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2021 Wheat Harvest, #1

Harvest 2021 BLOG #1, June 14, 2021


During the next few weeks stay tuned for my perspective of what harvest is like on John’s Farm, how the harvest is coming along including the great, good, and not so super, and what harvest was like in our family yesteryear.

While harvest comes around year-after-year is always different…weather, soil health, seed, inputs, cultivation, insect pressure, and what seems like a million decisions effect harvest outcome. The earth is prepped for a crop, seeds are sown, growing plants are monitored, and then, finally, comes the harvest – it’s a year-long process of time, effort, and dollars to get to the point of reward however great or small.

We engaged the combine Thursday afternoon and have been whacking away ever since. Young Farmer handles the machine the first 12 hours of the day; the old Farmer manages the operation during the day, hopefully works in a short afternoon nap, and handles the dark-til-midnight combine driver assignment.

Changing of the Farmers
From One Farmer to the Other: Young Farmer is taking the wheel while Farmer John is moving on to other tasks and BoDozer, Farmer's youngest brother, is anxious to take a ride in the 'farmer seat.'

The morning begins with maintenance of trucks, tractors, implements and combine – check all oil/liquid levels and grease, check tire pressures and bearings, fuel, inspect belts and chains, weigh and unload trucks that were filled with grain by the late-hour harvester, and hold the official team meeting to determine a plan-of-action and assignment-of-duties for the day. Plan is defined as ‘proposal’ and on this farm we push that definition to great lengths; an expected thunderstorm, machinery breakdown, or equipment failure (today it is the diesel fuel pump on the storage tank) can turn the plan inside-out in a moment’s notice.

When the combine rolls out of the field the first day of harvest my mind goes back to photos I've seen and stories I've heard from my grandpa Andy and my dad; I'm sure they had plans along with all the aforementioned interferences that changed their plans.

My grandpa Andy harvested with a threshing machine; talk about hard, heavy and hot!! It took a crew to gather in the crop, set the processes in motion until grain was realized. Women played a huge roll in harvest because it took a huge supply of food to keep a crew fed, energized to the tasks. My grandma told me she made Russian pancakes (crapes in today's terms), sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, stacked 6" high and carried them to the crew for an afternoon snack. Can you even imagine?

Harvest a Century Ago
Harvest A Century Ago on John's Farm: we work this field but certainly harvest looks much different than the threshing machine, horse-drawn wagons, and men and women gathering bundles of wheat like this crew which my Grandpa Andy managed.
1952 First self-propelled combine
First self-propelled combine for my dad and grandpa. Times changed, equipment changed and my dad and grandpa purchased their first self-propelled combine, a Massey Ferguson, in 1952. I wonder what Andy thought farming was coming to compared to his threshing machine?

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