Bringing in the sheaves
With combining in full swing this week, a lot of farmers are calling in for backup -- custom combiners.
"There are a lot of custom combiners in this area," Dwain Banderau, Hettinger County Extension agent, said. "The fact that they come in year after year really says something about the quality of work they do."
Alan Honeyman, a Hettinger County farmer agreed, "We have been working with Foslien's Custom Harvesting for the past nine years, they know exactly where to go and what to do that helps quite a bit."
Tim Foslien, owner of Foslien's Custom Harvesting has been in the custom combining business for 34 years. "I was teaching an agriculture class to Vietnam veterans in 1976, and one of my students was helping his neighbor combine. He asked if I would also be willing to help, so I did," said Foslien. He began a custom harvesting business the following year.
The Foslien crew is running seven combines at the Honeyman farm. The models they use are John Deere 9770s and 9870s with 36 foot heads.
The crew has been combining about 800 acres a day which is approximately 150,000 bushels.
"We have a lot to combine and we couldn't possibly get it done with one machine we need to hire help," Honeyman said.
"The 14 man crew gets started around 7 a.m. They unload trucks from the night before and then start combining around 9 a.m. untill dark.
Foslien's wife Juanita packs sack lunches for the men in the morning.
She helps out during the day by picking up parts, getting groceries, cleaning house, and doing many other odd and ends.
At the end of the day she prepares a sit down meal to welcome the crew home.
"We are on the road with the combines six months out of the year," said Juanita Foslien. "It's nice to have some of those 'homey' comforts to come back to at the end of the day."
Home for the Fosliens is a farm in Benson, Minn. "We raise corn, soybeans and wheat," said Tim Foslien.
"Tim has a very good crew, they are nice people to work with and they know what they are doing, that is what makes things run so smoothly out here," said Honeyman.
Honeyman said that his family has had a pretty good year, they had very little hail and ample rain fall which makes for a good crop.
"Farmers in our area have good quality wheat, most farmers are running in that 40-50 bushels an acre range with decent protein, about 14-15 percent." Banderau said.