Paul Vogel drives the tractor pulling John Deere 42 combine at FraserLoch Farms. Thompson Goddard Photo

NORTH GLENGARRY – While the machinery may have changed over the years, the role of the combine in agriculture, removing the grain from the stalk, has remained the same. On Aug. 14, the Glengarry County Soil and Crop Association held an antique combine demonstration which was hosted by FraserLoch Farms just outside of Maxville. 

A good turnout of people gathered to watch as antique combines, pulled by a tractor, harvested grain on a portion of the farm. While the combines made their way around the field, there was plenty of opportunity to watch the progress and learn about the role of combines in both past and present-day agriculture.

Jack Fraser of FraserLoch Farms explained the process followed by threshing gangs in the early part of the 1900s. He explained how threshing gangs went from farm to farm throughout agricultural areas cutting the grain, making them into sheafs that were put into stooks composed of six to eight sheafs, which would assist in the drying process. The stooks would be taken to the threshing machine or mill where the kernels would be removed from the straw. The kernels would be used as animal feed or sent to market with the straw baled to be used for animal bedding or sold.

During the antique combine demo, combines used in the 1950s or 60s and pulled by a tractor, put on a demonstration. These combines would cut and remove the kernels of grain which were put in either a 100-pound bag or into a storage tank on the combine with the straw dropped on the ground. After the straw was baled and removed, the land would be plowed to prepare it for the next crop.

It was estimated by Kerry Franklinn that in 1954, a combine would cost in the neighbourhood of $2,400 and would be able to process up to an acre of crop each hour. He estimated the self-propelled combines of today would cost up to 1.5 million dollars but were able to do a lot more than the earlier combines and perhaps replace several of the older style machines.

In both rural and urban communities, it is through demonstrations such as this one that people can become knowledgeable about agriculture and its role in the development of our area, province, and country.