Scott: What and where will we cut today?

American Quality has been jumping around the state of North Dakota this past week; harvesting wheat, and canola.

Our crew arrived in Regent, North Dakota a couple weeks ago and found the wheat was still green in the area. We also harvest canola in North Dakota, but the canola was too wet to harvest as well. We did manage to get into the fields and begin harvesting canola just over a week ago—about the same time I started my last year of classes at Oklahoma State University. Due to the slow ripening of the crops we’ve been moving around the state from Regent to Minot, and everywhere in between spot cutting where we can. It’s not the ideal situation, but flexibility and patience are key characteristics you have to have in this business.

Moving equipment and manpower around the country in search of dry crops has created some long days and late nights for our crew. Not every town has a trailer court with spots to park large trailers and supply them with 50 amps of electricity. So we’ve had to improvise and drive 100+ miles to get back to our trailer houses a couple of times. We’ve been chasing 500 to 1000 acres at a time and it doesn’t make much sense to move the trailers and set them up again just for a day or two at each location. We’ve also stayed in a couple of hotels when available—better than a tent I guess!

During our travels, we’ve been switching back and forth between harvesting wheat and canola. Thankfully it doesn’t take much time, or effort, to adjust combines for each crop. The time we spend working on equipment and making adjustments to configure the machine is important as we may harvest two or three different crops in the same day.  We may harvest for many different clients in the same day, too and most farmers have unique agronomical practices that may require different residue management strategies.

Despite the extra work associated with moving around, our crew has been good spirited and happy to be busy.

It’s been a while since my last blog—due to lacking internet capability in remote North Dakota, the intensive traveling of our crew, and getting back into the academic lifestyle. I’ll be updating again shortly with a final blog as American Quality wraps the wheat harvest season. We should be able finish up the large part of our wheat harvest this week and will soon begin moving back south and configuring the combines for corn and soybean harvest.

We’ve been hauling a lot of the wheat to the farmer’s bins. However, we sometimes have to stop and wait on the trucks when the farmer moves the auger from one bin to another.

One of the combines spins around at a boundary of the field.

A view of a full graincart waiting on the truck to return.

A couple of combines finish up a patch of canola.

The crew took some time to learn about a different color of combine as we explore our options for trading equipment this next season.

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


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