Thursday, July 16, 2015


Wheat harvest has always been a hot, dirty, and dusty job. 
Here two combines pass going in different directions in a wheat field north of Walla Walla. 

A combine does the job of three formerly separate operations--
reaping, threshing and winnowing.

From the combine, the wheat kernels are off-loaded into a hopper or directly into a truck that then takes the load to a grain elevator to be weighed and dumped along with wheat from other acreage in the area.

Today's combines surround the operator with amenities unheard of even a generation ago. 
In cab computers and GPS keep track of the field location and yield per acre while other controls monitor the header height in front and how much wheat is being lost out the back. Air conditioning, a pressurized cab to keep dirt outside, and satellite radio add to the creature comforts for the single-person operator.

Imagine doing the same job under the conditions in the following vintage photos courtesy of Joe Drazan:

Circa 1920s 
 Generations ago, the harvest was done by mules or horses pulling an open air harvester. 

Circa 1920s

Wheat used to be bagged right in the field and then had to be carried away on wagons.

With each new invention, it took fewer and fewer people to do the same job.

Circa 1951

For a look inside a modern day cab, watch this video: 

Or, for a look at the whole harvesting process on acreage in Walla Walla watch this:

Vintage photos courtesy of Joe Drazan and Bygone Walla Walla,