The modern combine harvester, or simply combine, is a versatile machine designed to efficiently harvest a variety of grain crops. The name derives from its combining three separate harvesting operations - reaping, threshing, and winnowing - into a single process. Among the crops harvested with a combine are wheat, oats, rye, barley, corn (maize), sorghum, soybeans, flax (linseed), sunflowers and canola. The separated straw, left lying on the field, comprises the stems and any remaining leaves of the crop with limited nutrients left in it: the straw is then either chopped, spread on the field and ploughed back in or baled for bedding and limited-feed for livestock.
Combine harvesters are one of the most economically important labour saving inventions, significantly reducing the fraction of the population engaged in agriculture.
Advantages of Combine Harvester :
- Additional grain obtained: Mechanized harvesting eliminates grain loss during manual cutting of the crop, tying the crop for carrying, transporting the harvest and from incomplete threshing. A 5% to 10% increased yield has been demonstrated.
- Time savings in the field: Our combine harvester can harvest and thresh one acre of land in one hour. The manual method would require 12 people, one full day to perform the same task, excluding threshing.
- Reduced time to market: The manual method requires a separate step for threshing, which adds multiple days, and another day or two for cleaning. Thus the time from crop cutting to market ready is a week or more for the manual method as compared to an hour or so per acre for the combine harvester process.
- Cleaner grain: the mechanized harvesting produces cleaner grain as compared to the manual process, for which the market often is willing to pay a premium.
- Reduced net cost: the mechanized harvesting can be priced to be lower than the cost of manual harvesting.