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Photo story: Harvest equipment

combine harvesting soybeans with lots of dust

Grain farmers use A LOT of equipment to plant, protect and harvest their grain crops throughout the year. With wheat harvest still underway in many parts of Ontario, and many farmers looking towards their busy fall harvest time, let talk about some of the harvest equipment #YourFarmers will use!

When Ontario grain mature and ready for harvest, #YourFarmers will use a combine to harvest the grains. A combine is a versatile machine that can harvest all five Ontario grains with different attachments in order to separate the seeds from the rest of the grain plants. The front of the combine will cut the plants and pull them inside the machine, where once inside the seeds will be threshed from the plant and separated. The separated seeds are collected whereas the rest of the plant debris is pushed out the back of the combine.

green combine harvesting soybeans
Combine harvesting mature soybeans

Once the combine is full of the separated seeds, #YourFarmers will dump into a grain wagon or a grain buggy pulled by a tractor or truck. These pieces of equipment are strictly used to haul the seeds from the field to its next destination.

Combine unloading harvested grain corn into a tractor and grain buggy

This next destination could be a waiting truck that will haul the grain seeds to a processor, an ethanol plant, a lake or seaport or other end uses.

grain buggy unloading wheat into truck
Tractor and grain buggy unloading wheat into a waiting truck.

Or they could be hauled to a local grain elevator, or home to on-farm storage bins to be stored until being sold later on.  

large grain elevator used for storing grain
Grain elevator used for drying and storing harvested grain seeds before they are sold.

Harvest equipment can be very tall and wide especially once on the roads moving between fields. Driving behind these machines can be scary and bothersome, but there are a few road safety tips to keep in mind if you do encounter harvest and other farm equipment on the roads.

  1. Be patient. Farm equipment like tractors and combines move slowly but be patient while driving behind them. Remember, most farmers are only on busy roadways for a short period of time between fields or farms.
  2. Be alert! Keep an eye out for farm vehicles in rural areas and watch their lights and turn signals. Sometimes, they will need to make wide left or right turns into driveways or narrow roads so keep well back until they make their turn.
  3. Pass with caution. Wait until the way is clear and there is enough room on the road for your safely pass equipment on narrow roads. Don’t pass on curves, or where you cannot see oncoming traffic.
  4. Don’t assume the farmer can see you! Most farm equipment has mirrors or even cameras on the back of equipment but your car is much smaller than a combine and you may be driving in their blind spots.
  5. Be respectful. As a farmer, there is nothing worse than having a busy day of fieldwork planned out in front of you and having an angry motorist cut in front of your tractor or blare the horn as they pass you. Be respectful to farmers on the road.
Farm equipment can be large and slow on Ontario roadways- drive with caution!

The video below shows how combines, tractors, grain buggies or wagons and trucks work in unison during harvest to harvest and haul Ontario grains!