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Ask a Farmer: Harvest Communications Advice from Matt McCleary

With farmers across America busy with harvest activities, we thought it would be a great time to offer some helpful harvest advice from one of our farming partners. Matt McCleary is a third-generation farmer based in Western Illinois. He and his father currently farm around 2,100 acres of crops, including corn and soybeans. He gave us some helpful information about how he uses comms to his advantage on the farm.

When and why did you start farming? 

I started farming when I came back home after college. My dad had an opportunity to grow the farm by a few hundred acres and it worked out that I would be moving home and working on the farm. Something that I had always known I wanted to do, but didn’t fully realize it until I moved away for college. I am the 3rd generation on our family farm.


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What Midland comms equipment do you use and for what?

Currently we use the MicroMobile MXT115s and GXT1000 two way radios. With just my dad and I on the farm, these radios came in handy to keep in contact with each other about which seed to plant, inventory on seed in the shed, what field conditions are like, and if we thought it would rain or not! For this harvest season, I received the MicroMobile MXT400. We are really excited to test the range out in these radios and see how they compare to the MXT115! Communication between the combine and grain cart operator is crucial and these radios will be a huge help!

Make sure you have proper communications during harvest season

Midland MicroMobile MXT115 15-Watt Radio

What kind of range are you getting with Midland radios?

So far with the MXT115 we were able to be around 12 miles away from tractor to tractor and the sound quality was excellent. Sounded like we were right next to each other!

What Midland product is essential during harvest?

This will be my first harvest using Midland comms. We will have the MXT115s in the combine and tractor/grain cart and the MXT400s will be installed in our semis. I can already see our communications being far better than in the past! We have always used two-way handhelds and it always seems like as soon as harvest is over they quit working. Midland’s comms seem to be better built and are a much clearer sound than past handhelds!


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What other product is essential during harvest?

I would say that cellphones are a very essential product to use during harvest. We are closely keeping an eye on the weather, markets, or making a call to the local dealership to order parts when we have a breakdown.

If you could give other farmers one tip about harvesting, what would it be?

If I could give farmers one tip for harvest, it would be not to get in too big of a rush. Take time to take in the scenery and appreciate God’s beauty all around us. Don’t get in a rush when unloading the semi and forget to close the grain hoppers! When you get in a hurry, that’s when things break down!


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You can follow the McCleary farm on Instagram @McClearyFarms. You can see everything from harvesting, planting, and all-around family fun on the farm along with dazzling shots of Illinois sunsets, sunrises and wide open fields.