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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Small plot grain production and harvesting--did that subject line get you hooked?

Over the years on several forums the question always arises about harvesting small plot of grain, commonly wheat. There is really no good easy way to harvest and thresh out much without considerable labor. Many have bemoaned the want of a small combine of low cost.

Along those lines was a topic posted on the Homesteading forum and which I have since linked to at the shop forum. What I would like for those of you with interest would be to add input on the topic.

Some questions--would you be satisfied with harvesting an 11 inch wide strip of wheat at a time, a 22 inch, a 33 inch, or what minimum would you demand in a small machine?

How much money would you be willing to spend toward building your own unit IF a workable design arose? As much as $200 nor more than $100, more, less, how much.

IF a small, reasonably efficient unit could be made to harvest the grain from the stalk how large of an area would you plant. Enough plot for only a bushel or two per year (60 to 120 pounds), or would you grown an acre or more?

With grain trashy but pretty well stripped off of the head what kind of container and of what size would you want to use to move it for further refinement? Five gallon buckets since they are so readily available? Something larger or perhaps you would rather make a little larger machine to tow along a child's wagon or other conveyance?

Would you consider acquiring an old used lawnmower to salvage the engine from to power such a unit or would you only consider pedal powered or ???

No matter how off the wall I would genuinely like to hear your comments, thoughts, and ideas. I expect many would venture into small plot grain production if they could come up with a way to harvest the crop easier.

Original query:
http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=92683
Shop forum post:
http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=282974

Thanks. Windy in Kansas
 

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I'm giving it thought myself. I don't usually settle for 'it can't be done' or 'hire a professional'. I'd be interested to read ideas folks might throw out. I lean towards pto driven stationary units that could be run by hand if needed (thresher & fanning mill). I'm not so concerned with quantity. If I had a large quantity I'd use or hire what is already available. My first question was just how much do I need in a years time? Is it just for my bread and beer or do I want to feed some to my stock also? What grains would I grow? Yes, a good topic to discuss.
 

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I for one would like to grow a little grain to try. I plan field corn for sure this coming year. That I feel I can handle okay. What else. ? It will be by hand for me as small place. Couple other test rows to try.? I have been going through the lists. Small engine I can handle the costs. Well. I just read up on millet. But it has a hard hull on the grain that they said is not eatable and need removing. Okay as is for chickens. That kind of limits that one. There are hulless grains for wheat, barley and oats? Only need threshing. I came acrossed a kitchen flaker/roller to process the wheat and oats in to flakes at a price I could buy but got the problem of threshing the the stuff first and clean it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wheat heads clean easily leaving the berry bare. Oats and barley both normally have a husk but are excellent livestock feed. Pearled barley is when the husk is polished off. Haven't a clue how to do that. I've never seen any of the hulless varieties to know how well they would work.

Glad to have input. Toying with the idea of contacting Mother Earth News as there doesn't see to be a great deal of interest here after all. I could build a test unit but don't have any grain out to test it on and of course would have to wait until summer to do so anyway.
 

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Suppose to be hulless barley and oats. Guy raised it. Guess that will be my choices, wheat,barley and oats and corn. I am going through seed cats and seeing what I can find and I will be going to seed house before long. I suppose farm stores too. My son interviewed a guy that raises his wheat for his bread and my son bought wheat some where and has been baking his bread. I can grind if I raise. This year I have baked mostly all my bread. I did buy 3 loaves this year. If I could grow grain I could have a couple laying hens. And that is all I would grow for. Me and maybe kids.

On internet I came across pattened idea for a small thresher. Can't remember where but it is there. If I can do corn and wheat I would eat. Least that much is possible. Easier it can be done the better. BUT limited money on small quanity.
 

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I saw pictures once of a small, hand-cranked barley pearling machine. They did used to exist; you might try contacting the different grain associations and see what kind of information they have.

Also, guys that run old steam engines and tractors often have antique, restored machinery that does all sorts of stuff. A display I can think of right offhand is the Sandwich Fair in Sandwich, IL. It's a private enterprise, held over Labor Day. They had a lot of corn shellers as the factory used to be located there, but we saw all kinds of small machines.
 

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I can remember seeing in some catalog a little corn sheller. That Seedburo has some too. I have the old corn grinder a hand one. Corn grinder I saw at the tractor pull was small old hand one and he collected them. He was making nice corn meal with it and had little old sheller too. Thankyou Marcia so at least there is such a thing.
 

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I would love a combine machine that I could use without an engine. Maybe push like a push lawnmower, about 24 inches wide. If there were such a thing, I would definitely plant enough grain for my own use. Also, it might be nifty to make one that could be pulled by a small horse, even a miniature, but it would have to work off to the side, so the horse wouldn't walk through the grain. I don't know how combines work, but it would be nice if it could fill 25 lbs. burlap bags and then I could stop, switch out the bag, and keep on. I can lift a 50 lb. bag, but I don't want to. Also, if it would not totally destroy the straw, that would be nice, too.

I wish you success. Hurry! :)
 
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