In the early 1900s, it was a very big job to harvest wheat from the fields. It was such a big job that farmers relied on threshing crews to help them get the crop off before winter came. Threshing crews were groups of traveling workers from Eastern Canada who moved from farm to farm to harvest the grain. There could be as many as 30 men in a threshing crew!
PHOTO CREDIT: SASKATCHEWAN HISTORY ALBUM
This farmer is using a threshing machine.
Harvesting the crop took many steps. First, the wheat would go through a binder that would cut the wheat and tie it together in bundles with string. These bundles were stalked up in stooks to dry. Then once the stooks were dry, they were run through a threshing machine that removed the seeds from the rest of the wheat plant.
PHOTO CREDIT: WESTERN DEVELOPMENT MUSEUM
This farmer is using a binder to cut the wheat and tie it together in bundles.
Photo Credit: Western Development Museum
This farmer is standing next to a stook of wheat.
Today’s technology has advanced a lot, making it much easier for a farmer to farm and harvest large amounts of land. Combines today are comfortable and use technologies like GPS. GPS are global positioning systems that allow the farmer to track how much grain each part of the field is yielding. Combines today can go faster and do a better job than old threshing machines. From the combine, the grain is unloaded directly into a grain truck or a grain cart that is pulled by a tractor. The tractor and grain cart then unload into a semi-truck. From the field, the grain goes to farmers’ bins to be sold later.
Today’s combines are much more advanced and have lots of features that make harvesting easier for farmers than it was a century ago.
Watch this animated video, showing what the inside of a combine looks like while harvesting.
Harvest has changed a lot over the years, but a few things are the same. Harvest is ‘go time’ for farmers! There are only a few weeks of sunny weather to get the grain off the field before it snows! A century ago, threshing crews spent weeks harvesting. Today, many farms have seasonal help or family members come home from the city to harvest. People are needed to swath, combine, drive the grain cart, haul grain, and make meals!
Finishing harvest is a time to celebrate the hard work and grain that will help feed the world!
Harvest takes a lot of hard work and long hours to get finished before winter comes.