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Tagged: dry beans; thresher; winnow
- February 16, 2017 at 8:11 am #90049
I’m wondering about devices for threshing and winnowing dry beans for small-mid scale.
Any thoughts? Photos? Warnings?
JadaFebruary 18, 2017 at 1:56 pm #90054
I don’t handle beans, but the machine I use for small grains will – an Allis Chalmers “All Crop” 60. This is a small, pull-type combine that hooks to a tractor PTO, or a power forecart. It has no engine of its own. Different from a self-propelled that you sit in and drive through your crop. My machine is a 1950 and I bought 2 for $500 to get one running machine without much effort. A machine this size can handle up to 10 acres a day, but conditions need to be spot-on, and machine running right. It only has a 60″ wide cutting head (AC 60). I use it for grain plots <5 acres. People also use these machines for stationary threshing in the barn if they’ve hand cut, or used a grain binder for field harvest. Getting harder, but you can still find these machines in the country side. John Deere, and Oliver also made pull-types, but the All Crop was most popular, so parts are still available.
If by “small – mid scale” you are >5acres you may want to consider a self-propelled machine. Massey Ferguson model Super35 is a nice machine with 8′ wide harvesting head. I CANT speak to their effectiveness with beans… It has an engine to contend with, but is otherwise pretty straight forward. I know a few folks that use them and really like them. Again, John Deere has some options in this category too. All are antiques and require some loving to keep them going. Still, many do as good, or better a job than their more modern counterparts. From a machine like this you get right into the bigger combines that can barely turn around on an acre. And ALL of those that I’ve listed will need to be kept indoors and that requires a building big enough to cover them = half the battle.
Yesterday’s Tractor/combine forum is a good place to search for threads on handling certain crops, which machine may be better/worse, warnings, etc. You might also find someone in your area with a machine who could custom harvest for you.
As far as further cleaning your beans goes I use a Clipper 1B seed cleaner. Again, don’t handle beans, but I have all the screens for beans. AT Ferrell makes these, and that company still makes Clipper seed cleaners. You can find small grain cleaners like this online, Craigslist, etc. and they are great. Paid $250 for mine (new screens $85 each!). Lots of bigger, fancier options, including larger Clipper models, but you can cut your teeth at a scale like this.
I know there are others far more experienced than me in this forum that hopefully will sound off for you. If nothing else, my answers could be an example of getting into harvesting, threshing, winnowing without too much expense, or experience and discovering some tools for added success.
NickFebruary 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm #90060
I have an all crop also. I do use it to thresh black beans, but I use it stationary. I cut the beans with a scythe and dry them on the wagon before combining. I would use the machine with a gas PTO cart, but the beans don’t grow tall enough off the ground / rocks. I am hoping to get taller beans?February 19, 2017 at 7:37 am #90064
My machines have crop lifters, or rock guards. Familiar with these? Springed fingers that come off the cutting head and enter the crop before knives. Knives run through the fingers. I’ve often wondered why mowers don’t have them. All crops also had pick up attachments so that certain crops could be mowed, field dried and run through the machine later. I have a pickup attachment but don’t have it set up.February 19, 2017 at 9:56 am #90065
Rock guards mowers do have, but they don’t really lift crops just slide the cutter bar over the rocks. I would lover to see a photo of the “springed fingers”. Perhaps this is a guard of a different type? I have wanted a pick up head for my all-crop, but was told they are harder to find in the east and where more common further west? I have seen pictures, but not seen one in person. I like growing black beans and eat lots of them, but need to improve the system slightly before I ramp up!February 19, 2017 at 1:48 pm #90066
Mowers do have rock guards, sorry I shouldn’t use that term as interchangable. The crop lifters I refer to attach to the cutting head with the exisiting gaurd INSIDE it on a the AllCrop cutter bar. They replace a few of the guards in order across the head. They are springed back towards the machine so that as you raise and lower the head they follow the grade. In the case of a downed/lodged crop they aid in lifting the crop up to draper. Not sure the adjustable angle on a sickle bar mower could be 1) lifted enough, and 2) canted forward enough for these to work. I also wonder about the added drag they might add, but pressumably using lifters you’d be traveling with the head hovering above the ground a bit more. Have a look.
NickFebruary 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm #90070
Pickups are hard to find. I drove into Ontario for mine. Have two I hope to build one from, and then keep it fixed to a second ALLCrop machine for specific harvests like barley, which could be pre-mowed, field dried, then picked up later. I’ve attached a schematic for an AC66 Draper pickup. The pickup on the machine shot isnt mine.
