26 Aug Brian: Mama said there would be days like this
Onida, South Dakota—Everyone can use a little advice from time to time, and no one is better at dispensing timely wisdom than a mother. “Everything looks better after a good night’s sleep” is probably something your mom once told you, or perhaps “this too shall pass” was said to comfort you after a bad day. Moms always seem to know best, and we’ve been trying to take their advice to heart this week.
We’ve had a rollercoaster of a week, starting with the fickle weather. One minute excessive heat warnings had us sweating our socks off, but then we needed those socks to keep our feet warm with temps in the low 50s overnight. Some mornings were too cool and damp to get an early start, while other were so hot and windy we couldn’t get to the field fast enough. Just as we started to get our hopes up for a really big week, we experienced a major break down.
A low fuel pressure warning on my machine began to intermittently appear, so I placed a phone call to the factory Harvest Support team. While I was on the phone troubleshooting, the engine died and would not restart. After a few hours of inspecting the fuel system it became clear we were going to need an in-field service call to find the problem. Of course rain showers off in the distance were concerning since I had wheat still in the tank. The stress level went up as the raindrops came down and I can confirm it is possible to manually fold by hand the power grain tank covers without the engine running—but it’s not much fun.
Being broke down during a rain delay seemed like the best possible scenario, but the repair did not go smoothly. A technician determined the high pressure fuel pump suffered catastrophic failure. After copious phone calls, I located a pump near by. Just as we got our hopes up for a quick repair the news came that another piece had been accidentally damaged during the failed pump’s removal. It would take two additional days to receive that part and the crew felt pretty defeated after being so close to quick fix.
With my machine down, David pushed extra hard to cover as many acres as possible. You can imagine the sickening feeling we all felt when his machine began to act up, the computer randomly shutting down certain functions. Somehow we managed to stumble across a poor connection with a critical electronic diode, and with some good old farmer ingenuity we came up with a temporary workaround … wiggle the wire till everything works again, then zip tie it in place and wrap it with electrical tape. Crisis averted.
Of course the week wouldn’t have been complete without a flat tire on Cameron’s truck, a rock breaking the pickup windshield , and some cold showers caused by a water heater on the fritz. Eventually our fuel pump repair was completed and both machines are back running side by side. Mama said there would be days—or weeks—like this. Let’s just hope there’s not many more any time soon.
Brian Jones can be reached at email@example.com.
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