07 Sep So long, summer run…
Home: I can’t believe its time for me to write my closing post. I’m happy to report that all of our crew and equipment made it home last week safely from the summer run. They spent the remainder of the week completing preparations for corn harvest and jockeying equipment into position. We originally thought that we’d begin picking (almost said cutting—it’s time to switch the lingo) last week, however, the corn harvest season officially kicked off on Labor Day. Fall harvest for our crew consists of corn, soybeans, and grain sorghum (milo). We will remain in Kansas for these jobs.
I’ve pondered long and hard about what I would say to wrap this year up. However, you’ve spent the summer hearing my perspective of the rains in Texas, phenomenal yields and great cutting weather of western Kansas and eastern Colorado, and the ups and downs of waiting for the right cutting conditions in Montana and North Dakota. I thought instead of rehashing the same memories, maybe you would enjoy hearing thoughts from some of our crew members.
What job do you like the most and least while working on the crew?
Willem: Obviously driving the combine and my least favorite is cleaning the camper.
Charel: I enjoyed driving grain cart because it kept me busy all the time. I like to be moving all the time. My least favorite is to fix the stuff that broke down.
Albert: My most favorite is probably being out in the field in the combine. My least favorite is breakdown of equipment.
Shaun: The thing I most liked was when everyone knew what they were doing and seeing the crop getting off the field. The weather isn’t always cooperative. That’s hard.
Pieter: The job I like the most is running combine. I guess the job I like the least is servicing combines.
Henry: I like getting to see new places, combining, grain carting, all of it. Blowing combines off in the morning instead of the evening is my least favorite.
It is being said that wheat harvest in western Kansas was a once in a lifetime harvest. What was it like to be a part of harvesting a historical crop?
Willem: It was a good thing! It was good to see the good attitudes of farmers during harvest.
Charel: It was good to be part of it. To see the smile on the farmers’ faces was good. It made me enjoy it like they (the farmer) do and be able to cut a good yielding crop.
Albert: It was great to see the smile on all the farmers faces and to see the achievement they reached. One particular older farmer told me that in all his years of experience he’d never seen anything like it. To see his facial expression and gratitude was great.
Pieter: It was special. It was great to know the farmers made really good yields. I was amazed by the crops from this year to last year and it was an honor to be here again.
Henry: It actually felt pretty amazing to be a part of a historical harvest.
What was your favorite harvest stop and why?
Willem: Scott City was the most beautiful place we visited. It is similar to where we live in South Africa. It felt like home, but better! The wheat and good yields and pivots with maize were beautiful. I wish I could have a set up like that at home one day. I celebrated my birthday there too so it felt even more like home. I also enjoyed Texas and North Dakota.
Charel: I guess it was Hoxie. The wheat was really good and it was nice to be in such good wheat.
Albert: It’s hard to compare them. All of them are fun. Scott City was great because of the wheat and weather was cooperating perfectly.
Shaun: I enjoyed cutting for the people in Flemming. They really appreciated the harvesters. They did a lot of extras this year.
Pieter: Garrison and Sharon Springs. In Garrison, I enjoyed the people and the scenery. It was a really beautiful place. It was really amazing cutting the yields in Sharon Springs.
Henry: The place I liked the most was passing through northern Nebraska and southern South Dakota. The winding roads, different types of scenery and hills. I just liked the scenery.
What is a favorite memory from the harvest experience?
Willem: The best memory was cutting the last field with my brother (Pieter). It had been our dream since young boys to harvest together and it was a pivotal point when we completed the last field together and realized we made our dream happen. That photo will be in my office some day (the photo he is referencing was in the last AAWH article).
Charel: I met good friends and good people on the road. It was nice to be in Montana and see the country. It was beautiful.
Albert: Going to Glacier National Park was a memorable experience. Seeing all the beautiful nature was a highlight of my year so far.
Shaun: Glacier National Park. That was something I haven’t seen in my life so that was the biggest moment for me.
Pieter: The first time I cut with my brother (Willem). That was really special to me.
Henry: Getting everything ready for harvest and moving down to Texas. The anticipation for the season was fun.
With all the ups and downs that happen on harvest, was it worth it?
Willem: Definitely. I didn’t know if I had it in me to do such long hours. It taught me what I’m able to do and I learned more of who I am. I also learned a lot from Ryan about how a young guy got started and how he runs his business. I can use that information when I go home to my own thing.
Charel: Totally. I learned a lot. I had more good times than bad times. It was nice to see this side of the world and how you do it and be a part of a harvesting crew in the States.
Albert: Yes, definitely. Most definitely.
Shaun: Definitely. Every harvest has ups and downs.
Pieter: Ahhhh, yes. For sure. Every day is a different day. You never know what you’re going to get. It’s just part of the job. It’s amazing.
Henry: Yeah, it was worth it. We saw hard days and worked through them and got to the end. We saw a whole lot of good days.
I appreciate our crew sharing their thoughts. They spent many long hours working hard on the harvest trail I hope you enjoyed a bit of a different spin as we close down the wheat harvest season.
Of course, we have a list of people to thank before we say our final goodbye! Thank you to our customers for trusting HPH for your summer harvesting needs. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you. Without you, we would not be here.
Thanks also to the people along the trail who keep us up and running and able to serve our customers. Thanks to our neighbors who help around our farm and home giving us a peace of mind while we’re away. Thanks to our family and friends who are understanding of our crazy schedule!
Thank you to High Plains Journal for allowing our crew and I to be a part of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest lineup. It has truly been a privilege to be a correspondent for a second year and an opportunity I don’t take lightly. Thank you also to our sponsors: New Holland, ITC, Unverferth, WestBred and Kuhn Krause. Your support for this project does not go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated. Thank you also to the readers. Without you and your continued interest, encouragement, questions, and comments, there would be no need for a project like this. It has been a joy to share our harvest story with you and interact with those of you who reach out each year.
If you haven’t had enough harvest yet, feel free to look us up on our Facebook page for photos and updates from the fall run. And for those of you who are already dreaming of the start of the next wheat harvest, don’t fear, we’re only approximately 288 days away until Wheat Harvest 2017 begins!
We hope you have a safe and happy fall wherever you reside! Until another time…
All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.