All Aboard Harvest | Janel: Trip #1 Is Accomplished
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Janel: Trip #1 Is Accomplished

Janel: Trip #1 Is Accomplished

Holdrege, Nebraska – I got a call from Dad at 6:00 a.m. saying, “Are you ready to go?” Yes, sure, I’m on my way! I’ll be there in a minute. I got to the shop and Dad says to me, “Do you want to drive that truck and haul the combine?” Yes! Of course I do! And away we went.

Overall, we had a good day. The sun was shining and there was hardly any wind. What I saw on my 400-plus mile trip south was that Kansas has a good wheat crop. Oklahoma looked alright too. Some might make 30 to 40 bushels per acre, and that is good. They grazed the wheat too, so a 30-plus bushel crop is good. I also saw quite a bit of standing water in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. Hot air and wind will hopefully dry up the fields in time for harvest. If not, dealing with muddy conditions is sometimes just part of it.
Howard Hale called me while I was traveling south and he was interested in a Harvest USA report. I wish I was cutting wheat already, but just hadn’t made it there yet. We decided we’ll do a radio interview early next week. Stay tuned! However, I told him he could call JC for an interview because he is in southwest Oklahoma picking up canola and Jared is there harvesting wheat!

What else did I see on this trip south and then back home (800-plus total miles)? There are a lot of custom cutters moving combines down south for harvest. I saw pickups and campers parked in lots after dark. Some just “rough it” for the night. I’ve done the same many times. That means that you just sleep in the camper without “setting up the camper.” This entails no electricity or water. Some drivers may just sleep in their truck too. After hauling a combine and traveling many miles, it’s easy to fall asleep at night, and you can actually sleep very well regardless of being without all of the common necessities. When I got home just a little before midnight, I felt super glad to have that trip done and over with. I was tired.

The next trip south will be any day now, and I’ll haul another combine. This time we’ll take the campers and that’s what I’ll call home for the next three to four months. We’ll be gone harvesting wheat (and some canola) and won’t return home until September to harvest fall crops including wet corn, soybeans, dry corn and maybe a tad bit of milo too. I am a U.S. custom harvester, and I work hard at harvesting and enjoy it because I am a proud American. Custom cutters harvest the grain that feeds the world. We have to have farmers and ranchers in order to survive. Without them (us), we wouldn’t have food. The next time you get to enjoy a doughnut, cereal or bread just think about the wheat harvesters. That’s who I am, and that’s what we do! We harvest wheat from Texas to North Dakota all summer long. Farmers feed the world. Thank a farmer!

Schemper 2017 - May 2017 All Aboard

This is the truck I drove. I hauled a combine and a 40 foot header south to Oklahoma, 400-plus miles south of home. (Photo by Janel Schemper.)


All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere.  Janel Schemper can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com.

4 Comments
  • nancy eberts
    Posted at 15:04h, 26 May

    Roll on neighbor! Hoping the crops turn out as good as your prediction. See ya on the road.

    • Janel Schemper
      Posted at 18:34h, 26 May

      Thank you Nancy Eberts! Hope you’re rolling right along!
      janel

  • Dan McGrew
    Posted at 08:59h, 27 May

    Janel, do you consider that sleeper cab roughing it?
    About 1949-56, we pulled combines with three-ton grain trucks, slept on the truck seats or spread our bedrolls in the truck beds or in any weather, under the combine. During season, usually spread the bedrolls under the combines in the field, maybe propped a tarp up on the windy side. Many of the bosses’ wives cooked in a tent in the field, but they usually had a cot inside the tent to sleep on.
    2015 – Saw a crew, where the boss had a 40-foot box trailer luxury conversion. They had a king size bed and jacuzzi tub in that “roughing it rig.”

    • Janel Schemper
      Posted at 08:43h, 31 May

      Dan McGrew,
      Hello! THANK you for your comment! I’ve heard the same type stories from my Dad and my Grandfather. And to think that the young help today think it’s so tough staying in a brand new camper.