Automatic Topper-Lifter-Harvester

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Automatic Topper-Lifter-Harvester


a type of combine for harvesting sugar beets. The automatic topper-lifter-harvester digs up the beet tubers, removes them from the soil, cuts off the tops, and collects the tubers and tops in bins or loads the tubers into the bed of a tractor-drawn wagon or truck traveling alongside and puts the tops into a wagon fastened to the combine.

In the USSR the development of beet harvesters began in the 1930’s. The first operation to be mechanized was the digging up of the tubers; portable hand machines were used to cut off the tops. Between 1934 and 1938 the removal of beets from the soil by pulling the tops with beet pullers equipped with grippers was mechanized. In the 1940’s working elements for separating the tops from the tubers in the harvester came into use. The first automatic topper-lifter-harvesters were produced in 1949. In the 1950’s new working elements were made, which ensured mechanized beet harvesting. Designs were developed for an auger-type bulk tuber cleaner and a control mechanism to guide the machine along the rows, which made it possible to automate control of the machine. The total number of automatic topper-lifter-harvesters at the end of 1973 was 58,000 units.

The USSR produces two types of automatic topper-lifter-harvesters, each using a different harvesting process. The models KST-3A and KST-2A use grippers to remove the tubers from the soil by the tops; the tops are then cut in the machine. The models SKD-2 and SKN-2A cut the tops off in the field and then extract the tubers from the soil.

The KST-3A trailer model uses the gripping process; it harvests three rows at once, and is designed for continuous or non-continuous harvesting in the principal beet-growing regions. Automatically guided along the beet rows, this model extracts the beets from the soil, cuts off the tops and throws them into a

Table 1. Specifications of automatic topper-lifter-harvesters produced in the USSR
Swath width (m)...................................1.351.20.9; 1.2
Width of interrow spaces (cm)..........................456045; 60
Operating speed (km/hr).............................up to 7up to 6up to 8
Productivity (ha/hr) ................................0.410.40.26; 0.35
Required power (kW) ...............................33.5–36.827.325.7–40.5

tractor wagon, cleans soil and unwanted vegetable remains from the tubers, and drops the tubers into the bed of a truck or trailer. The KST-2A combine is used to harvest beets in the irrigation zone. It is standardized with the KST-3A machine to a large extent but differs in the arrangement of working elements, which are designed to harvest two rows of beets simultaneously. The SKD-2 combine is a two-row, continuous trailer combine with a sequential arrangement of working elements. It is designed for harvesting in the principal beet-growing regions and in irrigation zones. The combine cuts off the tops and drops them into the bed of a tractor wagon; it then digs up the tubers and loads them into a truck or similar vehicle.

An automatic topper-lifter-harvester has top cutters, a conveyor for receiving the tops, a digging device in the form of disks that break up the soil and thus help clean the tubers, a device for further cleaning of the tubers, elevators for the tubers and tops, and a bin to collect tops and place them in transverse windrows. It is also equipped with automatic hydraulic control and a manual adjustment to set the row finder of the hydraulic control when entering a row. The working elements of all such combines are driven by a takeoff shaft from the tractor engine and are operated by the tractor driver and a worker. A brief description of the combines produced in the USSR is given in Table 1.

A set of machines has been created for windrow harvesting of sugar beets, consisting of the BM-6 topper and the KS-6 tuber harvester. The BM-6 gathers tops from six rows spaced 45 cm apart and loads them into vehicles. The self-propelled KS-6 gathers the tubers, whose tops have already been removed, and loads them into vehicles.

Foreign production of automatic topper-lifter-harvesters began in the 1950’s. As in the USSR, two types are used: those that cut the tops in the field and those that cut the tops in the machine after the tubers are pulled from the soil by the tops. The USA produces one-, two-, three-, and four-row combines, most of which have approximately the same types of working elements. In Great Britain, because of the small size of fields, one-row trailer models are the most common, but two-row and six-row models are also used. In the Federal Republic of Germany semimounted one-row models are used, which gather the tubers into vehicles and lay the tops in transverse windrows. In Sweden a six-row self-propelled model is used, which lays down windrows of tops and tubers for 12 rows in two passes. Disk diggers and cleaners are used in Denmark. In France there is a trend toward three-phase harvesting, in which the tops are cut off and laid out and the tubers are dug up, arranged in windrows, and then cleaned. This technique makes it possible to simplify the design of the machines and to combine them with small tractors.


Novye sveklouborochnye kombainy. Moscow, 1968.
Semenov, D. A. Kompleksnaia mekhanizatsiia vozdelyvaniia sel’skokhoziaistvennykh kul’tur (collection of articles). Moscow, 1968.
Volkov, P. S., and M. P. Shibaev. Tendentsii razvitiia mashin dlia vozdelyvaniia i uborki sakharnoi svekly za rubezhom. Moscow, 1969.
Sveklouborochnyi kombain KST-3A: Rukovodstvo po sborke, ukhodu i ekspluatatsii sverklokombaina s katalogom zapasnykh chastei. Dnepropetrovsk, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
Mentioned in ?
Full browser ?