So let’s go back in history so we can understand were Custom Harvesting on the Great Plains of the USA started.
In 1939 to 1945 WW2 was happening, so there was a very limited supply of steel.
Massey Harris had the #21 combine ready for production, but they had no means of building them due to limited supply of steel, there was also a very large labour shortage due to the war effort.
Joe Tucker, the Sales Manager of Massey Harris had developed the harvest Brigade, this would be 500 Massey Harris #21 combine to harvest the wheat from Texas to Montana.
The US Government agreed to release steal to build these combines on the understanding that each purchaser would harvest no less than 2000 acres each per machine from Texas to Montana.
So this was the birth of the Great American Harvest (2000 mile Harvest)
The largest growth and of the Great American harvest would have been from 1950 to the 1970 were there would have been over 1000 crews cutting wheat from the South (Texas) to the North (Montana, North Dakota into Canada), each spending around a month in each state as they progressed North were cereal crop harvest would end around September.
Massey Ferguson 860 combines from the late 70’s early 80’s
Massey Harris #21 Combine.
Bringing Custom Harvesting into the modern day, there are now around 800 crews harvesting cereal crops, also now going later into the year until late November they will cut what’s known as Fall crops, these would be corn, milo, maize, soya beans, sunflower etc.
Most crews will be self-sufficient and have living accommodation they move with them and a good amount of operations also cook for their crew.
A modern crew ready to move to next location
A group of custom harvesters in Kiowa Kansas.
Service truck at work, the life line of a harvest crew.