing motion pops the seeds out of the head and the grain is then fed into the combine leaving plant residue in the field.

How are the stripper headers in down (lodged) wheat? The headers work fine in lodged wheat. The combing motion of the fingers can pick it up. It allows less material to run through the combine, making it easier to collect the grain. When running a draper header in lodged wheat, a lot of plant material runs through the combine. Sometimes it’s hard for the machine to separate the grain and plant matter in those conditions.

What adjustments do you need to make to harvest the lodged wheat? Some adjustments may include lowering the header, lowering the hood, and changing rotor speed. 

Underside of Stripper Header
The fingers spin opposite the direction of travel. This pops the grain out and conveys it up and back into the combine.

Thanks for those who have asked questions. I hope I answered all of them and that this helps clarify things.  
 

Since we have received interest in our stripper headers and questions about cutting in lodged wheat, I created a video of the view from the cab. Toward the end of the video when the camera is looking out the right windows, you will see the combing motion of the header through the wheat. Ryan was moving his thumb over the buttons on the hydrostat to show some of the adjustments he can make.

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

The Official Beginning!
Emma Misener

Elk City, Oklahoma — We’re cuttin’ wheat! Harvest 2016 has begun for MFH (Misener Family Harvesters)! As I mentioned in a previous post, we have been having some late nights and early mornings, and we started harvesting a little while back. Here’s a video of the very first outing in the field.


Be safe and God bless!

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

Short and sweet visit
Emma Misener

Vernon, Texas — We are ready for harvest! The machines are in tip-top shape, all preventative maintenance is done and we’re rested up and ready to roll. The wheat isn’t quite ready at our first job so we decided to go visit our friend Kent Braathen, owner/operator of Braathen Harvesting. He starts near Vernon, Texas which is a good hour and a half drive from us. His dad was also a harvester so Kent grew up on the dusty trail just like us. It was a great time seeing Kent and his crew! Thanks for the good times and laughs 🙂

Here’s a quick video.
 

Be safe and God bless!

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

Working on a Customer’s Combine
Emma Misener

Elk City, Ok — Misener Family Harvesters has not only been working on our own combines to get ready for the 2016 harvest, but also surrounding customer’s equipment. This particular one needed some pretty heavy-duty repairs. The walkers near the rear of the machine had worn some holes in the sheet metal and needed to be taken out to be welded and repaired. This is a time-consuming process and takes hard work. We got the job done and it will soon be on the way to the field. Here’s a few pictures of the whole process from beginning to end.

Emma:customer repair
(L to R) Dan, Liz, Clara, and Elizabeth running wrenches. First, we have to take the chopper off of the combine to access the walkers. Then, all of the walkers need to come out of the back of the combine. This requires more than one person. They weight a little over 200 pounds a piece, and are about 15 feet long.

 

Emma:customer repair
There are five walkers all together. Once we got them all out of the combine, we welded them where they needed it, which was a lengthy process.

 

Emma:elk city repairs
Here’s an example of a patch we put on.
Emma:customer repair
Here, Elizabeth is putting the parts back together that hold the walkers in place. We later replaced these parts with new ones that are grease-less, making everyday maintenance an easier and faster task.

 

Emma:customer repair
Leslie and his Momma, Liz, were the lucky ones to get the job of going into the center of the combine. The walkers are attached at the back and the front of the combine. There’s only one way to reach the front connecting pieces- you gotta get in there! A man can get in where Leslie is, but it is extremely tight, and he has to lay on rigid pieces making it very uncomfortable. He is small enough that he could sit in-between them making his job a bit easier. What a good little volunteer! It was hard, but he did a great job.

 

Emma:customer repair
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In this video, Clara is the lucky one to time the walkers. This is the final step. They need to be timed so that they don’t work against each other and end up outside of the combine! Who knew the combine had an elliptical?! Finally the job is complete and the walkers are like new again.

Be safe and God bless!

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

A little combining in fast motion
Emma Misener

 I hope you enjoy this fast-motion video! Unloading on-the-go has never happened so fast! There are some deer in the field too, but a little hard to tell. My dog Jesse is forever in a fixed trance looking for whatever moves 🙂 This was taken in Oklahoma.

