Mike Reeske's Turkish-built mobile grain thresher can process everything from small sesame seeds to large Fava beans. Reeske says he couldn't find any other machine like it when searching for a thresher for his heirloom beans.
"I only have a few acres of heirloom edible beans so I couldn't justify a combine," explains Reeske. "This unit runs off a tractor pto and was just the size I needed."
Already planning a trip to Turkey and Greece, the retired school teacher took a side trip to Konya, Turkey, home of NCK Agriculture Machines Industry Co. (http://cetinkayalar.en.busytrade.com; ph 011 90 332 2489-238).
Once there, Reeske was taken on a tour of the factory where everything but the tires is fabricated and assembled. Much of the work was done by hand or at a forge.
"It reminded me of what shops would have been like in this country in the 1930's," says Reeske. "The craftsmanship looked really good."
Reeske ordered the NCK1 for delivery summer 2013. It arrived in California and was assembled at his farm. The single axle unit is 12 1/2 ft. long, 6 1/2 ft. wide and 7 1/2 ft. high and weighs about 3,100 lbs. According to the company, it will thresh out about 4,800 lbs. an hour.
It came with 2 screens for the beater, one large and one small. It also came with half a dozen screens for the final winnowing to match the various size seeds and grain to be threshed.
Once he figured out the right tractor speed, the only problem Reeske found was some bean splitting. The beans had dried down too much, having been cut and stockpiled in a shed 3 to 4 months earlier.
"Last year we cut the beans when half the pods were dry, a quarter were yellow and the rest were green," says Reeske. "We let them dry for a week and ran them through the thresher, and they were fine."
Reeske says the beans do have to be forked in at a steady pace so they don't overload the beater with its 44 knives. The final product is not perfect, he admits.
"The thresher is just the first step," says Reeske. "We bag the beans and then run them through an old Clipper seed and grain cleaner to remove weed seeds and fine trash."
After several years of growing small amounts of heirloom dry beans in garden plots, Reeske had expanded to a nearby small farm. When the thresher arrived, he had just harvested 2 acres of beans. In 2014 he harvested 6 acres of organic beans, and this year he will harvest 15 acres of beans and several of sunflowers.
"We grew out 15 varieties of beans," says Reeske. "With heirloom beans, you have to introduce them and build awareness before you build demand."
He sells his beans locally as well as through his website. They are available in 16 oz. and 5 lb. bags.
The large number of varieties means many are grown in small areas. In the case of one type of beans, he has 5 varieties on a single acre. Even as he expands acres, and he hopes to double them soon, large equipment wouldn't make sense.
"The NCK thresher is perfect for someone like me or other entry level grain or seed growers," says Reeske. "We can pull it to the field and thresh out the beans there or we can bring the beans to the thresher."
Reeske says he paid about $6,000 for the machine and another $3,400 for shipping, plus port fees of $800 to $900 when it arrived at Long Beach, Calif. The company also makes a larger machine.
Check out a video of the NCK1 at farmshow.com.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rio Del Rey Beans, 30966 Cole Grade Rd., Valley Center, Calif. 92082 (ph 760 749-8177; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.riodelreybeans.com).