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Harvesting: An Introduction

Every day, we have a variety of food served in front of us. These foods give us the nutrients and minerals required for our body. But, sometimes, we wonder where it comes from. We think about converting raw materials into nutritious delicacies that we have before us. This is a type of agricultural process where crops are converted to edible parts that are then converted to the food we eat. This is called harvesting.

Harvesting is the process of taking out useful parts of plants. This is done when plants have reached a certain stage where they have nutritious and edible parts.

Types of Harvesting

Harvesting is done through various types of strategies. One may think of cutting, stacking, gathering, laying, etc. some of the main types of harvesting include,

  • Hand harvesting

  • Harvesting with hand tools

  • Harvesting with machinery

Hand Harvesting

Hand harvesting is nothing but harvesting done through one's own hands. Farmers usually do harvesting with their own hands without using any tools. This is an old school method, as, in the past, the tools and machinery required for harvesting were still not invented. Hand harvesting includes picking crops, fruits and vegetables and collecting them in a small cart. The vegetables from the roots and tubers families are harvested by pulling up the plant by hand. The grains are beaten up after harvesting to get wheat and rice from them. Hand harvesting requires a lot of muscles, strength and time.

Harvesting With Hand Tools

After using bare hands for harvesting, tools were invented to ease the tension of farmers. These tools are only used to harvest tree fruits. A clipper, one of the hand tools, is used to get the fruit from the tree and place it in the cart. This tool is also used to harvest vegetables like onion, garlic, carrot, etc.

Harvesting With Machinery

After the use of hands and tools, machines were invented. These machines not only help the farmers to get the work done without using any strength but also saves time. Sometimes, in many places, harvesting is done with the combination of these three. One example of a harvesting machine is a harvesting rig. This machine helps in washing the fruits and vegetables and also aids in the process of packing. Another instance of a harvesting machine can be a mower, where crops are mowed from the field with the help of this machine.

Methods of Harvesting

There are several methods used for harvesting. One can be threshing. Threshing is the process of collecting grains by beating the chaff or crops. This method is mainly used for rice and wheat grains. This harvesting method is a type of hand harvesting. Some of the other methods of hand harvesting also include the usage of small sickle, big sickle, small axe, etc. these are mostly used for barley, pulses, wheat and grass, etc. harvesting done by machine has been of great help to farmers.

The machine-like harvesting rig not only cleans the fruits and vegetables but also packs them up for distribution. After collecting all the well-developed crops through hand and tools, farmers use this machine for pre-harvesting. In the past, farmers used cows to reap and mow the fields. It would take a lot of time and exhaust the farmer and the poor animal. The alternative for this process is a conveyor reaper. The farmer sits on it and runs it across the field to cut the crops. This is said to save time and not exhaust the harvester.

Seasons of Harvesting

Harvesting depends upon the season as sometimes. It is important for the farmers to keep up with the season to get the product in perfect condition. Some of the seasons for crop harvesting are,

  • Rabi: Seeds are sown between October and December and harvested between April and June. Crops are barley, mustard and peas etc.

  • Kharif: harvested between September and October as it requires rainfall. Crops are rice, maize, and Jowar. These are majorly grown on the southern side of India.

  • Zaid: seeds are sown between the same months, i.e. between March and July. Most of the Harvest done during this month is fruits.

Harvesting of Crops

There are several crops throughout the year in India. Some of the crops only grow while it is raining, while some grow when there is tremendous sunlight. This is because some crops have the ability to grow even in hectic rain, while some cannot stand the overflowing of water in the soil. Hence, farmers tend to look for the perfect season to grow crops.

Interesting Facts

  • The word harvest comes from the English word Haerfest, which means autumn.

  • Kharif season requires 100 million hectares of land, whereas zaid season requires only 2% of the field.

  • Soybeans have the highest protein content in the category of vegetables.

Key Features

  • The gathering of parts of plants after they have achieved the stage of maturity is known as harvesting.

  • Harvesting is done according to the season, as there are some plants which require sunlight, and others, which require abundant rainfall.

  • Harvesting can be done by hand, by tools and also by some machines, or it can be done by combining these three.

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FAQs on Harvesting

1. What are the stages of harvesting?

The stages of harvesting are reaping, threshing, cleaning, and hauling. These are the types of hand harvesting.

2. What is done before harvesting?

The main things done before harvesting include preparation of soil, sowing, adding manure, and fertiliser, irrigation, harvesting, and storage.

3. What is energy harvesting?

Energy harvesting is nothing but extracting energy from the sources like solar panels, wind energy, kinetic energy etc. and using it for small devices. These machines use a really small amount of power for low-energy electronics.