Farm Equipment

Time to cut the hay

A farmer cuts alfalfa on a farm west of Valier, Montana. → Buy a Print or License Photo

After the wheat has been cut and before seeding begins in northern Montana, many farmers who also ranch take time to cut the final crop of alfalfa and/or hay. Such was the scene on this smokey day near Valier, Montana on the VandenBos farm.

The skies were filled with smoke from wildfires on the other side of the mountains, so in some ways it was a blessing for my photography. Generally I don't try to make agriculture photos or farm photography much outdoors 3 to 4 hours after the sun comes up. The sun just destroys color and scenes. But on this day the smokey skies filtered the sun, which meant I could photograph until almost noon. It didn't help create beautiful backgrounds, but I will take what the good Lord gives me.

20+ photos of harvesting chickpeas

Scott Inbody, of Choteau, Montana cutting chickpeas late in the afternoon west of Dutton, Montana.

Once wheat harvest starts to wind down in the Golden Triangle of Montana, farmers who grow boutique crops such as barley, chickpeas, lentils, and other grains begin the work of reaping what they have sowed. Such was the case recently on the Inbody farm near Dutton and Choteau, Montana.

I spent a couple of days on the Inbody farm getting in the way trying to capture the harvest of a crop I have yet to spend much time around and add photos to my collection of agriculture photos and farm photos. I learned that chickpeas in their dried form are later hydrated to be used in such dishes as humus or as garbanzo beans in salad bars. There aren't many farmers who grow chickpeas in these parts, but the few who do almost universally say they do, especially when wheat prices are horribly low as they were this year.

The Inbody's have been growing chickpeas for years. Harvesting doesn't require the myriad of combines you often see on large wheat operations. In this case only Scott Inbody worked the field as his father and son took truckloads of chickpeas back to the bins.

Harvesting chickpeas is a dusty job. Even dustier, it seems, than cutting wheat. Which for me is OK. Dust helps make dramatic photos. So I'm happy with that.

Here is a small collection of 20+ photos I made during chickpeas harvest on the Inbody farm this late summer. I hope you enjoy them.