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Janel: Training the crew

Southwest Oklahoma–The start of harvest is very challenging because there is so much that goes into training the crew. There is a lot of noise on harvest crews’ two-way radios because literally there is so much training going on constantly. Most of the employees on harvest crews are seasonal workers and experience the harvest maybe one or two seasons only–some less and some more. The amount of questions asked in a day’s time when harvest is starting out is challenging because it takes the skill of patience to deal with training. Eventually with time, hopefully everyone catches on and things get easier for all on the harvest crews.

Our entire crew got to attend the annual harvesters’ safety day meeting in Wichita Falls, Texas, last week. It was sponsored by Case IH and US Custom Harvesters, Inc. Several crews attended because it had been raining and nobody could get in the field. Then the following day we attended the MacDon harvest kickoff breakfast meeting in Vernon, Texas, and the place was full of harvesters and their crews. That was great to see because safety education is very important and safety should always be a No.1 priority for all.

We had a few days of rain when we got here but it’s been wheat cutting time ever since. The wheat that was grazed has been yielding around 20 bushels per acre. We have cut wheat here that has made 30 to 70 bushels per acre as well. The test weights have been anywhere from 59 to 63 pounds per bushel. It’s common to cut a lot of seed wheat while we are here too. This means it’s weighed and tested at the elevator then the farmer we’re working for sets up an auger at their bin site and we unload the grain into an auger.

Overall, we’ve actually had pretty good cutting conditions because the wind has been blowing over 20 miles per hour every day and the wind gusts have been up to 45 miles per hour. With heat and wind it really works wonders for getting wheat cut. It’s been hot–in the 100s everyday lately.

I think we will be getting done here pretty soon. I really hope we get done before it rains again. I don’t want to sit here in a mud hole. We’ve had hot days and been blessed to have gotten over the wheat acres. Wheat is currently worth $11 to 12 per bushel so the farmers are wanting their wheat cut.

However, I’m very concerned about what is going on up in North Dakota. It’s been very wet there this spring so they’ve been struggling to get anything planted. I’m really hoping they get their crop in and we’ll be able to harvest spring wheat and canola at our usual last stop on wheat harvest. I’m going to be very disappointed if we don’t get to cut there this year because it’s my favorite place to cut wheat and canola. It sounds like they had a few days of planting and crews were going 24/7 trying to get the crop planted. Everyone, please be safe.

Janel can be reached at janel@allaboardharvest.com.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by ITC Holdings, CASE IH, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, US Custom Harvesters Inc., Unverferth Mfg. Co. Inc., Lumivia CPL by Corteva Agriscience, Kramer Seed Farms, and High Plains Journal.

Cutting wheat in southwest Oklahoma May 30.

My dad cutting wheat.

Unloading wheat on the grain cart on a beautiful wheat cutting day May 30.

A gorgeous field of wheat.

Such pretty wheat to cut.

Cutting wheat is one of my very favorite things.

One of the seed wheat bin sites.

This sunset on May 29 was so pretty.

Cutting on a mile-long field.

It’s hot outside.

Such pretty wheat to cut. I love my view from the combine cab.

I love cutting wheat with this guy–aka dear ol’ dad.

Moving to another field.

Cutting a half section of wheat.

Unloading wheat on the grain cart.

Uh oh. Storm clouds moving in but all we got was a sprinkle.

I noticed a deer antler on my sickle when I was turning around. Luckily it was there and not in my tire.

How cute, Sterling.

I love being in the field.

My new combine and header.

My dad’s new combine and header.

One combine breakdown before we even hardly got started.

Playing Go Fish with Sage.

Sunder is the Gleaner man in the family. Todd Davis gave him a new hat and t-shirt at the MacDon harvest kickoff meeting in Vernon, Texas. That is so nice. Hey Todd, I wanted one too!

Rain clouds. We didn’t get to cut wheat on this day so we went to Wichita Falls, Texas, for safety meetings.

Safety meeting in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Case IH instructor explaining the in cab controls. He was a very good speaker.

I sat in the cab of the Case IH combine. The buddy seat is nearly like a John Deere’s. I wish the driver’s seat and buddy seat were all connected like a bench seat and then the buddy seat would be air ride too. I have a million ideas to improve combines.

I think I could figure it out.

Safety meeting slideshow in Wichita Falls, Texas. Speed and cell phone distractions cause wrecks.

JC is the US Custom Harvesters, Inc. president so he was asked to give an introduction at both meetings in Wichita Falls and Vernon, Texas.

I’ve been a grocery getter my whole life for this harvest crew. I think I’ve handled well over a billion bags of groceries. I don’t mind because it’s always an excellent workout–even if it’s raining. (Photo by Carlene Schemper.

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