Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of cereal grain (or other crop) from the scaly, inedible chaff that surrounds it. It is the step in grain preparation after harvesting and before winnowing, which separates the loosened chaff from the grain. Threshing does not remove the bran from the grain.
Threshing may be done by beating the grain using a flail on a threshing floor. Another traditional method of threshing is to make donkeys or oxen walk in circles on the grain on a hard surface. A modern version of this in some areas is to spread the grain on the surface of a country road so the grain may be threshed by the wheels of passing vehicles.
Industrialization of threshing began in 1784 with the invention of the threshing machine by Scotsman Andrew Meikle. Today, in developed areas, it is now mostly done by machine, usually by a combine harvester, which harvests, threshes, and winnows the grain while it is still in the field.
A Threshing Bee is a festival held in communities to commemorate this process. The event is often held over multiple days and includes flea markets, activity booths, hog wrestling and dances.
Wheat Threshing Demo at Goessel Threshing Days in Goessel, Kansas, 2010.
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- M. Partridge, Farm Tools through the Ages (1973)
- Atack, Jeremy; Passell, Peter (1994). A New Economic View of American History. New York: W.W. Norton and Co. pp. 282–3. ISBN 0-393-96315-2.
- Clark, Gregory (2007). A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton University Press. p. 286. ISBN 978-0-691-12135-2.
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