Ask a Farmer: What do Farmers do in the Fall?

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Q: What do farmers do in the fall?

A: Harvest is my favorite time of the year. We finally get to reap the rewards of our hard work of preparing, planting and caring for the crop throughout the year.

There are a lot of moving parts that go with harvesting a crop. Harvest demands more manpower, more equipment and longer days. Having a team that understands the value of time and having the right mindset makes all the difference.

After the planter gets put away in the spring, the combine comes out. We work with a local equipment dealership that sends a certified technician to our farm to complete a thorough inspection of the combine. The technician will generate a list of routine maintenance (changing oil, fuel and air filters), identify worn-out parts and anything that looks suspicious to help reduce our chances of having any breakdowns during the harvest season. We then complete as many of the repairs as possible ourselves.

Besides making sure our semitrucks, tractors and combine are ready to go, we will haul any grain to market that we still have stored on the farm. Once our grain bins are clean, we will make sure our grain dryers are all properly working for the incoming crop.

Even though it’s almost impossible to go through an entire season without at least a minor breakdown, utilizing the months prior to harvest helps us prepare and prevents a lot of the what-ifs.

About the farmer: Macon County Farm Bureau member Ryan Zelhart raises corn and soybeans with his father and two uncles. He completed the John Deere Technology program at Lake Land College in Mattoon and received an associate degree in ag systems technology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He and his wife, Diane, live in Maroa.

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