SHELBY, Mont. – At Welker Farms, Bob Welker and his two sons, Nick and Scott, had a busy August harvest, one that continued into the first week of September.
Their wheat and peas are in the bin, and the rotation will probably stay the same in 2020.
“Seeding plans for next spring will be similar with spring wheat, field peas and the possible addition of canola,” Bob said. They did not put in winter wheat due to dry fields.
Ironically, this has not been a typical fall, with rain showers during the month, and cold, rainy weather in the 30s-40s over the final weekend of September.
The Welkers have been marketing some of their crop, especially spring wheat, but most of their marketing will wait until later.
“Historically, the middle of fall and spring offer the season’s high markets. With the current weather-related problems with the spring crop harvest in the Northern Hemisphere, the price of spring wheat is high enough to warrant the selling of a portion of the crop,” he said. “We have sold the spring wheat, which was hauled to the commercial elevator during harvest. The rest of the harvest is waiting for evaluation of this bullish market.”
During the last weeks of harvest, Bob was operating their Case IH 8230 combine nicknamed “Clifford,” and noticed a fan commenting that he didn’t see any material on Bob’s YouTube page.
Many people are unaware that Bob also has a YouTube page, which had 300 subscribers a couple of weeks ago.
“I felt I should put some videos up for the fans, so I was busy editing a video on my phone while combining,” Bob said.
He put up a video called “Field of Drains,” and another where he took his three dogs for a walk. It is not a normal dog walk down the block – these dogs ran for miles across the recently harvested, residue-filled fields – and Bob kept up.
In another video, Bob explained there was an unusual item found that damaged a tire on his truck, causing a flat. That stirred a lot of interest.
“I was out checking the grain levels in the bin and I had a flat on one of the truck’s tires. What I found in that tire was a chisel, which is a first for us,” Bob said, holding up a long chisel for fans to see.
When Bob checked his page after putting up a few videos, he found he had more than 10,500 subscribers. One of his videos had more than 29,000 views. If you want to see Bob’s fun, family and farming YouTube page, go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUE44Cil1ayY1jfqYt6Nd8w.
Bob and Karen also took a short trip to Kalispell after harvest where they went hiking in Glacier National Park.
While there, Bob noticed there were several producers out in combines trying to finish harvest. An early season winter storm was predicted to produce up to two feet of snow in the Northern Rockies, along with the Kalispell region, on the Sept. 28-29 weekend.
Back on the farm, Scott and Nick finished filming the many videos of harvest 2019. At the end of cutting the wheat crop, they made sure to fly flags sent in by fans. There were two special flags flown on the combines’ augers, one from the Navy and one from the Marines.
“These flags were flown in from different parts of the world,” Bob said.
Nick and Scott have been staying busy doing fall fieldwork, including doing some grading of a ditch.
Meanwhile, while giving his last report, Bob said he still enjoys farming after all these years, and would not have taken a different career path if he could.
This year, the Welkers have entered into a partnership with Case IH that will bring some exciting products and services for their fans to watch. Their Welker Farms YouTube channel has continued to mushroom this past summer, with now more than 268,000 subscribers.
“This year was one of the most enjoyable years I have had since farming. The amazing growth of Welker Farms’ YouTube channel took us to farm shows, brought us a vast array of demo equipment and products, gave us connections to many companies, allowed us to harvest with upgraded Case IH flagship combines, created a sponsorship with Case IH and we had a very respectable harvest,” Bob said.
But of course, family and faith continues to be most important for the Welkers, and Bob is happy both sons have chosen to farm with him.
“The joy of seeing the sons sharing the management and zeal they have for farming with me is wonderful. What I am describing is I am living a dream,” Bob said.
Did Nick and Scott always want to farm? After all, they have been in the tractors and combines riding with Dad from the time they were kids.
“When you grow up on a farm, that desire becomes intertwined with your life’s passion. Both sons developed that passion early in their childhood,” he added.
Later, both Nick and Scott said they realized the benefits of raising families on the farm.
“After high school, Scott continued to work with me on the farm while Nick pursued a degree in aviation,” Bob said. “But Nick’s heart was truly on the farm and he returned to his passion for farming after he finished his degree.”
The Welkers continue to make videos, post on their Facebook and other social media pages, and create a farm simulator map, because they realize they can promote agriculture to the non-farming communities.
“The Case IH partnership will be a great opportunity to showcase our farming area and new Case IH products, while being a strong advocate to the non-farming world,” he said.
From watching their videos of everyday operations on their farm, the Welkers hope the public learns how much work goes into producing that bag of flour, those peas and all the food they and hundreds of farmers across the world produce every day.
“Yes, this celebrity status has been nice, but with it, there has been a lot of time spent on creating it, along with the stress it puts on our family,” Bob said. “But we constantly remember that we are no different then our fellow farmers and neighbors, understanding that this is the Lord’s plan, and he has a purpose for this. We pray to remain faithful to him and to all those that follow us.”
This winter, Bob, Scott and Nick plan to finish painting the 600 Big Bud, a YouTube fan favorite.
“There are additional shop projects to do this winter, along with more farm shows to attend,” Bob said.
Stay up to date with the Welkers by tuning into the Welker Farms YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/WelkerFarmsInc/videos.
For those who would like to play the Welker Farm farming simulator map, see https://www.farming-simulator.com/mod.php?lang=en&country=us&mod_id=130809&title=fs2019.
(As this is Welker Farms last producer report, we want to sincerely thank them for all their reports, including the many beautiful photos of their farm operations. We enjoyed following along with them during the growing season and watching their presentation at the Farm Progress Show. We wish Bob, Nick and Scott and their families the best of luck in all their future endeavors.)