Roland crew finds good wheat crop
By Megan Roland
Wednesday, June 26
The past week has been incredibly busy for Roland Harvesting. Upon the official reunion of our crew last week, we encountered 2 inches of rain that evening that shut us down for a day and a half. After all that moisture it was a little slow going for a day or two due to the tough, damp straw. However, once the winds kicked up, the humidity blew off a bit, and the temperatures skyrocketed we’ve been able to knock out the acres!
Brandon, Jose, Kasey and Eric continued harvest in Carmen, Okla., where the yields ranged from 30 to 55 bushels per acre with test weights of 60 to 61 pounds. We were thrilled to actually see stubble in the field for the first time all summer! Now, based upon the reports of the lower yielding wheat crop farther south, you may wonder how wheat in this area was able to do so much better. To be completely honest, I have no idea and this is why.
Neal, our farmer in Carmen, Okla., shared with me the intriguing story of this year’s growing season. From the day the wheat was planted in September until February the only moisture the area received was 7/10 of an inch of rain. That is less than an inch of rain over a six-month span. In February, everyone in the Carmen area was in for quite a surprise. They received 2 feet of snow! Now, living in the Wyoming mountains for the last five years, this initially didn’t shock me too much, but about three seconds later I thought, “Holy moly!” Remember, that this amount was received in northern Oklahoma, where they seldom have snow and when they do it’s lucky to even stick or cover the ground. After it dumped the 2 feet of snow, Neal mentioned how they were out of electricity for six nights and seven days. Wood burning stoves are not common in the area, so Neal and his wife, Mary, spent much of this time keeping warm in their pickup. In addition, snow removal was a challenge for the area, making travel nearly impossible. Neal and Mary survived this adventure but were sure to put a generator in their house so they could be prepared for the next big power outage. After all that excitement, the growing season concluded with five different freezes from March until May, finishing with another light snow on the first of May. Neal is convinced that the large amount of snow in February was the only thing that saved this crop. Surviving the drought at the beginning of the growing season and staying resilient to the multiple freezes and snow this spring just absolutely fascinates me. Regardless, the farmers and harvesters were both pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this wheat!
Meanwhile, Mom and Dad began cutting about 20 miles away in the nearby town of Helena, Okla. Since this was the first time their CR 9060 was in the wheat this year, they encountered a few grumblings. As Mom would say, “Old yeller had the flu.” They quickly discovered that the computer software for the hydrostat was outdated, causing major problems. Once this got fixed, the CR perked up and began making some serious progress. Yields in the Helena area are in the same range as Carmen, making between 35 to 60 bushels per acre. Brandon’s crew finished harvest in Carmen over the weekend, and met up with Mom and Dad in Helena. With three combines and a grain cart in the field, we have been able to “fly” through the acres. Since we have had cooperative weather and our entire crew working together, the end of Oklahoma harvest is in sight. We hope to finish in Helena today or tomorrow and move up the road to our next stop in Plainville, Kan.
Unfortunately, my time on the road was short-lived this trip, as I was only able to help move down and stick around for a day or so. And of course, with my luck it turned out to be a rain day. Luckily, I managed to snap a few photos from the first evening we arrived. I was just in time to enjoy my favorite view in the entire world—harvest at dusk. There is just something about watching combines cut away and kick up dust by the dim light of a sunset. And who doesn’t just love those pastel cotton candy clouds bouncing around in the background.
Megan Roland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.