Lefebure.com / Farming / 2006 in Europe

I'm really glad that my friend Brent Johnson with his wife Deb and daughter Leah showed up for 10 days here in the East of Austria. We did a lot of sightseeing in Vienna and went to Hungary and the south of Austria to see some agricultural things and a lot of landscape. We saw some Raba Steigers in Hungary, some Unimogs in Styria, some bars and restaurants, enjoyed our food, and saw at the end the canyon of Tscheppaschlucht with the big water falls. Brent enjoyed that he could see some steep hills and drove a friend’s NH TX 64 and was able to drive our 2388 in Carinthia. All in all we had a lot of fun all the time and I'm really looking forward to see them again in a few years or so.

Started on beets today. Yields are about average this year, and we are a little bit surprised about that. And they contain more percent of sugar this year because of the long, sunny periods this year.
In Europe the beets are in general lifted by self driven beet lifters, mostly Holmer and Ropa 6 row lifters. They usually have 450 hp and full a weight up to 50 metric tons. These are a few pics of the Holmer Terra Dos that does this job on our farm.

Back home again! Started on corn today with the new head. Works excellent and the 5 speed gearbox is something we don't want to miss in the future.

Yields are very bad all over Austria, but there are some spots that received the moisture and there the yield is in average scale. They tried to go in sunflowers with the corn head and it works better than the Grecav one due to the low speed possibility of the stalk rolls. A big advantage of the Geringhoff is the possibility to cut very deep without shelling the sunflowers on the snouts.

It seems that this season will end up in a new ac-record, though we are at the moment standing at the same ac than at the last year's end! We all hope that we don't end up in the machinery problems that we had last year. And that the rotary air screen does not plug that much.

I'm out again in Minnesota to help the Johnson's on their fall harvest. Long days and endless rows of corn are facing at me at the moment, but I'm really glad to get another chance to see their operations again.

Heard from home that they finished sunflower harvest with a record bringing yield on high oilic's. Started on beans two days ago, very dissapointing yields and qualities due to the long drought in late summer this year. The later varieties even look worse, because they didn't get any moisture during blooming time.

BTW, rented a new Geringhoff 8row folding head for one season because it was too expensive to buy. Will find out how the new system works in our conditions and decide in winter if we should keep it!

To give you an idea of steep hills in the north of Vienna here are a few pics of a New Holland combine of a custom cutter out of a town called Bockfliess. BTW, we did the hill with our combine without problems (with rear wheel assistance), he had to go downwards!!! That's only one difference between YELLOW and RED!!!!

Due to different row spacings we do a lot of sunflowers with the normal corn head. It cuts the stalks, so there is no danger for the tractors doing fieldwork to loose wires and hoses underneath. And there is an advantage in residue management, you dont have to cut the stalks extra with a chopper and a tractor. BTW, you can drive much faster, so we do nearly the same acres per day as with the grain head.

Started on sunflowers a few days ago. Yields vary according to the variety between 1300lb/ac to 2700lb/ac. We use both heads, the corn and the grain header in this crop due to different row spacings. Weather is perfect. We are doing a lot of acres per day and are very satisfied with the combine at the moment. Notice, THE KING is on tour again!!!!
Very bad yields of sunflowers and a lot of work- that's what we face at the moment. Nearly 20 percent of the sunflower kernels are empty due to the dry conditions in July/August. Most of them are in the middle of the rose. The stalks are green and this crop isn't easy to harvest at all this year. Maybe a little rain will help, but there is nothing like that in sight. Temperatures are around 85°F, and corn is still green (if it goes on like this we'll start harvest approximately in December!). Beautiful sunsets follow clear nights with a beautiful moon (Brent would say it's a "harvest moon, never ending blue skies and soft lights keep us in the mood!

Something from the category "shit happens" or "never underrate a CaseIH Magnum's power"!!!!! See below!

Sometimes the sky puts on a spectacular show!

