Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How Long Does It Take You To Harvest?

That question pops up from time to time. Of course farmers wouldn't ask that. We know the question is akin to asking how much rain do you usually get or how big are the fish you catch. Harvest depends on stuff like weather and the amount of bushels you have to harvest.
Now, at the end of 2010, I have the answer.  We finished in record time on October 22. Exactly 3 weeks and 2 days after we started. We didn't have a day off because of the weather. That's a first at least on this farm as far as memory serves the harvest crew I work with. And my harvest crew consists of two brothers, Ed and Francis, who go back as far as the family has been on this farm (1948) and I go back to 1950, the year I was born. 
I've mentioned I use this blog sometimes for my own reference or diary if you will and so I wanted to remember a few things.
1. A wetter than normal planting season and we didn't get everything planted because of the Missouri River.
2. A REALLY wet summer that included 17 inches of rain in June, July, and August. It was the second year in a row that we never even started one of our 6 irrigation wells.
3. The fall weather was so great it was almost unbelievable. No rain, cool bright days, chilly nights, not much wind. Deep breaths of the morning air has been almost intoxicating to this farmer. I loved it.
4. The yields where there was a little altitude, were good but the low spots were zero. We had whole farm averages of corn go from 227/A on corn down to 33/A on another farm where the drainage was poor and down to zero where it never even got planted. (good thing too as it was still under River water at harvest time.
5. It's now November 16th, our field work is completely done and the equipment has been bathed and put away. I have mounted the snow blower on one of the tractors and now will begin work on certain pieces of equipment for next season. I'm waiting for bad weather but hoping we won't get snow this winter. Yeah, right.
For this farmer this year has been historic in many ways. Some cell phone pictures follow.
The biggest event of the year was the miraculous survival of our daughter during her pickup crash. I'll cover that on the next post.

Loading a bin, using our old truck for a gravity box.

Brother Fran bringing in a load of soybeans he got from the combine. This picture is squished up and I don't know why. 

I was loading a bin with the fan running on the bin. We got into a 'white cob' vairety and this was the resulting chaff blowing out of the bin. This usually happens but it's easier to see white.

I opened the combine door one afternoon while I was waiting for the grain cart to come back so as to enjoy the view, and that more of that great fall air.


Donna said...

This has been an amazing harvest year in our area, too. After one of the wettest summers on record, suddenly the rains stopped for a month! For some reason, those pesky Asian lady beetles haven't been as bad as usual this year. Cliff thinks the harsh winter perhaps wiped some of them out.

LeeAnn said...

I think the whole farming thing fascinates me because I cannot even grow or maintain a houseplant. And the big big machines. And the baby cows. You do have baby cows, right? Cute little baby cows that follow you and come when you call?
I certainly hope so.
PS.... glad about the daughter, too.

Ralph said...

Great pictures aand congratulation on being done already. Sure beats last year doesn't it.

Dan said...

Not sure why you need another diary, I've seen the pink one with the ribbon on it. Maybe it is easier to type than to write with that feather pen. Anyway, great post, I so wish I had time to help with harvest. Maybe next year, as long as there is no irrigation pipe to pick up.

LZ Blogger said...

Cliff ~ Hey bud... you lost me at "The yields where there was a little altitude, were good but the low spots were zero. We had whole farm averages of corn go from 227/A on corn down to 33/A on another farm where the drainage was poor and down to zero where it never even got planted. (good thing too as it was still under River water at harvest time." But then after all... I am a little slow. It does sound like it all went well though? I sure hope that your daughter is OK?
Let's run the table from here on out! ~ jb///
P.S. Loved the picture from the combine!

EV said...

That John Deer's [tractor] father must have been an AH-64 Apache - same silhouette!

Really enjoyed the harvest detail and photos, Cliff. I'm very sorry to hear about your daughter. I hope she's OK and there's no residual - scary stuff.

Peter said...

Sometimes you get finished a whole lot earlier than you would like Cliff, but that's farming for you.

Peter said...

PS, sure hope your daughter is OK.

Jim said...

Hi Cliff ~~ You didn't tell us how Julie is doing. I hope she isn't hurt badly.

Our Karen and your Julie may have played with Doggy Duke. I know he came up to Nebraska with us. In July 1979 our house flooded (33 inches inside) so Doggie Duke was washed and retired.

I like your telling yield numbers. The high ground averages are great! The lows were really bad werent' they.

If you have any hints from your green thumb I might need some help. I'm thinking about growing a winter herb garden on our balcony. :)

Rachel said...

Hi Cliff! You lost me on those corn averages too! Whew, glad I'm not the only one! Glad you got it all done for the year. Looks like smoke coming out of the bin.

Dan says you have a pink diary with a ribbon and feather pen! Do tell!!! Haha! I think you might now know what to get HIM for Christmas!!

Sounds like Julie had a bad one but thankfully is okay.

Say Hi to Marilyn!

Shannon said...

We had the opposite. Terrible bean yields and "decent" corn yields.

Jerry in Oklahoma said...

I understood your yields, but then again, I've been hanging around farmers for the past 7.5 years.

It's been a weird year, but at least the crops were decent and done in record time.


Paul Nichols said...

Inspirational post, Cliff. Please hurry with the news of your daughter. Hope all is well.

Paul Nichols said...

I think it's a good thing that harvest is over and done with. Man! It's COLD outside right now. 28 degrees and the wind is blowing!!