01 Aug Sage: I’m Back to Harvest, Friends and Montana
Fort Benton, Mont.- I do realize I have been MIA for about a week, but I had to fly back to Las Vegas for my job that I have during the school year. I am back on the trail now and boy do I have stories to tell, but first we will start with the South Dakota crew.
The crew is almost done with the winter wheat harvest in South Dakota, and are getting ready to start cutting the spring wheat. When they are done with that, they will then reunite with the one machine in Montana. The wheat has been extremely good there, but the conditions haven’t been the best. They have still been fighting rain and long lines at the elevator, but are still progressing.
As for me in Montana, we only have one combine and semi here. I have moved from driving semi to being a combine operator. That leaves Mike to take care of all our trucking needs. We knew from the beginning that we would be short-staffed here, so dad planned on that, and now we are working with another crew, Skinner Harvesting.
Dad and Dan go way back, and we have even worked with his crew in the past. It is always great to see friends and even better when the work can benefit two crews because of convenience. Our farmer expected us to have four machines, and we do, it is just three green machines and one red machine.
We have run into a problem that we haven’t seen this year, and that I personally haven’t seen for a few years, sawfly. I will get more into sawfly later this week, but I’m telling you now because we have to use different headers. To prevent a sawfly disaster, farmers swath their crops a week to ten days before harvest. Because of the swathing, we have to use pick-up headers instead of our 40-foot Mac-Don’s.
So far we have only had this problem on one of our jobs. We ran into a little bit of moisture on that job today, so we moved two combines to a different job 60-miles away, west of Big Sandy, Mont.
We are now cutting on the farm my mother was born and raised on; or were cutting until we got a little rain this afternoon. It wasn’t enough to shut us down for more than the evening. We will be able to get back in the field tomorrow morning, and should finish up everything late afternoon tomorrow, weather permitting. Then we will move back to the job we were originally on, North of Carter, Mont. We are staying in Fort Benton, Mont. because of its central location to our jobs here.
I’m glad to be back, and I will talk a little bit more about the sawfly, pick-up headers and cutting on my grandparent’s farm later this week.
P.S. I promise I’ll have more photos and even a video up before the week is over 🙂
Sage Sammons can be reached at email@example.com. All Aboard 2010 Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.