Harvesting is the process of collecting the mature rice crop from the field. Paddy harvesting activities include reaping, stacking, handling, threshing, cleaning, and hauling. These can be done individually or a combined harvester can be used to perform the operations simultaneously.
It is important to apply good harvesting methods to be able to maximize grain yield and minimize grain damage and quality deterioration. Harvesting rice consists of the basic operations which can be done in individual steps or combinations using a combined harvester. These include:
Process of Harvesting
- Reaping: Reaping or cutting is the first step in harvesting. Depending on the crop’s condition, and availability of labor or machinery, cutting can be done either manually or mechanically.
- Threshing: Threshing is the process of separating the grain from the straw. It can be either done by hand, by using a treadle thresher, or mechanized.
- Cleaning: Grain cleaning will improve the drying, the storability of grain, reduce dockage at the time of milling, and improve milling output and quality; while, seed cleaning will reduce damage by disease, and improve yields.
- Hauling: Moving the cut crop to the threshing location.
- Field drying: Leaving the cut crop in the field and exposing it to the sun for drying.
- Stacking: Temporarily storing the harvested crop in stacks or piles.
- Bagging: Putting the threshed grain in bags for transport and storage.
Traditional harvesting activities such as field drying and stacking/piling are not recommended because they can lead to rapid quality deterioration and increased harvest losses. Besides these, a variety of other activities can be included in harvestings such as gathering, reaping, bundling, and various forms of transporting the crop and grain.
Specialized harvesting equipment utilizing conveyor belts to mimic gentle gripping and mass transport replaces the manual task of removing each seedling by hand. The term usage may include immediate postharvest handling, including cleaning, sorting, packing, and cooling.