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View from the Cab: Hammer down!

By Kent Casson

I’m waiting to see the first combine in the field at any time now.

As of this writing, I have seen countless livestock farmers chop silage and harvest high-moisture corn but have yet to see that one farmer who likes to be first with the combine. I am guessing this will happen any day if not already by the time you are reading this.

I recall as a kid one farmer in our neighborhood who always liked to be first. It didn’t matter if it was planting time in the spring or harvest in the fall – he would always have the equipment out there before anyone else. I guess this was just for bragging rights at the coffee shop.

There are others who take their time getting out to the field. Perhaps these folks who don’t rush don’t have quite as much farm ground to cover or they just don’t care either way. Is it all just for show or is there meaning behind it? These are occasional questions asked when passing by the late fields.

Then you have those middle-of-the-road types who don’t really start extremely early but not too late either. That’d be us. We are typically a good week or more behind those guys who start on the early maturing corn. It is unusual for us to have soybean fields ready to be harvested in September as we are usually out there most of October cutting beans. That could change this year as we have one bean field that will be ready in a matter of days.

I especially enjoy the saying, “if you’re not first you’re last.” This phrase is often used by a longtime farmer in the area. I can appreciate the humor but he has a point here. The race to the harvest finish isn’t always an easy one but it is rewarding to get done in a timely manner.

We were fortunate to end harvest prior to Halloween last year even though we didn’t begin until late September. This rapid pace can be attributed to near ideal harvest weather with only a small rain delay or two along the way. I wonder if we will be that lucky this year, especially with an El Nino weather pattern returning which means rain could be the norm this fall.

As long as we don’t have a drawn-out cold and wet harvest like 2009, we’ll be in good shape. It’s never fun to get equipment stuck in the field or experience the grain elevator closing early because the corn is too wet and storage space is filling up quickly. I’ll never forget the long lines that year either. It was definitely one for the record books.

Fingers crossed everyone has a safe harvest and we can get done in a timely manner this fall.


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