Scott: Back in the Field

Scott Clark’s crew is back to cutting wheat. This week Scott introduces Larry Johnson and shares several photos from the weekend.

It feels good to be back in the wheat field again. American Quality Harvesting has finally begun harvesting wheat. After making the short move to Enid, Okla., last week the crew unloaded the machines and went straight to the fields to begin cutting.

This is the first year we have harvested for Larry Johnson. Larry’s son, Ryan, and I go to school together at Oklahoma State. Larry has been farming on his own for 17 years and he and his family have been stewards of land for almost a century. Larry sowed about 2000 acres of wheat, but the lack of moisture forced him to graze cattle on it. Larry primarily grows wheat, but also plants milo, soybeans and winter canola. He’s hoping to double crop milo behind wheat this year in order to utilize some of anticipated summer rain.

It’s the crew’s first stop of the season and that means a few growing pains as some of the crew learns new roles. Over the years we’ve found that no matter how much you prepare simulating the pace and challenges of wheat harvest is impossible. The best way to train new employees is to let them go out and do it. We’ve been impressed with how well everyone is working together as a crew after only three days in the field. It takes a team effort to get the crop out of the field safely and quickly.

Larry’s wheat has been averaging 25 to 30 bushels/acre while the test weights have been running around 61 pounds with 13 percent protein. The absence of rain has had Larry concerned about the crop and he said he would be pleased with 30 bushel/acre considering the year they’ve had.

The crew worked hard getting 160 acres per day, per machine. However, no sooner than getting this sickles and augers shined up it’s time to hit the road again. Ryan was a little disappointed that the harvest went so quickly – he didn’t get to participate this year.

The crew finished up Larry’s wheat and loaded up the equipment to make the move to Kiowa, Kan., where many harvesters are waiting on the green wheat to ripen. The forecast calls for temperatures of 100 plus this week, so hot windy days will likely speed up the ripening process.

We have about 2500 acres of wheat to harvest in the area before we’ll load it all up and move on again.

Fun fact: Larry sips sweet ice tea from a mason jar to stay cool during the hot summers.

Fun fact: Larry’s dog, Dixie, ran an average of 10 miles per day showing our combines the way to the next field.


Larry checks the results of Garrett’s last load and his happy with what he sees.

A combine opens up a new field.

The combine unloads into the grain cart.

A belt jumped off a pulley and got wrapped up in the unloading auger chain. We’ll blame that on the Oklahoma wind. It didn’t take long to get going again, we can handle those kind of breakdowns.

The grain cart unloads on the truck. The grain comes out fast and it’s difficult to see it pile up until it’s “right there” so the graincart operator needs to be on his toes. Having run a cart since I could barely see over the steering wheel, I hopped in to share a few pointers with Travis.

Larry provides Dalton with the new field number and landlord information.

Dad, Larry, and I share a few last words before I head back to my day job.

To see more of Scott’s photos with Larry Johnson visit Scott’s gallery on our Facebook page.

For more information contact All Aboard 2011 is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

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