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Harvest takes on steam
Third time charm for Hillsboro farmer

Staff writer

The third time was a charm for Orlin Ensz, 53, of Hillsboro. After flirting with wet wheat Saturday and Sunday, he found an 80-acre field of dry wheat Monday.

Elevators in Hillsboro, Marion, Tampa, and Lincolnville took their first wheat on Friday, and Peabody got some Saturday. Test weights were full or better, 60 pounds per bushel and above.

Ensz joined many others Monday as the harvest took on steam. Ensz’s father, 79-year-old Abe Ensz, hauled wheat to Hillsboro in a 1978 International diesel truck that he said had 1.5 million miles on it.

The father and son have harvested together since Orlin started grain farming in 1990. Abe retired last fall and divided his land between Orlin and his brother, Glen.

The field Orlin was harvesting Monday had been no-tilled into corn stubble. One of the first loads weighed 64.1 pounds per bushel, well above the 60 pounds considered full weight.

“That surprised me,” Orlin said. “I haven’t seen a test weight like that for quite a while.”

When he finished the field at 8 p.m., he estimated it made more than 60 bushels per acre.

Orlin operates a 9670 John Deere with a 30-foot header and 330-bushel bin. When the bin is full, he empties it on the run into an 850-bushel Brent 782 grain cart pulled by a tractor operated by hired man Brendon Schafer.

The cart delivers the grain to the truck, which holds 1,000 bushels.

Orlin had 480 acres of wheat this year, less than normal. He plans to plant his fields to soybeans after harvest.

In addition to grain farming, Orlin operates a contract hog business and has a 40-head cowherd.

He and his wife, Beverly, have four children, ages 28 to 16.

“To be self-employed is a privilege that many people don’t have,” he said. “It has its challenges, sometimes daunting and perplexing, especially synchronizing farming with nature and weather. But I find relaxation and fulfillment with it. It’s the way I was raised.

“Nature teaches us a lot, and raising crops and animals, you see it firsthand.”

The Enszes belong to the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite and take their faith seriously. They spent three years in Jamaica about 20 years ago.

“I’m a farmer, but my first priority is serving the Lord,” Orlin said.

Last modified June 14, 2017

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