Harvest crew brings in family's soybean crop
By CHUCK CLEMENT, Staff Reporter
A task force of combines, semis and grain wagons harvested soybeans from a number of fields in Lake County Wednesday -- all part of an effort by farmers and other local residents taking time away from their normal duties to help a neighbor.|
The workers descended on more than a thousand acres of ready-to-harvest soybeans that were planted by the late David Feige, a Wentworth farmer who died in a farm accident in late September.
The entire operation shifted into gear on Wednesday morning when the harvest crew met at the Feige farm to go over what fields needed combining and review how to complete all of the work. According to Roger Schrepel, one of the harvest bee organizers, farmers brought 25 combines to the Feiges' soybean fields and plenty of manpower was also available.
"We had more people show up than we expected," Schrepel said. "We were also getting a lot of (phone) calls at the last minute."
Schrepel said 16 combines harvested fields in the Wentworth area and another nine combines harvested fields closer to Madison. He estimated that about 20 grain carts moved across the fields taking soybeans unloaded from the combines' grain hoppers to waiting semis that were usually parked at the ends of the fields. Schrepel calculated that 50 grain trucks were on hand to haul the soybeans out of the fields.
He said that all of the trucks and soybeans were headed for Madison Farmers Elevator for unloading.
Jerry Gehrels, another bee organizer, had predicted that the combining would start at 10 a.m. and the harvesters would probably finish by 2 or 3 p.m.
However, a late-morning rain did cause a delay in the field work. The precipitation that fell at about 11:30 a.m. halted the project for about 60 to 90 minutes.
"Mother Nature threw a little rain at us, but she only slowed us for a little while," Gehrels said.
Despite the delay, the combining was mostly completed by 4 p.m.
The assistance that was provided to the Feige family extended beyond field work. F&M Co-op in Madison provided a fuel truck for one group of harvesters working south of town along SD-19. The ag committee for the Madison Chamber of Commerce delivered breakfast for the morning meeting at the Feige farm.
After the combines, trucks and tractors were parked, many of the workers sat at tables set up in the Feiges' machine shop for an afternoon of grilled hamburgers and a potluck of salads and desserts. Gehrels said that businesses and groups -- among them were Lake County International, James River Equipment, Farmers Ag Center, Breske Crop Insurance and Farm Bureau -- along with friends and neighbors provided more food than everyone could eat.
Scott Feige, David Feige's son, said the harvest bee "couldn't have went any better" and offered his thanks to the volunteers.
One of the combines that worked in the fields Wednesday belonged to Ryan Feige, David's cousin who operates a custom combining business in Oklahoma. Scott Feige said the family would stay busy this fall combining about 1,300 acres of corn. Under normal circumstances, Ryan Feige would have harvested all of the fall crops for his cousin.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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