Megan: Roland Harvesting Keeps Rollin’ in Three States

The idea of having an entire harvesting operation strewn over three states seems a little hectic, maybe more like extreme – okay, to be honest, it’s just straight up crazy. For Roland Harvesting, we could not agree more, especially since this is our reality. It is certainly not an ideal situation for us, but due to the early harvest this year, many stops ripening at the same time, and the rains we’ve encountered, this is the best short-term solution given the circumstances.

Brandon is continuing to whittle away near Spearman, Texas after being shut down for about two days last week due to rain. He reports most of the wheat to be making between 10 to 20 bushels per acre with test weights of 59 to 62 pounds. The area received some moisture during the past growing season but unfortunately not enough to offset the dire drought from last year. Brandon says due to the thinner wheat he has to cut extremely low to the ground to try and pick up all the heads but this also means the frustration of picking up rocks and digging dirt with the header. He is in hopes of finishing in the next two to three days.

Meanwhile, almost 300 miles north James and his crew continue their successful days in Plainville, Kansas. In the past week, James is the only one who has been able to dodge the rain and work many consecutive days. How lucky is he?! The dry land wheat in Plainville is averaging between 35 to 55 bushels per acre with higher test weights of 62 to 64 pounds. James’s CR has encountered a few minor breakdowns but luckily there is a New Holland dealership in town so he has been able to pick up the necessary parts quickly and get back to cutting wheat. Without any unexpected “bumps in the road” James will finish in Plainville today and move to our next stop in Hoxie, Kansas.

During this time Dad and I have been working our tails off near Helena, Oklahoma. I’m afraid there’s no way to sugar coat our last few days – it’s been tough going. Most of the wheat we have been cutting is making around 40 to 60 bushels per acre with test weights keeping right around 60 pounds. We only have the TR ’98 combine on this job and although this older machine is giving us it’s all, you can tell she has been through many harvest seasons. It’s kind of like taking a professional football player out of retirement and expecting him to act like he did during his prime – it just isn’t going to happen.

Unfortunately, the combination of the older combine with the down wheat and high yields has lead to several breakdowns. Luckily, Dad ran the TR model of New Holland combines for almost 30 years which means he can diagnose and quickly fix just about anything on the ’98. Our other advantage is that we kept the grain cart to help out and it has been a lifesaver!

While Dad keeps busy in the combine I’ve been running grain cart and trucking for him. While in town, I’ve occasionally seen an Osowski truck from across the elevator. Yes, as you know my fellow correspondent, Steph, and her family are here as well. Unfortunately, since both of our crews are trying to get finished in Helena we haven’t been able to stop and chitchat. I’ve decided we must be working at opposite ends of the county since I haven’t seen any other New Hollands out our direction. Hopefully the rain will hold for both our sakes and we can catch up with the rest of harvest in Kansas!

Dad and I
It’s just Dad and me here trying to finish in Helena. We hope to reunite our entire crew at our next stop in Hoxie, Kansas.

Down wheat in the field
Due to the weather and high yields, some of the wheat has gone down, slowing the harvesting process.

Dad under the feederhouse
Nothing like getting dirty first thing in the morning. Dad maneuvers under the feeder house of the combine to tighten some loose bolts that hold the rotor bearing.

Dad's innovative repair
Innovation at its finest right here.  Dad uses duct tape and an empty pop bottle to fix his reel over the weekend until we could get the correct parts in Enid.

TR '98 in action
The TR ’98 in action. After this week I think she’s ready to go back home to semi-retirement at the farm!

All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Megan can be reached at


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