All Aboard Harvest | Race against the rain
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Race against the rain

All Aboard Wheat Harvest Laura HaffnerBurkburnett, Texas/Clinton, Oklahoma—Just like any line of work, it seems like everyone has their own reason for joining a harvest crew. In my time with our crews, some of the reasons I’ve heard have included adventure, travel, big equipment, increasing/diversifying agricultural experience, lots of hours/pay or a combination of all of the above. For the guys who want lots of hours, now is the time. Crews in our area have been working lots of long hours lately to bring in the harvest. Conditions have been right so when we can roll, that’s what we must do. I’ve been told that harvest has historically wrapped up in this area by now, but because of the wet conditions in May, the area was only about 50 percent complete as of earlier this week. We have a chance for rain every day through Monday starting tomorrow, so we’ll continue to do everything we can to get as much out as possible today with hopes of minimal weather delays in the days to come.

Barbed wire fought the header but the header won (after the crew fought the dust and heat to untangle the mess). We sure didn’t need that hiccup. Yesterday the temperature was over 100! Luckily today was a few degrees cooler!

Crew member Westin Ellis sent this shot in from near Burkburnett, Texas.

Thankfully no augers were hurt in the making of this photo! Photo by Westin.

 The Oklahoma crew wrapped it up in Roosevelt, Tuesday night and were able to move yesterday. Mark just reported that they’re running in the Clinton, Oklahoma, area with three combines. It is a little slow at the moment as they are fighting some wheat that went down with the flooding. He says it appears that the field is going around 40 bushels per acre but they’ll have a more accurate idea a little later on. They are under the gun too as far as weather goes for the next several days. The National Weather Service currently isn’t forecasting anything less than a 50 percent chance of rain starting Friday through Monday. We don’t ever want to wish away rain, especially after the drought we’ve experienced, but we need to be able to make progress so we can move some machines to Kansas as soon as possible as they’ve starting cutting in the southern part of the state. However, it looks southern Kansas is forecasted to receive some rain as well so maybe it will time out in the end? That’s one thing about harvest and agriculture, nature is always willing to give you a challenge! It is never a dull moment!

The photos above were contributed by crew member Marnus Meyburgh.  The crew was cutting near Roosevelt, Oklahoma. 

Photo from Mark, near Roosevelt, Oklahoma.

Jill Tustin contributed this photo of our crew cutting near Clinton, Oklahoma, today.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at

  • Dan McGrew
    Posted at 09:45h, 14 June

    Harvest was moving into North Dakota, July 6, 1950.
    After working free for my father through July 3, I started chasing the combines. July 7 pulled into Walden, Colorado up in North Park to pick up the mountain hay harvest. Combine operators mad $35-$50 daily, Beaver Slide crew stackers made $35, but it was cool and the trout fishing out the back door of the bunk house was great. We regularly ate fresh venison. That summer the boss and three hands chased a rogue grizzly three days along the Medicine Bows after he got into the sheep flock gathered in the sheering shed pens. Mountain cattlemen of that era raised sheep so they could afford to raise cows. That grizzly wiped out at least one year’s profits from the entire operation.
    Learned later from other Ag Students at Stillwater that the wheat harvest moved so fast and was so light, many custom operators lost their shirts on the season.
    Back then, it was have a profitable wheat season, because that was all there was. Those old Gleaners were not all crop harvesters.

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 21:04h, 15 June

      That sounds like an adventure! Thanks for sharing your memories.

  • Ben Johnson
    Posted at 02:22h, 15 June

    As an old ex Oklahoma farmer I really enjoy your stories and pictures. Although it’s been well over 30 years since I left the farm to join the Air Force, I still get that harvest itch every year. Reading your stories helps scratch it a little bit, but it’s true, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy”. I would like to know what type and size headers are you using, and why, and what does John Deere think of it? Good luck and keep on rolling. Thanks for all you do.
    Yours truly,
    Ben Johnson

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 09:06h, 16 June

      Hi Ben! I’m glad reading the blog as been fun for you! Thanks for serving our country in the Air Force.

      To try to answer your questions, we run 35 foot John Deere draper headers. We have learned that this size is currently most beneficial to us in regards to transporting and mobility in and out of our fields. We also run 32 foot Shelbourne stripper headers for some of our farmers who want to leave more residue standing in their fields. I’m sorry, but I don’t understand you last question regarding John Deere. Perhaps you could clarify and I can try to answer that too.

      Kind Regards, Laura

  • Ben Johnson
    Posted at 00:32h, 17 June

    Thank you for your answer. The blue headers were the stripper headers, if I’m not mistaken. I thought they were conventional headers, thus the confusion on my part. When I was a little kid my dad and a neighbor used to do custom harvesting. He had a Massey Ferguson Super 92 with a 14 foot header. He would take the sideboards and tailgate off our 1956 Studebaker truck and just load the combine on the truck with the header on it. They would go all the way up into Canada each summer. It’s interesting how much some things have changed, but in the over-all scheme of things, it’s still the same job. Good luck and good cutting.

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 10:48h, 18 June

      Yes, Ben, the blue headers are our Shelbourne stripper headers.

      Thanks for sharing your story. It is sure fun to hear about harvests of years gone by. You are correct, so many things have changed, yet so much remains the same!

      Thanks for the well wishes!