All Aboard Harvest | Laura: The other half
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Laura: The other half

Ellis and Rush County, Kansas – A few days ago I gave you an update for half the crew. Today I’ll give you the other half.

This part of the crew had similar issues as the one further south. We fought several days of rain and/or humidity. The wheat never completely dried down and stayed in the 12-13 percent moisture range, so it was something to be watched the entire time they were cutting. This area had some hail and disease, and we had to abandon a couple fields because there just wasn’t anything there. We saw yields anywhere from 0-55 bushels per acre.  

The elevator we hauled into was nice to work with and had great service. Let me explain. When I was out at the field, the first night they were really able to cut into the evening. I asked the question, “How late is the elevator staying open?” See, you don’t harvest until the elevator closes. You take your trucks in to dump as late as they’ll take you. Then you bring them back to the field and fill everything back up, so they’re ready to unload first thing in the morning. And this allows you a bit more precious cutting time. So, if the elevator closes at 10 p.m., I know to add a certain amount of cutting time to the back end to get an estimate on what time to expect the crew home that night. Well, on this particular day when I asked our truck driver what the elevator had said, he replied, “Well, they asked how late we wanted to cut!” Yes, that’s great harvest service right there!  

The next stop for this portion of the crew is west central Kansas in the Rush and Ellis county area. Just after our equipment arrived as requested on Thursday, a large storm packed with hail passed through the area. Actually, the storm camped out for awhile it seemed. This same farmer has had hail throughout the season and actually called us in Texas to warn us that he may have lost acres. Later, the adjuster determined the acres would need to be harvested. Now, they got it again. Have you noticed the not-so-pleasant trend this season?

Things dried out enough for the crew to begin cutting Friday afternoon. Today (Saturday) looks to be hot, and there’s a small chance of storms for this afternoon. Normally I wouldn’t hold my breath for a 40 percent chance of storms. But at the rate we’ve been going this season, I may do just that.

HPH 2017 - Tripod

They call themselves “the tripod!” (Photo credit: Albert)

HPH 2017 (Albert)

Field selfie. (Photo credit: Albert)


Guess it was as good a place as any for a picture. (Submitted by: Albert)


Pieter’s Harvest Relocation Service: Saving wildlife as needed from a Shelboure fate. This is field service only. He does not make house calls for pesky rodents. (Submitted by: Pieter)


Thanks to John Deere, High Plains Journal, and Western Equipment for sponsoring the harvest kickoff breakfast. It was nice to visit with everyone, and the kids were excited about the John Deere coloring books that Western Equipment gave them.


I couldn’t wrap up a state without at least one educational plug. Alabaster Caverns State Park was definitely worth the stop! Although I don’t have any pictures, the crew recommended Boiling Springs State Park. (Photo credit: Little Man)


Thursday’s storm. It was the start of a system that blew up throughout a portion of Kansas. (Photo credit: Laura)


At home, the hail fell off and on over a period of more than an hour. It came in a variety of sizes. Lucky us. (Photo credit: Laura)


In case you were wondering (I doubt you are, but humor me) how big the mountain of mail was after not collecting it for two days shy of four weeks, here’s what remains: a recycling bag of all the discarded paper, envelopes, junk mail, etc. Not pictured: all the paper that was actually filed! (Photo credit: Laura)


Despite the green, plenty of signs remain of the devastating fires that occurred in southern Kansas this spring. Makes a person’s stomach churn. Prayers continue for those effected. (Photo credit: Laura)


Round and round in Oklahoma. (Photo credit: Ryan)


Last few laps in Oklahoma. (Photo credit: Ryan)


Finished up Oklahoma just as the clouds rolled in. (Photo credit: Ryan)

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at

  • Thyrion Dominique
    Posted at 05:35h, 22 June

    Many thank’s for these good article.
    You make harvest live !

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 23:24h, 25 June

      So glad you enjoy them, Thyrion!

  • Dan McGrew
    Posted at 08:25h, 22 June

    Great to see there are actually deer on the plains.
    By 1940, all the deer and antelope herds were destroyed along with the buffalo.
    At Cambridge in 1958 I knew a 90-something who was born along the Republican Valley and as a child saw one lone buffalo wandering south of the river.
    A wheat farmer west of Stratton was making muzzle-loader rifles (Hawkins replicas, etc.) at that time.
    I got the photo of the first legal deer taken by him with one of his muzzle-loaders in Hitchkock County to publish in the McCook Gazette.
    Glad to see one leg of the Tripod has a big heart.

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 23:23h, 25 June

      Such interesting facts, Dan. We actually see quite a bit of deer on the prairie. I had the pleasure of watching a herd of antelope pass quite close to me the other night. I’ll post that photo soon.