NickFebruary 21, 2017 at 9:29 am #90078
Nick, Thanks for the great photos. The crop lifters are cool! I can see where they would work to lift grain crops, but for a bean on the ground it would have to line up pretty good. I like the pick up head too. I wish I had one of those. I don’t think the mower has as much need for the crop lifters as while it would be lifting lodged hay it would also be creating more drag; grain crops would not be as heavy as hay and the drag would be less of a problem. For hay I think it would defeat any benefit. Makes me look at the snow still in my yard and want to go out and start mowing. DonnFebruary 21, 2017 at 12:16 pm #90079
Thanks for the advice – this will be nice if I ever scale up.February 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm #90080JaredWoodcockParticipant
For garden scale, a piece of chain on the end of a metal rod spun by an electric drill works well. Put your beans in a bucket with bean sized holes in the bottom and spin away like you were stirring paint. Depending on how many beans you do, a lid with a hole in it for the rod helps too. I have heard flail style chippers work but I have never tried one.
To get your beans to stand up taller, grow them with a small grain crop. I have had good luck getting my peas to stand that way. They seem to put on more growth as well due to the increased vertical growing space. I graze them though, so I am not sure how much of a headache threshing them would be when they are mixed up.February 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm #90081Crabapple FarmParticipant
For up to about half an acre, I would recommend an actual flail. They really do work, though you have to make it correctly and use it correctly (like any hand tool). The swingle needs to spin freely around the staff, or else it is really frustrating. I like a light wood for the staff (alder, hazel, or an old broom handle) and something heavy and dense for the swingle (hornbeam, maple, or oak). My current design isn’t fancy, but it works well. The baling twine needs replacement now and again. Lucky we’ve got lots. The wire I use is 12.5g High Tensile fence wire. We had it on hand, I trust it not to fail, but it is a pain to work with. Needs to wrap around the staff groove tight enough that it can’t come off, especially if you’re going to thresh with other people (two people on a pile is nice, three only works if you’re all good at the waltz).
For use, don’t use the common definition of the word “flail” as a guide. Stand upright, hold the staff horizontal, and swing the swingle around the end of the staff so that it lands flat on the pile. At no time should any part be raised up high. Like using a scythe, you should be able to do it all day.
An All-crop definitely works for beans, though we’ve stopped using ours for beans. Several reasons: I’ve had too many break downs with our All-Crop, which has made me reluctant to fire it up (what’s going to break this time?). We’ve gotten into breeding beans, and it’s too hard to clean out the all-crop to know with confidence where an odd-colored bean came from. Some varieties tend to get damaged in the combine, either splitting in the threshing or getting crimped both under the apron chain and the grain auger. Possibly a better-condition machine with tighter tolerances wouldn’t have those issues.
I’m working on rebuilding an old Clipper (1A?? appears to be the original model), but for now we pour from bucket to bucket on a windy day, then use hand screens.
I would not recommend threshing and winnowing small grains by hand (and we’ve tried). But beans are actually quite reasonable to do that way.
We hand-pull our plants, windrow them on landscape fabric to dry, then load them on a haywagon to bring them back to the barn for threshing (or thresh in the field on a tarp).
Donn, historically, there used to be “Bean pullers” – a horse drawn machine that undercut the row then windrowed two to four rows together. I imagine something similar could be rigged on a cultivator, using a side knife to undercut, and a swathboard like attachment to windrow. Then you’d really want that pick-up head on your combine, though.February 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm #90093Mike RockParticipant
Give a teenaged kid a pair of nunchucks….. that’s what they are for anyway, not cracking skulls.February 22, 2017 at 8:53 am #90094
Bailing twine nunchucks fits a little better in my budget, this year. I like the hole-y barrel idea too.
I’ve committed myself to growing fancy heirloom beans for one of my customers (who assures me he’ll buy everything I put out). However, one of the varieties he requested is an obscure french stew bean (of course) which is hard to find and…..a pole bean. My bean-growing compulsion is so great that I’m still going to try it – thinking I’ll trellis it like the tomatoes and drink a lot of coffee before harvest time. I’ll let you know how that goes.
JadaFebruary 22, 2017 at 4:15 pm #90095
If I have a pickup attachment to sell you’ll be the first I call.
Have a friend that grows quite a few acres of peas with oats for trellace. He has a larger combine and larger Clipper cleaner so he can separate the peas – not too bad as they’re very different seeds. Word is there’s now a winter pea, so the seed is becoming more interesting…February 22, 2017 at 10:21 pm #90096
Before I got the combine I had pretty good luck just putting beans between two tarps on the wagon and walking on them. Then using a big house fan as we sifted the beans off the tarp. They still need more cleaning but a good start. definitely want to get rid of most chaff, etc. Before you put them away for any length of time. The beans can be more dry than the chaff and air doesn’t flow as well with the chaff mixed in. They can mold this way even if you think the beans are dry. If unsure if they are dry, I spread them out on a clean tarp in my basement. They dry well there.
A pick up head could get me in a lot of trouble!
- This reply was modified 2 years, 12 months ago by Donn Hewes.
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