2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12, Page #97
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Mini Thresher Harvests Small Plots
If you want to grow wheat just for family consumption, all you need is a mini thresher like John Howe builds. The compact unit threshes and winnows wheat and rye and does a great job on dry beans, too.
“You can harvest an acre of grain with a scythe in a couple hours, and then thresh out up to 20 lbs. of clean grain an hour with my thresher,” says Howe.
He says you simply hold a sheaf of grain by the stems and insert the grain heads into the hopper where the beaters thresh them. Grain falls down a tube into a bucket, while the chaff is blown out the end of the unit.
“If any chaff remains in the grain, you just run it through a second time,” says Howe.
He built a prototype about 25 years ago and then resurrected the idea a couple years ago as interest in local food production grew.
“I’ve tried it with all types of beans,” says Howe. “It chews the stems up, and the beans come out so clean that they can go right in the pot.”
Howe pulls the bean stalks when they are mature, dries them on a tarp under a roof and runs them through the thresher when fully dry. While the beans slow the thresher down by about 50 percent, he still gets about 10 to 15 lbs. of beans per hour.
“Every two to three minutes you may have to scoop the trash out, but you don’t have to worry about picking pods off,” says Howe.
He is building and selling the 40-lb. thresher/winnower unit for $685, including U.S. shipping. That price doesn’t include the 1/4-hp electric motor, which he suggests buying locally.
“A new motor runs about $50,” he says. “It only draws about 150 watts. You could also power it with solar cells.”
Howe also offers a complete build-it-yourself kit for $345 that includes everything needed to do the job.
He has a solar package which includes a 130/120-watt panel, inverter, battery box and 30-amp charge controller with LED indicators.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Howe Engineering Co., 298 McIntire Rd., Waterford, Maine 04088 (ph 207 583-4800; howe@megalink.net; www.solarcarandtractor.com).

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2012 - Volume #BFS, Issue #12