We didn’t have much crimson clover this year, 42 acres. So this two day harvesting job was going to be a breeze. And the way that you can tell you’re a farmer right now is if you read that and started to giggle, because there is little about harvest of any crop that ever turns out to be a “breeze”. This year our crimson crop was no different.
It started out great. Round 1 around the field was was dull at best. But then came round 2 and some surprise “slugs” that were left behind from the swather. When you cut (or swath) it’s usually at night when there is more moisture. Great to keep the seed on the stem of the crop before you harvest it, but if the cutter gets plugged it causes a huge dense wet area that will rarely dry out on its own.
So as we started in round two of the field the growling and terrible noises coming from inside the harvester were hard to ignore. After a few plugs that caused us all want to itch our skin off (unplugging a clover harvester is dusty and dirty and super itchy), we decided to skip those areas and come back to pitchfork them out to help get the drying process started.
But then the wind started to blow the exact direction we were headed on one side. And for 1500 feet we could see nothing, nada, zilch. The best (worst) part was that it was also the side of the field that had all those surprise slugs. I’ve never paid so much attention to combining in my life! It was unnerving.
So move to day two and all is looking good. Until I jumped out to check the sieves (cleaning area) at the back of the combine and smelled smoke! A bearing had gotten packed with dust and caused so much friction that it actually ignited. Crimson dust is especially flammable. Then when we had made the corner, the smoldering dust on the back of the harvester had shifted onto the ground and started the stumble on fire.
We caught it early. Had a water tank all ready to go, got the fire out and all was fine. Just a few new bearings later and we were back at it. So while it only added a day or so to our harvest, I think we are all a little glad to be saying goodbye to the extremely dusty, itchy and challenging year of harvesting crimson clover! Next up, grass seed harvest!!
We were able to get some crimson clover planted this past week. Crimson is by far one of the most beautiful crops that we grow, it’s the deep red (aka crimson colored) clover that blooms early in the spring. You know the one, it usually has folks out taking family pictures in it (hopefully with permission…haha).
Here is a brief video of how we did it this year.
Crimson clover is grown for seed on our farm. It is usually the first crop that we harvest in the summer and the seed is used for cover cropping, and wildlife and pasture mixes.
There is always a lot going on during the fall, planting is one thing that you always strive to get done early before it gets too late and too wet to get out onto the fields without getting stuck. Moving into fall we have had some warm sun and great rains; which hopefully will continue as we all work get finished up before winter. So far for me, it feels good to get at least one field off the list.
If you have any questions or comments, please drop them below! Happy Friday!
Most of the time when folks think of when farmers here in Oregon are most busy, many would agree that harvest time would be the obvious answer. And in many ways that’s true. Through summer we are working seven days a week, often 14 hours or more a day. But if you look beyond just the “time” aspect, for me, the fall always feels much busier.
During summer harvest you usually find yourself and your crew in a groove. People know what to do pretty much everyday, because it’s the same thing they did yesterday and will often do tomorrow. But in the fall when the end of harvest is winding up for the year and we are gearing up for the next year’s crop, everything seems to come at you all at once.
So lately we have been harvesting filberts when we can get into the orchards. Our seasonal rain here on one hand helps the nuts fall naturally from the tree, which is good because we harvest the nuts off the ground. But it also creates windows of time where you have to wait for the ground to dry enough to be able to harvest off the ground.
So in the “in between” we are also getting ground worked to plant. In the fall we plant our perennial ryegrass, tall fescue, crimson clover, swiss chard, and filberts. We are also applying weed control and fertilizer to many of our established fields. Meanwhile getting projects done such as ditch cleaning, excavation projects, etc.
So in perfect fall fashion the last few weeks have been a triage of “what to do today”. We have been able to get a few fields planted, worked and ready for winter, the tall fescue is all in and we have about quarter of the crimson drilled (planted), and killed off some sprout.
This week we will get back to harvesting the second (and hopefully last) time in our filberts.
And then after more planting in the good weather windows, more excavation repair and maintenance projects….at some point….we will all be very happy that it is finally November!!