I love harvest time in Oklahoma. The weather is just warming up nicely, the huge expanses of wind-blown wheat fields are turning a golden yellow, and farmers are in a big time crunch to get the harvest completed before wind, rain and weather destroy the crop. Harvest is a time of late all nighters, farmers meeting in the early morning at the co-op to discuss prices and crop yields, huge, expensive pieces of machinery running all day and night, kids working alongside parents, all to get the fruits of their labor out of the field and into the elevator.
This year I covered a story on the canola harvest in Oklahoma. This spring I ran across these huge fields of yellow flowers and wondered what they could be. A little Google research told me they were canola plants, which I didn’t know we raised here in Oklahoma. I did a bit more investigating and proposed a story on canola farming to Oklahoma Living Magazine, which picked up the story to run next spring. So this harvest season I went out to take pictures of the canola harvest but can’t use those pictures on my blog until next year after they run for the upcoming story.
I still wanted some harvest pictures for my portfolio so I called up my farming friend Steve Pollard, who along with his dad Loren farms 20 sections of land around Kingfisher. I only had one evening free to photograph their harvest so run up on a Friday afternoon to catch the combines at work. This year the Pollard’s contracted their wheat harvest to custom cutters, who came in with huge combines with 40′ headers. This one combine made short work of the field I was on. Pollard had them cutting seed wheat for use as planting seed for the following year.
Loren told me that Steve was busy harvesting their love grass seed field on an older combine. The Pollards only grow about 200 acres of love grass, and Loren said it was very difficult to grow and harvest the seed, but it usually was a very profitable crop for them. So I also drove over to photograph Steve Pollard as he harvested love grass seed. This was quite a contrast to the computerized combine of the custom cutter – everything on this combine was manual control. But with only 200 or so acres to combine this wasn’t such a big deal compared to the thousands of acres of wheat that needed harvesting.