It’s harvest time around the country, which means farmers are busy trying to get their crops out of the field. One of the most important pieces of equipment a farmer uses during harvest is the combine. Without it harvest would be a long, slow process. Combines come in a number of different brands and sizes, but they all do about the same thing. Many new combines can cost more than a new house! Each farmer chooses a combine that works best for their farm.
A combine gets its name because it combines a number of different processes into one. When harvesting corn, the combine cuts the stalk, separates the ear from the stalk, removes the husk from around the ear, removes the kernels of corn from the cob, moves the kernels into the grain tank, and spreads the debris out the back. Spreading the debris can help bring organic material back to the soil, and provide winter feed for livestock. All of these jobs happen in a matter of seconds!
These machines are an integral part of harvest (and expensive), so it is important to farmers that they take care of them. No one wants a break down during one of the busiest times of the year! Before harvest begins, farmers prep the combine. They make sure everything is in working order and get all of the gears and bearings greased up. Farmers also have to make sure that the technology inside of the combine is working. These days many combines have minicomputers in them, which can assist in overall harvest efficiency. They can track the yield, the moisture level of the crop, or tell the combine where to drive with GPS. Once in the field, if a breakdown does happen farmers can fix the problem themselves, or they can call the dealer where they bought the combine. For farmers, combines are an expensive but necessary tool!