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It’s Wheat Harvest Season. This just may be my favorite time of the year.

rippened wheat field in western nebraska

Checking the wheat for harvest.

For me, It has been a hard wait for the grain to mature. We have had so much rain this year, that the wheat has been slow to mature.

And now the time is ripe with excitement.

Wheat combined along the Pine Ridge

Duane cuts a sample of wheat.

The air is filled with anticipation as more and more farmers glean a strip of wheat and haul it to the grain elevator checking for the right value. The right moisture, the right protein count. The perfect hour to cut the grain from the stalk is timed for maximum gain.

The Custom Cutters have arrived.

Wheat combines ready to run

Wheat combines lined up and ready to harvest.

Their huge equipment stand sentry at the edge of fields ready for harvest. Operators scrambling around the behemoths making sure all are in perfect condition so as not to loose a single grain of wheat, or a moment of time to bad mechanisms.

These contract cutters, the men that power the massive machines through the fields come from all over the world to drive the combines down the rows of grain.

Wheat harvest along the Pine Ridge, Nebraska

Wheat harvest along the Pine Ridge, Nebraska

This year, some of the drivers are from as far away as the Ukraine. They come on a work visa,  to learn English,  to see and to drive on the breadbasket of North America.

These super high-speed cutting machines make quick work of a field, often harvesting an entire section within an hour. That same section would take the average farmer an entire day to harvest. The race to harvest is against not only time, but mother nature.

Severe Thunderstorm over western Nebraska panhandle

Severe Thunderstorm over northern Dawes County

For it only takes a summer thunderstorm with severe wind or a downpour of rain, but worse yet… hail. Every day that passes without incident is another day farmers can breathe a sigh of relief. Relief that a years worth of work has not been destroyed in an instant.

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