Harvesting Machinery Variations and Applications

Bean Harvester

Bean harvester

A bean harvester, also known as a bean thresher or bean combine, is a threshing machine which is used to harvest beans. It mainly consists of a pickup, several beaters, shakers, one or several fans, elevators, conveyor belts, a storage bin, and usually a spreader at the rear. Until recently, the only practical manufacturer of bean harvesters was The Bidwell Bean Thresher Company.


The pickup lifts the beans, which are arranged into windrows by rakes and pullers, off the ground and onto the main conveyor belt which feeds them into the first beater, which has many metal teeth, turns high RPMs, and does a significant portion of the threshing. From there the process varies from machine to machine. Basically the beans go through a series of more beaters and shakers.



Carrot harvester

A carrot harvester is an agricultural machine for harvesting carrots. Carrot harvesters are either top lifters or share lifters and may be tractor mounted, trailed behind a tractor or self propelled. The machine typically harvests between one and six rows of carrots at once.


The two types of harvesters differ in how they get the carrots from the ground.


Top lifting harvesters
Top lifters use rubber belts to grab the green tops of the carrot plant and pull them from the soil. A share pushes under the carrot root and loosens the plant.
The belt takes the carrots, with tops, in to the machine where the tops are cut off and sent along a waste path and dropped back on to the field.

Carrot Harvester

Share lifting harvesters
A share lifter uses a share to get the carrots out of the ground from underneath. The machine must be preceded by a topper to cut the green tops off the carrot plants. The carrots travel along a longer web to separate out the soil.

Cleaning and collection
The carrot roots travel along one or more webs to remove most of the soil attached to the carrot. The carrots are collected either in a storage tank on the machine or in a trailer pulled alongside the machine by another tractor.


Chaser bin

A chaser bin, also called grain cart or (grain) auger wagon, is a trailer towed by a tractor with a built-in auger system, usually with a large capacity (from several hundred to over 1000 bushels; around 15 tonnes (33,000 lb) is average).


Chaser bins are typically used to transport harvested grain or corn over fields from a combine harvester to a semi-trailer truck or other hauling device which is used to cover larger distances over roads. The use of a chaser bin permits the harvester to operate continually, without the need for stopping to unload. These bins usually require tractors with large power outputs and are popular on the large open fields of the United States and Australia, though usage in Europe is increasing.


Corn harvester

A corn harvester is a machine used on farms to harvest corn stripping the stalks about one foot from the ground shooting the stalks through the header to the ground. The corn is stripped from its stalk and then moves through the header to the intake conveyor belt. From there it goes up the conveying system through a fan system, separating the remaining stalks from the ears. The stalks blow out the fan duct into the field while the ears drop onto another conveyor belt. The ears ride the belt and drop into a large moving bucket. This method is done with both Fresh Corn and Seed corn. The first mechanical corn harvester was developed in 1930 by Gleaner Harvester Combine Corporation of Independence, Missouri. The unit pulled by a tractor with the unit on the left side.

Corn Harvester



Forage harvester

A forage harvester (also known as a silage harvester, forager or chopper) is a farm implement that harvests forage plants to make silage. Silage is grass, corn or other plant that has been chopped into small pieces, and compacted together in a storage silo, silage bunker, or in silage bags. The silage is then fermented to provide feed for livestock. Haylage is a similar process to silage but using grass which has dried.


Forage harvesters can be implements attached to a tractor, or they can be self-propelled units. In either configuration, they have either a drum (cutterhead) or a flywheel with a number of knives fixed to it that chops and blows the silage out a chute of the harvester into a wagon that is either connected to the harvester or to another vehicle driving alongside. Most larger machines also have paddle accelerators to increase material speed and improve unloading characteristics. Once a wagon is filled up, the wagon can be detached and taken back to a silo for unloading, and another wagon can be attached. Because corn and grass require different types of cutting equipment, there are different heads for each type of silage, and these heads can be connected and disconnected from the harvester. Grass silage is usually cut prior to harvesting to allow it to wilt, before being harvested from swathes with a collection header (windrow pickup). Maize and wholecrop silage are cut directly by the header, using reciprocating knives, disc mowers or large saw-like blades. Kernel processors (KP), modules consisting of two mill rolls with teeth pressed together by powerful springs, are frequently used when harvesting cereal crops like corn and sorghum to crack the kernels of these plant heads. Kernel processors are installed between the cutterhead and accelerator. In most forage harvesters, the KP can be quickly removed and replaced with a grass chute for chopping non-cereal crops.

While towed harvesters continue to be used by small family farms, the large factory-farm way of silage making is with a self-propelled machine with a tractor or truck running along with the forager. Today’s largest machines have engines producing in excess of 1,000 horsepower (750 kW), are fitted with headers able to cut up to a 35-foot (11 m) swath of corn in a single pass, and an output exceeding 400 tons of silage per hour. Silage made from grass, canola, oats or wheat are chopped in pieces 6 to 30 millimeters and treated with additives including bacteria, enzymes, mold inhibitors, and preservatives to accelerate the fermentation process. When silage is made of corn or sorghum additives are not necessary because of the high sugar and starch levels in the plants. Additives however are frequently added to corn and sorghum to augment their fermentation.


Gravity wagon

The Gravity wagon, or Slant wagon, is an angled hopper style wagon that utilizes gravity to make the unloading process easier. It is primarily used for on farms for agricultural purposes, such as for holding crops or fertilizer. For easy comparison, it is similar to a railroad hopper car, only with one door which is located on the bottom side rather than on the bottom center.


A gravity wagon has three sides which are angled at about 45 degrees and one side that is vertical. An unloading door is located at the bottom of the vertical side where the three angled sides come together. This design causes the contents of the wagon to funnel towards the door so that no effort has to be put forth to unload the contents other than opening the door, which opens upwards by the action of a lever or turning of a wheel. The chassis used for gravity wagons is sometimes the same as the chassis used for hay wagons.




Rice huller

A rice huller or rice husker is an agricultural machine used to automate the process of removing the chaff and the outer husks of rice grain. Throughout history, there have been numerous techniques to hull rice. Traditionally, it would be pounded using some form of mortar and pestle. Machinery has now been developed to hull and polish the rice. These machines are most widely developed and used throughout Asia where the most popular type is the Engelberg huller designed by Evaristo Conrado Engelberg and first patented in 1885. The Engelberg huller uses steel rollers to remove the husk. Other types of huller include the disk or cono huller which uses an abrasive rotating disk to first remove the husk before passing the grain to conical rollers which polish it. Rubber rollers may be used to reduce the amount of breakage of the grains, so increasing the yield of the best quality head rice, but the rubber rollers tend to require frequent replacement, which can be a significant drawback.



A swather, or windrower, is a farm implement that cuts hay or small grain crops and forms them into a windrow. “Swather” is predominantly the North American term for these machines. In Australia and other parts of the world, they are called “windrowers”. A swather may be self propelled via an internal combustion engine, or may be drawn by a tractor and powered through a power take-off shaft. A swather uses a sickle bar (see mower) to cut the stems of the crop. A reel helps the cut crop fall neatly onto a canvas or auger conveyor which moves it and deposits it into a windrow, with all stems oriented in the same direction. As combines replaced threshing machines, the swather was needed to replace the binder.

Swathing (windrowing) is more common in the northern United States and Canada. This is because the curing time for grain crops is reduced by cutting the plant stems. In regions with longer growing seasons, grain crops are usually left standing and harvested directly by combines. The Swather is the mascot of sports teams at Hesston High School in Hesston, Kansas.