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Laura: The long road home

LH Blog Photo

Wheat harvest is nearly complete for High Plains Harvesting for the 2015 season. What a ride it has been! In some respects it is hard to believe it is almost over, but in others, it feels like we have been at it a very long time. In reality, as owners, the season never truly ends because we are often starting paper work and planning for the coming year before the current year’s crew even leaves for home.

Unneeded equipment (for the current jobs) is starting to trickle home. It will take several days of travel to get everything back. Once back at headquarters, the equipment will undergo any conversions necessary to prepare for fall harvest. We typically harvest corn, grain sorghum, and soybeans. Usually our fall season lasts into late November.

The majority of the crew still remains in North Dakota to finish up a couple of jobs there. They have been cutting wheat and also harvesting canola. Earlier in the job, the Durum had been running around 61 pound test weights and yielding around 55 bushels per acre. Things had been going very well until we experienced a major breakdown with one of the combines which involved removing the entire engine to get to one of the parts. The outcome of that situation is still in the works, and it is something we wish could have been avoided, but unfortunately, we aren’t immune from breakdowns. Also, a mud hole reared its ugly head yesterday, so we were given flashbacks of some of our Texas memories!

HPH - 2015

Sigh.  As you can tell the ground had been worked. There was no indication of mud. (Photo from Albert.)

HPH - 2015

It’s hard to tell, but the brown object is a moose! Ryan sent this in from North Dakota.  Not an everyday sight for our crew!

HPH - 2015

HPH - 2015

A few action shots from Mark.

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HPH-2015

Michael submitted these photos. The filters he used added such a creative touch!

Our northern jobs are a little different than others because some farmers have large amounts of on-site storage. They have the ability to run dryers so we are able to harvest the crops at a slightly higher moisture than is often the case which helps with our efficiency. Even so, last week we ran into some green crops and had some precipitation. We hope to have the crew traveling home next week. Obviously, as you have learned, these plans are subject to change!

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Harold unloading his trailer at an on-farm storage site in North Dakota. (Photo from Ryan.)

HPH - 2015

HPH - 2015

A few more shots from North Dakota that Ryan sent in.

Things are slowing down in regards to the changing news and updates. By the looks of things today, it would appear that wheat harvest will gradually dwindle to a halt so it seems the time is upon us to make my final All Aboard Wheat Harvest post of the season. I’d like to take a brief moment now to thank those who made this adventure possible.

Thank you to all our farmers who worked with us this season. It is for you that we are in this business. It was great being able to see familiar faces as well as meeting some new ones this season. We look forward to serving you again in the future.

We also thank our crew members who have continued to work so hard and maintained positive attitudes this season as well as those who stepped into help when the need arose. We recognize you are a crucial part of this operations and your efforts are appreciated.

Thank you to our family and friends for putting up with our crazy lifestyle! Everyone is very supportive and some have even stepped up to help with mail, yard work, etc., while we’re away and we thankful.

Writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed, even as a young child. I appreciate High Plains Journal for taking a chance on me and the High Plains Harvesting crew by allowing me to join their team as an All Aboard Wheat Harvest correspondent this year. Thank you to our primary sponsor, New Holland, and contributing sponsors, Great Plains, Kuhn Krause, Unverferth, and the U.S. Custom Harvesters Inc., for sponsoring the blog and giving us a platform in which we could share our harvesting journey. As agriculture continues to evolve, people become increasingly removed from the farm, and information instantly/easily spread (accurate or not), it will be even more important for those in agriculture to share their stories. It has been an honor to be able to represent the wheat harvesting sector of agriculture this season.

Finally, thank you to faithful readers and followers of the All Aboard Wheat Harvest blog. It has been a joy to interact with those of you who reached out to us. I have learned much from your stories and been encouraged by your words.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this a memorable season! Please honk and wave if you see us completing harvest up north, traveling back home or out harvesting this fall! May God bless and keep you until we meet again!

HPH - 2015

The HPH crew sporting their All Aboard Wheat Harvest shirts for a team photo while in North Dakota.  From left to right: Ryan, Albert, Harold (aka. Opa – affectionately named by the guys), Jaap, Wian, Pieter G., Michael, Kirby, and Mark.  Not pictured, Pieter T.  and David (taking the picture).  Two combines were also on a work-cation to Canada!

Family

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

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Laura: Albert and Pieter G.

LH Blog PhotoRecently I was able to catch up via phone and email with two more of our crew members on their day off. Albert and Pieter G. were both willing to share their stories with you, and I appreciate them taking the time to do so. Both of these young men came to us from South Africa. Albert has worked in America before, but this is Pieter’s first time here.

I hope you enjoy their perspectives!

 AlbertAlbert

 Why did you want to join a harvest crew?  I wanted to join a harvest crew to get to travel a lot, see a lot, meet people, and see the country side of America while on harvest. Every day is a challenge. You wake up never knowing what is going to happen and you look forward to meeting the challenges and rising up to them.   

