AskDefine | Define harvesting

Dictionary Definition

harvesting n : the gathering of a ripened crop [syn: harvest, harvest home]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of harvest


  1. The gathering of a mature crop, a harvest.

Extensive Definition

In agriculture, the harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. The harvest marks the end of the growing season, or the growing cycle for a particular crop. Harvesting in general usage includes an immediate post-harvest handling, all of the actions taken immediately after removing the crop—cooling, sorting, cleaning, packing—up to the point of further on-farm processing, or shipping to the wholesale or consumer market.

Important factors

Harvest timing is a critical decision, that balances the likely weather conditions with the degree of crop maturity. Weather conditions such as frost, rain (resulting in a "wet harvest"), and unseasonably warm or cold periods can affect yield and quality. An earlier harvest date may avoid damaging conditions, but result in poorer yield and quality. Delaying harvest may result in a better harvest, but increases the risk of weather problems. Timing of the harvest often amounts to a significant gamble.
On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season. On large, mechanized farms, harvesting utilizes the most expensive and sophisticated farm machinery, like the combine harvester.


Before the 16th century, harvest was the term usually used to refer to the Autumn season. However, as more people gradually moved from working the land to living in towns (especially those who were literate), the word came to refer to the actual activity of reaping, rather than the time of year, and the terms Fall and Autumn began to replace it in the former sense.

Other uses

The word harvest commonly refers to grain and produce, but also has other uses. In addition to fish and timber, the term harvest is also used in reference to harvesting grapes for wine. Within the context of irrigation, water harvesting refers to the collection and run-off of rainwater for agricultural or domestic uses. Energy harvesting is the process by which energy (such as solar power, thermal energy, wind energy, salinity gradients and kinetic energy) is captured and stored. Body harvesting, or cadaver harvesting, is the process of collecting and preparing cadavers for anatomical study. In a similar sense, organ harvesting is the removal of tissues or organs from a donor for purposes of transplanting.


harvesting in Bulgarian: Жътва
harvesting in Danish: Høst
harvesting in German: Ernte
harvesting in Spanish: Cosecha
harvesting in Esperanto: Rikolto
harvesting in French: Récolte
harvesting in Scottish Gaelic: Buain
harvesting in Hebrew: קציר
harvesting in Dutch: Oogst
harvesting in Japanese: 収穫
harvesting in Polish: Żniwa
harvesting in Quechua: Aymuray
harvesting in Russian: Урожай
harvesting in Simple English: Harvest
harvesting in Serbian: Жетва
harvesting in Swedish: Skörd
harvesting in Tajik: Ҳосил
harvesting in Samogitian: Rogēpjūtė
harvesting in Chinese: 收割

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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