By Angie Baldelomar
As the sun shines on the day after an equally sunny Fourth of July, farmer Paul Nauer, from Jennings, tries to take as much advantage of the nice weather as possible as he drives in his combine.
Mr. Nauer said he officially started the wheat harvest last Tuesday before the weather complicated things. Rain fell on Wednesday and although he was able to cut a little Thursday afternoon, the rain over the weekend stopped him once again from finishing with the harvest.
It was a week later, on early Tuesday afternoon, when he, with the help of his son, Marc, restarted the harvest work. He tries to keep this a family business as much as possible, he said, which is why he rarely hires extra help. He usually spends his days working by himself in corn harvest in the fall, and during wheat harvest in the summer, he gets help from his son, who some summers brings his wife and four children along as well.
When harvest season officially started two weeks ago with the first new load, Decatur Cooperative Association Manager Kurt Anderson said the quality of the loads received at that point was of a decent quality.
Mr. Nauer agrees. He said the quality of the wheat this year is really good, but that the price is a lot less than the previous year, which, he says, is unfortunate. Mr. Nauer recounts that last year it was around $5 per bushel, and now is a little less than $3. One of the reasons for that, he thinks, is the high wheat production compared to other years.
However, he said, the good yield of the wheat this year makes up a little for the drop in prices.
Mr. Nauer combined 1,000 bushels in a little over an hour. But getting an estimate of bushels per day gets harder, he said.
“Some days, if the night before has been dry, I can start as early as 8 or 9,” he said, “but if it’s been a wet night, until I wait for the fields to be in good condition, I would usually start in the afternoon.”
Mr. Nauer tries to take advantage of the day as much as possible, and can be out in the field until 11 p.m. On days like that, his wife usually brings them lunch, and supper later in the day, so they can take advantage of as much time as possible.
He takes the grain to his farm not too far from where the wheat fields are. There, he has all materials needed to store the grain, including scales and storage for the loads.
When he was 12, he said, he learned how to drive a combine. His father and grandfather both were farmers, so he grew up in the business, and from an early age, learned to drive all the machinery needed for farming.
It comes as no surprise, then, that he decided to follow in their steps. His son, who lives in Lincoln, Neb., also learned all the skills needed, and he uses it now to help his father, and is passing along his knowledge onto his 16-year-old daughter Jaden. This summer, she already drove the grain cart, and Mrs. Nauer said his granddaughter now plans to help every year.
Mr. Nauer said he expects to finish in another five days or so, if the weather allows it, which according to the forecast, might be possible. No rain seems to be on the radar in the next few days.
This story was published on the front page of The Oberlin Herald‘s print edition on July 6, 2016.