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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 15, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD TiNMtay, October FORT MACLEOD The four giant work horses puffed, the leather harness strained and the rhythmic beating of reel and cutter bar on grain detracted slightly from the westerly wind gusting across the Bert Heath farm 12 miles south of here. The Heath dog paced the horses around the field of oats while the binder continued to spit out bundles of grain, neatly tied with twine. As the binder circled the field, the pile of bundles In the carrier were dumped'at strategic locations, making a long row of small piles working from'the outside of'the field to the middle. The 1974 car which arrived at the field brought harvest to a halt and Bert started to discuss his pioneer fanning methods in today's jet-age agricultural industry, methods which have made him a good living since he started fanning with his father after quitting school in 1928. A twine shortage this year forced him to use the binder on only 70 acres of grain. Some of the grab was cut as green feed and the bundles will be gathered and stored as hay. The grain cut with the binder to be harvested in kernel form will benin through a threshing machine when is row. _ The 1941 Massey Harris binder, bought from Fajt Macleod fanner Ernie Colpits when he retired, does about IS acres per 10-hour day. Without stops, which is virually impossible, acres could be done, he said. Having worn out lour or five binders in his day, the machines certainly aren'tnew to him. In fact, repair jobs over the years have qualified him as their sole mechanic although some work has to be fanned out at times. The number of moving parts on the binder is high and the trickiest part to work on is the knot tying unit. "Unless the mechanism is perfectly timed, it just won't tie." The operator sits on a metal seat at the back of the binder and both feet and hands are needed for the opera- tion of the unit With hisleft hand, he controls the reins to the horses. The reins and a good deal of special vocabulary keeps the animals on the straight and narrow. Various levers His right hand is kept busy moving various levers. One" raises and lowers the cutting table, another moves the reel used to bring the grain into the cutting bar up and down, another moves the string length control while yet another puts the machine into gear.; His-right foot is maintained on a peddle which ac- tivates the bundle carrier while his left foot can activate a lever that allows the reel to mave forward and back. As the grain is cut, it falls on a moving canvass which takes it to elevating canvasses. The elevating canvasses move hi different directions, pushing the grain up to the knotter. Once the grata is raised to the knotter, a butterboard taps the cut ends of the straw to make them about the same length. The grain piles up against the knotter until there is enough for a bundle. The knotter then ties the bundle and it is lacked out on to the bundle carrier. When sufficient bundles have reached the carrier, it is dumped. The binder is original, except for the guards and knife on the cutter bar. They both are from a swather. A large rubber tire immediately behind the horses drives the mechanism as it passes over toe ground. The tire is a newer one. Bert said the tire in this location doesn't wear out, it rots out because of the relatively low miles the machine is pulled. Metal wheels are located on the outside edge of the cutting table and ahead of the machine on the hitch. Wheels are needed on the hitch to maintain proper machine height They replace the drawbar on a tractor. The same horses are used all day. Jute bags bad been tied around their months to protect them from flies in the summer but now they only help to keep the mounts from, nibbling on the oats as they walk around the field. Because the movement of the horses can be unpredk- table, it is dangerous to stand in front of the cutting table, said Bert Should the animals be spooked, a person would be dragged right into the machine. CROP Story RIC SWIHART; BERT HEATH ;