High Plains Journal All Aboard Wheat Harvest

Tag Archives: Syngenta

Steph: Mountainous
Steph Osowski

Alliance, Nebraska – Okay, tell me honestly; if I were to have a fleet of pink cabovers with white hopper bottoms that coincidentally have pink polka dots, how do you think that would go over? It was a thought-out-loud I had the other day and every member of the crew has a different opinion. I know a certain little harvest girl (Miss Carley Russell) who would be the first in line to drive one.

I’m writing this from a hotel in Alliance, Neb. With my family, we cut in Hemingford for many, many years so this area is all too familiar to me. This morning/afternoon in Pine Bluffs, we took duels off the combine, loaded up the combine, loaded up the grain cart, and fixed a valve on the grain cart trailer. It was HOT. Everything we touched was all but smoking from the heat and the cloud cover that would sporadically bring us shade brought out an audible sigh of relief from all of us. Continue Reading

Steph: Harvest hood
Steph Osowski

Gurley, Nebraska – Harvest is all about the people. It’s about the people you harvest for, the people who provide you with your fuel, the bar/grill in the small town that cooks you supper every night, and the people on the other harvest crews that you get to mingle with at the end of the night. The people are what make the harvest what is it… addictive and unforgettable.

Here in Gurley, the harvest spirit is tangible. The campground is loaded with harvest crew trailers, combine trailers, service trucks and semis. The best part is that we all know each other, so we are just one, big harvest family. Being a harvester is a very misunderstood profession. People just can’t understand why we would want to load up our super expensive equipment on trailers, pack up a camper and haul it all across the country to cut wheat only to load it all back up in a week to do it again in a different town. It sounds crazy, and we all know it does. Continue Reading

Good run of bad luck
Steph Osowski

 Helena, Oklahoma—I would like to first wish a Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there! My dad, Grandpa Hiladore and Grandpa Bob are the strongest men I know and life would sure be boring without all their wise cracks and wisdom. Dad got to spend yet another Father’s Day with his kids out in the Oklahoma sunshine, surrounded by farm equipment. What more does a guy need, really?

It seems that every crew you talk to is telling the same tale; anything that can go wrong will go wrong. There have been things breaking and giving out on machines that normally last a little longer test of time. Dad has been doing this harvesting bit 34 years and things like this happening still surprise him about the business and to me, that’s really saying something. Our combine has been throwing “derate” fits recently. This means that it will be running smoothly at regular speed and then codes will start popping up on the screen, bringing the combine down to an irreversible snail pace. Any solution we have found has been a temporary one so far.

Today, our big yellow baby got picked up and brought to combine clinic (AKA: the shop at the dealership where we purchased her). They brought us a donor combine to use while we wait for our own big yellow baby to get back in shape. They offered us a combine just a couple years older than ours but once dad heard the amount of hours it had, he declined. You see, a combine with around 1100 working hours on it enters into what Dad calls the “witching hour.” At this point in the life of the combine, general maintenance of bearings, belts and chains turns into necessary replacements. Case in point, we accepted a CR9065 as a donor. To add to the plot twist, this CR9065 is the very combine we traded in to get our 8080.

However, this was not to say things would still not find a way to turn on us. After driving the donor for a while, Dad decided the feeder house chain sounded too loose, so we started the day by removing a couple links in the chain to tighten it up. Not 40 minutes after we got donor back up and running, I found myself on top of the sieves, helping unplug the machine on account of a broken coupler on the PSD belt (PSD stands for positive straw discharge). Good thing we have half a hockey stick in the service truck to help us out in times such as these.

So, needless to say, things are rolling but they seem to be rolling awfully slowly. We were able to get a solid half-day with our header in the wheat today after all the commotion. Yields have been around 40 bushels per acre but the load I took in today showed a 61-pound test weight! On the bright side, mom made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch today to try and bring out the kid in all of us.

 Quote of the Day—“Just go have a banana split, it’ll make your day better.”

Here comes donor combine!

Here comes donor combine!

Thank you, AgriCenter.

Thanks for bringing it down, Agri-Center.

Checking it out.

Checking some stuff out on the donor.

The two yellow babies.

See you later, 8080.

See ya later, 8080. Come back ready to work!

Visiting Brandon at the elevator.

Visiting Brandon at the elevator while on a small grocery run in Helena.

Elevator St.

Brandon at the elevator.

Work boot line-up.

A line-up of work boots ready for a tailgate supper.

Pretty wheat.

Pretty wheat.

Full hopper lights in the distance.

Brandon caught some shots of me by sunset that I dig.

Brandon was snapping photos the other night during sunset and I’m a fan of this one.

On the horizon.

The best windmill photo I have taken to date.

By far one of the best windmill photos I have taken to date.

