Summer is over. While the roads fill with school buses, around the Klamath Basin they also fill with farm equipment. The school yards fill with kids at recess while the fields fill with farm crews, swathers, bailers, combines and bulkers. The warm days, green leaves clinging to the trees and calendar might say we’re all still in summer. However, if you ask any kid what time of year it is, they’ll likely reply it’s fall. And if a farmer doesn’t say it’s autumn, they’ll tell you it’s harvest time!
Walker Brothers started harvesting grain in the beginning of August. Despite the smoky skies all summer long and the drought, the yields have been good. The only real obstacle to wrapping up grain cutting has been waiting for a few fields to finish ripening. So far our crews have been doing an excellent job of getting the grain cut and into storage, making it as streamlined a process as possible.
On Monday of last week (September 8th), as grain harvest worked nearer towards ending, the first official day of potato harvest began. Due to the nature of chipping potatoes, we often have some of the first potato bulkers in the field. This year, along with the chippers, we’re also harvesting some beautiful organic table potatoes. Again, despite the drought, our spuds are looking pretty good so far and with a week under our belt things are going smoothly in the field and at our storage sheds! And as of the publishing of this post, we’re already a third of the way done.
As if we didn’t have enough going on, if you listen closely, you can hear our potato processing plant running. Semis with refrigerated trailers are idling outside, waiting for the crews to get potatoes loaded. While it’s not running at full tilt just yet, the number of loads being shipped and the number of hours our shed crew will only increase from here on out. And if you ask the office staff, one look at payroll will tell you we’re busy!
Did we forget to mention we’re getting our fourth cutting of alfalfa wrapped up as well as get our straw put away?
Even though harvest is one of our busiest times of year, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a little time for fun. This year at the Tulelake Butte Valley Fair, some of our employees competed in the Hay Squeeze driving contest and the demolition derby. Operating our trademark white with a red stripe squeeze was Toby Turner. Though Toby mostly handles big bales, he did an excellent job managing the small bales and managed to earn 7th place. In the demolition derby, the white and red theme was carried on to a beat up Lincoln that our farm mechanics, Don Sconce, Mark Smith and Tristen Wilson put together. Don thrashed around the infield in the white and red beast, taking home 4th place. Well done, gentlemen!
As we’ve said in past posts about potato harvest, every year is a different adventure and this year will be another. With any luck, it will end as smoothly as it’s started and everyone will finish safely and sanely. Good luck to our crews in the fields, in the sheds and in the offices – and thank you for your hard work and dedication during one of our busiest times of year!
And a special thank you to Katie Walker and Lexi Crawford for the additional photos of the Tulelake Fair! Thanks, ladies!