Syyskuu, Time to Harvest

Syyskuu, which translates to “harvest month”, is the Finnish word for September. Nearly all the farms in Finland, including the fields at SeAMK, were buzzing with tractors and combines today.

Handful of barley.

I don’t consider myself to be a farm girl,  I had never needed to drive a tractor and until today had never been closer than 1 km away to a combine harvester. In Humboldt County California, a log truck is far more common to see driving down the road.

Today myself and the other Cal Poly exchange students harvested a field of barley. The combine is fairly easy to operate. A steering wheel and joystick send the machine forward and backward and lifts the combine wheel to the appropriate level. A lever on the floor starts and stops the tines. The machine separates the grains of barley from the rest of the plant.

We used the Finnish made, Sampo, combine harvester.

Juha explained that we needed to drive slowly and in a straight line.

After a trip is made up and down the field the collected barley grains are blown by a fan inside the combine, through a tube and into a trailer pulled by a tractor. This machine is also commonly used to harvest oats and wheat at SeAMK. Barley is the most extensively harvested crop in Finland, 1.5 billion kilos were harvested in 2011.(http://www.maataloustilastot.fi/en/node/2679).

Take a look at a quick video showing the in field barley harvest process.

The combine is emptied into the tractor pulled trailer to transport to the driers.

The barley we harvested will be dried for about 8 hours in grain driers on the farm and then stored for livestock feed. The stems of the barley will be baled and used as animal bedding. Last fall was very wet, preventing the hay from drying out enough to be collected. The farm is taking advantage of the last few sunny days by harvesting the barley while the weather is good and dry.

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