Sunset Harvesting

When it’s harvest time, there’s no time to lose.
That’s why if you’ve driven in rural North Dakota in recent weeks, you’ve likely seen lots of activity in the fields.
As Jim Olson show us, that activity can stretch right past sunset at this time of year.

The sun was sagging quickly in the west – but the combines, grain carts, and semis continued to buzz in this field north of Stanley. 

(Mark Birdsall, Berthold Area Farmer) “We usually cut as long as we can.”

Because on an evening like this, there’s nothing more important.

(Mark Birdsall, Berthold Area Farmer) “Hopefully we can cut a bit later tonight.”

With the humidity rising – but not yet hitting the 70% level when combining gets shut down, Mark Birdsall, his brother, son-in-law, and many other family members are taking advantage – chewing up harvest acres well into dusk.

(Mark Birdsall, Berthold Area Farmer) “It’s a family affair – it’s a family farm yet. Nice to create a good work ethic and have all the family together and it’s nice to see the younger generation enjoying it also.”

That younger generation includes Mark’s 10-year-old grandson Owen – behind the wheel of one of the tractors pulling a grain cart.

(Mark Birdsall, Berthold Area Farmer) “This isn’t work to him at all…(laugh).”

Hard to consider it ‘work’ when it’s really the payoff for months and months of work that’s already been invested.

(Mark Birdsall, Berthold Area Farmer) “For any farmer harvest would be the best time of the year. And it’s always more enjoyable when you have a crop as good as this crop looks.”

Birdsall is encouraged by his cereal grains harvest – with yields big enought to offset the low prices in the market right now.

(Mark Birdsall, Berthold Area Farmer) “You can always hope for a better price, but you gotta have the bushels.”

That grain harvest is about finished for his family – next up is soybeans and the potential for less-gratifying yields, 

(Mark Birdsall, Berthold Area Farmer) “That’ll be it for the year and we start preparing for next year.”

But that’s for later – right now, it’s time to enjoy the ‘best time of the year,’ as the sun sets on the 2018 grain harvest season.
Near Stanley, Jim Olson, KX News.

The USDA reports close to 90% of barley, wheat, and durum has been harvested this fall in North Dakota.

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