Wet weather put a damper on har­vest­ing with binder

News Farm­ing

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen) - - FARMING -

This year the heavy lo­calised but in­ces­sant down­pours have badly af­fected the har­vest in many ar­eas across Scot­land.

How­ever when the sun does come out to play and the wind dries off the crop the mod­ern com­bine har­vester can munch through the crop at an in­cred­i­ble rate.

Huge ar­eas can be har­vested in a short time by a few peo­ple.

A har­vest like this 70 years ago would not have been fun.

Firstly the wet ground con­di­tions would make life hard for the binder op­er­a­tors as land wheels would fail to turn in sod­den ground prevent­ing drive to all the cut­ting and bind­ing mech­a­nisms.

Tan­gled crops would then wrap round the horn at the end of the cut­ter bar and once through the buncher sheaves would be tan­gled to the ones in front and be­hind the one be­ing tied.

Then they had to be stooked and hope­fully ripened be­fore they were dry enough to cart home.

Pro­longed wet spells meant the re-set­ting of stooks and the call from the farm grieve in the morn­ing was “for those with glazed jack­ets to go out and re-set stooks and those with­out glazed jack­ets to just go out and help them”.

A lack of a weather win­dow to ripen and fi­nally cart the sheaves homes for stack­ing led to rapid re­duc- tions in yield, qual­ity and ul­ti­mately saleabil­ity, thus low prof­itabil­ity.

This in turn led to low morale and short tem­pers among farm­ers and their staff.

As the days marched on the length of day­light de­creased and damp­ness on dry evenings came in ear­lier com­pound­ing the prob­lem.

Iron­i­cally the ar­rival of the com­bine put the sea­son back fur­ther as the crop had to be fully ripened be­fore har­vest com­menced.

The old adage of binder ripe in that the crop was still slightly green be­fore it was cut to ripen in the stook was out of date.

De­spite the later start to har­vest I don’t think any­one would like a re­turn to the har­vests of old ex­cept when the binder comes out at work­ing events.

Yes all hail the com­bine.

BINDER RIPE: A Bisset semi-mounted binder in a rather tan­gled crop how­ever this sun is shin­ing on this oc­ca­sion

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