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Harvest in full swing with the new Massy Fergeson 8780 rotary combines with stripper headers.

Clanton Diaries

June 1 - 15

One thing the girls, Sarah and Ashley, did was help the boys pull rye out of the wheat fields. One Saturday we all were out in the fields walking through the wheat pulling the rye. Once the wheat and the rye is headed out, the rye is quite a bit taller than the wheat so we walk through the fields and pull it. Once the rye is mature enough to form seeds we cut the heads off and bring them out of the fields so that the seeds aren't there for next year. It is like weeding a very large garden.

During this time, the guys are usually getting the combines and headers ready. This year, however, Steve had ordered two new combines, so they did not have that preparation to do. Steve spent a lot of time deciding whether to purchase new combines last winter. It is quite an investment of $300,000. However, we had four older John Deere combines, so it was time to do something different. So we took the plunge and got two Massy Fergeson 8780 rotary combines with stripper headers. These new combines have a hydrostatic driven rotor rather than being driven by the belts and pulleys as in our older combines. The stripper header pulls off the head of the wheat and thrashes the grain out leaving the wheat straw standing. It looks like a hailstorm went through. Our old headers cut quite a bit of the wheat plant which all had to go through the combine is order for the grain to be thrashed out. With the stripper headers the combines are able to run quite a bit faster than the older ones because less of the plant must go through the combine. Because the stripper header cuts only the head and not the wheat straw, the combines are able to start earlier in the morning and cut later in the evening when the others had to stop because of tough straw. It does make for a funny looking field after the stripper headers go through. The old combines left the field looking like a lawn mower went through whereas our new combines left most of the plant standing.

During this time Steve is finishing planting the milo. The corn and soybeans are already up. It is dry enough now that he will need to start thinking about irrigation if it doesn't rain soon. It is always nice if he does not have to start the irrigation before harvest.

June 18

We finally got the new combines about a week ago. Steve and the dealer were sweating it when they were not delivered on time. We have had quite a few on-lookers out to see these new machines at the dealership. The guys pulled up to our field near Delphos, which is about 10 miles north of Minneapolis to try cutting. The moisture was 20 so that shut us down. The elevator will take wheat up to 16 moisture but will dock anything over 14. There were quite a few others cutting but not us.

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