August. It’s hot and dry. Which means… it’s harvest time. It seems as though grain trucks bounce up and down our wash-boarded county road for the better part of this month. However, this year, our harvest season was shortened significantly due to a damaging hailstorm that devastated much of the farmland in Gallatin County.
If you read any of my previous posts, you’ll recall that we had a pretty rough spring. We finally turned our cattle out to pasture in mid may and after making one quick rotation through a couple of our dryland pastures, returned all the cow/calf pairs back down to our irrigated pastures where they have remained for the duration of the summer. We seeded all of our dryland into spring wheat and had a heck of a time getting it up and going. It seems only logical that a storm would whip through the area just weeks before harvest and leave us all wondering “what just happened.” Damage to area crops was estimated to be close to $50 million, and that’s not including crops such as potatoes, and any damage done to buildings and equipment. The storm hit sporadically. Farmland just north of us wasn’t damaged at all, while ground near Manhattan was pummeled.
The damage to our crops was significant, and it came just a week before we would typically begin harvesting our wheat and oats and knocking down our second cutting of hay. It damaged 60-70 percent of our grain crop. What would normally take us 2 weeks to cut, haul, and bin, took about 4-5 days. Lucky for us, dad had purchased crop insurance on much of our fields. Our second cutting of hay, although not great, turned out better than anticipated (following the storm) and the cattle will be turned out to the remaining grain fields too damaged to harvest. We cut everything in a hurry and dad had the water up and going as quickly as possible in hopes of getting some nice fall feed established. Hard to believe this time next week the calves will be weaned and the feed truck will be headed out to a new set of bulls.
The picture below was capture by my friend Miss Alyssa Larson near Bozeman on the night of the aforementioned storm.
Harvest Season in the rearview mirror…
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