Roland teams split up to cut in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas
By Megan Roland
Tuesday, June 5
After sitting in rain since last Wednesday we were finally able to start cutting late Saturday afternoon. It felt glorious to be back in the field with the combines contentedly humming and the trucks coming and going. Dad was able to finish the job in Lahoma, and James knocked out a good portion of a field near Helena. Things were looking up. Unfortunately, this uplifting feeling was short-lived as local farmers reported almost 2 inches of rain late Saturday night in the Helena area.
After allowing a full day of drying, yesterday we woke up determined to get back into the fields. Between the trucks getting stuck twice, the grain cart finding a sinkhole, and Dad's TR chopper plugging up we had quite a stressful day. Also, the humidity made the straw tough to thrash and significantly slowed down the speed of the combines.
Friday, June 8
A gambler. Is it someone in a fancy casino throwing down hundred-dollar bills or is it a farmer working the land in an attempt to make a living? The fact of the matter is that in the world of agriculture, everyone is a gambler to some extent. A farmer could spend close to $60 an acre for just planting and fertilizing expenses alone. Throw in land, tractor and implement payments, along with crop insurance and fuel costs and you can imagine how expensive this can be.
In turn, these farmers' risks and decisions automatically influence us as harvesters. If a farmer's crop is doing well and yielding high, it means we will be making more of a profit from that particular harvest. Unfortunately, it is the same concept if a farmer's field is yielding below average; harvest will go more quickly but the income will not be as substantial for anyone involved.
Roland Harvesting has taken a gamble this week. Saturday, Brandon and Greg traveled to Perryton, Texas, with a CR and have been trying to dodge afternoon rain showers to continue working. Yesterday, we sent James, Danny, and Sean with the other CR up to Plainville, Kan. Dad and I are staying in Helena, Okla., with the TR '98 and grain cart to fight the mud and finish up here.
Over the years, there is one thing that Mom has embedded in my mind--"you have to have faith and believe it will all work out." In order to survive in agriculture, whether it's farming or harvesting, it's essential that you have faith and always believe. In agriculture there is only so much power you hold. But, ultimately, you reach a time where you just have to step back, accept there are factors out of your control, and take a gamble.
Monday, June 11
The idea of having an entire harvesting operation strewn over three states seems a little hectic, maybe more like extreme--OK, to be honest, it's just straight up crazy.
Brandon is continuing to whittle away near Spearman, Texas, after being shut down for about two days last week due to rain. He reports most of the wheat to be making between 10 to 20 bushels per acre with test weights of 59 to 62 pounds. The area received some moisture during the past growing season but unfortunately not enough to offset the dire drought from last year.
Meanwhile, almost 300 miles north James and his crew continue their successful days in Plainville, Kan. The dryland wheat in Plainville is averaging between 35 to 55 bushels per acre with higher test weights of 62 to 64 pounds.
During this time Dad and I have been working our tails off near Helena, Okla. Most of the wheat we have been cutting is making around 40 to 60 bushels per acre with test weights keeping right around 60 pounds.
While Dad keeps busy in the combine I've been running grain cart and trucking for him. While in town, I've occasionally seen an Osowski truck from across the elevator. My fellow correspondent, Steph, and her family are here as well. Unfortunately, since both of our crews are trying to get finished we haven't been able to stop and chit-chat. Hopefully, the rain will hold for both our sakes and we can catch up with the rest of harvest in Kansas.
Megan Roland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.