Combine work out West

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by PhilJohnson, May 15, 2009.

  1. PhilJohnson

    PhilJohnson Cactus Farmer/Cat Rancher

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    I knew some one a couple of years ago that worked out in the Great Plains operating combines. Unfortunately he no longer lives in the area so I don't have him to ask any questions. He went out for a few months and told me he made right around 3K per month. Said it was easy but very boring. I was wondering how I could go about getting a job like that? Thanks :)
     
  2. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

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    .............Wheat harvest usually starts in Tx and moves north as I remember . I usually see those big , wide combines being pulled by tandem axle dump trucks going around the courthouse in Weatherford , tx during early summer . Google will be your "friend" trying to find a job I'll just bet . , fordy
     

  3. Allen W

    Allen W Well-Known Member

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    Check the classifieds in the High Plains Journal, hpj.com. Any truck driving experience would be a plus.
     
  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I simply cannot imagine working on a harvest crew. The hours would be extremely long each day in order to get maximum acreage cut ahead of harsh weather. Will you be paid a salary or hourly wage and overtime?

    When rain delays cutting, if like in years past, the workers basically get no pay, only sickle time when the machines are running. Looking for a job ask about this.

    Will you be paid weekly or will you receive pay only after completing a full run, i.e. from Texas to Canada? Will the cutter have the funds to pay if there are weather delays?

    Does the operator furnish housing, i.e. trailers to live in? Are their adequate showers? Are the meals furnished and edible and adequate? Do you get any time off at all? Sunday mornings to attend worship? How hard will you be worked when preparing to move to a new state or distant location? Some operators can be pretty demanding because when their machines aren't cutting they aren't making money. Will laundry facilities be available in the trailer or will you have to find a laundromat and wash after putting in a 16 hour day? Does wheat or other grain chaff and dust make you itch? Will you be furnished health insurance while an employee?

    Lots of questions to ask so just go in with your eyes wide open.

    Check out this site also.
    http://www.uschi.com/
     
  5. Sawmill Jim

    Sawmill Jim Well-Known Member

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    One of our sons works the harvest some . My understanding is they run as long as the wheat is dry enough think you get naps not sleep . This i not an eight hour job they don't stop unless they have to wheat won't wait .Son loves it said after two tours in the sand pits it is a walk in the park .
     
  6. plumcreekfarm

    plumcreekfarm Well-Known Member

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    A friend of mine worked a combine crew after graduationg college. He thought it would be an adventure. They treated him like dirt, horrible food, condecending attitude, dirty living conditions etc.
     
  7. Sawmill Jim

    Sawmill Jim Well-Known Member

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    plumbcreekfarm an those were the good points:lookout: Well son was a bull rider so they didn't make anything off him .He has been working two jobs lately think i'll call him tonight see if he is going to do it this year :shrug:
     
  8. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    Anytime I was looking for work, it was always pretty easy to find. I would just go to where the work was happening and ask around for the boss, talk to him a few minutes and he would put me to work. I did what I was told, slept when I could, ate what was available and I got paid when the job was done, or on saturday night at quittin time.

    (Looking for a job is altogether different.)
     
  9. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    Hmmm, it sounds like your friend was finally getting an education after all those years in college. ;)
     
  10. hudsonm5

    hudsonm5 Member

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  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Man, sounds like fun!

    Really, I mean that.

    But then, that is pretty much how I spend my entire October on my own farm.... Without any of the luxuries you added in there, like laundry or health care or a wage......

    --->Paul
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I can imagine the college kid coming with an attitude & getting an education of what real work is all about. :)

    Yea, I'm making some assumptions & that is bad of me, I know. Bet I'm right tho, if we heard all sides. :)

    --->Paul
     
  13. ksfarmer

    ksfarmer Retired farmer-rancher

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    Windy has a lot of good points. College roommate went on the harvest run one summer and came home broke. Lots of rainy days with no pay, and spent most of the money he did earn in the pool halls on the rainy days. LOL
    That said, there are usually harvest help wanted adds in papers such as the HighPlains Journal.
     
  14. catahoula

    catahoula Well-Known Member

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    Before you sign on for anything try working a harvest in your area to get your feet wet, just to see if it's something you can do.

    I work the local harvest here. My first year I drove grain trucks, little two tonners. The second year I was poached by another farmer to to drive combine, the third year I worked for the same farmer as a truck driver a big ol' Kenworth. Driving truck is nice because you get to leave the field and go to the elevator, talk to other drivers, read books, and pee. Driving combine is okay, but it does lose it's charm pretty quick, there are no breaks, once you start cutting you cut all day and into the night until the dew makes the straw too tough to cut.

    Harvest does help to define your work ethic, if the farmer observes you showing up on time and doing you job without breaking the equipment he'll, keep you on for fall work. Fall work is the same schedule, show up at sunrise service the tractor and drive until it's too dark to see or you are done. Depending on how well the farmer maintains his equipment it can be pretty pleasant, if all his equipment is cobbled together junk it can be pretty frustrating.

    Once the adventure of it wore off I decided that working for that particular farmer wasn't worth the stress, I found a job as a carpenter working for a contractor, with the understanding that I need time off every now and then to take care of farm things such as haying, sheep shearing as well as the occasional harvest...what can I say farming gets in you blood.

    Or to make a long story short, the hours are long, the pay ain't great, but it's over in a month and you get to operate a combine or drive a big truck. It is what it is, it's certainly better than working in an office.
     
  15. mtfarmchick

    mtfarmchick Well-Known Member

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    My husband did it for several years. He got a monthly wage. Usually a check written out but there was conviently no place or no time to cash it. Sometimes the boss's wife would feed them, sometimes not. Food was part of the deal. On rain days the boss and family would head to town to go to a movie or something fun. The crew wasn't allowed to take a vehicle. Since the boss wasn't allowed to have a beer or two, neither was the crew. I forgot to mention....The boss was one of my husband's best friends.
     
  16. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You may want to check if you need CDL, some states (WA) now require a DOT physical card to now be carried by farm truck drivers.

    Bobg
     
  17. PhilJohnson

    PhilJohnson Cactus Farmer/Cat Rancher

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I have worked on a few farms mostly doing field work or bucking bales during hay season so hard work I am used to. I also hauled can milk last year also not easy work. I did have a DOT physical a few years ago but I'll have to go back and get a new one done. The fella I knew told me he got paid once a month.
     
  18. tomstractormag

    tomstractormag Well-Known Member

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    google combine talk forum
    Lots of info there.
    Tom
     
  19. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I ran extra crew at the Mill durring harvest here.Mornings was always slow,the Guys would do more playing then than work.I would let them get away with it because I knew they would realy be working late into the night.This would last a month here long as the weather held.

    I would say it would help if you can work on equipment and have CDL.I've done this work before when I was young,seen Guys fall asleep going across the field,seen one Guy get his hand hung up in a pulley on the Combine.Yelp lots of work but to me it was fun.

    big rockpile