Harvesiing Nuts

Anyone who owns several nut trees or has planted a small crop of groundnuts has no doubt been confronted with problems at harvest time. The equipment necessary for small enterprises simply is not readily available. Harvesting a nut crop may require hours of back-breaking labor to collect the nuts by hand or a substantial financial investment to purchase the large machinery designed for commercial ventures. We found only two devices which gather fallen nuts from under trees and spare the operator repeated bending over.

Stand-Up Pickup Pecan Gatherer

Designed to gather pecans and other nuts, this device has been in use since 1957. It is constructed of a spring-steel wire cage which can harvest nuts of many different sizes and permit the operator to remain in a standing position. Gathering occurs as the nuts are pressed between the wires of the cage, and when the wires return to their original position, the nuts are now contained within the cage. The nuts are released by catching the two punch-outs on the rim of a bucket and pushing forward. Should the wires wear out, replacements are available.

The Ray Griffith Co., Inc. 705 Sumi all Rd. Columbia, MS 39429

Pecan Picker-Up-Er

Originally designed for pecan harvesting, this simple implement can be used to pick up most kinds of fallen nuts from the ground. The device is composed of a wire spring formed into a semicircle, with a long handle. Nuts are collected by pressing the spring onto the nut— the wires separate, then- return to their normal position with the nuts inside. To remove the nuts, the tool is simply held upside down over a container.

715 Camden St.

San Antonio, TX 78215

7- Cleaning Grains and Seeds

After harvest, a grain, beat»» or seed crop may need to be broken away from its stalk, separate«.! from the inedible protective chaif, and cleaned of dust, dirt, and pebbles before it is ready for human consumption. The operations for completing these tasks are called threshing, winnowing, and cleaning. Grain to be used as seed proceeds one step further, through a separator. This process provides a product of uniform and removes any misshapen seed which might not germinate.

In most parts of the work! except North America, small-scale machinery for threshing, winnowing, and cleaning is available in abun dance. especially in the Far Eastern countries. Until recently, a North American farmer had only three choices—using a primitive flail and hand winnower, antiques, or expensive combine harvesters which combine the harvesting and processing operations into one. We have uncovered numerous sources of tools to fill this gap, but most of them are foreign to the North American market. We can offer three points of encouragement, however:

1) Most manufacturers are willing to export to North America.

2) Many North American manufacturers have

The inscription "June 19, 1877. Try Me Once" should perhaps read "Try Me Once Again," as the value of old farm equipment is realized anew.

An old stationary thresher belt-driven from pulley on the tractor power-take-of} shaft.

An old stationary thresher in the field. Dr. li. N. Ghosh

shown an interest in starting production on new tools and implements, given a market for their products.

The techniques are simple, and enough build-it-yourself plans are available for you to satisfy your own needs.

HAND THRESHING

The simplest method of hand threshing involves spreading a large, clean cloth (an old bedsheet is fine) on the floor of a barn >r garage, laying a bundle of wheat on the sheet and beating it with an old rake, broom handle, or other appropriate club. The wheat heads do not have to be struck hard, for the grain will shatter out quite easily onto the sheet.

As another alternative, grain can be dislodged by allowing farm horses or bullocks to trample on unthreshed stalks. Threshing by trampling, however, is neither particularly efficient nor very hygienic, because of the possible contamination of grain from animal excreta.

In hand threshing, not every grain will fall out of the seed heads. But it need not go to waste. The bundles already flailed can be given to the chickens; they will pick out any grains missed, and the straw becomes their bedding.

Each bundle of wheat will have a cup or two of grain in it. After several bundles are flailed, the corners of the sheet are pulled together, and the grain, chaff, and bits of straw are dumped into a bucket.

There are other alternatives to harvesting and threshing by hand, even for small-plot growers. Threshers and hullers are still very much used by the seed-processing trade, of course, but these machines are usually too expensive to be practical for homesteaders. But shredders will do a crude job of threshing grain in addition to performing their usual functions. Modifications, such as taking out every other blade or removing the screen completely, might improve the quality of the shredder's threshing work. The motor can be geared down so it will run the shredder more slowly. Wheat can even be threshed with a lawn mower, so long as a board is placed to one side to block 'lie grain from being scattered too far by the blade.

ANIMAL-DRAWN THRESHERS

A fairly recent development in threshing by animal power that is much faster than trampling, is the Olpad thresher. It consists of some 20 serrated or ribbed metal discs arranged in three cleaning grains a\d seeds roftn in a metal frame which is pulled by a pair of bullocks. A wooden beam or a suitable length of chain or rope can be used to hitch the animals to the frame. The output of the thresher is estimated to be four to five times that of a pair of bullocks threshing by trampling. Solid, cylindrical rollers and spiked wheel models are available, and ordinary animal-drawn disc harrows can also be used for this operation.

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