Harvesting and Storage

Harvesting Threshing Winnowing Drying Storage


  • Harvesting stage comes when normally the plant turns golden yellow and becomes brittle.
  • The grains become hard and the straw turns dry.
  • The crop should be harvested at physiological maturity when the grain moisture is around 19-20%.

  • The harvesting time varies from zone to zone and state to state.
  • Harvest and thresh high yielding wheat varieties as soon as fully ripe, to avoid grain shattering.
  • The harvesting of wheat can be started five days earlier than dead ripe stage without adverse effect on the yield or quality of the grains.
  • The harvesting can be done with the help of serrated sickle manually or with the help of bullock drawn reapers.
  • Harvesting can also be done with the help combine harvesters they can also be hired as they are easily available on hire basis.
  • The advantage of using the combine harvetser is that it does the job of harvesting, winnowing and thresing at the same time.
  • Tractor-operated vertical conveyer reaper windrowers can also be used for harvesting.



  • If the harvesting is done with the help of combine harvester then there is no need for threshing the grains as the out put is already in the from of threshed grain.
  • In other cases do threshing by power-operated threshers OR By threading the head of the wheat with the bullock cart. OR By beating them with the help of bamboo sticks. OR By running the tractor over the heads.
  • By doing the above operations the grains are separated from the head.

  • Thus the grains are dried on the threshing floor for reducing the grain moisture percentage.
  • Use power thresher with proper safety devices to prevent accidents.

  • For good performance, operate these machines at cylinder speed recommended for wheat and also observe safety precautions against accidents.
  • The syndicator type (Toka type) can be used to thresh the wheat crop with moisture content up to 20%.
  • Grain combines can also be used for simultaneous harvesting and threshing of wheat.
  • To facilitate the use of grain combine and to reduce breakdown, dismantle the bunds and channels immediately after the last irrigation.
  • Delayed harvesting results in high grain losses.
  • Stubbles can be bruised as fine wheat straw (turi) by using wheat straw combine.
  • Straw recovery is about 60%.
  • In case the grain contains more than 10 percent moisture, it should be dried before storing, otherwise it would be spoiled by moulds and excessive heat that develops during storage.
  • Seed-cleaners-cum-graders may also be used at this stage.


Winnowing of Crop

  • If the harvesting is done with the help of combine harvester then their is no need for winnowing as the grain out put is already in the from of winnowed and cleaned grain.
  • Winnowing can also be manually with the help of dropping the grains from certain height so as to remove the impurities from the grain lot due to the motion of the wind current.
  • The grains and the impurities are separated and are collected separately.
  • Winnowing can also be done by the power-operated winnowers.



  • The winnowed grains are dried in the sun for at least 5 to 8 days so that the moisture percentage of the grains is reduced for safe storage conditions.

  • The grains are dried by spreading out the grain on the threshing floor or on a pucca floor in the sun.

  • The grains are dried by spreading out the grain on the threshing floor or on a pucca floor in the sun.
  • Drying is done to reduce the moisture percentage to a level of about 13 to 12%. (This moisture level is safe for storage).



    i) For Home Consumption

  • Improved storage structures of various capacities of 1.5, 3.5, 10 and 15 quintals capacity are available.
  • For outdoor use, drawings of PAU metal bins of 15-tonnes capacity with perforated floor-bottom, rooms storage structure of 8-tonnes capacity and flat storage structures of 100 tonnes capacity is available.
  • The airtight bin is so constructed that it does not allow entry of any outside insect and rodent and the insects present in the grains do not get favorable atmosphere to develop.
  • It is also economical portable and simple to fabricate.

  • For lifting and using the PAU metal bins, the following storage practices are recommended.

  • Clean the bin thoroughly and do not allow the left-over of the previously stored grains to remain in the bin. Inspect the covers to ensure that the gaskets are intact.
  • Clean and sort the grains of all impurities. Broken kernels and other impurities lead to insect attraction and hence should be separated.

  • Do not mix new grains with old stock as the later may be infested with insect.
  • Never store infested grains, in grains with high moisture content.

  • Dry the grains in sun, cool it and fill in the bin later in the evening.
  • The moisture content of the grains should not be higher than 9 per cent.
  • Use recommended fumigants to kill the initial infestation in the stock if any.
  • Fill in the bin to full capacity.
  • Do not open the bin for first 30 days and thereafter open it fortnightly. The cover should be replaced immediately after use.
  • Inspect the grains frequently, any suitable fumigant should be used in case any insect-pest infection is detected.
  • Information about the storage structure can be had from the Department of Processing and Agricultural Structures, PAU.

  • ii) For commercial purposes

    For storing wheat for commercial purposes, the farmers should make use of the facilities, provided by the following agencies.

    i. State Warehousing Corporation in the state and its regional office.
    ii. Central warehousing Corporation and its regional offices.
    iii. Food Corporation of India and its branches.