Vegetable Harvester

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vegetable Harvester


a mechanized implement for harvesting vegetables. In the USSR, such machines are used for harvesting cabbage, onions, tomatoes, melons, and a number of other crops.

A cabbage harvester is drawn by a tractor of the 1.4-ton class. It harvests average- and late-maturing varieties of cabbage that have been planted in rows spaced at least 70 cm apart. The revolving lifts of the lift mechanism bring the heads of cabbage to the cutting apparatus. The heads are pressed from above by a sling conveyer and, after cutting, are carried along with the leaves by the conveyer to an auger leaf remover, which ejects the loose leaves back onto the field. The cleaned heads are taken to an inspection table, where immature and damaged heads are culled by hand. The sorted heads then roll down onto an unloading conveyer, which drops them into a tractor trailer. The working parts of the machine are driven by the takeoff power of the tractor. Its productivity is as much as 0.14 hectares (ha) per hr.

Tractor-pulled cabbage harvesters are also used in the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. In the Netherlands, mounted single-row machines are used, whose operating principle is similar to that of the machine manufactured in the USSR. In the United States, cabbage is harvested by one- and two-row machines, which are drawn primarily by tractor.

The onion harvester produced in the USSR involves a two-phase method. The machine digs up the onions from a single-row planting system of 45 cm or a four-row 20 + 50 cm system (with the rows alternately 20 and 50 cm apart). The onions, which still have their tops, are laid out in rows for drying. When the tops have dried, the vegetables are picked up by the same machine. The soil and a portion of the tops are removed from the onions, and the onions are loaded into a transport vehicle moving alongside the harvester. The onion harvester is pulled by a tractor of the 1.4-ton class, and its working parts are driven by the tractor’s takeoff power. The machine digs up and lays out the onions at a rate from 0.4 to 0.9 ha/hr; it picks up the crop at a rate from 0.8 to 1.6 ha/hr.

An attachment for the riddle potato harvesting combine harvests onions in the same manner as the onion harvester, using a two-phase method with the same planting systems and cutting width. To harvest onions the screens of the potato harvesting combine are replaced with screens having smaller openings, the trimmer conveyer is taken off, and a tray is attached at the end of the receiving hopper. The tray deposits the onions, which have been dug up in two runs, in a row. The share digs three or four rows of onions, and the soil is removed by the riddle screens, the lift drum, and the roll-out gravity cleaner. The onions collected in the receiving hopper are released onto the field by a drop tray. The onions are picked up and collected in the receiving hopper and periodically unloaded into transport vehicles. Digging productivity may reach 0.48 ha/hr, and picking-up productivity, 0.65 ha/hr.

In Hungary, an elevator machine is used for two-phase harvesting of onions with a planting system of 25–30 + 40–45 cm. The machine operates in the same manner as the machine produced in the USSR. In Great Britain a machine is used for digging up onions from two rows and laying them in a single row. In France and the Netherlands, modified potato harvesters are used for onion harvesting.

The tomato harvesting combine manufactured in the USSR is a self-propelled machine. It is designed for the once-over harvesting of tomatoes that mature uniformly and are to be used in the canning industry. The machine harvests all table varieties and loads them into containers on a trailer moving next to the combine. The engine power is 30 kW. Tomatoes that have been planted according to systems of 40 + 120 and 60 + 120 cm can be harvested. As the combine moves, two horizontal disk blades cut the roots of the plants at a depth of 2–5 cm. The vertical conveyers then deliver the plants to the elevator. The soil is partially shaken off, and the plants are delivered to a cross conveyer, where the clumps of soil and loose fruits are removed and dropped onto a debris conveyer and then onto a conveyer belt. The plants are taken to the fruit remover, where the fruits are separated and placed onto a sorting belt. The tomatoes are hand-sorted into ripe (red and yellow) and green. The sorted tomatoes then go to a conveyer, and from there into containers. Productivity of the machine is 0.17 to 0.22 ha/hr, depending on the crop and the degree of ripeness.

In the United States, for a once-over harvesting of uniformly maturing tomatoes to be used in the canning industry, a self-propelled combine with an engine of around 44 kW is most often used.

A mounted conveyer is used for harvesting cabbage, squash, pumpkins, and various melon crops. It is used with a tractor of the 1.4-ton class. The machine consists of a central section and two side sections. The belts of the sections are driven by the takeoff power of the tractor. The workers move with the unit, cutting off the vegetables and putting them on the conveyer belts. The conveyer can lay the heads and fruits in a row or drop them into transport. Productivity is 0.18 ha/hr.

Drawn and mounted vegetable harvesting platforms are used for transporting crates across the fields to collect the hand-picked vegetables of varieties that do not ripen uniformly (early cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper).

To partially mechanize the harvesting of delicate crops, many farms use the industrially produced beet lifters. The use of the beet lifters significantly reduces and eases manual labor.


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