Nov 1, 2018

What a Rice Harvesting vehicle looks like

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, because I found it so interesting being out here in Niigata where rice is the premier crop.  I grew up eating rice at every meal, and it has long been my favorite food, but I never really knew how it was grown and harvested.  I mean, I‘ve seen the traditional method where people walk in rows breaking their backs as the plant eat individual stalk and then use ox-drawn cart to thresh the rice stalks once they’re ready for harvest, but we’re well past that era now.

Now, we have these bad boys:

What a Rice Harvesting vehicle looks like photo

The channels on the front cut cut and pull the rice stalks up.  After that, they all all turned so the rice grains are on the inside of the machine and pulled by conveyor belt towards the back of the machine.  The rice grains get stripped and dumped into an internal reservoir while the chaff is ejected out the back.

When the machine is full, the operator uses the long arm you see at the top of the machine to extend over a truck, at which point all of the rice grains are pumped to the truck bed.

I haven’t exactly sat timing them do this, but I've seen them complete an entire rice paddy (about half the size of a football field) in the time it takes me to go on a long walk with my dog.  That’s crazy efficient when you think about how long it used to take.  Thank goodness for innovation and technology, right?



Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).


  • edthethe

    on Nov 1

    I am always surprised they harvest the whole block in an afternoon. my son loves watching!

  • TonetoEdo

    on Nov 1

    Have you experienced taue, hand planting rice? I did it with a school group. We learned a work song, and planted for an afternoon. The squishy mud sucks at your feet. It's tough work but fun.

  • genkidesuka

    on Nov 1

    @edthethe, it is pretty incredible, isn't it? The record in my neighborhood was six machines going at once, and they were done in no time. It's strangely relaxing watching the machines at work. @TonetoEdo, no, sadly I have not had the opportunity yet. I intend to take my daughter when she's old enough. I'll be glad to give her the hands on experience, and she'll be glad to play in the mud!