Janel: Catching back up to the harvest

Southwestern North Dakota–Everything is good here. They’ve got a good crop for us to cut this year. It looks like 40-bushel wheat and the forecast is hot and dry. I just got to southwestern North Dakota after four days of traveling up from western Kansas. The harvest is just getting started around here. There is some wheat cut but there is also green wheat around, which is the first green wheat I’ve seen all summer. Everywhere I’ve been the wheat has been more than ready to cut. I just traveled across four states and am finally catching back up to the harvest.

Traveling up here had its challenges. There was road construction in North Platte, Nebraska. There were no warning signs or width restriction signs on Highway 83. We had two trucks on the first trip north. One was hauling a tractor grain cart and the other one hauling double grain trailers. We made it through but it was an awfully tight fit for our tractor grain cart crossing the downtown construction zone and overpass bridge with cones in the middle of the lanes and heavy traffic from each direction. I had truck troubles twice. When we backtracked through Nebraska we had to go without air conditioning for 130 miles and it was nearly 100 degrees outside. We blew a tire on our drop deck trailer south of Lemmon, South Dakota. It was a 16-ply tire. We bought two new ones for $900. Moving this equipment around definitely has its challenges. For one, it costs money to move our equipment up and down the roads. It is often nerve-wracking and can wear an owner out. It’s always stressful but somehow we manage it though. The weather also plays a huge part. It was super hot traveling up here and on Sunday we were without any breeze at all and it was miserable hauling combines north that day.

Traveling across that many states and miles though I always enjoy getting to see so much beautiful country. The Sandhills of Nebraska are stunning. The landscape of South Dakota is so pretty. I saw a lot of motorcycles on this trip across the Dakotas which is normal at this time of year. I’ve had others ask me if I’m going to Sturgis and the answer is always no. I’ve never been and I’m not ever going. I don’t ride motorcycles and I don’t like crowds and I’ve got wheat to cut while all of that is going on. I also always enjoy seeing all of the livestock and ranches. South Dakota is cattle country and prime country for agriculture. It is quite the sight to see big herds of cattle and buffalo on grass. I’m glad we are finally here in North Dakota and am anxious to get back in the field cutting wheat. Hopefully we’ll be cutting wheat here later today.

Janel Schemper can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by Case IH, Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc., BASF, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Gleaner, ITC, Westbred, Huskie, Western Equipment, US Custom Harvesters, and High Plains Journal.   

Unloading on the tractor and grain cart in western Kansas.

Harvesting the last quarter of wheat in western Kansas. The weeds were growing and it was time to get this wheat harvested.

Harvesting late in the evening on a Friday night in western Kansas. This field averaged 47 bushels per acre.

My combine shadow. I love this time of day! This quarter yielded 66 bushels per acre. Overall, Kansas had a nice wheat crop for us to harvest this year.

Harvesting wheat late at night in western Kansas.

I think we got rained out about five times while we were in western Kansas. We were cutting down a trail road and luckily got the field done before it rained but it started raining while we were moving to the farmyard in the dark.

We got rained out the night before and the pickup got muddy. We took it to the north car wash in Scott City, Kansas, and got in trouble with the owner lady. While my mom and I were washing the pickup the owner lady stormed in and said she didn’t want any mud in her car wash so we left. Being a harvester has it’s ongoing challenges.

Leaving western Kansas at sunrise.

A 6 a.m. sunrise in western Kansas. So beautiful.

Finally on the move north. Hello, Nebraska! Always good to see you!

The Sandhills of Nebraska historical marker. I love reading the historical markers in Nebraska.

My dad and I haul the equipment. Here we were stopped in northern Nebraska. We had just fueled up and parked for the day. It was 96 degrees on this afternoon. 

Hauling combines up another big hill in South Dakota.

Catching back up to the harvest in southwestern North Dakota. Seeing some green in the spring wheat but some fields are already cut.


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