The view from the jockey seat of a big combine harvester. after the sead heads are mature, the crop is sprayed with defoliant to make harvesting easy.
This is the view from the cab of the Klaas harvester of Mitchell and Webster as it harvests black sunflower seeds from this extensive planting in April 2008. By the time the plants are ready for the harvest they look horrible as they have been sprayed with defoliant a fortnight or so before. They are blackened and dry and harsh and, to walk through, very alien and otherworldly. Generally the plants in this field were 2 metres or more tall. The flower heads (just one per plant) are up to 300mm diameter and they hold over 1kg of seed. The work generates clouds of grey dust and the reaper which is highly sophisticated and computer assisted, weighs the load as it builds up in the hopper. One traverse of this field (that is down and back to the starting point) yielded 7 tons of seed! All for the pet budgies and the parrots of Australasia.