Tuesday, July 31, 2012

From the Combine to your Dinner Table, Harvest 2012

What we grow will end up in some version on your dinnerplate.... so come along read how one farm family is growing some of the food you and your family will eat.

Hello America!  The Anderson farm has been busy, first as you know with a wedding on the farm and a short couple of weeks later harvest has arrived. So before I show you what will be ending up on your dinner table,  I have to tell you a funny story on Cody our hired man...  But first to preface this, Cody was the town kid who at age 11 started hanging out at the farm.  He would show up in morning and would ride in any piece of equipment that he could, ask lots of questions, fiddle with things if no one was looking and always wanted to know how things worked.  So when he was old enough we hired him to begin working on the farm and he is now our full time hired man.  Anyway... back to Cody at age eleven, I always thought maybe he had a "crush" on the farmer's daughter (our youngest - Kaitlyn) as she was 15 and our tractor driver. But while preparing the barn for Kaitlyn and Andrew's wedding reception, I overheard Kaitlyn teasing Cody about him hanging around the farm so much when he was little and he said he didn't have a crush on her, he just liked her tractor.   It just shows that you don't have to be born into a farm family to have a love for farming and the equipment. 

And.... speaking of equipment, as America's farms have become more efficient and feed more people today than in the past, the equipment has had to grow to accommodate the increased crop yields.   Last  year, we purchased some farm ground from a neighbor who hadn't farmed in many years and his outdated equipment had sat in an old outbuilding on his place.  Just to show you the progress made in the last 50+ years to present day.....

The "open air" model meant lots of dirt, chaff and dust for the driver

My bike gives a reference point to see just how short the old header
 is ( 14 or 16' header)
The old combines used by the farmer (pictured above) fed about 26 people and through research and  improved biotechnology,  today's farmer feeds about 155 people, all on less ground and using less natural resources than in the past.  Here is a picture of Farmer Joe's combine and as you can see, the 40' header doesn't fit in the lens of the camera 
It's a big job to feed America and big equipment is needed to get  the job done

As combines grew so did the need for bigger trucks, here is what was used for the smaller combines and it would have had racks on them to haul the grain or legumes.  This is the kind of 2 ton truck that I drove during wheat harvest. 

But now semi-trucks are needed and this farm-wife didn't want to learn to drive these big monsters (which is probably a big relief to the warehouse men at the grain terminals! )   =)
This was my truck when we used it to haul in the crops, now it is used as a water or fuel truck

Big trucks for big combines

Sometimes I do miss not being in the field with the guys, but it was my choice to not learn to drive the tractors, combines or semi-trucks - and by doing so, it allows me the time to share what we do with you.  So as the first few days of harvest started last week down at the Southern Tammany farm, here are videos and pictures.  Click here if unable to view the video.

The combine  dumping directly into the semi trucks that are lined up in the wheat field
Usually the combines will unload while moving into the grain cart, but it depends on
how many body's we have in the field, so if we are short a tractor driver & the field is level, we can
dump into the semi- trucks directly if needed

A view of the full bulk tank just before it gets unloaded

Usually the combine will unload into the grain cart and then the tractor driver will
drive over to unload the wheat into the semi-trucks

A view of the tractor and disk for a fire break
And here is a video of Farmer Joe explaining about creating a fire break, as the heavy wheat chaff mixed with hot equipment can start a fire in the fields....

And as the grain was just a bit too green (meaning the moisture content was too high for the warehouse to accept it), we shut down for the week-end, our collection of equipment was parked on a green spot to let the grain ripen over the week-end.

So as Farmer Joe, Farmer Jay, hired men, Cody & Ryan bring in the crops, I'll be giving you almost daily a harvest report.  As always, thanks for stopping by, drop me an email at idahofarmwife@gmail.com or leave a comment too.  Either way, I love to hear from you.   All my best, Gayle