Harvest time can bring mixed feelings to farm families: On the one hand is joy at a job well done, working with Mother Nature to grow a beautiful and bountiful crop. On the other hand, stress and frustration may rise while attempting to harvest and deliver those golden kernels from the field to the bin while losing as few as possible.
The U.S. farmer is the most efficient in the world in terms of product handling. Nary a kernel or bean is left in the field when our combines complete their passes, while harvest and post-harvest grain losses run 10% to 20% in some developing countries. Furthermore, harvest losses pack a one-two punch, points out the World Resources Institute. Not only is the grain lost, but also wasted is the equivalent percentage of land, water, labor, fertilizer, seed and everything else.
—Linda H. Smith
Today’s farmers lose very little crop during harvesting
- Header ear loss from driving wrong speed, etc.: may be 3% to 4% of the crop; with proper operation and adjustment, 1%.
- Header kernel loss: about 0.6%
- Combine cylinder loss: less than 0.3%
- Combine separation loss: 0.1%
- Total: should be 2% or less