SHELBY, Mont. – For most people on a normal year, summer is marked with vacations, and the longer, warmer days make for more time to spend with friends and family. For Montana agriculturalists, however, summer is arguably the busiest time of year.
“I feel like I am always moving in some sort of equipment, anything with wheels. It could be a truck, a semi, combine, swather or golf cart for that matter,” Klayton Lohr says with a laugh during a phone update on July 21.
For the most part, Klayton’s summer has been dominated with time spent hauling his 2019 crop to the elevator in Great Falls and or spraying for weeds. A blast of the herbicide, Paraquat, will hopefully keep weeds at bay in his chem-fallow for the time being because it is now time for the Hi-Line farmer to shift his focus towards harvesting.
The last week of July kept Klayton busy swathing his hay barley. He and his neighbor have partnered on this particular crop and it works out great for both parties involved. Klayton puts the time into swath while the neighbor does all the baling and the two will split the bales at the end. Klayton reports the hay crop looks absolutely incredible this year.
Klayton has gotten into the habit of planting hay in his rotation, rather than pulses. He finds he has less expense into the crop and often less headache. There never seems to be a shortage of cows needing winter feed either, so Klayton usually has little problem finding a way to sell his hay crop.
“I guess a lot of hay up in Alberta got hailed out so there may be a market up there,” Klayton said.
After he finished swathing the hay barley, it was on to the next as Klayton pulled his John Deere S670 combine out of the shop. Winter wheat is starting to turn across the state and Klayton has gotten word he should be able to start on a custom combining job around Dutton, Mont., on Aug. 5.
“I will cut in Dutton all up until my wheat is ready to go, then I will cut mine and then probably try to find some more to cut for someone afterwards,” he said.
Klayton may only be 24 years old, but his hard work and passion for the farming way of life shows through as he tenaciously approaches all aspects of the job. As a predominately one-man show, things can get a little busy and a lot hectic for Klayton, but that is where his sense of humor comes in, showing the young man manages to keep it all in perspective.
“Time does seem to fly when your life is always falling apart,” he chuckled.
Klayton is always quick to acknowledge and appreciate the help his family offers when there are jobs on the farm he simply can’t do by himself. His younger brother, Kolby, has been assisting with day-to-day farm duties throughout the summer and Klayton will also be the first to say his younger sister, Kelsyn, who just graduated high school, is a top-notch combine operator.
“I taught her to drive combine five or six years ago and she has gotten really good at it, so I just stay driving the grain truck,” added Klayton.
The brother-sister harvesting duo will have to be efficient with their time because Kelsyn will be starting her freshman year at Carroll College in Helena in the middle of August. Klayton is pretty sure he has an extra hand lined up to help get him through what will remain of harvest, but still, he will miss his sister’s help.
The final days of July will find Klayton methodically getting equipment serviced and ready for the big move to Dutton, this includes frantically trying to put together a service truck. There is a lot going on and never a dull moment in the farming life of Klayton Lohr, that is for sure.