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How a Combine Works

Red or Green they all operate the same.

A combine is a large piece of machinery that is used during harvest. A farmer can use the same piece of equipment to harvest lots of different types of plants. In Illinois most farmers use their combines to harvest corn and soybeans.

Can you tell which is the combine and which is the grain cart?

So, how can one machine harvest so many different types of plants? The front piece is interchangeable. This piece is called the "head". The header cuts the plant at the base and pulls the entire plant into the combine where the corn gets shelled and shaved and the beans get shelled. The Grain tank then stores the grain, seeds of the plants (bean and corn kernel) and moves the residue (stalks, leaves, husks, cobs) toward the back of the machine. The residue is then chopped into smaller pieces as it exits the back of the machine and is spread across the field behind the moving combine.

What about the grain; what happens to it? There is a piece on the side of the machine, The auger. The auger unloads the grain from the grain tank into a waiting semi, tandem, or grain cart to be then trucked away from field to a place called the elevator.

Written By: Madison Bruns

November 5, 2020

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