Through your travels, have you been able to go anyplace new and if so, what was your favorite area and why?  I have been to a few new places each year. I think Montana’s countryside is very beautiful but I also likes Nebraska’s as well.

 What is your favorite job or responsibility on the crew?  Least favorite? My favorite job is combining. I enjoy the challenge of running a combine and trying to keep it running as long as I can for as well as I can. My least favorite job is servicing them in the morning and getting covered in wheat dust. At the beginning it was worse, but now I have gotten better at finding way to avoid the dusting. 

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What are some things you have learned about American agriculture through this experience that you didn’t know before?  I have learned from different farmers and their different farming techniques. In North Dakota the farms are bigger. I have learned more about precision farming and etiquette when working with different farmers. 

 When you’re not harvesting, what things do you like to do in your free time?  I like to golf, fish, and catch up on sleep!

 Anything else you would like to share with the public like a favorite memory, etc?  He responded that he has had enjoyed the friendships he has made and working for HPH. 

Also, after one job, they were cleaning up machines as is usual. This farmer brought them beverages out and told them is was job well done and they had fun visiting. It felt good to know the customer was very satisfied with the job they had done.

HPH 2015   Albert

Photo from Albert

 

Pieter G

Pieter G.

Why did you want to join a harvest crew?  Since I was a little boy it was a dream of mine running big machines and traveling to see America.

Through your travels, have you been able to go anyplace new and if so, what was your favorite area and why? Montana (Hardin). It was really different then all the other places we’ve cut with the mountain views and the surrounding areas were pretty amazing.

What is your favorite job or responsibility on the crew?  Least favorite? Favorite – (combining) to be able to challenge yourself to do a better job every day! Least favorite, I don’t really have a least favorite job. I just like doing everything and doing it to the best of my ability!0703151044

What are some things you have learned about American agriculture through this experience that you didn’t know before?  Precision farming and the way the big farmers operate with the latest equipment!

When you’re not harvesting, what things do you like to do in your free time?  Golf, see new places, fishing and just spending time with all the friends and having a barbecue. 

Anything else you would like to share with the public like a favorite memory, etc?  Favorite memory – all that we do every day is a great memory!

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Photo from Pieter G.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

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Tell us what you think

The 2015 All Aboard Wheat Harvest Tour is beginning to wrap up. We are asking you, our loyal followers, to tell us what you think. This is your opportunity to express your opinions about the program and suggest ways we can improve your harvest experience.

Please take a few minutes to fill out a simple survey. The survey is anonymous and will be used to better the program in 2016.

Click here to tell us what you think.

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Thanks for following the harvest crews!

For more information contact crew@allaboardharvest.com. All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture.

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2015 Harvest Prize Pack Giveaway!

You could win a harvest prize pack! Thanks to our great sponsors we have three fantastic packages to give away.

IMG_18901. “Harvest of Gold” framed art print from New Holland. (We have two of these prints to give away).

 

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2. New Holland custom harvester scale model toy. Donated by http://www.rockinhfarmtoys.com/

 

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3. Variety Pack. (We have two sets to give away).

Great Plains stainless steel thermos, Great Plains caps, Great Plains XL Carhartt coat, binoculars, USCHI tshirts, USCHI belt buckle and $400 Kuhn Krause cash rebate.

ENTER HERE. Deadline to enter is August 31, 2015.

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Laura: That’s a wrap (well…in Montana)

LH Blog Photo

Cut Bank, Montana—The crew in Montana finished up wheat harvest last Thursday. Mark reported that yields averaged in the low 60s. They spent Friday cleaning/loading equipment and catching up on laundry.

We usually tell the crew that once they hit the northern stops and the paces changes (usually not as fast). The elevators often don’t stay open quite as long and there are sometimes weather delays or we have to wait a bit for crops to dry down. When I processed our last round of payroll, I would have thought we were at one of our early stops based on the hours the crew was putting in and how they were able to run. It’s hard to believe they’re already finished with Montana wheat! It’s just another way the weather has altered our run this year!

Luckily these crew members were able to take some much needed time off this weekend for some sleep before making the final leg of their wheat harvest journey to join the other half of the crew in North Dakota!

Below are some photos from our Montana stops crew members submitted to Mark and me.

HPH 2015

HPH - 2015

Apparently Wian ran up the hill to capture these beautiful shots!  It doesn’t seem too steep until you see where he was standing in the photos below! 

HPH - 2015

HPH - 2015

Pieter T. sent in these shots of Wian on the hill from his vantage point in the field.

HPH - 2015

2015 - HPH

Unfortunately, we weren’t immune from some breakdowns while in Montana. Luckily we were able to borrow a grain cart from our farmer to keep things moving as we waited for some parts to come in. 

HPH 2015

HPH 2015

HPH 2015

All Aboard Wheat Harvest™ is sponsored by High Plains Journal and New Holland Agriculture. You can contact Laura at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

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Posted in 2015, All Aboard, Crop Updates, High Plains Journal, Laura, New Holland | Tagged , , | 8 Comments