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

Freedom of choice
Steph Osowski

Some would say a routine is hard to get into. When it comes to the harvest routine, there is nothing more familiar to Osowski Ag Service. Actually, come to think of it, we have all made comments about how it feels we never really left Hobart! Time sure does have a way of getting away on a human.

Dad asked Farmer Mike, “So which field do you want us to go to next?” We are spoiled at this stop because the fields are all across the road from one another, a harvester’s dream. Farmer Mike responded, “Don’t really matter, they all gotta be cut anyway!” Nothing like a little freedom of choice, even if it just means crossing the road to the east or the west.

We may have had freedom of choice in picking fields, but one thing is for certain—you do not get to choose when the combine wants to break down. The last couple of harvest days have been the kind where little things have been giving us trouble on the combine: a sickle blade here, an O-ring there. Just piddly stuff most of the time, but then there’s all that electronic business that sometimes even Brandon can’t figure out (he’s our computer guru). And on both combines! Our farmer drives his own combine along with ours, making it a big green and yellow party. Yes, John Deere and New Holland can harvest peacefully in the same field, believe it or not. 🙂 The wheat has been yielding between 40 and 50 bushels per acre with test weights consistently at 60 to 61 pounds. No complaints from us!

Last night when the dust had settled (pun completed intended), Dad and I were reliving the day’s ups and downs and there is one thing we both agreed on. Yes, days when things don’t go your way can be stressful and tiring. However, those are the days that make this business so addictive. You know the clock is ticking and you are under the gun to make sure everything runs smoothly again without the consequence of too much downtime. Every day is unpredictable and there’s nothing you can do but roll with the punches! And we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Stuff Harvesters Like—Sparkly clean windows you can see yourself in.


See dad run.

See Dad run (the combine).

Blowin' dust.

Comin' in hot.

40 footer.

Notice anything larger here? We upgraded to a 40-foot header!




Wheat love.

Oklahoma sky.

What a beautiful Oklahoma sky.

The great chase.

The great chase.

When you're in the line of fire and get covered in chaff.

When you’re in the line of fire and get covered in chaff.

All lined up.

All lined up, Purple and Farmer Mike’s semi.

Night thrashin.


Beating the sunset.

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

The time has come
Steph Osowski

As we sit in anticipation to leave for the 2015 harvest run, here are the Top 7 things we have noticed happen to us when it’s time to hit the road. Why top seven? Because I am hoping lucky number seven will somehow speed up the process. Just roll with me here.

7. Our hearts are in the wheat field and our bodies are stuck where the wheat fields are months away from harvest time.

6. Any shop/mechanical work gets heavily procrastinated. Combine on the brain.

5. We are missing all the folks we see on the harvest trail.

 4. We’ve told all our stories from last summer so we need to go make new memories that, in turn, turn into new stories.

3. Every local establishment we walk into, people ask why we haven’t left yet. What, do you not want us here?! (Just kidding, but it’s funny.)

 2. Similar to being all dressed up with no place to go, we have the camper all packed and ready to go but it remains in the front yard for all to see.

1. We touch base with our first two farmers every day to check on wheat progression, the weather, how the dog is doing, what the neighbor planted this year, what the special is at the café in town that day, etcetera.

We are hoping to leave by the middle of the week so cross your fingers and toes that it happens!

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


Steph: Stop and Go
Steph Osowski

StephNEW_thumbnailHalf a circle complete! Irrigation is a funny thing. One of the halves was ready for us to harvest, while the other is still between ripe and ready. However, I don’t think I have ever seen wheat at 12.2 percent moisture with such green straw. We were able to finish the half we were on and decided to wait on the other one to be certain it will be ready. The yields have been awesome, coming in around 90 bushels per acre.

We are hauling to a brand spankin’ new elevator in town, Prairie Sky Seed. The facilities are still in construction but are fully equipped to take wheat this harvest. Because the grain contracted to that elevator is for seed purposes, the moisture content cannot be any higher than 14 percent. The staff and facilities are top notch so we feel privileged to get to haul there!

You might be a harvester if…you never commit to any plans during June or July because the wheat waits for no one.

Wheat and corn, hanging out together.

Wheat and corn, hanging out together.

Such green straw yet the wheat is dry...bizarre.

Soooo green, don’t know how the moisture is so low.

Some header action.

Some header action while riding with dad.

What a strange sight to see.

I should probably move.

Waving with both hands!

He makes some pretty funny faces at me sometimes.

Finishing up the field.

Irrigation is a funny thing, but it sure makes for some beautiful wheat.

We were able to meet up in Scottsbluff with a crew we have been friends with for years, the Russell’s. We had a great supper and an even greater time visiting with them for the evening.

Ben...what a goof.

This is Ben, doing his best to “photobomb” a photo of Carley and I. I would say he succeeded.


