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Megan: Home Stretch

Hemingford, Neb. – After three weeks of cutting, waiting on wet wheat, moving across multiple counties and dodging rain, Roland Harvesting is FINALLY in the home stretch of home harvest. On Tuesday, we were able to complete our harvest run in Chadron, making it the longest stretch of time we have ever been there! Usually we pull into Chadron and are able to have the entire stop cut out before we even begin harvest at home. This year we were hung up there due to green wheat and tons of rain. Luckily we were able to shuffle combines and trucks around to back home, about 30 miles away, so we could keep busy.

With the last few sunshine-filled days drying things out we were also able to finish our final fields west of Hemingford, meaning 2013 home wheat harvest is officially done!  We still have a few fields of peas to knock out at home but it looks like the TR 98 and CR 9060 can get them all harvested in a day or two. In the meantime, we are in the midst of moving home all of our equipment, blowing it off, cleaning it up, and loading it onto the trailers. We plan to leave for our next stop near Dickinson, North Dakota tomorrow with the CR 8090, CR 9070 and grain cart. However, this move means another split for the Roland Harvesting crew. Mom and Dad will stay at home to finish up the peas then will head to Worland, Wyoming in a couple of days to harvest malting barley with their combine.

CR's cutting away
Cutting away one afternoon when the sun was actually out! Many mornings have been filled with clouds but every once in a while they disappear and let us back into the field.

CR's ready to move
After taking their headers off, Brandon and Jose prepare to move their combines to a new field.

Trailer with broken window
Our grain trailers have a very neat and useful feature on them – mini windows on the side so we can visualize how full the trailer is with grain.

Fun fact: When unloading on the truck, you should always do so on the opposite side of the tarp, so you don’t risk damaging the tarp and so you can see better. These windows are only located on this side as well.

So here’s the funny part about this picture, look closely. The bottom right window is actually missing. After bringing the truck back from the elevator one of truckers was walking around the rig and noticed the rubber seal to be torn and the window gone. On this particular day we were very busy and had all three combines up and running. We needed every one of our trucks to keep up with the high volume of wheat we were cutting. With this mishap putting us in a bind, Dad quickly took the trailer to our shop and made a make-shift cover with wood and bolts. It was enough to keep grain from spilling out of the trailer so it worked for us!

Trailer window
Left: Uh-oh, no window! It’s a good thing we found this before we started unloading grain into the trailer again. Middle: Our “quick fix” that let us continue to use the trailer. Right: Ten days later we finally were able to get the window replaced. Thank you to ACR Glass of Alliance for helping us out!

Brandon wires up a clamp
When it’s in the heat of harvest our crew is all about rigging together things so we can keep cutting. Above: Brandon uses wire to adjust his chopper setting since the lever for this is broken.

Stubble view of combine and grain cart
A stubble view of the combine and grain cart.

All lined up to service
The three combines all lined up in the morning, waiting to get serviced for the day.

Kasey fixing a sickle
Kasey replaces a sickle on the header.

Grain cart unloading on the truck
The grain cart loading up another truck.

Blue-bird skies over the wheat
One of the few actual blue-bird days we had during home harvest.

Brandon in the cab
“Hurry up and cut” has often been our motto for the past few weeks! Threatening clouds in the horizon taunt us as we try to finish this field.

Jose adding up tickets
Jose adds up the tickets for one of our farmers. Another person always crunches the numbers as well to double check the math.

3 combines together!
I have been waiting ALL summer long to finally get a photo of all 3 combines in the field together…and here it is! Of course, the wind was blowing a million miles an hour and a storm was headed our way, but, by golly, I finally got it.

Buckwheat in our wheat field
We ran into some lodged wheat in the Chadron area. In this particular field it was due to buckwheat.

Close up of buckwheat seeds
Here is a close-up of buckwheat seeds next to a couple of wheat kernels. Despite the name, buckwheat is actually not related to wheat; it’s more closely related to rhubarb and knotweed.

Buckwheat in the field
The vines of the buckwheat actually grow up around the stalk of the wheat. This made the combining process rather slow going because we didn’t want to slug the ’98 with the buckwheat vines.

Overview of the field
We moved to our very last field in Chadron right at dusk. Look at this beautiful view we were able to enjoy!

Cutting at dusk
The ’98 making another round as we lose our last bit of daylight. We had to stop cutting shortly after dark due to the buckwheat and tough straw. We came back the next morning and finished the field before lunch.

Beautiful sunset over the field
Now, this is the perfect way to end the day.

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


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