, also referred to as a shock
is a circular or rounded arrangement of swathes of cut grain
stalks placed on the ground in a field. Typically sheaves of grains such as wheat
may be 'stooked' so they are ready for threshing
. In North America
, a stook also refers to a stack of six, ten or fifteen bales of hay
(the small square bales, 70-90 pounds each, that can picked up by a person), stacked in the field. The bales are stacked and deposited by a "stooking machine" that is dragged, sled-like, behind the baler
. The stooking sled has four, five, or six fingers that hold the bales until the stook is complete. When the stook is complete the "stacker" steps on a lever to release the stook. The fingers drop to the ground and the finished stook slides off the fingers. The sled resets itself and is ready to be filled again. The bales are stacked on the diagonal to shed the rain and to minimize acquiring moisture from the ground before being picked up.
The purpose of these practices is to protect unthreshed grain, hay or straw from moisture until it can be picked up and brought into long-term storage. The unthreshed grain also cures while in a stook.