The Russell kids and I :)

The Russell kids and I, from left to right; Ben, Brady, me (Steph) and Carley.

Harvest gals.

Harvest gals.

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

Steph: Is it over already?!
Steph Osowski

StephNEW_thumbnailThe morning we depart from home for the two and a half day trip to our first stop in Oklahoma, all I can think about is the summer ahead. All the wheat that awaits, the great memories to be made, the wonderful people we will see again and meet anew. Just when things get in a good groove, right when things are going as smoothly as they have all summer, it all seems to come to an end. Don’t get me wrong, we are all excited to return home after a harvest summer, but there is still that feeling in the back of your mind that things just went by too quickly. I literally feel like I wrote my first post of the summer and now I’m writing my end of the year! Dang, time flies.

Brandon started school this week as a sophomore in high school, leaving any extra maintenance to the machines to be done by Dad and I. Mom has rental properties in town that she has been catching up on maintenance-wise as well. I start classes in my final year at North Dakota State University on Tuesday (Aug. 27th), so I will only be able to make it back home certain weekends to help out with harvest. I have already been examining my class schedule to see when my earliest departure time can be on Fridays.

I was asked countless times this summer what year in college I was, always followed by “well, does that mean this will be your last year on harvest?” Truth me told, I cannot tell you what I am going to be having for breakfast tomorrow, let alone where the turn of events will take me come graduation in May 2014. Regardless if I will be a full-time Osowski Ag Service employee next summer or have to make guest appearances whenever I can sneak time away from my ‘big girl job’, there is no way harvest will not be a part of my summers. As I have said before, it is an addicting lifestyle and once it gets in your blood, there’s no way out. And trust me, we wouldn’t have it any other way!

I would like to extend my deepest thanks to High Plains Journal, Syngenta, and most importantly all our readers out there. It is the readers that make this all possible and worthwhile to us correspondents. I always look forward to reading the comments and emails that I receive from readers and I greatly appreciate all your wonderful feedback! Harvest is just on the verge of starting up here in the home country, so hopefully I can get a post or two on here about that before the season is up. Until next time, I loved sharing all our adventures with you, and thank you so much for following our journey!

Quote(s) of the Day: “Gross, it even looks too wet from the road. Get your act together already!” “Walsh County ain’t ever seen anything like this before!”

Harvest Tip: There is no such thing as going on harvest too many times.

Our older machine, getting some lovin' before harvest starts at home.

Our older machine, getting some lovin’ before harvest starts up at home.

Brandon changing oil on his dirt bike. He missed all his toys.

Brandon changing oil in his dirt bike. He misses his toys throughout summer.

Dad cruising around the farm.

Dad cruising around the farm.

Checking over all the fingers and bushings on the header.

Dad looking over the bushings and fingers on our header that stays home for summer, making sure it is all ready to go.

I got a new car!!

I got a new car! New Holland yellow, I know. It was not planned. New car and new Luke Bryan CD all in one day. It was a wonderful day, let me tell you.

Little too green yet....

A little too green yet. Wish it would just hurry up already.

Good lookin' wheat!

We predict around 80 bushels for a yield once we finally get to cut.

Green straw and a few green heads yet.

Green heads and straw. The two fields we tested today were at 15.8 percent and 17 percent moisture.

There's one in every crowd it seems. Can't seem to find a ripe field!

There’s one in every crowd it seems. Can’t find a ripe enough field!

My windmill obsession. I forgot to share this one.

My windmill obsession. I forgot to share this one!

One of my favorites from the year!

One of my favorites from the year! I also have a sunset obsession.

Crew photo! From left to right: Brandon, Bob (dad), Loree (mom) and Steph!

One final thanks to all our sponsors and readers out there! 

Have a great rest of the summer!

-Osowski Ag Service

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

Z Crew: Final Post for the 2013 Season
Z Crew

headshot2Denton, Montana/Louisville, Nebraska: Last night, through a series of events, I was told Mom and Dad are loading up the combine at Denton and heading West for their last stop of the summer: Jordan, Montana.

The crop at Denton was tall and heavy. Yielding anywhere from 60 to 75 bushels per acre, it was the best wheat the Z Crew saw all summer! Averaging around 40 acres a day, the cutting was slow moving due to the wheat being just a hair wet. Mom and Dad were working every day at Denton, slow and steady. Unsure of what Jordan, Mont. holds, they’re headed that way and will cut whatever they are able.

Back in Nebraska, Callie started her first week of high school as a sophomore. Over the weekend, Jenna made a trip home from Pennsylvania where she finished a farm show for Claas. We enjoyed a weekend of sister time! It was great having everyone together again. Jenna left Sunday afternoon for another show in Illinois. Meanwhile, Jamie and I have stayed busy around her house cooking, loading the dishwasher, and playing with Eli. He’s growing like a weed!

