All Aboard Harvest | Megan: Hoxie, Kan.
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Megan: Hoxie, Kan.

Hoxie, KS – The last few days have been some interesting ones for Roland Harvesting. After helping out all weekend Ashley finally had to leave and return to her “real job” as a civil engineer. Ashley left before Mom and Dad got back into town and suddenly, we realized we were in a real bind. We currently have three combines, one grain cart, and three semis to keep busy and get moved from field to field. Losing some hired help due to a recent family emergency meant we were down to just four of us – Brandon, James, Danny and me. Luckily, Brandon was able to get a hold of Dad’s long time harvest buddy, Vern, who happens to live in the area. Vern has 40 plus years of harvest experience and eagerly agreed to come run the TR ’98 to help us out. Brandon and James kept busy in the CR’s and I ran grain cart for the three combines while Danny trucked for us. However, with the high yields and a 10 to 15 mile trek into town, the trucks couldn’t seem to get dumped fast enough to keep up with the combines. We got to the place where we were so far behind we ended up having to park the grain cart and use it as more of a semi while both Danny and I trucked to catch us back up.

Like many of the other correspondents have mentioned we have had some amazing cutting weather lately. Although it’s good for the wheat and makes thrashing easier on the combines it seems to be taking a toll on our crew. 105 degree temperatures and hot winds have filled our days as we wrap up in the Hoxie, Kansas area. The wheat continues to make between 60 to 75 bushels per acres, with test weights remaining 59 to 63 pounds, and moistures staying around 11 percent. Due to the extremely dry spring the area endured, the farmers have been thrilled with their wheat crop yields. Mom and Dad have reunited with our crew and will help us finish in Hoxie today and move closer to Colby, Kansas to start another job.

Combine on the road and ready to pull into the field
The combine gets ready to pull into a new field.

Waiting to get into the field
The grain cart and truck wait for the combines to cut out a spot in the field for them to park.

Everyone is busy, busy
Busy, busy! Brandon hooks up his header on the CR while Danny unloads the grain cart as Vern and James combine away in the background.

Replacement combine
Brandon’s combine has had a lot of issues this harvest season. It has undiagnosed problems with the engine and finally lost all functioning when the feeder house failed. Since Brandon’s CR is under warranty we received a temporary replacement, a CR 9065, from New Holland until his machine is back in running condition. It is frustrating, not only to us, but also to the farmers we work for, when these expensive, new machines don’t perform to their advertised capability.  

Dad's friend, Vern, was a huge life saver!
Dad’s long time friend, Vern, was a lifesaver this week. We always enjoy listening to his entertaining stories of harvest and trucking. He sure has lived quite the life!

3 trucks empty trucks in the field
All of the trucks lined up and ready to start the busy day. This is a rare photo since that’s the only time during the entire day that all 3 of the trucks were in the field together.

Danny tarping the truck
Danny tarps the truck before taking a load into town. The high yielding wheat and combines have sure kept him busy.

Tight squeeze into the concrete pit in Hoxie
It’s a very tight squeeze into the concrete pit at the Hoxie elevator. Your side mirrors barely fit through on either side. Is it scary to think that this is where Dad taught me to drive truck when I was a teenager??

Part of a screw driver through the grain trailer tire
We’re not entirely sure where we picked up part of this screwdriver. Luckily it was in the side wall of the grain trailer tire so there was no major damage done after we pulled it out. But I’m sure someone somewhere was quite  upset to find the handle of their screwdriver with no end on it!

Almost a full bin
Full bin! It seemed like every time I turned around that each and every combine had a full bin. Even with the grain cart running nonstop I could barely keep up wih them in the high yielding fields.

Me keeping busy in the graincart
Taking a two second break in the grain cart for a quick photo.

Moving up the road with headers on
The combines moving to the next field with hopes of squeezing through the deteriorating road banks. Unfortunately, the combines made it part way up the hill before they realized their wishful thinking lead them a stray. They had to back down the hill and take off the headers in order to fit through the narrowing road. It sure felt like we were going “2 steps forward and 3 steps back.”

End of the day - sunset
Photos never seem to give the gorgeous sunsets justice but here’s my attempt. At 9 o’clock last night it was still 97 degrees out! Luckily it finally cooled down a bit after the sun went down.

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

  • Linda
    Posted at 13:49h, 21 June

    Megan, I’m still praying for all of you! You have a blessed and safe harvest run.

  • Linda
    Posted at 13:49h, 21 June

    Megan, I’m still praying for all of you! You have a blessed and safe harvest run.

  • Sharon and Harry Drake
    Posted at 18:35h, 21 June

    You folks never have a dull moment. Just so you all stay well, is the most important thing.
    The bad tire and taking off the header can sure make things agrivating when in the heat of 100 plus just makes everything harder. As the saying goes, been there done that. remember the water jug.
    silly question,what do you do for water in big amounts for drinking? Sharon Drake

    • Megan Roland
      Posted at 00:58h, 23 June

      Sharon, it sounds like you’ve experienced many of your own ups and downs on harvest. As far as water goes we used to do water jugs growing up but after dealing with the leaking or forgetting them in the combines after quitting time we finally resorted to loading up on cases of water. We get ice in the cooler everyday and stock it full of water and Gatorade, keeping it in the pickup since it seems to be our “home base” throughout the day.

  • James Melton
    Posted at 18:58h, 21 June

    I love reading your daily blogs. I grew up and ranched in SW Missouri and always thought I wanted to go on the wheat harvest. Last combine I had was in the 80’s and it was a JD 6620…I am sure they have changed a lot. I keep telling my wife when I retire I am going to follow the harvest with an RV and help out where needed, but I am not crawling under one and unplugging the separator……

    James Melton
    Naples, Florida

  • Bill
    Posted at 05:29h, 22 June

    I really enjoy following your progress. Keep up the good work. I enjoy the passion you have for what you do, it really shows in your blog.

  • Paul McCormick
    Posted at 09:26h, 22 June

    Great commentary and photos! I really enjoy following the progress of your harvest. Your pictures and stories
    keep the true story of agriculture REAL. From equipment breakdowns, poor crops to great crops, it all makes
    for a great picture.

  • Megan Roland
    Posted at 01:02h, 23 June

    Thank you all for the kind and encouraging comments! I find it really interesting how many of you have your own harvest experiences and memories. I’m sure you can relate to a lot of what we go through from day to day. AAWH is a wonderful opportunity to share with all of you what really happens on the road. Every crew operates a little differently but we can all relate to harvest, which I think is awesome. Thanks again!