If you’ve read our posts over the years, when it comes to harvest there’s a very common theme – every harvest has its unique challenges. This year’s harvest was no different.
With grain and potato harvest taking place at the same, along with getting our third and fourth cuttings of dairy-quality alfalfa out of the fields, our farm crews are spread all over the Klamath Basin bringing home the crops. This year, we decided to give ourselves another challenge – our first industrial hemp harvest!
We began cutting grain in at the beginning of August and kept our combines cutting wheat, malting barley and oats clear into mid-November. Though we weren’t able to harvest all of our fields due to the effect of the weather on the crops, we still managed to cut an incredible 7,208 acres. Considering we had fields in the Tulelake area, Malin, the Straits and clear up into the Running Y and Caledonia, our grain harvest crew put in a lot of hours moving equipment, let alone cutting the crop.
Speaking of the weather, it definitely posed a challenge to potato harvest. The beautiful, temperate summer gave way to some frigid fall days that kept our potato harvest crews and spud truck drivers out of the fields. Despite that challenge, this was one of our quickest potato harvests to date – we started digging chipping potatoes September 3rd and finished on the 25th of October. And to give you an idea of how good our potato harvest crew is, we had four 100% bruise free days, and one day we loaded 134 trucks with chipping potatoes. Well done!
And then there’s the industrial hemp. Since this is our first year growing hemp, we’re planning on a little longer post about harvesting hemp, but we can say that it was a learning experience. Our industrial hemp team took this first season to figure out not only where the best place to grow hemp was, but also if there were techniques that were better than others. There were also what you can consider two harvests – the first one focused on cutting the flower from the hemp plants and the second harvesting the rest of the hemp for biomass. Just like with the chipping potatoes and grain crops, weather affected hemp harvest as well.
At the end of the season, despite the challenges, harvest was successful. Our farm learned some new things, and just as we expected, out farm crews stepped up and showed the dedication necessary to make it successful. Our farm managers and field crews are what help set Walker Farms apart from other growers in the area, and we cannot thank them enough for the hours and commitment they put in every year. Thank you to all – from the offices to the fields – to everyone at Gold Dust & Walker Farms who made this year’s harvest another success.