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View from the Cab: Wagon trouble

The most underappreciated job in any farming operation is the auger wagon driver.

This poor soul must understand crazy hand gestures that don’t often make sense while being expected to read minds and have the tractor and wagon back out to the field as fast as possible.

There is a lot of pressure on the driver while the combine operator can just sit back in the large comfy seat and run the show. This must be why I like to sit in the combine cab whenever I get the chance. I could have sworn there was interpretive dancing going on in the combine the other day with all of the hand movements.

Does he mean that end of the field or the other? Was that a bin full signal or is he just waving hello? Did he just tell me to slow down or should I come to a complete stop? These are questions which fill my head during harvest. You know that automated auger wagon technology isn’t looking so bad after all. What’s the price and when can I place my order?

It’s hard to remember the days before auger wagons. Maybe the grain truck driver was required to interpret hand gestures back then. I personally prefer the index finger signaling the number one for “one more load.” This has to be one of the most universal signs.

A much more pleasant signal would be the old farmer wave. Some guys get the whole hand going back and forth if they really know someone driving by while others just barely lift a hand if they are unsure who just waved at them. I try to make a point to wave at everyone – especially if I am in the tractor.

Maybe next time instead of the head nod when I am given instructions in the field, I will just reply with the farmer wave. This beats the thumbs up or “you got it” signal. Or, I could give some wild hand gestures right back to the combine operator just to be ornery. That could make the rest of harvest all the more interesting.

Hopefully the rest of harvest doesn’t take long for us since we only have a few hundred acres of everything left as of this writing. It has definitely been a season we won’t forget although we’d like to.

(The View from the Cab blog is powered by Petersen Chevy-Buick in Fairbury)

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