Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harvest season


Ahh August. Hot and dusty. Must be harvest season. We've been busily harvesting our small grain crops the last few weeks. In a nutshell how harvest works is we wait for the crop to set their seed and dry down (hence the "amber waves of grain"). Once the crop is dry enough Lloyd drives the combine through the field to harvest the wheat or barley.

The front part of the combine - called the "header" - grabs the grain and cuts the seed heads off and funnels them to an augur. Next they go to the "cylinder" which separates the individual seeds from the seed head or cob. The grain then goes to the part of the combine known as the "shoe" where the grain shakes across screens of assorted sizes. Light weight sticks, dust and chaff blow out that back while the heavy clean seed falls to the bottom. Then it heads to the clean grain bin for storage. Once the bin is full, the grain is augured out of the combine (via the arm on the right) and into a truck and combine operator Lloyd goes back to harvesting.


The truck driver then takes the vehicle over to the bins, tilts the bed up, opens a small door on the back and pours the grain into a triangular hopper where the augur sits. The grain moves up the augur and inside the storage bins where it waits for us to call a driver to take the wheat to The Dalles, Biggs or another grain elevator. Much of the Northwest's soft white wheat is shipped over to Asia for making noodles. The barley harvest this year we will sell as clean seed to seed outlets and other farmers. This tall forage barley is commonly used in pasture mixes in California for forage or cutting for hay.


You can tell that Lloyd has been harvesting for many years; very few seed heads escape the combine. I leave wider strips mowing the lawn let alone a 60 acre field.

1 comment:

Lori Callister said...

I learned a lot from this! Thanks for filling in my lack of knowledge of how this gets done.

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