iPhoneOgraphy – 05 Jun 2016 (Day 157/366)
The combine harvester, or simply combine, is a machine that harvests grain crops. The name derives from its combining three separate operations comprising harvesting—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 waste straw left behind on the field is the remaining dried stems and leaves of the crop with limited nutrients which is either chopped and spread on the field or baled for feed and bedding for livestock.
Combine harvesters are one of the most economically important labour saving inventions, significantly reducing the fraction of the population that must be engaged in agriculture.
The cut crop is carried up the feeder throat (commonly called the “feederhouse”) by a chain and flight elevator, then fed into the threshing mechanism of the combine, consisting of a rotating threshing drum (commonly called the “cylinder”), to which grooved steel bars (rasp bars) are bolted. The rasp bars thresh or separate the grains and chaff from the straw through the action of the cylinder against the concave, a shaped “half drum”, also fitted with steel bars and a meshed grill, through which grain, chaff and smaller debris may fall, whereas the straw, being too long, is carried through onto the straw walkers. This action is also allowed due to the fact that the grain is heavier than the straw, which causes it to fall rather than “float” across from the cylinder/concave to the walkers. The drum speed is variably adjustable on most machines, whilst the distance between the drum and concave is finely adjustable fore, aft and together, to achieve optimum separation and output. Manually engaged disawning plates are usually fitted to the concave. These provide extra friction to remove the awns from barley crops. After the primary separation at the cylinder, the clean grain falls through the concave and to the shoe, which contains the chaffer and sieves. The shoe is common to both conventional combines and rotary combines.