Farm Equipment editors Mike and Frank Lessiter just returned to the office after a 5-day tour through Washington and Idaho’s Palouse country.

It was a timely opportunity to get with wheat growers following the news of Russia’s wheat export ban, and to see first-hand how growers achieve such high productivity from the 40-60% sloping hills that are so prominent in the region. “In this area, 100% of the grain production is for human consumption,” says John Aeschilman, Colfax, Wash.

The unique Farm Equipment tour featured a series of longtime wheat and pulse-crop growers, dealers (St. John Hardware & Implement and Columbia Tractor), manufacturers (Hillco Technologies and Cross-Slot Systems) and a trip to the Port of Lewiston where grain is loaded on the Snake River for distribution through Portland.

At each of the farms of John Aeschilman (3,500 acres in Colfax, Wash.), Wittman (9,000 acres, Culdesac, Idaho), Russ Zenner (2,800 acres in Genesee, Idaho) and Mader Farms (13,000 acres in Pullman, Wash.), the pair spent many of hours of combine time (often with the boots on the glass and the arms sore from holding the cab door to keep from sliding in the driver’s lap).

In total, the Lessiters snapped 1,081 photos and recorded many video segments. Much of their travels were chronicled at (#palouse).

Here's a sampling of just 15 of the live updates that Farm Equipment readers may find interesting: - My boots were on the glass! Combining at the Aeshilmans at ‘only’ a 40% slope, other fields have 60. #palouse - Aeschilmans have 1 of last Knudson hillside tractors ever made. 450 hp. Outperforms Challenger, Quads #palouse - Aeschilman in one of top wheat fields, 100 bu yields on 400 ft hills, 55% slopes #palouse - Yes, corn in #palouse, too! Aeschilman doing cont no-till corn plots for years, a lot more corn coming #palouse - Longtime Cross-Slot user Frank Wolf (r) is the product specialist for the mfr in U.S., significant savings now that frames are built in U.S. #palouse - Steve Mader switched from John Deere to 4 Case IH 8120 combines this year w/ aggressive mfr financing, Jones Tractor, Colfax, WA #palouse - Dick Wittman says 6 employees farm 9000 acres. In 1980, it took 32 people #palouse - Combining the canyon ridge at Wittmans in #palouse. Glad Todd driving and not me! #palouse - Western States (Challenger dealer) got bolts for bogey tracks up to field in 20 mins #palouse - What Russ Zenner wants from equip dealers: more direct dialog w/ mfrs about unique needs of #palouse - Custom-designed 2-pass hoe drill Zenner owns w/ 2 other farmers, $116k #palouse - Interviewing Dennis Guettinger, mgr, Columbia Tractor (5-store group) on life as dealer in Palouse country #palouse - Great mtg w/ Mike Nelsen, mgr, St. John Hardware & Imp (CNH dealer) in Moscow, ID. Also a major Carquest parts biz #palouse - Harvest Hours @ St. John Hardware/Imp, full parts/service on Sundays. #palouse - Interviews w/ Stacey Lorentz, Polley McLoed & Lenny Hill @ sidehill leveling system mfr Hillco Technologies #palouse

To see the full reports from the trip, visit or #palouse.

More coverage and video will come in future editions of Farm Equipment’s E-WATCH e-newsletter.