Farm Life

How To Excel As A Grain Cart Driver

Check out these foolproof tips on how to execute your role as “Grain Cart Driver Extraordinaire”. Number 9 on this list is especially helpful but will require a trip to the bank so plan accordingly!
How To Excel As A Grain Cart Driver
1. ALWAYS be in the right place at the right time. Always.
If you have participated in harvest time at all in your life, you should know how to read minds. You should know where to be and when, even if no one has told you or you are arriving on site with zero info. It is easier for everyone in the equation when you utilize your God given psychic powers, it especially benefits the combine operator which is the mission. So, come on and read all. of. the. minds. already!

2. Toilet paper, lip balm, rap music and batteries.
I shouldn’t have to explain this but for you newbies that may be reading this, these four items will be your key to success and happiness all harvest long. I’m nearly certain the pioneers of the frontier listened to music while they forged their way through the prairie, so you should do it too. (Everyone should listen to Snoop or The Notorious B.I.G. in a tractor, it is life-changing and will give you the extra energy and pizazz it takes to make it through long harvest days. Rap music also helps me focus, drive straighter when I’m catching grain on the go and really interests and engages the guys and gals from the co-op when they ride along.)

3. Candy.
This suggestion is so important it earns its own place in the must-do lineup. Candy is the lifeblood of my harvest existence. It is boredom-relieving, kid-entertaining and also doubles as a safety measure during confrontation. If you throw candy at anyone on the harvest crew who is irritated and possibly getting out of line there is a chance it may land in their mouth and make them happier. This will help your situation tremendously.

4. Duct tape your two way radio to your face.
Things will run smoother on the farm during harvest if you can duct tape your two way radio to your face so you can hear and answer within seconds of receiving information that requires a response. Your quick, courteous, informative chat-back will leave smiles on the faces of all who work with you and will dramatically increase the yield of whatever grain you are harvesting. Good job.

5. Don’t eat all of the candy in your lunchbox before 9:30 a.m.
I have an incredible amount of experience with this very issue so I can speak from the heart here. Bring a sharpie and label each mini candy bar with a timestamp so you know EXACTLY when it is appropriate to eat said bar. It is never a bad idea to keep non-melting candy at various safe-zones in each tractor you work in. Don’t forget to put it in a lock box or Chinese finger trap style mechanism otherwise your SISTER will sneak it out from under your nose during her shift. (Yes Tanna, I’m looking at you.) *In all fairness I eat her candy too, j/k!

6. Make lots of small talk with the combine operator to hold up harvest time when rain is on the horizon.
This act will make the combine operator and all you work with suuuuuuuuper happy and pleased with your efforts. Remind them how refreshed they look and how straight they are driving. (This compliment is especially well received when auto-steer is being utilized.)

7. Keep glass cleaner and paper towels on-your-person at all times.
Boogers, grime, dust and sneeze-fray will impede your vision in the tractor. Keep the glass cleaner handy so you can see everything out of every inch of the windows John Deere blessed you with in that rig! This is also beneficial for the combine operator so they can see how attentive you are to their needs the entire harvest. Leave all used paper towels on the ground when it’s windy so they can “tumble-weed” across the yard in front of the kitchen window of the HEAVEN SENT SAINT that cares for your children and makes your lunch everyday. This will make her so happy and she will put more candy bars in your lunch box.

8. Toilet paper.
Did I already mention this? Well if I forgot, here it is again because it is that important. Extra socks work too. But don’t go there if you don’t have to.

9. Tape a $100 bill inside of the combine manual.
Emotions are high and when the combine is broken down and the manual is open. If the combine operator discovers a crisp Benny Franklin in the manual (that YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, wink wink) he will be much happier, for at least 5 seconds. Score! If you happen to get a wrinkly bill at the bank, go home and iron it to prove  your dedication to the entire farm operation.

10. Don’t take this blog post seriously and always be safe during harvest!
I had so much fun last year writing 7 Ways to Be Less of a Jerk During Harvest that I wanted to pen another silly post about working with family on the farm as a grain cart operator. Truth is, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing, it is my favorite time of year and of my life, next to being a wife and mom, my favorite job. Even though we all take ourselves too seriously at one time or another, working with family is still a blessing. Harvest is a serious time for safety and reaping the rewards of the growing season. It puts food on the table and keeps families going from year to year. In no way is this post meant to mock the hard working farmers and farm hands out there. It’s merely written to have a little fun and laugh a bit!
Be safe, have a bountiful #harvest17 and enjoy working with your family this year.
Share this with anyone that may need a chuckle this time of year.
grain harvest operator grain cart cleaner grain harvest

Previous Post Next Post


  • Reply Cell Slings! September 23, 2017 at 3:16 am

    This is great!

  • Reply Ken Root September 25, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Very funny commentary Cristen. I love the suggestion of taping the 2 way to your face! Ken Root

  • Reply Janice September 26, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Laughing so hard at this I about missed the flashing lights signaling I better get over there.

  • Reply Lorene Fangman September 30, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Love it!!! People don’t know how hard farmers and their wives and families work to keep This world of ours going around!!!! Happy Harvest!!! And thank you and all those who farm this beautiful land we have!!

  • Reply Diane Mitchell October 4, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I too am the cart driver, your suggestions are great. Love the duct tape idea as the combine operator (my husband) always seems to want information when we are dumping on the go and my hands are busy!! I too have items in 2, 3, 7 and 8 on hand (I have a travel bag that goes in the cab at the beginning of harvest). You are totally spot on with #1 but after a few years working with the same guy, you do learn!

  • Reply Cindy Kemna October 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Funny and so true! Have a safe harvest.

  • Reply aliciaharstad October 6, 2017 at 7:46 am

    This is spot on and very funny! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Amanda M Brumfield October 19, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Therapeutic…..thank you! Have a safe and blessed Harvest 2018.

  • Leave a Reply