Bushel

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This article is about the unit of measurement. For the surname and other uses, see Bushell.
bushel
Queensland Government Imperial Bushel AD1875.jpg
Queensland Government Standard Imperial Bushel. Queensland Museum
Unit information
Unit system imperial and US customary
Unit of volume
Symbol bsh or bu 
Unit conversions (imperial)
1 imp bsh in ... ... is equal to ...
   imperial units    gal
   metric units    36.3687l
   US dry units    8.2565 gal
   imperial/US units    2219.36 cu in
Unit conversions (US)
1 US bsh in ... ... is equal to ...
   US dry units    8 gal
   metric units    35.2391 l
   imperial units    7.7515 gal
   imperial/US units    2150.42 cu in
A full bushel is lower right represented by a basket.

A bushel is an imperial and US customary unit of dry volume, equivalent in each of these systems to 4 pecks or 8 gallons. It is used for volumes of dry commodities (not liquids), most often in agriculture. It is abbreviated as bsh. or bu. In modern usage, the dry volume is usually only nominal, with bushels referring to standard weights instead.

Etymology[edit]

The name derives from the 14th century buschel or busschel, a box.[1]

Conversions[edit]

1 imperial bushel  = 8 imperial gallons
= 4 imperial pecks
= 36.36872 litres
≈ 8.2565 US dry gallons
≈ 9.6076 US fluid gallons
2219.36 cubic inches
 
1 US bushel  = 8 US dry gallons
= 4 US pecks
= 2150.42 cubic inches
≈ 9.3092 US fluid gallons
35.2391 litres
≈ 7.7515 imperial gallons

Use as unit of weight[edit]

A table of weights from the secretaries of the different states, showing the number of pounds which their laws recognize as a bushel of different articles. c. 1854

Bushels are now most often used as units of mass or weight rather than of volume. The bushels in which grains are bought and sold on commodity markets or at local grain elevators, and for reports of grain production, are all units of weight.[2] This is done by assigning a standard weight to each commodity that is to be measured in bushels. These bushels depend on the commodities being measured and the moisture content. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Oats:
    • USA: 32 lb[2] = 14.5150 kg
    • Canada: 34 lb[3] = 15.4221 kg
  • Barley: 48 lb[2] = 21.7724 kg
  • Malted barley: 34 lb = 15.4221 kg
  • Shelled maize (corn) at 15.5% moisture by weight: 56 lb[2] = 25.4012 kg
  • Wheat at 13.5% moisture by weight and soybeans at 13% moisture by weight: 60 lb[2] = 27.2155 kg

Other specific values are defined (and those definitions may vary within different jurisdictions, including from state to state in the United States) for other grains, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables, coal, hair and many other commodities.

Government policy in the United States is to phase out units such as the bushel and replace them with metric mass equivalents.

The name "bushel" has also been used to translate non-US units of a similar size and sometimes shared origin, like the German "Scheffel" and the Spanish fanega.

History[edit]

The bushel was originally a measure of capacity for grain. During the Middle Ages, the bushel of wheat was supposed to weigh 64 tower pounds, but when the tower system was abolished in the 16th century, it was described as 56 avoirdupois pounds. The bushel was rarely used in Scotland, Ireland or Wales during the Middle Ages.

The US bushel is based on Winchester measure in which a bushel was originally defined as the volume of a cylinder 18.5 in (46.99 cm) in diameter and 8 in (20.32 cm) high, giving an irrational number of cubic inches. Later this bushel was redefined as 2150.42 cubic inches, about one part per ten million less.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bushel". Oxford English Dictionary (Second ed.). Oxford, England. 1989. 
  2. ^ a b c d e William J. Murphy. "Tables for Weights and Measurement: Crops". University of Missouri Extension. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  3. ^ Marketing Oats in Canada http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis10952

External links[edit]