Harvest is over for another year, and our teams are ready to move on to their winter tasks. This week, some of them reflected on this year’s harvest, and what some of the differences were this year.
“Based on crop conditions, we found ourselves needing to change our harvest strategy significantly,” says COO Bryan vonHahmann. “It was great to see the crew leads pull together and work through the new plan that was evolving every day; this was all done while learning new equipment and working on increasing efficiency, and we still completed harvest on time.”
GM Fred Torres was similarly pleased: “We had to make new plans, but once we did I feel they were well executed,” he says. “It was a job well done, as far as moving water was concerned.” He emphasized that the plans didn’t just include flooding, but actually moving water from place to place with the help of Crisafulli pumps, thanks to difficulties with the weather. This meant our picking crews also had some logistical challenges with equipment, due to the change in picking patterns. “We had to move more people and equipment around than we usually do; move a truck here, a tractor there, put extra men on the picking machines because they were picking a large bog out of the ‘usual’ order. It took planning, but in the end we did what we had to do, and we did it well!”
Team leader Matt Giberson learned a lot about water management this year. “You never stop learning,” he says, “but this year in particular had a lot to offer. All three teams mostly picked their usual assigned bogs, but we all stretched a little and went to some different sections this year. I learned a lot about different ways to flood. At the beginning of the season we had very little water; we got that big rain, which helped, but then it started drying up again. It kept us on our toes!” The bogside cleaner, which his crew ran, was also a test for them: “I was really worried the first week; it was a rough start. But the shop and the team both said, we’re gonna figure this out, and we stuck together and made a lot of great changes. There are still a couple of things to improve on, but we can fix it. I have some ideas, and so do the guys on the equipment team.” This was also Matt’s first year with the Gates Harrow, and he quickly figured out where it would work best and why.
This week, we also said goodbye to our seasonal crew until next year! Thank you, guys…we’ll see you next fall!