The Clerk in the Country

Tuesday 11th August 2020

Mighty machines

Modern combine harvesters look as big as a small house, and probably cost more, with air-conditioned sound-proofed cabs making driving them a much pleasanter job than the models of even a few years ago.  The noise they make is distinctive.  Above the roar of the engine can be heard the rhythmic chug chug chug of the threshing mechanism, as it beats and sieves the cut crop to separate grain or seeds from straw.  The straw falls from the back in a cloud of dust; the grain is held in a tank, emptied at intervals into a trailer.  If the drivers are skilful enough, the tractor is carefully positioned alongside, its speed matched exactly to that of the combine, a boom is swung out and the grain pours from one moving machine to the other.  A mis-judgement would mean some rather old-fashioned work involving muscle-power and shovels.