26 July 2018. Soybean Innovation Lab Webinar. On many smallholder farms, mechanical threshers can replace manual threshing by hand beating, a practice that often results in grain spillage, grain breakage, and incomplete separation of the grain from the chaff. Manual threshing is also a very labor and time intensive process that results in high human energy expenditure and a high rate of drudgery in the agricultural system. The introduction of low-cost, locally-produced mechanized threshing systems in smallholder agriculture can significantly reduce post-harvest loss in staple food grains.
- SIL collaborated with Ghanaian thresher manufacturers to develop a larger-scale multi-crop thresher with zero machine loss that can shell maize and thresh soybean, rice, beans, sorghum and other crops.
- The thresher is 40 times faster than manual beating when harvesting soybean, produces almost no dust, has near zero machine loss, does not split seeds, winnows out chaff, and requires only two people to feed and operate it efficiently.
- Commercially available multi-crop threshers that were also tested had from 5-50% machine loss of grain, required more people to operate, and produced large amounts of dust.
- The SIL thresher, which has different threshing concaves for different crops, sells in Ghana for approximately $2,000 U.S. and is designed for middle-sized farmers or for-hire service providers who can also provide threshing services to groups of smallholder farmers.