Think the Irish harvest looks good? Check out amazing pictures from the US harvest
Two months ago, Louth man John Hoey moved stateside to work on the US harvest of over 100,000 acres of crops.
Now, with the US harvest in full swing, he’s working close to 16 hours a day and loving every minute of it.
Hoey grew up on a 400-acre arable farm in Castlebellingham and decided to apply to work with Frederick’s Harvesting in Kansas to gain experience of harvesting on a very large scale.
Having completed his Green Cert in Kildalton college in 2015, while studying Advanced Machinery and Crops, and Hoey felt this was an experience he just couldn’t pass-by.
“I decided to apply to work at the American harvest because I wanted to see what farming is like in one of the biggest and most farming focused countries in the world.”
Hoey secured his place with Frederick’s through the Ohio State University internship program and he flew out to Kansas on April 4.
When he landed on April 4, the 20 year old was given full training on maintenance work and he applied to get his lorry license for the upcoming season.
A month later, he left for Oklahaoma to start harvesting the first of the winter wheat, where he started harvesting wheat (winter and spring), corn, conola, sunflowers, and soya beans.
Hoey’s main job throughout the day sees him driving a tractor and grain cart taking the grain from the combines and loading it onto trucks. The grain is then brought to the elevators where it is stored and collected by trains bound for mills etc.
“On a normal harvest day, I leave the 6-bed camper before 7am to start work, bringing a packed lunch with me. We get supper brought to us by the company’s owner Lance, cooked by his wife Lynette at 7pm.
“We generally finish around 11pm and when we get back in the evening it’s shower time for everyone and then we pack our lunches for the next morning.”
Each combine cuts an average of 200 acres in a good harvest day.
The yields here for the 2016 season have been substantially higher than previous years with winter wheat averaging 50 bushel across America, compared to 35-40 in previous years, he said. “Spring wheat yields are also promising for the season, thanks to ideal growing conditions.”
The experience, he said, has surpassed all his expectations. “I would really urge everyone to try this experience, if they want to see America from a different view point and not just as a tourist with a camera.”
“Coming over to America and working on these massive farms is a massive jump from our family farm at home. My experience over here has left me full of ideas that I can take home and put into practice.
“There are a lot of reasons I would recommend young people to apply to work at the American harvest. I have made friends from all over the world and I have learned how farms are managed in such a different farming environment compared to Ireland,” said Hoey.
Frederick Harvesting was established in 1983 by Lance Frederick and runs nine John Deere S670 combines, 18 Kenworth trucks, four 8370R and three 8345R John Deere tractors.
Hoey and the rest of the Frederick fleet are currently cutting winter and spring wheat in Blunt, South Dakota.
The season for wheat is set to come to an end once they move to North Dakota in the next few weeks where they will cut approximately 20,000 acres of wheat.