With fall harvest in full swing Bryce McClaren, Ensign, doesn't expect to get much time off, but a light rain early Monday morning made local fields a bit wet, so he took advantage of some down time to fix machinery and reflect on what he does for a living.
"We've been going full bore for the past 18 days," McClaren said. "It seems like everything is ready all at the same time this year. That's been the toughest part, just keeping up."
McClaren, 28, farms about 1,000 acres of corn, beans, milo, and wheat with his dad, but owns his own custom harvesting business with three employees, which accounts for 80 percent of his time in the fields.
"We are finished with corn now," he said. "This week will consist of drilling wheat and cutting milo. Probably get some more beans done too."
Keeping two combines and one grain cart busy means McClaren puts in long hours at this time of year, but it's nothing unusual for the young farmer born into the industry and working around combines since he was 10-years-old.
"It's just something I've always wanted to do," he said. "I love doing it."
McClaren, a Fowler High School graduate, earned an Ag Business degree from Kansas State University in 2010. He continues to utilize those networks to grow his own business.
"It's all about doing what we can to make a profit at the end of the day," he said. "The soybeans are proving out the best crop for us, up about five or six bushels per acre more than last year. Corn was actually down a bit, milo about the same as last year."
Wheat prices continue to disappoint but McClaren said that didn't keep him or his customers from drilling in seed for next year.
"Honestly, if we can break even that will be good," he said. "That is what everybody is hoping for."
Fuel costs, labor, parts, equipment repairs, and insurance bills weigh heavy on McClaren's mind as he evaluates current milo quality and gets ready to plant his own wheat.
"We do what we have to do and hope for the best," he said.
McClaren is supported by his wife, Katie, who helps with accounting tasks and makes part runs for the family business. They have a three-month old daughter, Kynlee. Once harvest and wheat planting is complete this fall, McClaren hopes to have time for hunting and training his seven German Shorthair bird dogs.