The light snow last week brought back memories of the ’91 Halloween Blizzard. Halloween has typically been the halfway point for harvest on our farm. A “winter is coming notification” was not needed to keep us motivated, but the implications of this harbinger are not lost.
The weather this fall is reminiscent of the good old pre-global warming era, trending cooler, wetter and later than recent autumn seasons. Getting our work completed in the next 5 weeks is still possible, but there is no room for complacency.
A typical day starts with Teams being dispatched from the shop with instructions from Bert. Tillage operators tend to work solo. As many as four different operations are going on a given day. The fertilizer crew has 3-4 men depending on how far they are hauling. Combine crews require 4-7 men. Our longest hauls need 5 trucks to maintain uninterrupted harvesting. As all the truckers know, this is a cardinal rule at Pinicon.
Around mid morning, the lunch crew, Danni and Lindsay, assemble sack lunches for the evening shift. This task was moved “in house” a few years ago and the freshness and quality of lunch assembly greatly improved with that change. In addition to making lunches, Danni and Lindsay have extra responsibilities with bill pay, parts pickup, and special errands. No position escapes the extra effort expected this time of year.
As Calvin manages the driers, he is responsible 24/7 while we are drying. Due to his thorough preseason preparation, this operation has been relatively trouble free. This has allowed him to maintain a comfortable work schedule. Bert tries to give Calvin time off on Sundays for an afternoon run. Maybe someday if I work hard and demonstrate my value, I can negotiate that perk as well!
Andy, Peyton and Ben, the manure application team, arguably have the biggest challenge. Manure application stops when the ground freezes yet they are limited to working only when the soil is dry enough for tillage. In any given year, there is a significant possibility they will not reach the goal of emptying all the barns. This reality keeps them driven. All nighters are a common practice.
Beans were finished last week. Yields were down from the two previous years. Enough corn has been harvested to suggest this crop is very good, maybe our best.
With the aligned efforts of our organization and a healthy dose of God’s grace, Harvest 2017 will be completed by the end of November. Wish us luck!