Sunday, June 28, 2009

Well, been there and done that and without pretense.

Here's a view from the cab of our Case International STX325 tractor pulling sweep plow on Long Quarter:

Below: Here's Jenn's kitchen during harvest meal prep!

Below: here's mom driving the chuck wagon and on a mission. This day we were cutting wheat on the RMc place.

Below: putting seed wheat from the Airport place in the wheat bins on the Hamar place

Below: Eating lunch on the Airport place (Rex, Konner, Rick listening to a tale spun by Mike.

Mike during Lunch seated infront of his combine and Konner/Mikey's Grain Cart

Below: combine driven by Rex unloading, Konner on Cart and Mike in his combine in front. They were cutting on "Old Crow" place just east of Thomas.
Below: Yours truly advertising for Blahut Harvesting
Below: As a reminder to be careful, Jenn and Parker saw this accident while on a parts run. 2 people were hurt pretty bad after this truck rear ended a grain cart pulling a combine header.
Below: Jenn and Parker on a parts run last week to Schmidt & Sons in Mt. Hope Kansas.

Hello friends, Well harvest is about all wrapped up. All we have left to cut is the wheat that's on the river bottom, so we should be wrapped up on Monday (I think, however we've had .7 tenths rain over night). This week has been long and the whole crew is extremely tired. Thankfully everyone still has their sense of humor and no one it seems is irritable but me. We've cut about half of our total acres this week too. We've made a parts run to Fairview, OK and Pratt, KS and Alva, OK. Willie our faithful truck driver got here this week on Monday and that was while we starting to put some seed wheat in the bin. Has he ever been handy! We thought we ought to save a little seed wheat just in case we can't buy any to replace it with. On Monday, Willie hauled me the wheat at the wheat bin and I put it in the bin while Willie took the empty truck back to the field. That wheat came off of the field we call "Airport Place."
During mid-week, we made the trip down south to cut "Woman Later" place down between Weatherford and Thomas. This trip is pretty hard because we have to go out and around Deer Creek Bridge on Hwy 54. We made it however without a hitch. Just had to air up the combine tires to get over the several bridge banisters we do have to cross.
Sometime this week we also got started working our ground. We started this with a sweep plow that just slips under the ground and works it by lifting it up and over the blade. This really helps control weeds too and then creates a "stubble mulch" effect. On Saturday the ground started getting too dry for the sweep plow to penetrate the soil so we had to switch to the Laney Ripper which has spikes that penetrate the ground about a foot deep and then we follow immediately with the sweep plow. Kendrick Wingard and I worked on the laborious project since Thursday once we got the guys on the combines and trucks off and running. So far we've worked about 400 acres in this fashion.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Harvest that was not.

Hello friends. The week has come and gone. We've harvested about half our acres, taken the wheat to the elevator and had lots of adventures along the way. Above is a picture of Mike cutting wheat on the field our family has owned since the early 1940's. We call it the Long Quarter. Below is some of the "adventure" I was talking about: Parker is making a trek to "East Creek" which is down below "Squeeky's Tree". Squeeky is his imaginary pet squirel.

One of the funniest things that was said this week was from Parker. (see picture below) Parker and I were making a trip to the elevator in the Mack truck. We had on the AC and so I had my window rolled up. Parker's window was down and he looked over at me and said "Daddy roll your window down because my other arm is hot!" I laughed and laughed and told everyone about it. Just had to tell you about it too.

Below is a picture of our #2 Gleaner R72 complete with scenes of nature (weeds from the water way on the edge of Long Quarter.
Thought the pic below was interesting. It was just after the dinner bell rang and everyone was in a hurry to come to the edge of the field for supper. We have a rule that before the combines sit for any length of time that they need to be unloaded. Mike got a jump start on supper by unloading on Konner & Mikey's Grain Cart while they were unloading on the truck. Notice Mikey on the back of the trailer directing traffic.
Below is a picture of Tanner Pruitt our good neighbor farmer who was already working their ground. This field was just east of Long Quarter. He is driving a 9230 John Deere and pulling a sweep chisel plow.
Below is a pic of the grain cart and #1 Gleaner driven by Dad working together on Long Quarter.

Thot the pic below was a pretty sight with our grain cart and the elevator at Thomas in the distance. That's where we haul all of our wheat. Nephew Mikey Taylor and neighbor Konner Kippenberger are Co-Grain Cart Drivers.
Below is a good pic of #1 Mack on the Huiatt Place.
Below: Waiting behind Eyster Harvesting truck at the East Side Elevator. We are next in line and ready to dump.

Below: Pic of Mark Sweeney - assistant elevator manager for Wheeler Brothers in Thomas. He's a good friend. This was taken after we pulled thru bay.

