Hitting the road in Oklahoma
Farming Independent readers will get a first-hand insight into the gigantic US grain harvest over the coming months, writes Jamie Casey in Oaklahoma.
Moving at a rate of 30 miles per day, I will be reporting as I work my way up through the US grain-belt, dividing my time between operating a fleet of massive machines and my home for the summer - a eight-man camper trailer.
Unlike Ireland, where general purpose contractors are the norm, dedicated grain harvesting companies follow the crops that ripen rapidly due to drier weather conditions in the Midwest states.
Generally, a company will bring their outfit to an area where the crop is one day away from ripening. They will then harvest for three or four days. Once finished, the combines and chaser bins are loaded up and the entire outfit moves north a further 120 miles where they are again a day ahead of the ripe crops.
The harvest lasts for seven months, and crops include wheat, canola, corn, beans, sunflowers, peas and lentils.
Last week I flew from Dublin to Ohio for an orientation day in Ohio State University.
Next up it's onwards to my host company in Burlington, Oklahoma where I meet the team. Harvesting begins in early May.
Before then I am required to get my HGV licence, which is needed to drive the trucks that pull - among other things - the camper trailer.