Sage: My Favorite Job

Fort Benton, Mont.- There are certain stops every year that crews love returning to.  For me it definitely hits close to home, and for as long as I can remember, has been part of my summer home.  It is our farm between Big Sandy and Fort Benton, Mont.  The farm my great grandpa started and where my mother born and raised.

It is where I drove my first combine.  It is where I was finally old enough to help.  It is where I was able to create special bonds with each member my family.  For me when someone says harvest, for some reason my mind always comes to this farm and those times.

One of my fondest memories is just a few years ago when the crew was 60-miles west, north of Fort Benton, and were harvesting away.  Since they were so busy over there, dad and I brought and one truck and combine over to Big Sandy to cut the three fields we have here.  22 hours later we were finished and moving back over to Fort Benton.  Nothing spectacular happened, and we were actually able to cut fairly quickly, but it was the fact that it was just the family; it felt just like old times.  I will never forget those two days.  On top of all of that, it was one of the best crops we had harvested here.

This year has been another great crop and made some different memories.  Skinner Harvesting came with us and helped us, and since we were staffed for four machines, we had a pit crew whenever something had to be fixed.

We brought two, one red and one green, of the four combines and the grain cart over from our other job.  The first thing out of my grandpa’s mouth was “I don’t know how long it’s been since a John Deere cut here.”   The wheat ran well, about 35-45 bushels per acre, 12 percent protein and 60 pound test weight.  We did run into a little bit of high moisture though, so it took three-half days to finish cutting.  On top of the high moisture, we had some equipment issues.

On day two, we had the worst breakdown of the season.  The bearing on the drive shaft of our combine (the Case 7120) went out and put us out of commission for the evening.  Dad went and got the parts and we were able to back in the field fairly quickly today.  But as we were making a part run, Skinner’s header also had a bearing go out.  For a little bit there we were completely shut down.  After we got everything going again, we had some minor issues with rocks, and had to replace a few sections and guards.

The job we started on, north of Fort Benton, dried up so Dan moved his combine and crew back over there and got cutting, while we finished up in Big Sandy. We are now getting ready to take the 60-mile venture over to join the rest of the crew.  Just like that my favorite part of harvest is over and done with, and it is still my most beloved part of the summer.

Red and Green

The Red and Green machines sitting side by side before we started cutting.

View from the cab

The view from my seat in the combine

Combine time

Getting a little face time in the combine (Thanks Mom)

Broken guard

Broken guard and section after hitting a rock

Section guard

Changing out the section and guard


The family during the Big Sandy harvest. This has christmas card written all over it.

Sage Sammons can be reached at All Aboard 2010 Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

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