Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Harvest Begins - Swathing Barley

 We have been watching the barley grow all Summer. It has been a cool Summer which barley prefers.
Farmer Fred hand shelled a head from a random plant as he walked through the ripest field. 
It was ripe, but not dry enough to combine.
So late the next day, he and Robbie brought the swathers out. 
The swaths are fluffy as they come through the swather. 
A few days in the swath will dry the crop out, if the sun shines and the rain stays away. 
There is always risk when you swath barley as it can stain or sprout if it gets wet. Before we swath we check the forecasts, but there is no good weather guarantee.
 There is also risk to the crop if it stands too long. The barley can start to shell out where it is driest before it is fully dry throughout the field. 
 So we are swathing. Can you spot Robbie in his swather on the far side of the field hiding under a leaf in the center of the above photo?
 Harvest brings excitement. So far this season we have invested and worked. Only harvest can bring a payday to the farm. We don't have a crop until the grain is safely in the bin. We won't have a payday until the grain is delivered and sold. 
The flat bed pickup is parked at the end of the shelter belt that divides the field. We always tease the boys that it is their dream machine, but it can still run a rescue mission when called upon.  
We will swath only a small portion of the barley fields.
 The rest of the crop will stand to ripen while we harvest wheat.  
As Robbie guides the swather around the corner, we are all turning a corner. 
And heading in a new direction. 
Harvest has begun. 
That is welcome news in GriggsDakota.

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