Got some additional acres of milo today and did some very good pics. Had a lot to drive on public roads, the fields very small. Yields are very bad due to heavy winds last week, a lot, nearly the half of the crop is shattered out. Think that is now the last stop in small grains in the east of Vienna. Sunflowers are only 10 days away now from harvest.

A few pics that show the 8010 while roading at 25 mph, the header hooked behind.

Started to work on fields now to prepare for winter wheat. Notice the wine yards in the background!!!

Imagine, a MacDon swather swathed these Saflor fields near the Czeck border!

Took some pics of this strange crop! Enjoy them!

Last stop in Austria is Riegersburg near the Czech border. Good wheat yields, but very bad qualities due to much rain. We got some additional acres in the Czech Republic and went over the border with the combine. Took some pics of the former "Iron Fence Line" from both sides. We just jumped over beside the border sings after the Czech border control singed us a paper that allowed us to entry. Strange feeling to go over this "dead zone".

Big fields and narrow roads are the main thing there, the farms in this area are about 5000 to 7000 acres big, but yields (up to 150 bu/ac) are very bad compared to Austria.

This is now the last stop in wheat season this year, we will road the combine back at the end of the next week to change concaves to go for sunflowers.

FYI, had massive problems with the sickle the last few days, seems that the Biso head isn't build for custom cutter use. Steel quality does not seem to last longer than 2 seasons.

Added a pic of our rotary air screen with the brush in it, we will see how it works in corn, but do think that it makes problems!!!

Shoulders at work!!!! Curious, isn't it!

That's what we have to fight against the whole season: NARROW roads. To give you an idea what this means, these pics show how. Often the head is pulled by a tractor because there is no space to get it hooked on!

Rained for 7 days straight through with lots of rain and no chance to drive on the fields. Started to do some work on the farm now with disking and chisel-plowing. Did some milo in the north of Vienna, bad, bad yields because of kernels shelling out!

Had a few very long days of cutting wheat, bountiful yields and good jobs. Combine runs to our satisfaction, though we do often have problems with the power due to long and green straw. It started to rain now, and so there is time to do some repairs.

The newest crew member of this year's harvest comes from Germany, her name is Pia. She is a so called "natural talent" in driving combines, though she had never driven one before. She did a great job, even better than many males around our operation this season. Thank you very much, PIA, for your warm and helpful character and the jokes you're bringing to our team. The pics are dedicated to you, enjoy them, and, of course, we would like to have you with us next year again!!!!!!!!

As for the poor guys driving the yellow division, they had several breakdowns an a lot of stuffed rotors this wheat season.

Notice the pictures of the corn. Thats what we are suffering at the moment! Heat around 95°F and no rain the last 6 weeks. I hope that there is some corn to harvest in November. We are all praying for some rain, and hope that this can rescue some of our crop.

Wheat is a little bit disappointing this year. We expected much more yield, but quality is excellent. Yields are around 140 bu/ac. Had a serious breakdown last week, hydraulic system collapsed!

Had a very hot start at peas harvest on my farm. Enjoy the pics!!!!!!

Canola harvest started in the SE of Austria!!! Very good yields in this crop. Visited a friend who runs a NH CR 980. Awsome machine, but couldn't reach the 8010! Notice the King we are bringing with us!!!!

Started on barley today. We are a little bit surprised about the yields: 130bu/ac!!!!!! Had a few very hot days to do this job at the farm of the Universitiy of Agriculture in Gr. Enzersdorf, near Vienna.


A few pics of our crops here in Austria. Barley and wheat are in good shape, corn is now between 3 and 5 leaves (the weeds are big too, started to spray a few days ago), and soybeans are between 1 and 4 in. now. Looks that it becomes a good season for cash crop farming, though it is raining very often.


This is the team for 2006. Wearing some Johnson Harvesting hats, we are like the Johnson Harvesting "European Division". As for the snow, it has all melted and now there is some flooding. Planting will begin within the next few weeks.

Got snow? We do.

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