All Aboard Harvest | Janel Schemper – Schemper Harvesting
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Janel Schemper – Schemper Harvesting


Janel Schemper was 5 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, Jerry Schemper. Today, the operation includes her parents, LaVern and Carlene, and her brothers, JC and Jared.


They cut wheat every year from Frederick, Oklahoma, to North Dakota.  Their fall harvest is in Nebraska.


She started operating the combine full-time during the summer months at age 13, she said. The job and family tradition has taught her life lessons: An exceptional work ethic, honesty, responsibility, dependability, business professionalism and a dedication to fulfill the harvest season year after year.


Schemper said she joined the All Aboard Wheat Harvest in 2017 and gained a new nickname from High Plains Journal readers.


“It’s Princess Kate,” she said. “I truly appreciate each and every one of the messages and overall support from (All Aboard) followers. I’ve had a few messages that said, ‘Thanks for being a voice for us.’”


During the harvest offseason, Schemper hauls grain locally and hires the crew for Schemper Harvesting.  She is also an insurance agent and writes home, auto, life, health, farm, crop and business insurance policies.

Northeastern North Dakota–We got moved up to our last stop on wheat harvest and got to cut for several days before we got rained out. We cut spring wheat that was yielding around 50 to 70 bushels per acre. The test weights were over 63 pounds per bushel and the protein around 15%. We also cut field peas and finished cutting them right before it rained.

A lot of wheat got cut in this area last week. Several harvesters are not here yet. We got here right on time and went straight to the field and had pretty good going until

Northeastern North Dakota (15 miles from the Canadian Border)–We got moved up to our last stop on wheat harvest and went straight to the field when we arrived. We’ve been staying busying cutting spring wheat. It’s yielding pretty well even though there’s a drought going on up here in the Dakotas. It’s been making 45 to 65 bushels per acre and the test weights have been around 63 pounds per bushel and the protein has been around 15%.

The weather has been hot and dry. The day we moved up here it was 95 degrees. The harvest is just getting started

Southwestern North Dakota–We have been doing well cutting spring wheat here in my favorite wheat state of North Dakota. We had a nine day run of cutting wheat before we caught a rain. It has been all farm yard bin work so far and has been working out pretty good. The wheat has been making 35 to 50 bushels per acre and the test weights have been over 60 pounds per bushel. We just started on some canola today (a 640-acre field) and it is borderline ready to go. The moisture was showing 8.5 to 9.5% and since we are

Southwestern North Dakota–Life on the road is what I know but it isn’t for the faint of heart. There are a lot of unknowns out here on harvest. Being a custom harvester is a fingers-crossed hope it all works out, kind of day-to-day gamble. Some days I have a gut ache or a headache and sometimes even heart ache. This career comes with stress. We work hard and often I'm praying with my eyes wide open.

Luckily, we have been staying busy cutting spring wheat. It’s making around 30 to 40 bushels an acre. It’s been all bin work so far.

Southwestern North Dakota–Everything is good here. They’ve got a good crop for us to cut this year. It looks like 40-bushel wheat and the forecast is hot and dry. I just got to southwestern North Dakota after four days of traveling up from western Kansas. The harvest is just getting started around here. There is some wheat cut but there is also green wheat around, which is the first green wheat I’ve seen all summer. Everywhere I’ve been the wheat has been more than ready to cut. I just traveled across four states and am finally catching back up to

Western Kansas–I’ve been here in western Kansas for almost a month and am the last cutter in town but that is OK because we have been staying busy in the fields. We ended up staying in western Kansas with two combines while the rest of the crew went north and handled cutting all of our wheat jobs in western Nebraska. They have just finished up there and are making the big move up to north central Montana now with six combines. My dad and I finished up our main wheat job here and gained more work so we’ll just stay

Western Kansas–We’ve been rained out three times while we’ve been harvesting wheat in western Kansas. Some of the wheat has been laying flat on the ground. The conditions haven’t been the greatest while we've been here trying to get the wheat harvested. While combining, the dirt and dust just flies. The combines are filthy from all the dirt, dust and rainstorms.

The wheat has been averaging around 60 and 70 bushels per acre. The test weights have been less than 60 pounds per bushel and with every rain the test weights keep getting worse. The protein has been staying around 12

Western Kansas–Harvest has been full blast for weeks now and we have been staying very busy.  All eight of Schemper Harvesting's combines are out here in western Kansas and we are certainly working the days away. The dry land wheat has been yielding in the 50s and 60s and the irrigated in the 80s and 90s. The test weights have been over 60 pounds per bushel and the protein around 12%. Our farmers up north are calling and wanting combines. We’ve got a ways to go yet before we can finish up here and move north to western Nebraska to

East of Dodge City, Kansas–We have been staying busy. All of our combines are now in Kansas and are finding plenty of dry wheat to cut. Farmers are calling me wanting their wheat cut. This is when I wish I had more combines. Wheat is ready all across the state of Kansas. Being in high demand is great but stressful too. I have a big passionate heart about harvest and want to get everyone’s wheat cut as soon as possible.

Kansas had a cool and wet spring and the wheat evidently liked it. Here east of Dodge City the wheat is

Pratt, Kansas–We arrived in southern Kansas on June 18. It was a hot 105 degrees F the day we moved. We had to travel slower because it was so hot outside. We traveled highways 183 and 281 and a lot of wheat had been cut the whole way up until about the state line area. Here at Pratt the wheat harvest was just getting started. We unloaded and went to the field and our first three loads went 14.0%, 13.2% and 11.4%. We were right on time and have been staying very busy cutting wheat.

With hot and dry conditions we