03 Jul Janel: An Unusual Harvest
Enders, Nebraska – I’ve traveled quite a few miles the past couple of days while moving equipment from Kansas up north to southwest Nebraska. Our Kansas run was short this year. Usually we spend the 4th of July in western Kansas but there was nothing there for us to cut this year. I have seen way too many fields harvested by the great white combine. We have lost wheat acres this summer due to hail. Hail is bad not only for the farmer but also for the custom harvester. It really throws a wrench in our plans. There’s been an awful lot of hail this season.
Lately, I think we’ve been burning more fuel in the pickup than in the combines. This has been one of the most unusual harvests. Harvest is most enjoyable when it’s full blast and we’re harvesting lots of acres and bushels. We’ve had lots of “no fun” this harvest. The rain lately has delayed us. Almost every time we have a storm there’s a threat of hail. I haven’t ever seen so much wheat with hail damage along our route. It’s disappointing and really makes a mess. It leaves the harvester without work.
I have been taught to think that things can always be worse. On the bright side, we do have wheat to cut and places to be. All we need is hot and dry weather to get the wheat harvested. A positive for this year is there is no sign of wheat streak mosaic virus in the fields. That was a big problem last year.
Sometimes I think I should be a combine saleslady. The market is flooded with combines and nowadays most farmers buy combines. There is also so much row crop planted now that it’s starving the wheat harvesters. The wheat acres are not out here like they used to be.
Another tough deal for harvesters is that sometimes there’s no place to park. If you have truck or tire troubles on the road it can be tough to find a place to park out here on the harvest trail. Some of the small towns we travel through don’t have a place where we can park even temporarily.
We have cut some decent wheat this summer which is good. We do feel fortunate for what we have cut this far and we are hopeful we’ll have a really good run somewhere on our harvest route. We like to stay busy while we’re on harvest. There should be a government subsidy for U.S. custom harvesters when the harvest run is short on acres and bushels. An industry that feeds you is an industry worth fighting for. The world runs on America’s grains.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Janel Schemper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org