All Aboard Harvest | Emma:Is that rain?
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Emma:Is that rain?

I was watering our trees and plants in Elk City, Okla., at our home and something very strange happened to me. I started to get wet and my first thought was using the water hose in my hand to defeat the person who dared get out that second hose just to douse me. I quickly turned around and I saw nobody. Then I looked up to see a partially cloudy, windy day with a few heavy clouds – but nothing like an Oklahoma thunderstorm. What I was experiencing was a light shower that stuck around just long enough to wet the ground and move on. However, we did have lightning that night.

Most of you in the northern part of the country may think this isn’t as big a deal as I’m making it out to be, but let me tell you that it is definitely a big deal. That little shower renews our hope that rain will come, and it seems to tide us over for now. We’re still praying for rain because by no means is this drought over, but we’re very thankful for even a few drops of precipitation.

For the Misener family this year has been interesting. We experienced drought in the southern states where there was no wheat, to central Nebraska and the north where rivers are overflowing and wheat seems to be drowning in places. I think most harvesters are in this same predicament. We’re trying to gather up as much work as we can where there is wheat because we’re all going to be back to where we were at the start of harvest-with no wheat- only for the opposite reason.

Farmers in the north are having just as much trouble, but only because the crop never made it to the ground due to extreme moisture. Hopefully farmers have been able to compensate by planting more fall crops like corn, soybeans and sunflowers, but if you haven’t got it in the ground by now-you’re not going to get it in.

My family originated from South Dakota, near Watertown. I know all about the South Dakota winters and let me tell you, it is definitely a challenge when you’re trying to get a crop out. I’ve spend many hours in a combine trying to get corn out before the snow melts into the corn raising moisture to where you can’t even get it through the combine. There are also issues with freezing the insides of combines and corn just blowing out of the machine resulting in lost crop. I’ve even harvested when you couldn’t see the muffler of the tractor because snow was coming down so hard.

Many of us have had sleepless nights and harvesting in the wee hours when the crop is dried and a combine has thawed out. I remember one harvest where we could only harvest three hours before the machine would freeze up. We were lucky our farmer had a heated shed where we could park and thaw for a couple of hours and then we were right back at it. It’s a difficult process, but we did what we could to get that farmer’s livelihood out of the field and into the bin. Many farmers in the north may relate to this, and these are some of the worst conditions I’ve ever worked in. They don’t happen every year, but they are always possible and we pray for a fantastic fall (like we had last year) with cool temperatures, wind and no snow.

As I write this update we’re still in Elk City and hoping to leave this weekend and make a stop in Andale, Kan., to pick up some of our loads on the way back north to Gregory. A harvesters life is always unpredictable, just like the weather. I suppose you just learn to go with the flow of things and trust in the good Lord. We keep looking ahead and pray that things go smoothly.

Be safe and God bless!

Emma can be reached at All Aboard 2011 is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

  • Charles M. Gore
    Posted at 07:14h, 16 July

    This year has been a strange one. As you noted dry in TX & OK; wet in ND & SD. It has also been dry in the Southeast states. It has been wet all along the MO,MS and OH rivers. The Mississippi has been above floor stage at ST Louis most of the spring and early summer. It has not bee as bad as the 1993 flood though. The Wheat crop that did not drown out was good in AR, MO & IL. I rode in what was the last field of Wheat harvested in Madison County IL on Tuesday, July 12. Harvest of about the aprox. 200 acres he had stated on July 1, (rain outs). The ground was already on the wet side and we got another 3 inches of rain that night and early July 4. The Corn in the area is from taslling to just planted on July 3. My friend has about 200 acres of corn that will not be planted. That ground already was fertlized for Ear corn and Soybean planting started on on of the fields on July 15. July15 was the last day to certify planted acreage for Farm Service Agency, but their is a 15 day extension time for the rest of land to be planted. I am doing relief work at my old office July 11 to 22 and the Fruit & Veg crops coming into the ST Louis Wholesale market from nearby areas is way behind. The Watemelon movement from my old contacts in Southeast MO and NE AR are running from 10-15% of what it was last year. Their is no need to go futher into the progess of the Corn, Cotton, Milo and Soyben crops, (very mixed).