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

Combine Cam connects us to the world
Combine Cam connects us to the world avatar

By Tracy Zeorian
Technology is an amazing tool for any business. But it’s especially good if you’ve got a story to tell and you want the world to know about it. Your story can be told to the entire world if given the proper tool. Technology is sometimes used as a negative resource, but I would like to believe that I’m a “glass-half-full” person and see it as being good.

Agriculture has a story to tell. One the consumer needs to hear about. It’s the story about where their food comes from. As we all know, too many people are basing their decisions on opinions, books and well thought out marketing campaigns.

We, the custom harvester, have a story to tell and High Plains Journal is giving us that opportunity in a rather large way. The story of our lifestyle and how our involvement in the process of getting grain from the field to market was first exposed in 2009. This was the year the Journal created the All Aboard Wheat Harvest program.

I’m going to get a little personal with you for a minute before I continue with my story. Sometimes in life, you are given opportunities to do something that may seem a bit risky or unsure. Those are the times I think you need to step out of the boat. It’s scary being at the edge of the boat, lifting your leg and placing your foot on the water. It takes a lot of faith to make that first step. That’s when you hold your breath and do it anyway having the faith that God led you to the edge of the boat and He’ll keep you from drowning.

This is exactly what our family has done since Jenna was given the opportunity to be one of the first All Aboard Wheat Harvest correspondents. It was scary as heck knowing that we were about to expose our family to the entire world. What it has done, however, is given us the opportunity to tell the story of the custom harvester and our importance in grain agriculture. Since that first door opened in 2009, we have been led to more scary doors and have chosen to continue to walk through them. Have we ever second guessed and wondered if it was the right thing to do? Absolutely!

We have been given yet another opportunity that some may say we are absolutely crazy to have agreed to. This spring, Holly Martin of High Plains Journal asked our family if we would agree to place a camera inside the cab of our combine. The idea was to live stream what was happening in the field on a day to day basis. This has never been done before (that we know of) and would give the consumer another way to see the process of getting their food to their table. This would also give Zeorian Harvesting the chance to better tell the story.

I was a teeny tiny bit afraid to mention the email to Jim. I was afraid he was going to say, “Enough!” I wasn’t expecting him to agree and to actually understand how this would be a useful tool in continuing what had begun in 2009. After I let Holly know we were good with the idea, she lined up Kiowa County Media Center to get the camera and necessary equipment placed in the combine before we left home for the summer.

Next step was to try the system out. I think all of us who have been involved since the initial idea were holding our breath when I turned that camera on for the first time. The whole while I was trying to figure it all out, I was either texting or emailing Holly and Grant. When the link to watch it on the website was given to us, the next email I get from Holly reads, “IT IS SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! SERIOUSLY! I’M TYPING IN ALL CAPS. Wave to HPJ friends!!” I think she was a wee bit excited.

Personally, I don’t understand the excitement—it’s just what we do. It’s what we see every day that we’re in the wheat field. What I have to remember is that not EVERYONE gets that chance to see a wheat field like I do and to watch the combine chomp its way through the acres. What I have to remember is not EVERYONE has had the opportunity to watch the combine’s grain bin fill. What I have to remember is not EVERYONE has experienced the hot, windy days of summer wheat harvest.

Combine Cam will now give EVERYONE that opportunity—as long as we have good cell service. It may be “iffy” with the places that we go (especially Colorado). There won’t be any streaming if we’re not in the field due to rain or if we’re moving. But, any other time, you will actually ride along with me or Jim as we’re in the field.

The official launch was made late Wednesday afternoon (6/24). On Thursday, I was receiving tweets on my Twitter account from people letting me know they were watching me in the field. How cool is that? My favorite tweet of the day was from a follower in Holland: “Lovely idea to follow you combining live. Greetings from Holland, where harvest is 2 months away.” Perfect illustration of how small our big ‘ole world is becoming!

We ALL have a story to tell. Step out of that boat and start telling yours! Consumers need to know the truth about their food. Something other than the scary things they read about in social media and they see on YouTube. Thank you, Holly—and High Plains Journal—for giving us the opportunity to tell ours!

If you’ve got a moment or two and want to see what the Z Crew is up to today, visit us and the other correspondents at the All Aboard Wheat Harvest blog. If you’re a “tweeter,” follow me (@newheatie) and ask for a wave. If I’m in the cab and I can, I most certainly will wave back.

Click here to watch the live streaming Combine Cam.


If you were watching the Combine Cam on Thursday, you would have seen me take this picture.