The Harvest of 1944
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All returned to the field where trucks were loaded with bagged grain and wired bales of straw. The straw had been fed directly into the baler. This method was labor saving and produced a better bale of straw instead of the old way in which the straw would be blown into a barrack and then hand forked into the baler, chaff and all, but by this method the chaff is blown into a separate pile.
Over the past 50 years much change has brought the elimination of most of the hand labor through the use of modern machinery. Better farming practices have increased the yields per acre but, unfortunately, increased housing development has greatly reduced the amount of land planted to wheat in Howard County, Maryland.
Since 1945 much change has taken place. Now one operator manages several farms totaling hundreds of acres using modern machinery but very little hand labor.
My grandson, Chuck Coles, now farms my farm. He planted a field of wheat about October 15, 1998. He used certified seed wheat and applied fertilizer with a spinner buggy-never touching a bag. We had a normal winter but a dry late spring and summer.
Chuck hired a custom operator to combine the wheat. He came and averaged better than four acres per hour. The threshed wheat was loaded onto a large dump truck and taken to a grain dealer. The straw was baled and picked up with an automatic stack wagon and loaded and unloaded into the barn in nine-bale-high stacks at the rate of 1? loads per hour of 150 bales. This was all done with Chuck and his wife Mary Jeanne providing the labor.
I am 87 years old and I am thankful for the many harvests that I have participated in, first as a 10-year-old boy hauling water for a steam engine in the 1920s, to my first harvest in 1944, to the harvest of 1999 which will be the way of the future.
Contact Russell M. Shipley at 12195 Old Frederick Road Marriottsville, MD 21104.
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