Megan: Harvest in Husker Country

It’s time to catch up with Roland Harvesting in the good ol’ Cornhusker state. Our stop in Imperial, Nebraska took a bit longer than anticipated. Due to a rain shower over the weekend and a couple minor breakdowns we were not able to finish until Monday morning. We loaded up all our equipment that afternoon and pulled into our farm near Hemingford just in the nick of time as the sun disappeared below the horizon. (By law, we’re not allowed to haul oversize loads after dark.)

It was nice to be home for a night but it was short lived as we moved about 30 miles up the road to Chadron on Tuesday morning. The yields in the Chadron area have really varied, with most of the wheat yielding between 35 to 40 bushels per acre, with test weights of 59 to 62 pounds, and proteins ranging from 10 to 14 percent. In some areas that didn’t get enough rain showers the yields dropped to 10 to 20 bushels per acre. Nevertheless, all of the wheat has been of excellent quality. Usually we pull into the Nebraska panhandle in mid-July and this year we were in Chadron and cutting on June 26. The early harvest this year never ceases to amaze me!

Back home, in the Hemingford area, harvest slowly started up a few days ago. However, much of the wheat in the area still has some green patches in it. With the 100 degree weather we’ve been having lately the wheat is ripening up quickly though. It is actually nice timing for us so we can finish in Chadron in the next day or two and get moved home in time. We expect harvest at home to be full-fledged by the first of this upcoming week.

Pulling into our driveway
The convoy begins to pull into our driveway after the move from Imperial. Nothing like the feeling of “home sweet home!”

After over heating Dad adds water to his truck
The move to Chadron includes a tough haul through the Pine Ridge. The hard pull going up the hill with 105 degree weather caused Dad’s semi to overheat. He had to stop, wait for it to cool down, and add water to the radiator before he could continue the move.

Brandon greasing
Brandon greases the ’98 before we get going for the day.

Best invention - back window opens so it can be washed
Since I was about 12 years old the boys have dubbed me the “professional window washer” of every vehicle so I’m pretty much an expert when it comes to this stuff. I’ve decided the CR cabs have the coolest invention: the back window actually opens so you can wash in between the window of the cab and the window of the grain tank. The TR versions did not have this and it was impossible to get this area clean – sometimes it would get so dirty you could barely see into the grain tank. Thanks for the innovation New Holland!

View from the '98 of thinner wheat
A view of the field from the cab of the ’98. Unfortunately, some of the fields received hardly any rainfall, drastically affecting yields.

Windrows in the field
Many of the farmers in the area have requested us to windrow their straw. We can reconfigure the straw chopper to make a windrow. This means we have to harvest the field in a uniformed manner and cut very low to the ground to gather the most amount of straw. We also have to be careful to not run over the windrows. Sometimes it feels like a maze!

Bales from the straw
The day after we finished cutting this field these square bales were already made. Due to the drought in the area many farmers and ranchers are haying the straw to help feed to their livestock.

Discussing plans durng lunch
Jose (our newest helper, who is a bit camera shy), James, and Brandon eat a quick lunch and make a “game plan” before we get ready to move fields.  

Moving down the highway
A view from the mirror of the service truck as we move down the highway to our next field. Brandon led the way with his CR while I followed in the service truck pulling a header. James moved the other CR followed by the pickup and his header.

Brandon hooks up his header
Brandon hooks up his header after a move.

Semi awaits to be loaded
The semi awaits to be loaded.

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

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