All Aboard Harvest | High Plains Journal Following Custom Harvesting
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Finally ... rain!

You know that phrase "you always want what you can't have?" Well, in this case it's simply a matter of wanting what you have no control over. Maybe one year everything will go our way in the agriculture sector–planting and spraying will go off without a hitch, not a dime will be spent on breakdowns. We will have the perfect ratio of rain and heat to bring on maximum yields. The price of diesel will be a dollar per gallon and world peace will prevail ... but until then, we deal with what we've got.


Southwestern North Dakota–Everything is good here. They’ve got a good crop for us to cut this year. It looks like 40-bushel wheat and the forecast is hot and dry. I just got to southwestern North Dakota after four days of traveling up from western Kansas. The harvest is just getting started around here. There is some wheat cut but there is also green wheat around, which is the first green wheat I’ve seen all summer. Everywhere I’ve been the wheat has been more than ready to cut. I just traveled across four states and am finally catching back up

Southeastern Colorado: There was a Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl on PBS a few years back. They described this part of the world as “no man’s land.” It is a sparsely populated part of the country where only the toughest survive. Extreme weather conditions can make for a feast or famine yield situation depending on which side the pendulum swings. With all that being said, it is absolutely one of my favorite stops of the run.

Montana is known as big sky country and that is an accurate description. However, I would argue southeastern Colorado is equally

Western Kansas–I’ve been here in western Kansas for almost a month and am the last cutter in town but that is OK because we have been staying busy in the fields. We ended up staying in western Kansas with two combines while the rest of the crew went north and handled cutting all of our wheat jobs in western Nebraska. They have just finished up there and are making the big move up to north central Montana now with six combines. My dad and I finished up our main wheat job here and gained more work so we’ll just stay

This week on harvest has been another busy one. Gary’s group by Paxton, Nebraska, is completing dryland wheat averaging about 70 to 80 bushels per acre and irrigated wheat doing about 110 bushels per acre. It’s slow moving, but it’s a good crop in that area.

Paul’s group started out in Tribune, Kansas. The 5 inches of rain we received in the field towards the end didn’t help, and made for a muddy mess trying to get equipment out of the field. Carts were fully loaded and made some tracks getting out. There just wasn’t any fair warning to

As the combines make their way through the field we chase a lot of wildlife out from the wheat. I can't help but feel a little bad, forcing them from the shelter and shade of their temporary home. The wheat rustles in strange zig zag paths, giving up the location of whatever is hiding beneath the golden canopy. When you reach the end of your pass the mystery of what you've been stalking is finally solved. Usually it's a jack rabbit, suddenly panicked and darting around like it doesn't know where to go or what to

Christy Paplow

Paplow Harvesting & Trucking

Christy joined Paplow Harvesting & Trucking in 2010 while dating her now-husband, Paul Paplow. Eleven years later, Christy and Paul are married with one daughter, Zoey, and work side by side with Paul’s father, Gary, and mother, Rhonda, in their 30-year-old harvest business.

Brian Jones

Jones Harvesting

For 35 years, Jones Harvesting, based near Greenfield, Iowa, has made an annual trek from Oklahoma to North Dakota, harvesting golden fields of wheat for farmers who have become like family to the Jones family.

Stephanie Cronje

Osowski Ag Service


Janel Schemper

Schemper Harvesting

Janel Schemper was 6 months old when she made her first harvest journey.
“Harvest for me is a way of life,” the third-generation custom cutter said.
Schemper Harvesting, based in Holdrege, Nebraska, goes back more than a half-century, started by her grandfather.

Laura Haffner

High Plains Harvesting

For Laura Haffner, there is not a better way to see the Great Plains.

She and her husband, Ryan, have High Plains Harvesting based in Park, Kansas. The couple, along with their two young children and a crew of about a dozen, travel from Texas to the Canadian border to harvest wheat, canola and peas.