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Laura: Perks of harvest

Montana—I hate to even admit this to those of you experiencing the awful heat wave back home, but it’s hoodie weather tonight. A cold front has moved through and it’s down right chilly this evening. That’s a far cry from the 131 degree “feels like” temperature that KRVN posted on Facebook for Lawerence, Kansas, earlier today. If I could share these cool temps, I would, as it doesn’t look like relief is in sight for those down south.   

Before you get too cranky with me—I don’t blame you if you are—I will assure you it will warm back up here in a hurry. Summer isn’t over yet and neither is harvest though we have a brief intermission.  

Several members of the crew have taken advantage of their rain day and headed to Glacier National Park. I hope they’re having the best time. One of the benefits of harvest is that it occasionally gets you within driving distance of some really cool places. I’m sure this trip has the potential to be a highlight of their season.  

When everything dries up, the crew will be spread out into three crews. The crew I’ve been near has been working through barley. We are still working out yield data but there has been a wide range of yields due to some positive and negative weather conditions that affected it this season.  

Barley harvest has been responsible for several fires in the area this year and has been highly combustible. So far, we have been fortunate not to be affected but it’s always something that’s on our mind. In fact, we are currently harvesting for a farmer who lost their combine this year in a barley field fire.

Something that’s unique in Montana is that a farm water truck follows us to all our fields. I’m not sure why that isn’t a practice along the rest of the run, but it’s not. We make sure to have extinguishers on all of our equipment full and ready should an emergency arise. Regular machine maintenance can help cut down the chances of fire, but even the best maintained machines can have something unexpected go wrong. We have had a grain cart on order for many months that has been a victim to supply chain issues that will have a water tank on it for emergencies. We can’t wait to have it join the team. And speaking of supply chain hang ups, we’ve had headers on order for nearly a year and haven’t received them either. It is what it is. I know the manufacturer wants to move them as much as we would like to take possession of them.

An unexpected, recent highlight for little man and I was running into a consulting and field trial business called “Range and Row.” They were busy harvesting canola field trials. We watched them before delivering lunch to our team, and then swung back by after the drop-off. We were in luck as they were just finishing the plot and were willing to chat for a bit. They told us all about their combine, which was about the size of a street sweeper. Two team members sit in the cab. One operates the machine and the other is monitoring all the plot data coming in. We really appreciate them taking time, on a hot day, to show us their machine. 

Waiting on the next load.
The final pass before supper.
Opening the field up.
Barley waiting to be harvested.
It was fun to watch the plot combine.
Steve was so great to take time from his busy day and educate the next generation. It sure made Little Man’s day.

Laura Haffner can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is brought to you by Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc.High Plains Journal, New HollandITC Holdings CorpU.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc., Kramer Seed Farms and Lumivia Insecticide Treatment by Corteva Agriscience.

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