Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Season of Harvest

I saw a sign at a local  implement dealer that said, "Farmers have 3 seasons, Before-Harvest, Harvest and After-Harvest."  It's true, it is what we live for.  This is our "paycheck", it's what we use to buy seed and fertilizer, pay labor, make equipment payments and live on until the next harvest.  Sometimes farmers have to use their line of credit if they have not had a good year, but this year with all the rain, I think it will be a great harvest! =)

On the Anderson Farm, we started our wheat harvest on Monday, August 2 down at the Tammany Farm.   This year's cold rainy spring has delayed the crops and we, along with everyone else, are about 10-14 days later than usual.  Once we finish the wheat at Tammany  then  we will move up to the Genesee farm which will be probably 8 or 9 days from now.

Last  Saturday I helped Joe take our 2nd  semi truck over to  the field that would be harvested first, and as I was following him into the field, I was again amazed at the amount of equipment that is needed to get the wheat harvest done at the Tammany farm.   So here is what I saw but couldn't get it all in the picture,   3 combines, 2 tractors with the bank-out wagons and 4 semi-trucks plus one tractor with a disk behind it.
All the equipment seen here is from our farm, with the exception of the  green John Deere combine and one semi truck as they are owned  by the Hermann farm whom we have hired to help us harvest the wheat.

Joe and I  bought a used (but new to us) 2009 combine and  this model is very complex as it has a TV like monitor in place of gauges.  So after getting the semi parked,  Joe wanted to practice cutting a couple of bulk tanks of wheat before Monday in order to get more familar with this new machine.   When the combine starts up, it  feels a little like an airplane reviving up, just before take off, then the motor calms down and all is quiet except for when the monitors that beep and sound like a video game.   Actually a cockpit of an airplane does remind me of the inside of a combine.

Our day started out with Joe checking out the combine to make sure all was in order.

 Once Joe  checked out the combine, he wanted to get a feel for the machine due to the fact that we bought this late last year after our harvest was over and he had never driven it.  This is the newest combine we have ever  owned and like I said,  it is very high tech.  Joe has been reading the owners manual for weeks now, but you need "seat time" to really understand all the bells and whistles.   

 Joe's combine has a flashing beacon just outside the cab and it will automatically start flashing when the combine sensors note that the bulk tank needs to be unloaded.  The bulk tank is located  on top of the combine.

This is what we call the bank-out wagon, it is a grain cart pulled by a tractor and the driver will move up to the combine and drive along side it while the combine unloads the grain into the grain cart.  Then the bank-out wagon will then go to the semi truck and unload the grain from the cart into the semi trailer.

To give you an idea of just how big the equipment is, this is me standing next to the tire of the bank-out wagon.  I am 5'4" and the tire is still a tad taller than I am.   In the picture below is the auger folded up at the front of the green gain cart.

This is what a full bulk tank looks like just before it gets unloaded into the bank-out wagon.

Joe checking the wheat heads.

Here is a video of the combine unloading into the bank-out wagon, as well  as a picture below unloading into the other bank-out wagon.

Here is a picture of one of our semi trucks.
The purpose of this tractor and drill (below)  is for fire prevention, so once the combine cuts the first opening round in the field, one of the crew will take the tractor with the disk and plow up the ground for a fire break.
Well that's it for today's Harvest 101 lesson. Stay tuned for more to come! 
P.S.  Joe is really having lots of fun and his first day of harvest 2010 went well. No break downs for him and we cut 300 acres of wheat.   
Hope you come back for more updates on our harvest.  =)

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