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Megan: Wrapping up home harvest

Hemingford, Neb. – The heat of home harvest has just about simmered out. Over the weekend we encountered some not so friendly cutting weather, which certainly slowed things down as well. The few drops of rain in the area along with high humidity, overcast skies, and cool temperatures (even dipping down into the low 60’s) meant Roland Harvesting had to shut down for about two days.  Resting and enjoying some down time is what I figured these off days would be filled with. But, I’ve come to realize that our crew is very lousy at just hanging out and relaxing. It seems like we always have to be keeping busy with something. With that being said, our two “rain days” were filled with various projects on the farm, paperwork, and tinkering with equipment. I think one afternoon we finally snuck a little nap in though. It was after Mom’s home cooked meal of chicken fried steak and all the goodies. Trying to get any work done after a meal like that is near impossible!

Most of the dry land wheat in the Hemingford area has been cut out with the exception of few fields that were planted later.  Meanwhile, most of the irrigated wheat is just getting started. Overall, the wheat in the Hemingford area continues to do well, although yields have really varied. Most of the fields have yielding between 30 to 40 bushels per acre, with some fields dropping down into the 20’s and others making in the 60’s. The test weights have stayed in the low 60’s with proteins ranging between 10 to 16 percent.

There remains controversy about the extent of frost damage for much of the wheat in the Nebraska panhandle. During the first week of May the area had a few hard freezes. Due to the early ripening of the wheat this year, many farmers were concerned with the amount of damage this caused. Weather also took a toll on the area in June as west of Hemingford was hit by a terrible hail storm, ruining many farmers’ wheat crop. In fact, many farmers on that side of the county bailed their damaged wheat to try to compensate the costs. As we finish up around home we also have the ’98 whittling away about 60 miles away near Rushville, Nebraska.

Unloading on the go
James and Jose unload on the go as they finish up the field. We’ve been training Jose the last couple weeks on the grain cart and he’s picked up on it pretty well.

Brandon in action
Brandon zooms through the field and dusts me about two seconds after this picture was taken. Sibling love is even evident out in the field and work place!  

All loaded up
That is one loaded truck! We usually try to make pretty little piles in the middle but that doesn’t always happen. Once you tarp the truck and start heading down the road it all shakes down anyways. Oh, and please take note how clean the CR’s get that wheat!

Dad finding the belt for the '98
When a header belt broke on the ’98 earlier this week we were all concerned about trying to find a new one since it’s an older model. However, Dad just hopped in the pickup, headed to my grandparents place, drove through a lot filled with “retired” equipment to a place that looked like a “combine graveyard.” Old combine parts, headers, belts, pulleys, and chains scattered the ground. I just laughed thinking there was no way we could find the exact part for the header in this old, rusted junk pile. But, sure enough, Dad looked around maybe two minutes and proudly emerged from the “combine graveyard” with the belt we needed. I was quite impressed and quickly retracted my statement about all the “junk!”

The joys of paperwork
The other side of harvest that rarely brings fun and joy to mind: Paperwork. Going over bills, adding up customer tickets, filling out collecting sheets, looking over combine payments, figuring out fuel expenses…the list goes on and on. To be honest, this part of the harvest business is just as important as actually cutting the wheat.

Brandon, Dad, Uncle Carl, and James
After twisting a few arms I was finally able to capture a nice “father-son” photo of the Roland men. Brandon and Dad along with Uncle Carl and James proudly stand in front of the CR.

James, Carl, Dad, Brandon and Jose messing around
Jose was the culprit as to why the “father-son” photo was such a fiasco. He kept teasing them, making faces at them, and causing them to uproar in laughter. Finally, I made Jose go join them. Can you say goofballs?

A view from the CR
A view from James’s CR as it combines away near Hemingford, Nebraska.

Stubble field
The draper headers and CR’s sure do make the field look nice after its cut. That’s some good looking stubble!

Leanna, Darin, and me during a HPJ visit
We recently had a nice visit from Darrin and Leanna, interns from the High Plains Journal. They trekked all the way up from Dodge City, Kansas to Hemingford to come visit Roland Harvesting. Since it was a fairly calm day for us they were able to hear our whole harvest teaching spill. We sure enjoyed their company and thank them for making the journey to come see us! Above: Leanna, Darrin, and I pose for a quick photo before they get ready to hit the road again.

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


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