Harvest 15 has started, first up, Peas

It has been a busy couple of weeks after sadly leaving the our lake property for the last ‎time of the year on August 9, harvest was fast approaching. We had already preharvested (sprayed to cause uniform dry down to allow for straight cutting) some peas by the time we had left for the lake but it takes a couple of weeks before harvesting can begin. The combines were out of the shed and we were doing some final checks and maintenance on them to ensure they were ready when the crops were. Marie and I attended a local New Holland dealers “combine clinic” where they had a session on maintenance tips (Marie snuck away and got grocery shopping done), then a presenter from Prairie Agriculture Machinery Institute (PAMI) presenting on setting your combine for maximum efficiency to reduce losses and finally a presentation on using your monitors in the combine to their fullest potential. Overall the day was ok but it turned out to be not such a “free” event as during the maintenance presentation there were some tips that I thought would be additions to our combines so ended up taking on in to get some service work done on it.  

August 13th was the day this year harvest 2015 started for LDS Farms. I had a Board meeting that day ‎at CMI (local grain Terminal) which I was hoping to be done by noon and then Landon and I were heading to Winkler MB to pick up our new grain trailers that had just rolled off the assembly line. Well the meeting turned into a 3pm adjournment and it was blistering hot out. I thought maybe we should try those peas. Marie and Logan we in outlook helping her mom after a surgery so it was just Landon and I. He had stayed at a friend’s while I was at my meeting. I raced to pick him up and said let’s go try those peas. He anxiously agreed because he could wait to get back into the grain cart tractor for another season. We called up our trusty “go for” Harold and asked can you give us a ride, we are going to try the peas. For sure was his response so I headed off with the combine and header and Landon right behind in the 7140 and grain cart.

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While this was all happening I was texting with a good friend of mine, Mike who was trying his peas as well and they were dry so I was excited that ours might be as well. It turns out they were 15.8% moisture and 16% is considered dry so it was go time. We took a semi out to the field and before we knew what was happening #harvest15 (twitter hastag) was started. Landon quickly remembered all that was involved and we managed to get 1200 bushels harvested by 7:30 pm that night when it became too tough to harvest due to the onset of the evening dew. Peas stay dry but the pods and stem get real rubbery and stringy. We went home and made ourselves some supper (Landon was head chef) and showered and went to bed anxious for the next full day when we could really get some production done. 

Landon and I checked the combine over and got everything set for the day including getting the auger hooked up to the tractor and servicing it. Then we raced to humboldt as our second combine was ready after getting the service work done to it. We drove the combine home and out in our shed and then headed up to the field. Uncle Kenny was called into action as CMI who we had signed up a contract to sell some of our peas to were able to take delivery right from the field. He hauled them in and Landon and I harvested more while he was away. He made two loads by 3 pm and then Lane was able to be home from his SK Canola Board meeting. I can only imagine his anxiousness to get home and see the combine rolling and start hauling.  ‎It is an awesome feeling not to mention a big relief to be hauling straight to the terminal with the peas never getting angered into a bin and then augered back out again.  It saves so much time and costs, part of the reason we like to grow peas and have a portion contracted for fall delivery. Elevators typically have space and anxious to buy grain to get it filled so they can get some early shipping.  Lane was able to get two more loads in before they closed at 6 for the weekend. He pulled under the probe at 5:59 literally but they dumped him with a smile and closed the gate behind him. We filled the truck again and finished 80 ac that day. Having hauled all the production in we checked out accuracy of the grain cart scale which was within 99.5% so we’re happy with that. That 80 ac piece yielded 57.8 bushels per acre which put a smile on our faces. Compared to last year when our peas yielded 15 bu/ac this is a bumper crop.
These are our two trucks unloading at CMI
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Landon has really matured and doing an excellent job on the grain cart for being 11 years old. He came across the field the other day and the way he was driving I was sure it was Lane and surprises when Landon pulled under the spout like an old pro. At the end of the days he is sure to park the unit in a safe spot, he locks up the cab, takes out the ipad(used for scales), rolls the tarp and puts out the auger, just in case it rains. Lane even commented on the radio the other day at how nice and clean he keeps his cab. All of this makes a father so proud.

Rain delayed us on Saturday so Landon and I took the opportunity to go get the trailers. We left at 3 pm Sunday afternoon and drove through to Portage la Prairie arriving there at 10:30 pm. Found a quiet place to park and crashed in the bunk. Landon was right at home in there as it reminded him of tenting but with hard walls. We got up at 6, grabbed a coffee and juice and hit the road again for Winkler and 1.5 hours south. We got there hooked up and then did a factory tour. It was impressive to see how quickly it moves through the line and gets prepped for delivery. With the sun shining we headed for home, but not before finding a roadside stand selling fresh sweet corn, we had ourselves a back haul of 12 cobs of freshly picked corn. I almost cried when we hit rain just outside yorkton and my shinny trailers now were dull. This meant an early morning wash the next morning to get them polished up again. 

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Combining resumed that afternoon with Landon carting again and Logan ‎running me from one end of the field to the trucks on a quad so that I could dump the cart for Landon. It hurt dumping the first  load into those new trailers but that’s what we bought them for. More loads to the terminal but we are saving some for seed for next year so Lane set up the auger and we filled 2 bins to be used for the next couple years. Lane even got our picture on the Global news.

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2 loads go to Saskatoon so I left Thursday morning at 5am to make it back in hopes of combining again. On the way ran into rain again, so when I got home Lane had the pressure washer out and Marie helped me wash up the shine again, Logan saw this and said “boy this is going to be a long harvest if dad keeps washing his trailers.” The sun shone and by 1:30 we were back combining which turned into being a bonus day as the forecast had us getting rain but we managed to harvest a full day again. We are down to 60 acres left of peas but stopped again for a rain delay. The peas have gone flat to the ground so harvesting them is challenging and slow but very happy with the outcome. We will start swathing barley as soon as the rain stops and the fields are dry enough so with an excellent forecast for next week we will hopefully be in full swing with both combines and me back hauling grain and out of the combine. Another reason I enjoyed the peas as I get some combining time! 

1/2 inch of rain so far today. Let’s hope and pray that’s it. Got stuck once with combine already. Don’t need that again. ‎IMG_20150820_171521

I’ve never wanted a drone before

image imageUntil a buddy showed me the 1080p resolution amazing quality footage he took early one morning in his farm. This bad boy was about $1400 out of the box and it’s a breeze to run.
Who needs an airplane to come take arial photos of your farm? Buy a drone. Never again will you have to curse yourself years later as you walk by it every day wondering why that day you decided to leave the 1/2 ton parked at a stupid angle semetrically to the rest of the yard. (Yes there is a time and place to sweat the small stuff and this is it).
Want to check the back corner of the field or the herd to just see how they are doing without spooking them? Buy a drone. I’m a bit shocked at my own interest in these things all of a sudden.

Ok, back to the task at hand…. Peas are dry and rain is a comin!

5″ of rain won’t keep us down. Well it will the peas but…

lance shadow Aug 2015

Last weekends rains dropped over 5″ of rain on the farm and we weren’t looking for that sort of moisture this late in the season. Its tough to even say that out loud when so many others need the moisture. Between the rain and wind the great stand of peas has substanitally fallen. The cnary seed is now tangled from its strong pre-gale force storm stand and the canola has a definate lean to it.

creek running

We’re facing more rain this week, but I’ll take the rain when you compare it to the hail parts of Alberta received last night. Lets just get through this crop year. Harvest should be earlier than usual if the heat returns. Bring it on.