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Burchills continue preparing for harvest while hoping for rain
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Burchills continue preparing for harvest while hoping for rain

Burchill farm

Preston Burchill says his crops are still “surprisingly hanging in there” as harvest inches closer, despite the persistent drought conditions.

PAGE, N.D. – Drought conditions continued to persist across the state in mid-August with temperatures hovering in the high 90s and touching triple-digits.

Farmers are in desperate need of rain, especially soybean growers looking for pods to fill. For Preston Burchill, from what he can tell, his crops are still “surprisingly hanging in there” as harvest inches closer.

“I’m out there checking the leaves and the pods on the beans,” he said. “If it doesn’t rain on the beans, a lot of the three-bean pods will probably end up being two-bean pods, or if they fill, they’ll be really tiny beans, so some rain would be super beneficial.”

Some rain was in the forecast for the week ending Aug. 20, as well as cooling temperatures, but Preston didn’t want to get his hopes up.

“I think towards the end of the week they’re talking about some rain, but I try not to hype myself up too much, so I try not to pay attention to it,” he said.

Preston was driving out to grab his grain cart during his phone interview on Aug. 17. They had it stored out in one of their sheds on a farmstead they rent out.

“I’m getting it so we can go over it and make sure everything is working the right way and that nothing is broken from last year,” he said.

Preston and his father, Duane, have been busy on the farm getting their two combines ready for harvest. This year’s harvest will be a little different than previous years because the Burchills purchased a second combine this past spring.

“I’ll run one of the combines, as will Dad, and then our hired man will run truck,” he said. “The guy that came out and did tillage for us this spring is going to come out and run the grain cart for us.”

The Burchills purchased the second combine to allow them the flexibility to harvest when they want to instead of waiting for a custom combining crew to arrive.

“We’ve always hired a custom combining crew, but sometimes they wouldn’t be here when we wanted them to be, so we kind of just said ‘screw it’ and got the second combine to be able to do it on our time and not having to wait on anyone else.”

Preston says he thinks they’ll start harvest sometime in the middle to late September. In the meantime, they’re scraping off an outbuilding of theirs so they can eventually paint it. Preston is also hoping to get the house painted soon, but he has decided to wait for school to start before taking on that project.

“There will be less distractions at that point,” he concluded.

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