Agriculture looks different today. Western world’s farmers use GPS and monitor their irrigation systems over the Internet while Indian farmers don’t adopt the technologies generated by scientists. Why?
Reaper-binder is a farming machine that reaps (cuts and gathers) crops at harvest, when they are ripe. But it is now replaced by the newly invented tool swather . 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 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.
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.
How to Cut Grain with a Swather
- Determine if a field may be harvested with a swather. Swath harvesting is most effective for high-yielding crops. It is not recommended for crops with row spacing over 10 inches (25.4 cm).
- Figure out the best time to cut the grain. Swathing is performed before the grain is ready to be separated from the stalk. This allows the head of the grain to stay intact.
- Investigate the moisture content of the grain before you cut it. Different grains are swathed at different moisture content levels, and this is determined by the environmental conditions of the growing and harvesting season. In general, grain is ready to be swathed with it is still firm but can be dented with a thumbnail. Wheat, paddy and oat moisture content should be about 35 per cent, barley 35 to 40 per cent, and rye up to 45 per cent. Adjust the height of the swather to 1/3 the height of the crop to be swathed. This should be between 4 and 8 inches (10.2 and 20.3 cm) above the ground
- Adjust the swathing speed so that the reel is turning a little faster than the ground speed. A reel moving too fast may knock the heads from the stems and result in grain loss. Contamination of the crop with soil or stubble may occur if the reel is moving too fast.
- Harvest the crop by swathing across the sowing direction. Larger spaced crops swath well if they are cut at a 45-degree angle to the sowing direction.
So pick up swathed grain as soon as possible.
By Sanjay K Bissoyi