Combine harvester

machine that harvests grain crops

A combine harvester, also called a combine, is a machine that harvests crops. Its name comes from doing three separate parts of harvesting crops at once:

  • reaping: cutting and collecting crops when they are ready for harvesting,
  • threshing: separating the parts of a crop that can be eaten by people from the parts that can't, and
  • winnowing: removing the already separated parts of the crop that can't be eaten by people, the chaff, while keeping the part that can be eaten, the grain.
Harvesting oats in a Claas lexion 570 combine with enclosed, air-conditioned cab with rotary thresher and laser-guided hydraulic steering
Drone video of combine harvester and tractor in Estonia (August 2022)
Old-style harvester found in Henty, New South Wales

Far fewer people work in farming as a result of the combine harvester.[1]


  1. Constable, George; Somerville, Bob (2003). A Century of Innovation: Twenty Engineering Achievements That Transformed Our Lives, Chapter 7, Agricultural Mechanization. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press. ISBN 0-309-08908-5.