National Farmer’s Day & An Old Time Threshing

Wheat Stalks

October 12th is National Farmer’s Day, a day to honor farmers, the hard work that they do, and the important role they have played in our nation’s history. Beth, our Customer Service Rep and resident Shiloh Farms expert, lives on a working farm that has been in her family for over 200 years. In recognition of Farmer’s Day, she reflects on her life growing up on the farm and documents a recent wheat threshing:

“I grew up, and still live, on our family farm. I have wonderful memories of baling hay, picking rocks from the field, being chased by our red rooster, and bottle feeding calves and lambs. My dad used all the modern farm equipment, but always had an old John Deere tractor or two sitting around. Over the years, collecting old tractors somehow turned into collecting old farm equipment – threshing machines, hay balers, wagons, and other implements associated with harvesting wheat.

Now, each year, there is an ‘Old Time Threshing’ on my farm. Threshing is the process of loosening the edible grain from the inedible chaff that surrounds it. My dad’s threshing involves old threshing machines (that I think resemble dinosaurs), a steam engine with an earsplitting whistle, lots of belts connecting the machinery, and plenty of manpower:

Old Time Threshing - Getting Setup

A beautiful day for an Old Time Threshing in Lancaster County, PA! Before the threshing begins, all of the machinery is set up in the proper places.

Antique Threshers
(l) This is an Ellis-Keystone “Champion” Threshing Machine produce in Pottstown, PA sometime between 1900 & 1930. This is the type of machine typically owned by smaller farmers. The wheat stalks are hand fed into this machine. (r) The Huber Threshing Machine from the 1940’s (and the one that I think most resembles a dinosaur!) This machine is run by a steam engine.
Threshing Wheat

(l) Wheat stalks are fed into the machine at one end. The grain is collected at the side of the machine. (r) The waste straw empties at the other end of the machine, waiting to be baled.

Baling Hay

After the threshing, the waste straw is baled and used for livestock bedding. The baler being used here is an Ohio Baler. The straw is loaded onto the machine and then an arm comes down to help push the straw into a bale. The bales are then tied with wire.

The Finished Product - Wheat Berries & Straw

The results of a hard days work! (l) These wheat berries will be sold to a local feed mill. (r) The straw bales will be used as bedding for the livestock.

Our ‘Old Time Threshing’ is a great ‘play time’ for all the local farmers, young and old – both those who remember harvesting the grain this way and those who are just interested in keeping the history of farming alive.

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