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.

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

Weatherford, Oklahoma – Being a custom cutter has been very challenging lately due to the tough cutting conditions in Oklahoma. We haven’t had great harvesting conditions yet and the month of June is almost over.  We’ve had so much humidity and lots of mud to deal with out in the fields.  Between the weather conditions and the ground conditions it has been tough going.  What we need is heat and wind to make our conditions better and no more rain or delays.

The yields have not been as good as they looked like they were going to be from the road.

Frederick, Oklahoma–We had a slow start due to a few rain showers but have finally gotten some decent harvest weather. Starting out we were sampling fields, some were ready but some were just not quite ready yet.  After the rains had passed all of the wheat was finally ready to be cut.  We’ve been putting in some longer days, too, which is great.

It hasn’t been easy though. We’ve had combines stuck in the mud and other harvest challenges.  We’ve had mostly 70 and 80 degree weather but typically when we’re here it’s in the 90s and 100s.  Some of the

Frederick, Oklahoma–When we go south for harvest we are very anxious to cut wheat. We did go to the field with one combine when we arrived on May 28 and cut 50 bushel wheat that weighed 61 pounds per bushel and was 12.1 percent moisture.  Then the rain clouds arrived.  We’ve cut a few days since but have been rained out, too.  Overall, it’s been a slow start.

We attended the annual Case IH harvest safety school in Frederick, Oklahoma, on May 29 and their safety video is a must-see especially for young people.  This is a dangerous occupation and safety

Frederick, Oklahoma – I managed to pack my bag and get out the door once again for harvest. People always ask me when I’m leaving for harvest and I honestly don’t know until the time comes as it depends heavily on the weather.  The first trip down, May 23, I drove a Peterbilt truck and hauled a combine and header.  We had a good trip having no blown out tires but we had one little road construction detour.  The second trip down, May 28, I drove a Peterbilt truck again and hauled a tractor and grain cart.  We had one

Frederick, Oklahoma – In honor of harvest kickoff this year I thought it’d be fun to share a little fact about John Deere. Have you ever thought about John Deere’s colors and how or why they were chosen? I’ve always thought that the John Deere green and yellow colors are the best ones of the best ones. Both are photogenic colors right along with the colors of harvest. The classic green with yellow wheels is iconic and traditional.

There are several theories as to how and why the colors were chosen. I was once told that Mr. John Deere’s wife chose

Holdrege, Nebraska – I just can’t wait to get on the road again! Laugh out loud! How can it be harvest time again already? I am Janel Schemper and a third generation U.S. custom harvester. I cannot wait to be back in the fields harvesting those beautiful amber waves of grain and seeing the best sunsets that our country has to offer during the harvest season from May thru November. I have spent every summer of my life following the wheat harvest from Texas to North Dakota. I went south for my first harvest at only five months old. I

Holdrege, Nebraska – I got home from North Dakota on September 11th and started cutting soybeans on September 13th. Fall harvest was quickly in full swing which made me very happy! I cut for 16 consecutive days and had big dreams of harvesting all fall without any stops.  Mother Nature has held us up recently. We’ve had some rain delays and it just pushes us back.

All I want to do is be in the field all day every day until we finish harvest (typically in November sometimes December). I’ve been fighting the weather almost the entire harvest season (May through present).

Grand Forks, North Dakota – Canola is one of my favorite crops to harvest.  We’ve been blessed with several beautiful days here in North Dakota to cut canola.  We use pickup headers to pick up swaths of canola but this year we are straight cutting every acre and the pickup headers have stayed in the shed.  It’s been hot and dry and the canola fields were sprayed prior to harvest.

Yields typically average 50 to 70 bushels per acre which is 2,500-3,500 pounds per acre or more. Canola seeds are small and round with approximately 90,000 to 115,000 seeds per pound.  The