Potato harvest was one time my father would hire labor (often migrant.) The harvester would pull the potatoes out of the ground, and then send them down a chute which was made by a series of rods which would go around.
Potato harvesters are machines that harvest potatoes. They work by lifting the potatoes from the bed using a share. Soil and crop are transferred onto a series of webs where the loose soil is sieved out. The potatoes are moved towards the back of the harvester on to a separation unit and then (on manned machines) to a picking table where a people pick out by hand the stones, clods, haulm and reject clod. The potatoes then go on to a side elevator and into a trailer or a potato box. (Wikipedia)