Any farm machine that chops grain is referred to as a reaper. Early reapers just chopped the crop and dumped it unbound, while current harvesting machinery include harvesters, combines, and binders, as well as additional harvesting activities. Reaping is the process of cutting standing grain at the base with a sickle-shaped knife attached to a vertical shaft. The grain is gathered into bundles called swaths which are carried by the reaper to the next stage of processing or to the truck or cart for transportation to the field. Modern reapers cut more than one swath per pass over the same ground, so multiple passes are needed to harvest all the grain.
The first reapers were used by farmers who wanted to thresh their own grain because market prices were not good enough to justify the expense of hiring a miller to process the corn or wheat. Today, some farmers still prefer to reap their own grain because it allows them to select the mature heads of corn and then wait until they are dry before harvesting them. This is important when trying to preserve the maximum amount of germ oil in the seed which improves its quality and yield potential. Farmers use different techniques for harvesting corn. If the stalks are young and thin, they may be left in the field until they fall over on their own. Otherwise, the stalks must be harvested before they reach maturity.
A rice reaper harvester is a machine used to harvest rice panicles. The machine lays down the sliced panicles for collecting. There are several models. The basic model has a steel frame, with two arms attached at 90-degree angles, each arm having a pair of tines at the end. When the machine starts harvesting, the operator drives it across the field. As the machine moves forward, the tines slice through the rice plants, leaving behind a standing crop.
Rice reapers need to be driven across fields to collect all the cuttings. They can only reach about half the depth of a field in one pass because of space limitations. A wide variety of attachments have been developed to increase the reaping capacity of rice reapers. These include shanks, walkers, and sprayers.
Shank extensions project downward from the main body of the reaper toward the ground, allowing the machine to work deeper into the field. This attachment is useful where there is enough room between the rows of rice plants for the reaper to maneuver safely.
Walker attachments attach to the front of the reaper and support it while it walks across the field.
A reaper is a person or an agricultural machine that reaps (gathers and chops) crops when they are ripe for harvest. The McCormick mechanical reaper replaced manual crop cutting using scythes and sickles. Wheat in the North using the McCormick reaper for youngsters. It has become a popular project for school science classes to experiment with various parts of the reaper to see how it works.
The modern reaper uses two counter-rotating reaping heads mounted on a common frame. One head cuts the grain while the other cuts the straw. The stalks are pulled into the chopping chamber where they are cut by knives rotating at high speed. The chopped wheat or barley is carried by conveyors or belts to waiting trucks or carts for transportation to the threshing floor. A rotary harvester such as the McCormick reaper can cut up to 200 acres of crop per day. This type of machine has three main sections: a power plant, a harvesting unit, and a housing section.
The harvesting unit contains the main drive system and a knife assembly for cutting the stalk. After the stalks are cut, they fall onto a platform where they are caught by a conveyor belt. Then the chopped grain falls through a hopper into a truck or cart attached to the end of the vehicle.