Soon the residents of Sherman County will start hearing the roar of combines and tractors and trucks making their way to the elevators as wheat harvest gets underway. Sherman County has always had a rich history with agriculture and wheat; one that started almost as soon as the county was settled.
While the equipment has changed since the late 1800’s the crop has not. Early
farmers of Sherman County used a piece of machinery called a binder. This was pulled by a team of four horses with one person sitting on it to operate of steer the binder. The binder performed several tasks including cutting the grain, gathering the cut grain into bundles, tied the bundles with twine and cut the twine, and dropped the bundle to the ground where it would be picked up later. When the bundles were placed together it formed a shock. The purpose of a shock was to keep the heads of grain off the ground. Shockers were the farmer’s wife and daughters. The picture on the left shows Hattie and Fred Magley standing in a wheat field in front of a binder. This picture was taken around 1919.
Soon came the header, which was pushed by a team of six horses. The header would cut the grain and feed it up a canvas belt where it would be carried up an elevator
chute and dumped into a wagon riding alongside the header. Both the header and wagon were manned by people. The picture on the right shows a header in operation at the Walker’s. Combines soon followed with Gleaner Baldwin and Massey-Harris being two early combines. Today in Sherman County you can see a variety of different combines. Case, John Deere, and New Holland are just some of the companies that help supply farmers with machinery in
Goodland. The picture to the left shows a wheat harvest in June of 1960 on the Wilmont Price farm.
Another important part of wheat harvest are the trucks and elevators. Trucks transport the cut wheat to the elevators where it is dumped. Elevators in town include Frontier Ag and Scoular Company. Here the wheat is checked for moisture and weighed
to see how much grain was brought in. The grain is stored at the elevator until it is either moved by train to a mill to be processed, kept as seed for next year, or used a feed for livestock. The picture to the right shows eleven wheat harvest trucks unloading at the grain elevator during the late 1940’s.
Wheat harvest is busy time in Sherman County. If you were to drive out in the country you would find a variety of colors in the wheat field. From the golden wheat, to the green, red, blue or yellow of the machinery to the surrounding area, wheat harvest is an exciting time. It is something a large portion of our community is involved with and is important to Goodland.