Emma: A Change in Scenery

I would bet most of you that read about the lives of harvesters here at All Aboard Wheat Harvest expect to read about wheat, but this week we’ve had a little change of scenery. We have been cutting oats. For some it might sound strange to be straight cutting oats. Straight cutting means we cut it like we would wheat, with a normal flex head. It’s a bit strange for me, too – but not unheard of. I haven’t cut straight outs for eight to 10 years.

Typically oats are win-rowed, and then a combine will pick up the rows with a pick up head. The stem or stalk of the oats is not strong enough to hold up the head, and this results in broken stalks with oats laying on the ground. To keep this from happening – and getting all the oats their crop has to offer – they will win-row the oats when they are green or two wet to cut.

This year we’re able to straight cut and that means less time in the field and saving money on fuel cost because you only have to go over the field once. This year’s oat crop has some broken stalks so we are basically cutting on the ground, but we are still dropping the straw so that the farmer can bale it up for bedding their horses or cattle. These oats are running about 12 percent moisture, 36 pound test weight and around 60 bushels per acre – pretty good oats.

Here’s a few pics of oat harvest.

These oats are pretty dirty and the dust sticks to the window. That means this photo was taken looking through a layer of dirt. This can be a challenge at night, so we have to make a pit stop at the end of the field to wipe the windows off.
I love when you harvest oats and the hulls, or seed casing, fly up in the air and blow away. You see this a little bit with wheat, but the oat hull is twice as big and really blonde in color so it’s easy to see.
The standing oats are broken off and that means cutting close to the ground. The camera was basically sitting an inch above the ground when I snapped this, so you can imagine how short the stubble is.

Here’s what oats actually look like.

I can best describe it as looking like a tree. It has several branches with four or five little seeds along each branch. The stalk is probably three feet tall with these branches starting about 10 to 12 inches down from the top.

We only have one day left of cutting, but it has to stop raining for us to finish. A couple of bad storms passed through these past few days and we actually had to go into the basement of the house we’re staying near. Tom and Lois were kind enough to let us in. We probably wouldn’t have gone to the basement if not for the wind. Gusty 60 to 70 mph winds are not something you toy with in a travel trailer. Luckily no one was hurt, and our campers are just fine.

There was hail and it did damage some fall crops around Gregory, S.D., but I think they should pull through. Some of the corn may not be as lucky. Fifty percent or more of the leaves were stripped off. I’m praying for those farmers, that their fall crops come back for a bountiful fall harvest.

Oh, how I admire the imagination of God.

Be safe and God bless!

Emma can be reached at emma@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard is sponsored by High Plains Journal and DuPont Crop Protection.

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