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Greenfield, Iowa—Today I'm sipping coffee, looking out my window at the cows grazing in the pasture. I see corn and soybean fields in the distance, their color shifting from green to yellow and brown hues. A few leaves are starting to fall from the trees, and I hear a load of laundry tumbling in the dryer behind me. Fall is approaching, and wheat harvest has come full circle. After 77 days on the road we find ourselves back home.

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After over 2.5 months we are back at the beginning where it all started. It's a different feeling

Northeastern North Dakota—We recently had a nice change of scenery. We took a drive over to the International Peace Gardens. I didn’t even know it existed and my dad said he’d been there many years ago. So, LaVern, Carlene, Miss Moo and I made the trip over to Dunsieth, North Dakota (near highway 281). We crossed the border and Miss Moo has been next to the border before (because we’ve harvested fields just next to the Canadian border) but this time she made it to Manitoba! She’s been to many states and now another country! Way to go, Miss Moo

Northeastern North Dakota—We are harvesting spring wheat way up north now at what I call Combine City, USA. I’ve been coming here for about 20 years now and it’s always full of combines at wheat harvest time. Most of the work we do here is bin work.  The wheat we’ve cut so far made over 80 bushels per acre. The wheat and canola look very good here this year. The soybeans look great too. I haven’t seen any corn fields in this area this year. Last year I saw many fields of corn but heard it was all destroyed

North Dakota—All of our combines have finished cutting recently in north central Montana. Three combines have joined us here in northeastern North Dakota to cut wheat and canola. Three combines are currently headed south for fall harvest where they’ll begin in western Kansas picking wet corn.

Our Montana harvest consisted of harvesting winter wheat, spring wheat, barley and chickpeas. The winter wheat was straight cut as well as picked up in swaths. It made over 70 bushels per acre and the test weights were over 60 pounds per bushel and the protein 10.5%. The spring wheat our crew cut

Home—I reached down to pick up something from the floor of the garage in front of my vehicle’s engine. I could still detect the smell of hot wheat dust on my engine as it cooled. While I love that smell, it was almost like rubbing salt on a wound. Our harvest run was over for the season. School would be starting in five short days for me and even if we had the exact same crew back, nothing stays the same. Each season is unique, special in its own way, at its own time and there is no going back

Onida, South Dakota—The crew has been working for almost a month now Sully County, and fatigue is starting to set in. To be honest, no one is really complaining. South Dakota always is our biggest stop of the year, and a little hard work never killed anyone. When you stay long enough to see the sunflowers bloom you know it's time to wrap things up here.

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Amber waves of grain may be beautiful, but a sunflower field doesn't look too shabby either. South Dakota sunflowers just seem to make you smile.

 

The spring wheat has been excellent

Lindsey Orgain

Orgain Harvesting

Lindsey Orgain is somewhat new to the harvest trail.
She and her husband, Jason, have Orgain Harvesting in Cheyenne, Oklahoma.
It is the 11th season in the business, but it was in 2014, two years after she married Jason, that Lindsey decided to quit her job and come aboard full-time for the annual harvest journey.

Brian Jones

Jones Harvesting

For 35 years, Jones Harvesting, based near Greenfield, Iowa, has made an annual trek from Oklahoma to North Dakota, harvesting golden fields of wheat for farmers who have become like family to the Jones family.

Tracy Zeorian

Z-Crew

Tracy Zeorian has followed the ripening trail of wheat since she was 12 years old.

Zeorian’s grandparents, Elvin and Pauline Hancock, had been making the annual harvest run from Texas to Montana since 1951.

Janel Schemper

Schemper Harvesting

Janel Schemper was 6 months old when she made her first harvest journey.
“Harvest for me is a way of life,” the third-generation custom cutter said.
Schemper Harvesting, based in Holdrege, Nebraska, goes back more than a half-century, started by her grandfather.

Laura Haffner

High Plains Harvesting

For Laura Haffner, there is not a better way to see the Great Plains.

She and her husband, Ryan, have High Plains Harvesting based in Park, Kansas. The couple, along with their two young children and a crew of about a dozen, travel from Texas to the Canadian border to harvest wheat, canola and peas.