SHELBY, Mont. – Harvest could not be more exhilarating, expansive, and downright exciting.
The ‘Big Sky’ turns an intense purplish-blue, and rain is in the forecast as a drone flies over the three combines at Welker Farms. The combines are rapidly cutting the in the same field, each with flags briskly waving on their augers.
Bob Welker, who farms with his two sons, Nick and Scott, said they have finished cutting winter wheat and are rolling right into spring wheat harvest at the end of August.
“We’re finishing up spring wheat north of the farm, while we wait for wheat to the south to finish ripening,” Bob said, as he operated one of their Case IH 8230 combines, nicknamed ‘Clifford.’ They were also busy scouting fields, to find out how quickly one would be ripe and ready to go, without green patches.
“If we can keep going in one sweeping motion, it works best for us. It is difficult moving all the farm machines we need back and forth, and back again,” Nick said, as he checked for ripened fields and grain sampled fields for moisture levels.
Harvest is challenging, tiring work from early morning to late at night when the lights need to come on the farm machines.
But the three are genuinely personable and fun to watch on their Welker Farms YouTube channel. They easily invite you into each harvest video as if you were one of their own farm neighbors.
Bob was driving one combine in the field, while farm helper Chad operated the other Case IH 8230 ‘Beastbine,’ and Scott operated a brand new Case IH 8250, which has the nickname of Optimus Bine.
During a break, Bob jumped in the Optimus Bine for a turn in the very-efficient and brand new 2019 combine that Case IH and Torgerson’s asked them to demo for farmers.
“I finally snuck in here. This combine really moves, and has more energy than I have,” said Bob with a laugh. “This is so sweet – it does everything everybody was saying it did. We really appreciate Torgerson’s, our Case IH dealer in Ethridge, for letting us try it out for farmers.”
Later, Scott took back ‘his’ Optimus Bine, and continued to harvest, along with the other two 8230s, and vast fields of wheat disappeared as fast as the field was started.
It looked like custom harvesters were on the farm, but it is, of course, a family operation with a helper or two at harvest.
“We’re harvesting with three flagship combines, two of our own. These monsters are eating our crops quickly – pretty amazing,” Scott said.
Nick didn’t mind because he has recently been demo’ing a Case IH Quadtrac 580 tractor pulling a soon-to-be-released Unverferth 1620 (bushel) grain cart with large 950 tires on tandem axles unloading into their nice 1986 International 9370 semi truck pulling the demo grain trailer.
An Unverferth representative explained the cart, saying its best feature was affordability for a bigger-sized cart.
“This is the first grain cart our family has used,” Nick said, excitedly. Nick was also ‘dumping on the go,’ driving up to the combines in the field, so they could empty their grain, and keep running in the field. “It saves a lot of time and fuel.”
Still, the majority of the trucks, combines and other machines in the fields belonged to the Welkers. They are all good mechanics, reworking and renovating the equipment to work on their farm.
While waiting on full combines, Nick made sure that the grain bins on the farm did not overflow. Since they had many bushels of golden grain coming in from three combines, they were quickly running out of space.
The Welkers put some of their grain on the ground that can be transferred to grain bags if needed, and placed tarps over it, to make a ‘portable’ grain bin.
Meanwhile, Scott continued to operate Optimus Bine, saying that no matter what the stand of wheat in the field, the combine automatically adjusted the speed to handle it.
Now, it is back to spring wheat harvest and work, work, work.
But there are still a lot of fun moments to smile about, and feel blessed about.
For instance, Scott opened his lunch box just before taking off in the combine for another run. His little girl, Taryn, had drawn him a picture of ‘Leg Arms (Scott’s nickname from a YouTube fan).’
“She’s drawn it perfectly,” Scott said, with a smile.
Also on the fun front, Case IH flew the Welkers to the large Farm Progress Show Aug. 27-29 in Decatur, Ill, to announce the Case IH partnership with Welker Farms Inc.
After speaking to more than 1,000 attendees, the Welkers met and signed 900 special Case IH hats with Welker Farms logo printed on them.
Several little farmers-in-the-making were excited to meet Bob, Nick and Scott, and the guys were happy to take photos with all of them. Each person attending had a photo that was put on the Case IH Facebook page that could be tagged and shared with others.
Meanwhile, the ‘MN Millennial Farmer,’ Zach Johnson, who also has a large following on his YouTube Channel, visited the Welkers. His family was on their way to Glacier National Park and stopped for a day.
Zach jumped in the Case IH Optimus Bine 8250 saying, jokingly, “Hope these guys are happy I’m helping them, but I have never cut wheat before.”
Of course, he was just kidding. Zach is a Minnesota corn/soybean farmer.
“This combine must be in the ‘millennial’ mode cause it is all automatic,” Zach said.
Nick said with a smile “Millennial farmers must not be good at driving combines.”
Later, Zach switched into the tractor pulling the grain cart and was ‘dumping on the go.’
Fans have been asking the Welkers to get together with Millennial Farmer and film together, and now they have. Both have posted different videos, both hilarious, on their YouTube channels.
See the MN Millennial Farmer’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp0rRUsMDlJ1meYAQ6_37Dw.
See the Welker Farms YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/WelkerFarmsInc.