- Timely reaping and threshing ensure good grain quality, high market value, and consumer acceptance.
- Reaping very early results in a larger percentage of immature and half-filled grains and in lower milling recovery.
- Reaping too late leads to increased grain shattering and excessive losses in terms of breakage during milling.
- Untimely harvesting also makes the crop more prone to bird and rat damage, and lessens the quality of seeds harvested.
- Reaping too early or too late affects yield and seed quality.
Harvest/reap the crop when 1/5 or 20% of the grains at the base of the panicle are in hard dough stage. Press a grain from the base of the panicle between the thumb and forefinger to assess hard dough stage. Most of the grains in the panicle will be golden yellow.
- Use a clean thresher with the correct machine settings.
- Harvest/reap at 20-25% grain moisture content in wet season and 18-21% moisture content in dry season. It is advisable to use a grain moisture meter.
- Avoid piling the reaped crop in the field for more than a day as this results in heat buildup in the grain and risk to contamination and fungi infection, specifically storage fungi. This leads to grain discoloration and lowers the quality of milled rice.
- Adjust threshing drum to the correct speed (approx. 800 rpm) to provide good initial cleaning of the harvest. A high-speed setting of threshing drum results in higher grain damage while a low speed setting increases the amount of non-threshed grain and results in grain loss.