Write a short note on the process of Harvesting

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The process of cutting and gathering of the ripened crop is called harvesting. In India, most of the harvesting is done manually and sickle is the only tool that is used for this purpose. The sickles are of two types, namely, plain and saw-shaped (serrated). The serrated sickles are used for cutting paddy and wheat crops. After cutting, the crop is gathered at one place and is allowed to dry in the sun for a few days.

Harvested crop is then threshed to separate the grain from its outer covering called chaff.

The process of beating out the grain from the chaff is known as threshing. In the traditional method, the threshing of paddy is done by beating the harvested crop with sticks, whereas in case of wheat and other crops threshing is done by treading the crop with a team of animals such as bullocks and buffaloes. This method is however now limited to very small farmers. In case of big fields, threshing is done with the help of threshers. Threshing with threshers is not only cheaper but is also quicker and more efficient than treading with animals. Sometimes the threshing of wheat is done by trampling the harvested crop under a tractor.

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After threshing, the chaff and hay are separated from grain by putting the threshed material before a good natural breeze. When the threshed material is allowed to fall from a height, the grain being heavier fall straight on the ground, whereas chaff and hay being lighter and blown away and from a separate heap slightly away from the grain heap.

The process of separating the grain from chaff and hay with the help of natural breeze is called winnowing.

Use of machines in Harvesting

In the recent years machines such as reapers, threshers an even combine harvests have been introduced in India. These machines have, however, proved successful only on big farms. The harvesting with the help of machines enables the farmers to complete the process within a short climatically favorable period and thus the loss of crop due to untimely rains and storms can be saved to a large extent. This also gives farmers sufficient time to prepare the field for next sowing.

However, harvesting with machines also has certain disadvantages as given below:

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1. Harvesting machines result in shattering of the grain. In case of harvesting with sickles, shattering of the grain is negligible.

2. Harvesting through machines such as combined harvests results in loss of hay and thus yields less fodder.

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