This past week at the farm was all about trucking wheat to the local elevator. To be specific it was Hard Red Spring Wheat. 19 trips, ~1,000,000 pounds, ~16,666 bushels…..that will make approximately 1,500,000 loaves of whole wheat bread, that's a lot of bread! They talk in terms of bushels around here “that bin will hold 22,500 bushels”, "the field yielded 60 bushels per acre". That means absolutely nothing to someone like me…what the heck is a bushel?
I Googled it and found out that it takes 4 bushels to make a peck……well that didn’t help! Upon more in depth analysis I found out that wheat is about 8 gallons or 60#’s of wheat dry weight. That made a little more sense to me.
|Garrison Grain Elevator|
The entire hauling experience is very interesting to me. First off you do not need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive an agricultural semi-truck within 150 miles of the farm. Think about that next time you pass a grain truck on the road….. me loose on these country roads in an 80,000#’s missile! Actually they rode with me a few times and made sure I passed their tests before they cut me loose on my own. Not a lot different that driving our rig except for the shifting and the slowing down and stopping distances.
The first step to this process is to load the wheat from one of the bins into the semi. This is done using a grain belt that has a large conveyor that dumps it into the semi hopper. I had one mishap where the conveyor stopped and dumped a bunch of grain on the ground before I got the bin closed and cleaned it up.
|Filling the truck with the grain belt|
Once loaded it is off to the elevator. To say their trucks get a workout is an understatement. I watched the truck I was operating turn over 777,777 miles on one of my trips! Once at the elevator you scan a card letting them know which farm you are. Then you pull up to the probe station where they take samples of each of your hoppers to see what you are hauling and do a series of tests to determine quality.
|Truck in front of me getting probed|
From there it is off to the scales where you again scan your card accepting the weight.
|Full weight on the way in|
From that point you travel a short distance up to the grain dump. If the truck in front of you also dumped spring wheat you have a green light and can go right ahead and dump. If they dumped anything other than spring wheat the light is red until they are ready for you. I imagine people in the elevator running around turning big wheels to route the conveyors to the spring wheat bin but in actuality they probably just push a button. Once the light is green you can dump your load which only takes a few minutes.
|Emptying the grain into the grate|
Once that is complete you go to yet another scale where you are weighed empty and again scan your card to accept your dry weight. Then it is back to the farm to load up again!
A round trip takes about an hour and a half they typically get 4-5 trips in in a day but on two occasions I did 6 trips in a day setting a new Finken Farm record! (Now that I put that in print Chris will be on a quest to best it). They kept telling me if I was tired of trucking they could have someone else do it but I was like a kid in a toy store and did not want to stop!
Well, that’s your Ag. lesson for the day now on to what else we have been doing……
Since Barb returned from Pennsylvania she has been busy doing some work for her former employer which is much appreciated! We just ordered the power run to our building site in South Dakota which put a serious dent in our finances. She also mowed the lawn here at the farm which can take anywhere from 8-10 hours, that is a lot of grass!
We have also been trying to get out to work Dakota every day. Barb has been doing the majority of this while I have been in the truck. We are very happy with her progress. She is now completely comfortable with the sound of a .22 going off near. She has come a long way in 6 months!
|The girls hanging out while I load a truck|
We have been working on water retrieves, staying until we release her and returning to our side when retrieving. We put together this short video of her progress. We took out most of the bloopers but you can see the progress for yourself. Some of it has also rubbed off on Daisy who is turning into a little duck dog in her own right!
But alas, all things must come to an end and it is time to move on from the farm. A big thank you to Bob, Deanne, Chris, Holly and Dylan for their hospitality.......see you this fall. Now we are off to northwest Minnesota to see our good friends Dino and Lisa!!!