Note: This feature is in the March TF 2018 issue
The Palouse region of Washington state is approximately 4,000 square miles of rolling hills composed of a rich soil called loess. Loess is specifically defined as silt that has been deposited by the wind. A combination of factors, including the soil and climate, has made the region a global leader in the production of soft white winter wheat. Wheat, barley, peas and lentils are all staple crops in this region. More canola and garbanzo beans continue to be grown in the region as producers look for ways to diversify and work with the region's climate.
While the soil and climate are ideal for growing wheat, the terrain requires specifically modified equipment to harvest the grains. Self-leveling or hillside combines were developed to allow the combine to operate properly while running across uneven harvesting surfaces. If the separator inside the machine isn't kept relatively level, grain will run to one side of the machine and will not efficiently and effectively be separated.
Brian Wise of Spokane, Wash., is one of the world's leading experts on hillside combines. He is a third-generation John Deere mechanic, with more than 100 years of combined experience working on John Deere equipment in his family tree. Like so many involved in the farm toy hobby, Brian's interest started at a young age due to the influences of his father and grandfather and having been around farm mchinery his whole life.