Seed Head Harvester For Small Plots

Editor's note: The lack of intermediate-scaled mechanization for harvesting small acreages of cereals encouraged us to adapt the following article from Crop Science into building instructions for a hand-carried, reciprocating harvester Author Rex L, Smith originally published bis ankle entitled "A Grass Seed Harvester For Small Plots" because "the seed harvester was helpful to my grass-breeding program and I wanted to share the information."

Seeds from small plots, especially those of species whose hulls shatter easily and whose seeds can be tost in the field, have beat harvested mostly by hand because no suitable harvesters have been readily available. The increased cost of labor has made thfc practice expensive and, in our case, has restricted research because of insufficient seed quantities. The harvester described here was designed and built to reduce the cost and facilitate the seed harvesting of small plots of grass. It can reduce the time and labor requirements of hand cutting to one-fifth. The harvester is versatile and will effectively cut many species, including tb pe producing small grains. In addition to harvesting seed, the cutter will also cut grass and legume forage samples.

The harvester consists of a Little Wonder gasoline-powered, 76-centimeter (30-inch) hedge trimmer (Little Wonder, Inc., 1028 Street Rd., Southampton, PA 18966), with a lightweight aluminum tray attached to catch the grass seed heads when cut. This hedge trimmer has two sharpened blades that reciprocate in opposite directions to give excellent cutting action; they can be easily «sharpened with a file. As the gasoline motor is self-contained, there is no need for an expensive generator and no cord to manipulate. The harvester's overall weight is only 7.3 kilograms, so it can easily be held and operated by one man.

Hie aluminum tray was constructed ot 0.5-millimeter aluminum sheet. Tray dimensions are 58

* Adapted with permission from Crop Science, vol. 13, 1973.

A close look at the catch bin adaptation.

centimeters wide, 5t> centimeters long, and 23 centimeters deep. The sides arc sloped <15 degrees at the front to allow ihe cut material to fall back into the iray without interference. The front of the tray has a lip formed downward three millimeters over the front of the blade, and it is attached to the tap of the blade by the foul bolts. The rear of the tray is supported by the handle that is attached near the top of the nay side. This gives the tray a downward slope to the rear and facilitates collection of the cut material in the tray.

The handle is 50 centimeters long to permit ihe operator to balance the harvester by adjusting the position where it is held. It is constructed of thin-wall steel conduit with an attached six-millimeter-diameter rod which activates the hedge trimmer clutch when the handle is rotated, This retains the safety feature of the trimmer; both of the operator's hands have to be on the handles for the blades to function. The main section of the handle is constructed of 2.3-centimeter-diameter thin-wall steel conduit, with a short length of 1.8-ccntimcter-diameter conduit welded on the front end and inserted inside the original trimmer handle. Another short length of I.»-centimuter diameter is welded on the rear bracket and inserted inside the iear of the main handle. Plastic wedges are used to give a good fit between the two conduit sizes, Our cost for the harvester was just over §100 when we built it in 1973.

The harvester is operated by ¡»weeping it into ihe grass with the blade just below the grass seed heads, Cutting into a slight breeze is helpful in moving the harvested material into the iray, but not necessary. The tray empties completely when the harvester is tipped forward, and no cleaning is necessary when changing varieties. The harvested material is emptied directly into large cardboard boxes or onto sheets of canvas where it is dried before threshing.

Tea Leaf Harvester J

Utilizing the same theory as Smith's seed head harvester, the Japanese have devised a machine to pluck leaves from tea bushes. Reciprocating cutters and/or spindle reel { mowers cut the leaves which are collected in a I

bag. Electric or gasoline-powered units are made for one or two people, and they are mounted on tollers wheels or tarried by hand. Some blades are curved for aesthetic round-topped tea bushes or hedges.

A two-person design harvests more at once and leaves an aesthetic round-topped bush. Kobayashi Cutlery

A two-person design harvests more at once and leaves an aesthetic round-topped bush. Kobayashi Cutlery

The carefully guarded spindle reel mower snips tea leaves . ,

. . . and delivers them to a catch bag. Kobayashi Cutlery

The carefully guarded spindle reel mower snips tea leaves . ,

. . . and delivers them to a catch bag. Kobayashi Cutlery

Kobayashi Gutkry Mfg. Co., Ltd. 1131-Horinoachi Kikugawa-Cho Shigwoka-Pref. Japan

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