Sunday, June 23, 2013
It’s Sunday morning, and we are preparing to go to church. It’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) week at Wheatland Christian Church (WCC), and Pat is heading up the work in the kitchen. I opted out of helping at VBS this year, for wheat week is landing directly at the same time– the wheat is later, and VBS is earlier than typical. It will be weird for me not to be there every evening, I really enjoy that ministry to about 100 kids in the community. But duty calls.
We got to return to the wheat field yesterday afternoon, finishing the Downen farm and beginning at the Huey farm. The yields are pretty good, but the harvesting is slowed because the straw is a little green and damp. This makes it hard for the combine to ‘digest’, and makes us drive more slowly than if the straw were dry. Even so, we are putting beautiful, high-quality grain in the combine tank. The test weight (a measure of the density) is quite high, and the grain sample is free of stems, hulls or other straw debris. We are pleased and grateful for the wheat crop, even if it is a little harder than usual to bring in. We are about 30% through the crop.
On Friday and Saturday evenings, we were driven from the wheat field by rain. Especially last evening, about 7pm, the sky was so threatening, we shut down in advance of the rain. When we arrived at home we discovered that it had rained .9″ (22mm) just ahead of our return. We don’t think that it rained nearly that much at the Huey farm where we were working, so maybe we can return to harvest this afternoon.
Yvertin got to drive the combine a bit yesterday, and demonstrated that he had much experience in the driver’s seat. Like anyone else, he appreciated the AutoTrac feature. Some of the controls in our JD 9770 were a bit different from what he was accustomed to back home, but he adapted very quickly.
Yvertin also drove the tractor and grain cart to shuttle between the moving combines and the trucks. He was especially handy, because we were a little short-handed on truck drivers yesterday. It’s a good thing that Ben is experienced in many things, for he had to move from grain cart to truck driver. With Brandon also trucking, they could have enough trucks at the field to keep the combines rolling. John remains mostly at the farm, supervising the operation of the grain dryer, for the wheat is coming in above the required 13% moisture–at about 18%. John is developing some considerable expertise with the one-year-old GSI 2326 X-Stream dryer.
The wheat we produce is typical for Indiana. It is soft red winter wheat, that makes very rich flour, more suitable for pastries and cakes than for bread. It can also be used, when economically comparable, as a substitute for corn in animal feed rations. When you enjoy your next slice of cake, please consider that your tasty treat may have originated right here in southern Indiana!
We are not spreading the straw behind the combines. We moved our spreading systems out of the way on each combine and we are leaving the straw in ‘windrows’. In this way, our neighbor, Tom Loudermilk, can use his baler to roll up big bales of straw. This gives us a little more income, but the best benefit is that it improves the performance of the soybean planter to penetrate into the soil. But the straw windrows will need some days to completely dry in the sun before Tom can roll it into those big, round bales.