Laura: The Great White Combine Strikes Again

Ellis County, Kansas- We are just wrapping up our cutting here on the eastern edge of northwest Kansas. Like so many of our jobs this season, it has also been a mixed bag of yields thanks to angry weather. It’s estimated that over three-fourths of this farmer’s wheat was damaged, and some quite severely, by hail. One of the highest yielding fields had 20 percent hail damage but still made around 60 bushels per acre. We’ve seen yield ranging from 20-60 bushels per acre and test weights hovering around 60 pounds per bushel. That’s one of the heartbreaking things about agriculture. We farmers try to do all the right things for our operations and may or may not see a positive return on that investment. 

Last night we had the pleasure of meeting wheat harvest enthusiast Dale and his wife Darlene. They are just beginning what I will call their annual “Tour de Wheat Harvest.” Yesterday had been a crazy day of logistics and planning as we are wrapping up and anticipating our next move(s). In addition, the tractor decided it had enough of harvest and quit on the road. Not only were we dealing with a frustrating situation, but also potentially dangerous as night was approaching.

Luckily, it was an easy fix once the part was obtained, and we shouldn’t complain because we’ve been having a fairly good run equipment wise. All of this was going on about the time the visitors came to the field; but I will have to trust that Dale understood, since he reportedly was managing a crew of combines himself (once upon a time) at the age of 19! May you both have safe and enjoyable travels as you continue taking in the harvest. And Darlene, I’ve been enjoying reading and appreciate the great informational packet on dyslexia for my teaching file.

We have entered the time of the season when we temporarily fragment out. We soon will have combines running in southeast Colorado and Scott County, Kansas.

HPH Hail

The Great White Combine strikes again. An example of a field that was hailed on with lots of bent and/or broken stems- not a pleasant sight. Despite the damage, it was yielding around 30 bushels per acre. (Contributed by: Ryan)


Something must have been pretty interesting.


HPH - 2017

Just a pretty picture of wheat, doing what wheat does at harvest time. (Photo credit: Laura)


Dan and Burt making a few laps together.



If you look closely, you can see a pheasant that flushed just to the left of the combine. What lucky timing! (Photo credit: Laura)

Post Rock Country

Post rock country. (Photo credit: Laura)

Small Town USA

There’s something peaceful about small towns. (Photo credit: Laura)


This job requires a fair bit of shuffling. (Photo credit: Laura)


Thanks for yielding to your friendly photographer! (Photo credit: Laura)


Next comes a truck. (Photo credit: Laura)

HPH-(Credit Pieter)

Somehow I missed this picture from Pieter a few weeks ago. I thought I would go ahead and add it since it was a neat shot of burning the midnight oil. (Submitted by: Pieter)

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


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