SHELBY, Mont. – As the calendar neared the middle of August, temperatures across most of Montana reached the upper to mid-90s. The blistering heat was hard on equipment and it was hard on people, but the wheat, it was thriving.
“We have had a few 70-degree days, which has been nice – it has been really nice for the truck. Right now, I’m sitting here and the truck thermometer reads 104,” Klayton said during a phone update on the afternoon of Aug. 17.
Klayton went on to report he would be nearly done with his custom cutting job in Dutton, Mont. He has spent the last two weeks away from his own operation while he harvests winter wheat for another farmer, but the end is finally in site.
“This crop is absolutely incredible. I am talking numbers my combine has never seen before,” he said.
Klayton says the crop at home looks really good, as well, and he is anxious to return to it. Two weeks is the longest he has ever been away from his own operation. The hope was he would be cutting his own wheat by about Aug. 19.
“I’m hoping by Wednesday I can be full-bore in my own wheat,” he added.
Of course, before he can cut his own wheat, Klayton must first move all of his equipment back to his farm. Two weeks ago, when he started moving all of his equipment from the farm to Dutton, an electrical malfunction left his semi broken down. Mechanically, Klayton’s custom harvesting adventure may have started out a little rocky, but he says no other major breakdowns have occurred so far.
“I’ve had some flat ties and had to change out an air bag, but other then that the combine has been running great,” he said.
Klayton’s younger sister, Kelsyn, had to leave for college recently, but he’s been lucky enough to gather some other top operators to help him finish out harvest season. Klayton has been jumping back and forth between operating the combine and driving the grain cart, depending on his help. He admits he really doesn’t have a preference as to which one he would rather operate, but when the wait is long at the elevator, he would much rather be in a combine.
In the midst of all the intensity of harvest, Klayton had a birthday. He turned 25 years old on Aug. 11 and like just about every other birthday in his life, Klayton spent it in a wheat field. Klayton truly loves what he does, so honestly, he wouldn’t have it any other way. The wife of the farmer Klayton is cutting for made an apple-dumpling like dessert and Klayton says the sweet treat was the perfect way to end a birthday well spent thrashing top quality wheat.
With harvest in full swing, the end doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. After moving all of his equipment home, Klayton will have to wash out the combine really well since he will be transitioning from winter wheat to durum. Additionally, he needs to sweep out his grain bins and make sure they are ready to start receiving this year’s bumper crop.