Although this harvest season wasn’t the best we’ve seen, I can’t help but look back at the last few months and feel completely blessed this is the crazy lifestyle I am a part of. I’d be lying if I said I’m not shedding a few tears right now. From the fields of Oklahoma and Texas to the prairies of Montana, the Z Crew made unforgettable harvest memories in 2013 and we’re so glad you joined us for the drive.

Z Crew: Line at the Elevator
Mom waits in line at the Denton grain elevator.

Z Crew: Heavy Crops
Combing is a slow process with this much straw!

Z Crew: Checking the Field
Dad (far right) and others walk out into the wheat to check the field.

Z Crew: Rounds in the Combine
Making rounds in the combine.

The Z Crew can be reached at zcrew@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta.

Steph: Home Sweet Home
Steph Osowski

StephNEW_thumbnailWell hello, North Dakota! After being at our final stop for almost 3 weeks, the city limits of our hometown were a beautiful sight. Between putting on concerts for my steering wheel and chomping on sunflower seeds, the trip flew right on by! The only issue we encountered were a few broken bolts on our trailer tire that we discovered during one of our routine rig checks.

Here are some typical driving conversation points that almost always come up while we are traveling the trail back home:

  • Discussing the hills and how hard it is to get enough power to get up them with the trucks.
  • Dad asking Mom what the temperature outside is periodically every half hour or so because the pickup is the only vehicle that has a temperature gauge.
  • Dad asking how much fuel everyone has, essentially planning ahead for when and where we will have to stop. We know where all the good gas stations are from home to the Texas border, whether it be for truck parking or good snacks.
  • Mom telling us what a ‘cute house that was on the left’ and then us all discussing what should be changed about it to suit each of us.
  • Anyone telling me when there are cows/horses along the road and asking if they talked to me as I drove by them.

Now today, the trailer is completely unloaded and cleaned and we are all happily back in our own rooms, loving life. The equipment is also unloaded and at the farm, getting some needed TLC (mostly getting washed) before harvest starts around here. Hurry up and…can you guess it? Wait. Some fields are grass green, some are just starting to turn and others haven’t even been sprayed with Round Up yet. Talk about a crazy year, huh? We are looking to start in a couple weeks.

Harvest Tip: If there is time between stop to stop, it is always a good idea to give your equipment some extra attention. They worked hard all summer, they need to be given some special treatment.

Sunrise as we drive into North Dakota!

Sunrise as we drove into North Dakota!

Got a little ways to go yet.

Got a little ways to go.

One of our fields that we will cut..eventually.

To be completely honest, I have never seen wheat in this stage before. I have been going on harvest since I was born and I have only ever seen wheat when it is ripe and ready to be harvested! When we get home, it is normally ready to go a week later at the most.

This one's a little closer!

A little closer but could use some sunshine. And maybe a rain.

Needs some sunshine!

Grass or wheat? I'll tell you. Wheat.

Grass or wheat? I’ll tell you. Wheat.

Brandon and Tony strike me a pose!

Brandon and Tony strike a pose! Tony drives truck for us out west.

Tires make good chairs.

Tires make great chairs.

My Grandpa Hiladore!

My Grandpa Hiladore!

Nailed it!

Brandon and I wanted a tire swing..so we made one! Simple and beloved farm fun.

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

Emma: The Ending of a Season
Emma Misener

Emma_thumbnailThe ending of a season, so bittersweet. The nights are getting cooler, the weather is rainy and cool, and I might be crazy but the trees here in South Dakota have a yellow tint to them. The wheat harvest season is coming to a close and we are anxiously awaiting fall crops to ripen and turn their fall colors. I hate to see it end so quickly. I feel like we have just started. I will miss the hot days of summer and the golden wheat in the blowing wind, but I am looking forward to the fall colors and the change of crops. I love each season in their own way. God really knew what he was doing.

With the changing season, comes an ending to All Aboard Wheat Harvest for another year. I love writing and sharing my way of life with AAWH followers. You are with me from the great state of Oklahoma, through the panhandle of Texas, and up to South Dakota harvesting the crops that feed the world. Wheat is such a massive part of our food industry, and I am proud to be part of it.

Thank you High Plains Journal and Syngenta for giving me this opportunity to share the first step in making that loaf of bread on your table. A little more of this world is beginning to understand the commitment and hard work that it takes to feed the world.
A heartfelt thank you to AAWH followers for reading my blog and articles in the High Plains Journal. I feel like I know each one of you personally. Thank you for your feedback as well. My job would not be as fun if it weren’t for the comments and questions I receive.

Emma: End of the Season
From my family to yours, have a wonderful rest of the year. Be safe and God bless!
-Emma Misener from Misener Family Harvesters

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