Pic of two of the elevator hands unloading the hopper trailer.
This coming week we'll have more updates!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Here at last

Parker cleaning up some trash in the wheat before it is cut.

Sorry about no post last week. We took a family trip for the benefit of the kids play time and our mental health. At least the kids played so hard they wore themselves out. Jenn and I were too tired to care after keeping up with them. We saw the Calumet elevator open but not receiving any loads of wheat.

Now for this week's post:
Well I think its official - Wheat Harvest '09 has started. Farmers in our area began cutting last Monday afternoon then followed a few rainy days. On Friday, we even started cutting with a test sample that showed 14% moisture. After cutting a truck load we were told "let's not cut anymore 'til next week" by Mark Sweeney (assistant elevator manager). The truckload of wheat Mikey and I brought in went for 15.7% moisture and got a moisture dock. Thankfully they took that one load and we were able to call ahead and stop Daddy & Mike from cutting anymore.
On this first load of wheat that we hauled in, the test weight managed to be OK at 57. If this is all greek to you, the moisture is the easy thing. It's like taking a measurement of the wheat's humidity and temperature together. The elevator can usually safely store wheat that has a moisture percentage below 13.5%. Especially if they have some drier wheat to blend it with. Now on to the test weight of the wheat which is its density. Our load came in at 57 lbs per cubic foot. Normally we like to see wheat weigh at least 60 lbs test weight (per cubic foot) which would be a perfect.
I'm sure you've all heard of farmers talk about how many bushels per acre their wheat made. Now you can imagine if you hear a farmer say his wheat made 40 bushels per acre, then in actuality it made 40 cubic feet of wheat per acre if his wheat's density was a perfect 60 lbs/sq ft.

To tie in the issue of the test weight to the real world, if our wheat yielded 40 cubic feet of wheat per acre and its test weight was only 57 lbs per cubic foot, it actually only made (40x57)/60 = 38 "bushels" per acre. This in essence is a wheat quality issue - being that it was less dense than the standard 60 lbs per cubic foot. A bushel by the way weighs 60 pounds regardless of its density. Bushels are simply a measurement of weight. Therefore, this bushels per acre measurement has the density quality built in to the equation. Sometimes as is the case, but probably not this year because of the stress the wheat was under (drought, hail, freeze), the wheat can even be more dense or heavier than 60 pounds test weight. I've even seen 1 load a couple years ago that went for 64 pounds test weight! You could feel that it was heavier than normal just by putting your fingers into it.
Some what relatedly, in some parts of the world, farmers have stopped using bushels to measure yield since they are such small units of measurement and have gone to using tons per acre. Times they are a changing.
To sum this wheat quality info all up, we had our wheat graded at grade 3. This is not great, but the test weight significantly affects the grading scale and moisture significantly affects the test weight. Anything 57 and below is grade 3 or worse and 58-59 is grade 2 and grade 1 is anything above 60 test weight. Now you know what we had. We expect the test weight on this particular field to increase since we are waiting for the moisture to go down before harvesting the wheat.

I am sure that someone noticed. Yes the truck was significantly over weight. However, being new to the grain cart, I'll get that weight issue figured out. Our crew is somewhat changed up: It includes Daddy on #1 Combine, Mike on #2, Willie on Trucks (Willie's mom passed last Thursday evening, so he's not able to be here til the middle of this week. Please pray for Willie and family.) Myself on Grain Cart (I've heard I've been called "hell-on-wheels" already, but I'm not sure why). Miko aka Mike Taylor bro-in-law at Grain Bins. Mikey & Konner as go-fers and assistants to all where needed as they learn the business.
While waiting for the wheat to dry out, we've worked on cleaning the sheds, putting up wrenches, sorting bolts and working cattle. A farmers work is never done, but we keep trying to get caught up.

Above: Mikey taking a break after cleaning the north shed.
This morning, (as I am trying to recover from a riduculously bad cold) I think the weather is showing signs of change. There was a lot less dew than we've been getting and the breeze feels more like harvesting weather. Forecast is for hot and dry for the next 2 weeks. Glory be. Watch out wheat, here we come :))
I would also like to introduce you guys to a new blog that we've found. We always take a look at is at lunch time since we've been around the house here lately. All the farm hands always want to "hear the update from the harvest blog." Our new frinds and bloggers are named Jenna
and Jada. They are blogging about wheat harvest from Texas to Canada. You can follow them along too. Right now Jenna and her family are in Seiling, OK cutting wheat and Jada and her crew are moving from Olney, TX to up north around Kiowa, KS Blog site: You can subscribe to receive their blog entries by email by entering your email on the top right corner of their site. Also, check out the "What am I doing ..." box on the left side of the blog. It shows lots of interesting trivia.
Well until next week, keep the dust at your back and the breeze to your face and keep the wheels turning.