Last year at the normal wheat harvest time (which is mid-July for us) we had a bit of equipment trouble. We harvested some of the wheat, but the majority of the harvest was lost.
This year, due to an early spring and extra warm summer weather, the wheat was ready about two weeks earlier than normal. We can tell that the wheat is nearly ready by walking out to the field, picking a head of wheat (not from the edge, but from in the field a ways), and testing the kernels with a thumbnail or a pocket knife. If it's squishy, it's not ready. It needs to be dry.
The new combine worked wonderfully (though not without adjustments and slight repairs).
The combine sweeps the stalks and grain in with a rotating head.
The stalks are cut with moving knives at the base of the rotating grain head. The stalk and head are pulled into the combine where the kernels are separated from the rest of the wheat plant.
The kernels go in a bin in the upper back of the combine which can be emptied when it is full.
The stalks and chaff are dropped out the lower back of the combine.
These stalks are baled up as straw, which is great for animal bedding.
We are so grateful for a wheat harvest this year. Sometimes it takes loss to make us appreciate it even more when we do get a harvest. The wheat's in!