This year has been almost perfect for our rye crop. Plenty of rain in the spring and early summer, and then dry at harvest time.
We harvested the small field in a couple of hours, reaping around 200 bushels total. Enough for seed for future cover crops, and perhaps a bit to sell.
The combine makes harvesting so easy compared to the stories I've read about cutting and stacking sheaves and operating threshing machines. The combine cuts the plant off about a foot above the ground, and pulls it in. The grain is separated from the shaft of the plant (straw) inside the machine. The grain goes in a holding area in the combine, and the straw is deposited in windrows behind the combine. When the grain holding area is full, we empty into a nearby gravity flow wagon.
The straw is good for animal bedding. Soon after harvesting started, we started up the baler. Two people are all it takes to fill the wagons with straw bales, but a few more are helpful to put them up in the barn.
English lesson time. Combine is pronounced COM-bine (different than the verb "to combine"). And hay or straw is put up in bales, not bails. A "bale" is a bundle of something. "Bail" is what you do when your boat is taking on water.