Friday, October 14, 2016
Harvest: Part Five
We made good progress on corn harvest but decided to put it on hold for awhile. We have just a few acres of corn left on Mom's farm, named for her since she bought the farm without any input from my Dad, because we don't have any place to store the shelled corn if we were to combine it. We are waiting for semi's to haul some out of the stuffed corn bins to make room for the last of it. We also have around 120 acres or so on our farthest north farm that we farm for someone else. We generally harvest it last to save them money by not having to dry the corn down so much and also it is our farthest haul to get it dried and stored into bins. It is much easier to haul it when you aren't having to drive by twenty other farmers also hauling grain down the same roads. When the traffic dies down, there will be plenty of time to haul the last of it home.
So we started on the soybean harvest. We have just as many acres of soybeans as corn but harvest it quite different. While the corn has been averaging anywhere from 220 to 250 bushels per acre, the soybeans are probably around 60 to 80 bushels to acre. Both are bumper crops for this area but with soybeans yielding around three times less than corn, you would think it makes the job easier. Nope. We hire a custom harvesting outfit to help out so we most of the time have three combines (ours plus two others) working in the field at a time, sometimes four. Me being the designated catch wagon has to drive around like crazy unloading all the combines on the go so they never have to stop and transfer the soybeans to waiting wagons. It is pretty intense much of the time and requires a lot of concentration to keep all the combines straight so I will know which one will require unloading next, which direction we can unload in since combines can only unload from one side which must be pointed away from crops, get there in time and put the grain in the correct wagons. With custom harvesters who get paid by the acre, they like to go when the going is good and will work late into the night. This means that I must also carry a visual map of the field (in my head) we are working on so that I can navigate in the darkness and surmise where the empty wagons were dropped so I can find them and remember which wagons are full or have some grain in them in case we need to haul them in before an impending rain.
I find that my brain has to be so focused, that I have a hard time shutting it off at night (or early morning) when the rest of my exhausted body drops into bed for a few hours of sleep before starting over again. My dreams are filled with running the catch cart in the dark and always being confused. Fortunately, we had a light rain that kept us out of the fields for a day and a half which allowed me time to recuperate and type this into the computer for you all. We probably covered 350 acres of soybeans out of the 1000+ we had in two days so with three combines, it moves fast. Hopefully we get another handful of days to get the rest of them in so we can switch back and finish the last of the corn and be done. I can't wait.