Emma: Green wheat, no problem

Guest correspondent Emma Misener checks in from near the Canadian border. The Misener crew cut for several days before encountering green wheat. The delay in wheat harvest meant the crew moved to Canola. Emma talks about the oil crop and how they harvest it up north.

We finally made it to Rolla, North Dakota, just 10 miles from the border of Canada.  David and Verena arrived a few days before the rest of the crew because Verena’s parents, Franz-Josef and Beatte, came to visit from Germany.  August 18, Dad, Mom, Dan, and I arrived with our last load. We brought three combines, the tractor and cart, and of course our campers. We started cutting that evening.

Our working hours begin to change as we come north. We start later and wrap up sooner because of dew, and the cooler temperatures are a factor as well. The moisture was around 16-percent, which is high, but we can’t wait. Unlike the southern states, the Dakota’s don’t get warm enough for the dew to burn off and the lack of hot weather make it difficult. The farmer we’re cutting for have drying bins so we are able to dry the wheat down to where it needs to be. They also have a drying system to put on the floor of Quonsets, or sheds, which create airflow to dry the grain that is stored. The wheat is averaging 50 to 60 bushels per acre, 15 percent moisture with test weights around 60 pounds. The protein is also great.

We cut wheat five days before we ran into green wheat. Some farmers sprayed the wheat with Round-Up to help speed up the drying process in the field before we arrived, but rainy days delay that process too. To keep moving we moved on to Canola.

Canola may be a new crop for some of the AAWH followers so there are photos of it below. Farmers have to swath it when it’s just starting to turn brown, because you can’t cut it straight.** You would lose too much grain if we did this. Canola has frail pods that can snap open (shatter) causing loss. We then pick up the windrowed canola with pick-up heads. Pick-up heads are rubber belts with fingers that spin toward the combine to guide it into the combine. The canola seed is round, black in color and no larger than mustard seed. It is an oil crop, so you may recognize the name canola. The oil can be just canola oil, or they can blend it with vegetable oil as well. The moisture of the canola we cut was an ideal eight percent. Canola isn’t measured in bushels, but pounds per acre. This field averaged 1,500 to 1,800 tons per acre, which is good for this area.

Franz-Josef helped us run the third combine while he was here. That helped us out because we are usually short of help this time of year. Verena’s parents left last Friday, but Sonja, Dad’s sister, came to help out. She’ll be with us until we’re ready to go to the John Deere Fall Festival in Waterloo, Iowa.

I hope that we’ll be able to harvest either wheat or canola tomorrow. We’ll be praying for some sunshine. Next time I update you all, we’ll hopefully be headed to Iowa.

**There are two different varieties of Canola, Polish and Argentine. Producers can straight cut Polish, but not Argentine.

Be safe and God bless!

River crossing

Moving from near Watertown, South Dakota to Rolla, North Dakota. Mom with the camper, Dad with a combine and header trailer, Dan with a combine, and me with a grain trailer.


Moving day is not without its trouble again.

Wheat harvest

Dad striking out a new land of wheat to cut. We’re dropping the straw because he wants to bale it up.


The balers came right behind us in the field. Not something you see every day.

Left to right, Dan with Alexander, Dad, David and Verena. Starting on canola now.


Unloading canola onto the grain cart. It’s interesting unloading at night, because of its black color.


To speed up the drying process, some farmers cut the wheat down and put it in windrows. We pick it up just like the canola; with pick-up heads.

Nearly dusk and the wind is starting to die down.


My Aunt Sonja harvesting wheat.


Dan unloading the farmer we’re working for.


For more information contact crew@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard 2010 Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

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