80-year-old binder creates wheat bundles for annual threshing show
Story and photos by Clarke Davis
Wheat Harvest began June 5 for members of the Meriden Antique Engine and Threshers Association who took their 80-year-old binder to the field.
Harvest will end the weekend of July 20-22 when those bundles are put through a threshing machine for the entertainment of those who attend the Meriden Threshing Show.
The good quality wheat was taken from land owned by Jeoff and Barb Gray on Butler Road just north of Meriden. The crop was expected to produce about 65 bushels to the acre.
The association members cut only enough bundles for three wagon loads, which they will store until show time.
Jody Kirkwood operated the Case tractor that pulled the binder. Riding on the binder was Merril Lovendahl. Neither man dates back to the threshing ring days, however, Lovendahl recalled being a water boy for a crew in his childhood in northcentral Kansas.
The binder is owned by the association and is presumed to date back to the 1930s. A sickle cuts the wheat that falls on a conveyor belt that moves the wheat to the right where it’s wrapped with twine and spit out.
In the early days, workers would stack bundles in shocks of wheat later loaded and transported to a separator or threshing machine. The association members skip that process and pitch the bundles directly to hayracks to be moved to Cottonwood Station.
The annual July show will be the association’s 36th. The association president is Jess Noll, who married Stacey Farrar at Cottonwood Station June 2.
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