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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Oct 14, 2011

We may grow the same crops every year, but that is about all we have in common with any growing year. No two crop years are alike, only the crops are the same.

Two years ago, we had an October that rained almost everyday and we spent the month sitting still.

Finally, November came along and we were able to get going, finishing harvest and doing our tillage in time for Thanksgiving, only to have it snow the next Saturday, and that was it for that year.

It was a tough year with lots of liquified petroleum used for drying, causing a shortage of LP.

Last year we planted as early as we have ever planted in beautiful conditions. Every seed planted emerged; the summer was wet, but not too wet, so that we had no problems with drowned out spots.

We harvested every acre planted – no drowned spots, no burned up spots.

Last year was our best year in my memory with great yields grown under ideal conditions.

The corn dried in the field, and we emptied our truck and wagons straight into the bin, never even starting the drier. I did not know that could ever happen.

A tough year two years ago was followed by a perfect year last year.

Then there is this year.

Because the soybeans were leaning so badly, the combine was bringing in rocks that we did not see.

Fortunately, the rock trap was doing its job, and we built up quite a rock collection from every field.

The rock trap was checked after every load. We have never had to do that before.

It will also be remembered as the year we harvested under the driest conditions of any year in memory.

I did not know fires in our fields could be as common as this year.

At age 64, I am still learning about farming.

Dry weather does help get our work done, but a dry wind under dry conditions does make a person very cautious about how they proceed through the day.

We had a bolt break inside our combine letting loose a small piece of steel that caught on the spinning rotor creating a constant clicking sound as the rotor would catch it with every turn.

We thought about just running anyway as it did not affect how the combine ran.

However, steel against steel does create sparks, and it was in a place where lots of dry soybean leaves, stems and pods are passing through.

We did talk about raising the insurance coverage on the combine and then running it so we could use the insurance money from the combine fire to buy a newer one, but decided that would not probably work.

The insurance company would smell something fishy and figure out our motive.

Besides, our combine may be old, but we rather like the thing.

So we drove up to the shop, reached into an almost impossible to reach place that required the right hand of one person and the left hand of another to replace the missing bolt and we were back on our way.

Hours later, soybean harvest was completed and our combine was still a good machine ready for corn.

We had to work for our soybeans but they are done.

Then, once the soybeans were done, this harvest got even more memorable when, after finishing on Thursday, a new granddaughter, who has been named Audrey, arrived the next day on Friday.

That was soybean harvest. Now, what will corn harvest bring?

I wrote on Facebook about Audrey’s arrival saying, “Welcome to the world, Audrey. It’s quite a place.”

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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