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

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.

North Dakota–The entire month of August has felt like fall up here in the Dakotas. For harvesters, this takes a lot of patience as it causes us opportunity lost for income and puts us behind schedule. We need heat, wind and sunshine to cut lots of wheat and we’ve hardly had any, plus we've sat through several rain storms. We finished up in South Dakota and did cut nice wheat there that yielded 55 to 65 bushels per acre. The test weights were less than 60 pounds per bushel but the protein was 14 to 16 percent.

We are currently at

South Dakota–The month of August has been awfully cool. What we need to make harvest progress is heat, sunshine and wind and it seems we can’t get much of any of them.  It is frustrating.  All harvesters up north are dealing with these cooler temperatures and slow harvest progress.  It feels like October weather with highs only in the 70s.  The scattered rain showers are messing with our harvest time too.  South Dakota is not in a drought this year.  The ground is wet and the cloudy days and cooler temperatures are not drying it out too fast.

We have been

South Dakota–We are caught back up to the harvest again. The wheat has been borderline ready.  We have cut nice wheat though that has been yielding 60 to 70 bushels per acre.  The test weight has been 62 to 63 pounds per bushel and the protein 12.5 percent.  It rained lately which delayed our harvesting time but hopefully all of the wheat will be ready to cut once the conditions are right again.

All I want to do is cut wheat but there is almost always downtime here in South Dakota because we cut winter wheat and spring wheat. Once the

South Dakota – We finished up cutting wheat in western Nebraska on Aug. 1 and that is a first for me.  I can’t remember ever cutting wheat in Nebraska in August.  We cut a lot of nice wheat there and overall it was a good crop this year and the farmers were pleased with the yields.

We recently got moved up to the Pierre, South Dakota area and had a good trip. I saw a lot of motorcycles cruising around and also more brand new grain bins.  It is 400 plus miles for us to get here and there’s a few

Western Nebraska—The forecast was supposed to be clear but out west there can be pop-up thunderstorms and that’s when there’s a threat of wind and hail and sometimes lots of rainfall. On Friday night, July 26, we were cutting wheat and then a storm in the west was building.  Thankfully, all we got was a sprinkle but there were some wicked looking clouds to the west.  We heard Lodgepole got hit with the worst of the storm.  I was told it hailed for 30 minutes and ruined the crops in that area.

On Saturday night, July 27, we were cutting and

Western Nebraska –We are caught back up to the harvest. We are cutting wheat near Sidney and there are fields of green wheat yet and the fields we’re cutting are dry but the draws are a little bit green.  It blends well though on a hot day.  The wheat has been yielding in the 40s, 50s and 60s.  The test weights have been over 60 pounds per bushel and the protein 11 and 12 percent.  Overall, it’s a pretty nice crop.

The field I just cut had signs of sawfly disease. That is where the stalk collapses and the wheat lays

Western Kansas –We finished up in western Kansas mid-July and had a good run there this year.  The wheat that we harvested yielded well and overall it was a tremendous crop.  It was the most beautiful wheat I’ve ever harvested.

I was expecting the wheat to make in the 60s before I arrived in western Kansas. It made in the 90s and 100s.  We were very lucky to have great harvesting weather and the opportunity to harvest such a nice wheat crop.  I’m happy for the Kansas farmers and the outstanding wheat crop they had this year.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is

Western Kansas –I’ve seen western Kansas produce good wheat before but this year the wheat has got to be breaking records. Last year was a drought so it’s always interesting to see how Mother Nature can demonstrate such extremes with drought or plentiful moisture during the growing season and then us harvesters adapt to whatever she gives us.

The very high yielding wheat is consistent throughout all of the fields we’re harvesting.  It is just a beautiful wheat crop that we wish we could have every year.  The wheat has been yielding in the high 80s, 90s and even into the

Western Kansas—In the harvesting business there are no two years just alike. Last year when we were harvesting in Kansas we were short on work.  This year we are overloaded and trying to keep so many customers happy.  It is so nice to see Kansas having a very nice wheat crop this year as was expected with all the moisture they had.  However, I didn't know it was going to be as good as it is and it doesn’t take long to get a hopper full with the outstanding yields.

We were recently cutting east of Dodge City and had a

Dodge City, Kansas—We've been cutting wheat for thirty days now and finally we're having our wanted many consecutive days of sunshine, wind, clear skies and heat and it's doing us wonders! Harvest is moving northward quickly now with this 90 degree heat.  We have been in Kansas since June 25.  Trucks and combines are still coming north out of Texas and Oklahoma.  My brother, JC,  just finished up in the Texas Panhandle on June 28.

We cut in the Pratt area for a few days and had decent luck. The wheat made 20 to 55 bushels per acre.  So many wind