All Aboard Harvest | Field Swamps 101
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Field Swamps 101

Grafton, ND – I kid you not, there are fields with ruts from one end to the other.  No matter where the combine drove, it left a rut-shaped tattoo. That is what 95 percent of the fields look like in Walsh County, North Dakota. Since we got our tracks put on last week, dad’s phone has been ringing off the hook with more wheat to cut and it’s been the best kind of scramble. 40 acres here and 60 acres there and maybe a quarter somewhere in there each day, all for different farmers in the area. The thing about tracks is that when roading the combine from place to place, the header must always be removed and thrown on the trailer. Also, the tracks only allow for a whopping speed of 15 mph even in the highest gear the combine has to offer. Good thing we have lots of practice loading combines on trailers!

If you’re driving a combine, you need to be extra careful where you go in order to stay on solid ground. If you’re driving grain cart, you need to make sure to unload the combine extra often to keep it as empty as possible. There is also a good chance you’ll be taking the long way to the trucks to steer clear of the ruts and getting stuck yourself. If you’re driving truck, you may need to park on the road in order to not get caught full in the field with no way to move. The wheat is of good quality so it’s well worth the hectic harvest. The protein is between 13 and 14 in content and test weights are in the 60s.

I feel like a bit of a broken record lately with my posts but we seem to be stuck in a weather pattern that is determined to complicate harvest as much as possible. This past weekend, it began raining around 11p.m. and continued to be rainy and cloudy until Tuesday morning. And, low and behold, there is rain in the forecast for Wednesday afternoon and on to the end of the week. Looks like the crops will get to have another swimming lesson before harvest will begin again.

Introducing the tracks.

Introducing… the tracks.

Making dust amongst the water.

Making dust amongst the water.

Grain cart action.

Grain cart action.

Ruts on ruts.

A field of ruts.

A wheat field or a puddle?

A wheat field or a wheat puddle?

It's unbelievable how much these tracks can go through.

It’s unbelievable how much these tracks can go through.

Dad and Farmer Lloyd, surveying the mess of a field.

Dad and Farmer Lloyd, surveying the mess of a field.

Side view.

Side view.

Farmer Lloyd yells at me "your camera is going to break" as he smiles for the camera. :)

Farmer Lloyd yells at me “your camera is going to break” as he cracks a smiles. 🙂

Peeking through.

Peeking through.

Crusing around the corner.

Cruising around the corner.

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

  • Rob
    Posted at 06:57h, 07 September

    Someone is going to have a lot of tillage work to do UP their !!!!! Here in PA we can’t even get a drink!!!

    • Steph Osowski
      Posted at 13:44h, 09 September

      Hi Rob, yes everyone has been forced to work their fields 3-5 times more than average to try and maintain the fields for next year. It’s an odd year and one for the books, that’s for sure!

  • Lee
    Posted at 08:23h, 07 September

    Steph what kind of tracks do u guys have, ati? How come u have to go so slow? Our neighbours have them on jd’s and they can go pretty decent speed on the road.
    Have a good rest of the harvest!

    • Steph Osowski
      Posted at 13:43h, 09 September

      Hi Lee, we were advised to go so slow and steady while we road because it’s rough on the tracks when going too fast. We rented the tracks from a guy a couple hours south of us, I’m not sure what kind they are. I just know they are specific to the NH combines. Since we are renting, we want to make sure to give them back in as good of shape as we received them in. Happy harvest to you as well!

  • Tom Stegmeier
    Posted at 18:39h, 07 September

    Steph , I know you feel,In 1982 & 89 were a mud bog harvest. We swathed every thing ,so you pick up a swath go around a few water holes ,Oh & then the swath ends hit a soft spot and you’ve got a hopper thats getting half full or better time to find a swath that will get you back to the trucks. A corn maze or what.

    • Steph Osowski
      Posted at 13:42h, 09 September

      Yes, that would be just like what we are dealing with. It’s pretty tough going and it just keeps raining more and more each week. We are hoping to finish up wheat within the week but we will see what Mother Nature has to say about that. Thanks for the comment!