The harvester digs an additional two rows of potatoes as it collects the four rows of potatoes left piled up neatly by the windrower. Much like the windrower, many weeds and large clumps of soil are sorted by the series of belts on the harvester. The sorting is somewhat more dramatic. The foliage is shot out of the back of the harvester and can travel quite some distance. I discovered this much to my sorrow when I got a little too close to the back of the harvester and was rained on by the dust and dirt!
RJ Thompson drives the harvester at our farm. As you can see in the photos, it is a huge piece of equipment. Driving the harvester required concentration and coordination with both the windrower operator and the bulk truck driver, as well as the ability to drive forward in a straight line while looking backwards. Once the bulk truck is filled with potatoes it is driven back to the farm to be unloaded into our storage. Stay tuned to learn all about the bin filler!
If you would like to see a video of the harvester, you can visit the installment of The Common-Tater called “The Potato Harvester.”