The story of Harvest 2016 starts in June, when North Dakota began what would be one of our wettest summers in recent years. Sproule Farms and most other farms in our area successfully got our crops in the ground due to a dry spring. Shortly after, the rains began. The summer months were loaded with moister. Well irrigated land flourished in many areas while others suffered. Crop that made it through high winds, hail, and flooding produced great yields for everyone in the valley.
While in many parts of the country rain would be of little bother to farmers, our soil type can make daily work very difficult. The Red River Valley has a lot of clay type soils that hold moister for longer periods of time vs. soils in other parts of the country. The soil in some areas we farm is often referred to as “gumbo” because when it gets wet, it absorbs and holds water and anything that attempts to drive over it.
High ground wasn’t always safe, as seen in the photo above. Atop a hill with a 3/4 full grain cart, the tires dropped straight into the earth. Lucky, both tires sunk at similar depths allowing us to pull a second grain cart under the first to lighten the load. That was just enough to get the cart out without the need of more horse power. But not all instances were as successful…
The above video was one of many combines stuck this fall; a dozen or more in total. From wheat to corn, we battled wet ground all of harvest. Throughout harvest we left pieces of unharvested crop to pick up another day when the ground had time to dry. While the above video wasn’t the worst of our blunders, the below photo was. Two separate occasions our track hoe was needed to safely excavate a stuck combine. Luckily, we mostly made it out with only damaged prides.