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Steph: Buy me a rain

Grafton, North Dakota—The buzz in the air around our little town is tangible during wheat harvest. The smell of the tiny bits of wheat chaff billowing around in the air, the hustle and bustle at dealerships and gas stations alike, the trail of grain running right down main street from that one truck that didn’t close his gate all the way … good times. You can’t drive down the highway without seeing a combine blowing dust in any direction, farmers all trying to get their wheat crop off in a timely fashion. Normally I would say they are trying to race the weather but, as previously mentioned, we can hardly buy a rain these days. Honestly, the chances of us receiving a drop during the entire month of August were looking mighty slim and then what do you know. Last night we received just under a quarter inch—God bless the Midwest.

“Look ma, no hands!”

First of many family selfies in the combine.

Black and white makes any photo look more majestic.

Pieter and his crew finished up not only wheat but also barley harvest within ten days. Grain harvest goes by way too fast around here. That might be the hardest adjustment about being home around the clock—the best part of harvest is so short lived. We were used to two to three months of nothing but wheat field after wheat field. But at home, you barely get a chance to get into any kind of rhythm and then BOOM, it’s over. On to the next crop.

Brandon and Dad planted a little later so they are still whiddling away at their wheat crop but will also be finished within a few days. They’ve both got jobs by day and then they farm by night so there is a delicate balance to be kept.

Ol’ Purp living her best life.

As predicted, the crop was not as bad as we all thought! Pieter said they averaged forty bushels per acre across the board, but they did see eighty bushels per acre in some fields. There were just a few bad areas overall that brought the average down. Test weights were consistent at 63 pounds. Brandon and Dad are seeing twenty to forty bushels with their crop. With the price where it is, not many are complaining and are hoping the shortage will cause a spike—here’s hoping! Cross your fingers and toes. The agriculture community needs you.

Jack got to experience his first wheat harvest and even got to “drive” the combine while we rode with Pieter. You can never start them too early. All of us harvesters and farmers alike can agree on that and we have certainly shown you that we aren’t all talk. Jack was wide awake the entire time, taking it all in, very much unlike me when I was a kid. Even now the header reel about lulled me to sleep. I will say that I have taken some of my best naps in the combine.

Grandma Loree showing Jack how to drive.

All smiles for mama!

Sunsets and sunflowers.

Stephanie Cronje can be reached at stephanie@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. 

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