Is wheat harvested the same way as grass seed? How long does wheat harvest take? What machines are used? Is your wheat harvest the same as one in the midwest? Keep reading to find out more about what a typical wheat harvest for Mecca Grade Growers looks like!
Wheat harvest begins shortly after grass seed harvest is finished on the farm. The typical waiting period is due to the machines being switched over. The same machine that is used in grass seed harvest is used to harvest wheat, a combine, however the header is different. It is changed over after grass seed harvest and is twice as wide, featuring a large wheel with teeth that rotate around cutting the wheat. Only two combines are used on our farm during wheat harvest since you can go twice as fast and harvest twice as much, as compared to grass seed.
Wheat harvest header on a New Holland combine.
The combines go back and forth in straight lines cutting the wheat. Wheat is cut and combined all at the same time as compared to grass which has to be swathed then combined. The large header cuts and thrashes the wheat kernels from the stalk and the grain goes into the storage bin.
Wheat being harvested with a New Holland combine with Mecca Grade Estate Malt in the background.
Once the bin is full, it is dumped into the semi trailers. The tank becomes full much faster than with grass seed since wheat kernels are significantly larger and the drivers are going much faster. The grain trailers are then taken to the malt house to be unloaded. Some wheat will go into town to be stored until it is ready to be sold and then exported out of Portland, Oregon to go overseas. It will most likely be freighted to China, as Oregon wheat makes some of the best ramen noodles in the world.
New Holland combine dumping wheat into semi trailers to be transported to Mecca Grade Estate Malt.
Weight slips have to be filled out and used each time a truck is weighed. Whether it is for grass, grain or hay. The beginning weight is taken when the trailers are full and then they are weighed after to see how much grain was brought in. Then the truck heads to the dump pit.
Weight slip being printed after the semi trailer brought in a load of wheat to be dumped.
Each trailer has a contraption on the bottom that opens and closes to release whatever is in the trailer. The wheat is emptied into the pit where it is then gravity fed up into the storage silos. Before the wheat is bagged or malted, it is cleaned through a series of screenings to get rid of the chaff and debris. Each silo can hold one million pounds of grain! We have four at Mecca Grade, all for your delicious drinking pleasure!
A load of wheat being hauled into Mecca Grade Estate Malt to be dumped into their grain silos.
Once wheat harvest is over, then the fields are burned through our smoke management program and planted into Kentucky Bluegrass Seed fields for the next year.