05 Jun Megan: Monday Madness
After sitting in rain since last Wednesday we were finally able to start cutting late Saturday afternoon. It felt glorious to be back in the field with the combines contently humming and the trucks coming and going. Dad was able to finish the job in Lahoma and James knocked out a good portion of a field near Helena. Things were looking up. Unfortunately, this uplifting feeling was short lived as local farmers reported almost 2 inches of rain late Saturday night in the Helena area.
After allowing a full day of drying, yesterday we woke up determined to get back into the fields. To our luck, the moisture was just low enough to start cutting after lunch. We fired up the machines in anticipation of having a successful day. However, Mother Nature had other plans for us. The actual grain was dry enough but the fields were still extremely muddy from the recent rains. Between the trucks getting stuck twice, the grain cart finding a sinkhole, and Dad’s TR chopper plugging up we had quite a stressful day. Also, the humidity made the straw tough to thrash and significantly slowed down the speed of the combines.
When cutting in muddy areas our entire “routine” in the field is thrown a bit out of whack. In the field, the combines have to frequently unload on the grain cart to keep their weight down so they are less likely to get stuck. Furthermore, we have to keep the trucks parked on the side of the dirt road and have the grain cart jockey back and forth from the field. The grain cart also has to watch the amount of grain it has on so it doesn’t get stuck. And throughout this entire process we have to watch that we’re not rutting up the farmer’s field. Trying to keep this unique time consuming operation running smoothly is a headache in itself.
However, this is just part of harvest. The weather is completely out of our control so we have to learn to adapt when adverse conditions exist. I think many harvesters could vow that the day you get going after a rainy spell often turns into a “Monday” – your brain is still somewhat on vacation, equipment breaks down, machines get stuck, and stress clouds your thinking. No matter what profession you’re in, these “Monday’s” exist, just in a different manner. For Roland Harvesting we certainly had a harvest Monday and yesterday it just so happened to land on the rest of the world’s actual Monday.
This is what the driveway of our field looked like yesterday. I am sad to report that due to the stress of the day and trying to keep things running, I was unable to take any good “getting stuck” photos. I sure hope there aren’t any more of those moments, but if there are, I will be sure to snap some pictures this time.
All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.