All Aboard Harvest | One of those days
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One of those days

 Hemingford, Neb. – No matter what type of work you do, every day has it’s ups and downs. But we’ve all had those days that are just plain miserable and continue to get worse and worse while quitting time seems to drift farther away. Roland Harvesting recently had one of those downright awful days that was so terrible it lasted overnight and into the next morning.

Since Ashley and I are no longer on the harvest trail it’s very common to receive family group texts. Sometimes they’re of funny crew pictures, beautiful sunsets, or horrible breakdowns. The process keeps us in the loop of harvest and we truly empathize with anything that occurs.

This particular day was an extremely long day of work for myself at the hospital. Upon walking out of work I checked my phone and noticed an extensive group message I had been missing out on. My jaw dropped as soon as I began scrolling through the pictures. Although the following photos are only of cell phone quality, I figured they are worth sharing with you all to help illustrate the story.

Tractor and grain cart stuck
The whole fiasco began when the grain cart operator thought he had blown a tire. He stopped to check and that was when he noticed the loaded grain cart buried in a mud hole.

Dad was in the combine across the field so he stopped to talk the grain cart operator through the process of getting it out. As soon as Dad lost momentum he felt the combine start to lean to the right and he knew he was in trouble.

Buried so bad the shield almost touched the ground
After a few pulls on the hydrostat the CR didn’t move an inch. Upon hopping out of the combine this is what Dad found.

The tractor and tow rope didn't budge it
Using the farmer’s four-wheel drive tractor and tow rope they tried to pull out the combine but it wouldn’t budge.

Luckily, the tractor was able to pull out the grain cart. Since this all transpired at dusk, Dad decided it was better to wait until morning to get the combine out in daylight so nothing would be damaged in the process. Mom, Dad, and the crew said it was a restless night filled with lots of fretting, tossing, and turning.

Showing up to the field early the next morning the crew was greeted by this unpleasant sight.

The combine sunk overnight
The combine had indeed sunk even deeper overnight.

Tires almost completely buried
The combine was buried so deep that the side shield could barely be opened because it grazed the ground.

Morning after
With 8 inches of rain in the last 60 days prior to harvest, the soil was completely saturated. It was more like quicksand than actual mud.

Tow truck to the rescue
The crew began digging out around the tires using hand shovels and a
mini excavator. They also dug the mud out from under the clean grain elevator and the cleaning fan. This was done to prevent tearing up the underside of the combine as it was pulled out.

Mud like quick sand
To put this in perspective the drive tires you see are about 5 foot tall. Is there maybe a foot and a half free of mud?

Mini excavator helped dig out around the tires
After digging out the tires, Dad called in a local heavy tow truck to come winch out the combine.

Trying to dig out the tires
The grain tank was over half full of wheat increasing the weight of the entire load. Between the grain, combine, and header this whole rig weighed close to 60,000 pounds!

Group effort to get it pulled out
A few hundred bucks and 12 hours later the combine was FINALLY pulled out! It was certainly a group effort to get ‘er done. Thankfully, the combine remained damage free throughout the entire ordeal. The mud hole filled with over a foot of water after the combine was removed!

A children’s book by Judith Viorst summarizes perfectly: “It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Roland Harvesting is glad to have this kind of day behind us and feels blessed to have had a positive outcome. Here’s to a mud-free future for the rest of harvest! Oh, and in case anyone is wondering… In 35 years of harvest this is the WORST Dad has ever been stuck!

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. Megan can be reached at

  • Trish
    Posted at 12:43h, 08 August

    We all have those kind of days, thankfully the good ones far outweigh the bad. Hugs to the Rolands.

  • Jerry
    Posted at 13:52h, 08 August

    I’ve put the combine in the mud before, but never like that. I’m so glad it wasn’t me. Great news the combine wasn’t damaged in the process too.

  • Tom Stegmeier
    Posted at 18:05h, 08 August

    Back in 1989 it was a real wet year,we had to wait for the ground to freeze up to get some of the lower fields harvested. One of our neighbours had a TR85 and dropped through & its -15f out . Had to get 2 oilfield winch trucks with jewelry on (tire chains ) 0ne was used as a anchor.that 85 could have spent the winter there !!! This was at Rycroft Alberta.

  • Dan McGrew
    Posted at 10:14h, 09 August

    In the mid-forties, there were several extremely wet years making up for the drought of the 30s. For a half mile section of dirt road north of our ranch, the largest tractors around were parked for months on end to pull every truck, pickup and sedan through a seemingly bottomless sea of mud.
    Spring of ’43, a new moonshiner appeared at out door about 8 p.m., looking for a tractor to pull his NEW stake bed four-ton truck out of the mud.
    Assured there was no tractor in the immediate area capable of pulling his truck from the mud, he left to walk through the rain across the grassy pastureland four miles to where a crawler tractor could be hired. As soon as he left, my father started calling the neighbors to come fast with wagons, trucks, large tractors and people. Within two hours, five tons of sugar in 50 lb. bags had been unloaded from that new truck and distributed throughout the community. [WWII, sugar was severely rationed, gasoline was rationed and it essentially required an Act of Congress to get a new truck. The moonshiner had ration coupons for five tons of sugar and had been approved for a new truck. There was no LEGAL WAY for that moonshiner to possess the sugar, truck ,or the gasoline in the tank.
    The neighborhood relieved the moonshiner from law-breaking status on the sugar, providng every family with canning sugar until the war ended.