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  • ed
    Hello to all. I am a small scale hobby vegetable farmer. I ve been growing rye and oats for cover crops and as green manure. I did however decide to grow some
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 4, 2011
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      Hello to all. I am a small scale hobby vegetable farmer. I've been growing rye and oats for cover crops and as green manure. I did however decide to grow some rye to have grain this year just to see how it would come out. Well long story short I have spent many an hour thinking how to thresh the grain out. I have plans and haven't got them to a working model yet. I do however have to harvest the grain now and am still at a loss how best to do so. I ask for advice on the best way to get about what I think will be 1/12th of an acre in by hand. Any ideas? Any help? I'd like to use it for seed and flour but have to get it out somehow. Thanks in advance for the help.
    • L F
      Hi, and welcome.   According to what I can find in my books, if you are truly harvesting BY HAND, your choices are a scythe, preferably with a grain cradle;
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 4, 2011
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        Hi, and welcome.
         
        According to what I can find in my books, if you are truly harvesting BY HAND, your choices are a scythe, preferably with a grain cradle; or a sickle, which would require a lot of bending over if the grain is short and if you want long straw.  The scythe and grain cradle is you best choice, but a scythe takes a while to learn to use well.  A sickle requires less finesse, but is slower, and there's the bending.  I wonder how well a DR brush cutter would work?
         
        There is a tool called a grain binder, which used to be horse-drawn, but some have been made to work with tractors.  I wonder if one meant for horses would work with a lawn tractor.  The nice thing about these is they cut and tie the grain all at once.
         
        I'd like to know what method you end up using, and how it went for you.  I hope to grow some millet as stock feed and for food.
         
        Laurie Flynn
        Broken Oak Farm
        Fellsmere, FL
      • ed
        I ve been looking at one of the Australian scythes that have the straight snath. I think it better that the American curved one. I have had use the privilege
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 4, 2011
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          I've been looking at one of the Australian scythes that have the straight snath. I think it better that the American curved one. I have had use the privilege of riding on a binder that was tractor drawn but for what I have grown it would be a pass or two and the funs over. So back to "by hand". My plans for threshing it at this point are to just to lay the sheaths on a tarp and cover with another and just hit it with a stick or something at this point. If I get a couple of gallon jars full to have fun with all the better. I am going to make a hand operated thresher. I have yet to acquire everything but once done I should be able to have some one or myself wind up the unit and keep it going while I feed the grain into the head to thresh it out. To winnow it I also have plans to use an old furnace blower to gently blow the chaff away and the grain should be fairly clean. A little in the flour will just add to the fiber I guess. It is an experiment this year to say the least. As to the grain itself it did remarkably well. I have grain that is about 60" tall. Next year I have planed for wheat and maybe some oats but have yet to figure how to hull them. Maybe some naked oats but I hear that the birds just love them.
          --- In smallscalegrains@yahoogroups.com, L F <brokenoakfarm83@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi, and welcome.
          >  
          > According to what I can find in my books, if you are truly harvesting BY HAND, your choices are a scythe, preferably with a grain cradle; or a sickle, which would require a lot of bending over if the grain is short and if you want long straw.  The scythe and grain cradle is you best choice, but a scythe takes a while to learn to use well.  A sickle requires less finesse, but is slower, and there's the bending.  I wonder how well a DR brush cutter would work?
          >  
          > There is a tool called a grain binder, which used to be horse-drawn, but some have been made to work with tractors.  I wonder if one meant for horses would work with a lawn tractor.  The nice thing about these is they cut and tie the grain all at once.
          >  
          > I'd like to know what method you end up using, and how it went for you.  I hope to grow some millet as stock feed and for food.
          >  
          > Laurie Flynn
          > Broken Oak Farm
          > Fellsmere, FL
          >
        • cousinlucius
          Hello Ed, Thanks for posting the group. I hope you ll continue to share. I m especially interested in ideas for threshing machines/tools. I grew a section of
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 6, 2011
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            Hello Ed,
            Thanks for posting the group. I hope you'll continue to share. I'm especially interested in ideas for threshing machines/tools.
            I grew a section of small grain (half barley, half wheat) that I would guess was something like 30 by 300 feet. Some of it lodged and my family didn't even harvest all we could have, but we harvested about 35 gallons total of winnowed grain. I have a scythe that I use regularly for other purposes, but I prefer a sharp sickle for harvesting small grain. (I've never used a grain cradle, though.) You can see some photos of the way we harvest (the wheat is in the background of the first photo) on our blog:

            http://themilkandhoneyfarm.blogspot.com/2011/07/homegrown-beer-barley-harvest.html

            One of the issues I had using a scythe was picking up little clods of dirt with the straw and grain. The only way I know to get those little grain-sized dirt clods out of the grain is to pick them out by hand. I prefer to never let the straw fall to the ground in the first place. And if I'm going to pick all the straw up by hand anyway, it seems to make sense to me to cut it at the same time. I suppose a scythe with a grain cradle might potentially be more efficient, but I'm quite content with a sickle. I'd recommend you try it. It needs to be quite sharp, though.

            As for little bits of chaff in with the grain, one possible solution is to sift them out. In the grist mill we use, the chaff seems to come through the mill without getting ground up much -- and if it does get ground up it's nothing we worry about -- so a coarse sifting seems to be the easiest way to get the last of the chaff out.

            Hope to hear more from you!

            -Eric

            --- In smallscalegrains@yahoogroups.com, "ed" <ed@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello to all. I am a small scale hobby vegetable farmer. I've been growing rye and oats for cover crops and as green manure. I did however decide to grow some rye to have grain this year just to see how it would come out. Well long story short I have spent many an hour thinking how to thresh the grain out. I have plans and haven't got them to a working model yet. I do however have to harvest the grain now and am still at a loss how best to do so. I ask for advice on the best way to get about what I think will be 1/12th of an acre in by hand. Any ideas? Any help? I'd like to use it for seed and flour but have to get it out somehow. Thanks in advance for the help.
            >
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