The combine harvester is a versatile machine designed to efficiently harvest a variety of grain crops.
The name derives from its ability to combine three separate harvesting operations which include:
Reaping – The process of cutting and often also gathering crops at harvest when they are ripe.
Threshing – Is the process of loosening the edible part of grain (or other crop) from the chaff to which it is attached.
Winnowing – The process of separating grain from straw.
It combines the above into a single process.
Among the crops harvested with a combine are:
The straw separated from the crops and left lying on the field, comprising of stems and any remaining leaves of the crop with limited nutrients left in them: the straw is then either chopped, spread on the field and ploughed back in or baled for bedding and limited-feed for livestock.
Advantages of using a combine harvester:
Additional grain obtained:
Using the harvester 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 is demonstrated by this method.
Time savings in the field:
Combine harvesters 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.
The combine 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 combine harvesting can be priced to be lower than the cost of manual harvesting this outing into consideration the labour cost used in manual harvesting.
The above machine can be used with large scale farmers in Kenya practicing Wheat
Oats, Barley, Maize, Sorghum, Soybeans, Sunflowers seeing that the advantages of such a machine are immense.