Harvesting Good Wheat on Steep Hills

Published on: 08:10AM Aug 16, 2011

I spent Friday afternoon and all day Saturday harvesting wheat for my cousins near Dixie, Wash.  Dixie is the town I grew up in until we moved to the big city of Walla Walla when I was in high school. The fields we were harvesting on were about a mile away from the old homestead.

The crops down there this year are what I would call a bumper crop. There is lots of dryland wheat that will do around 135 to 155 bu. per acre.

I was driving a Case IH 2388 with rear wheel assist, which I needed several times. This country has lots of areas that are fairly steep. In one draw near the creek, I almost ended up going into the neighbor's field twice before I was able to get the combine turned around. I was always taught on steep hills to turn the combine down the hill when making a turn, not up the hill. Well, when I made these two turns, there was so much weight on the front end of the combine that the rear wheels were unable to dig into the ground enough to turn the combine, so I just went straight for about 50 feet before it finally got enough purchase to get the machine to turn.

Another sight that I had not seen for a while is a new Case IH 8010 trailing a large baler. It looked like it was going less than one mile per hour and putting out a large bale of straw about every 200 feet or so. It appears there is a good market for this as a feed product since there is some actual wheat mixed in with the straw, according to my cousin.

As I have said before, my idea of a vacation is to drive the combine, and I really enjoyed my day and a half on the machine.