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Upland Rice Threshed and Rough Yield

A couple weeks ago I told you about harvesting my upland rice.

My first ever rice harvest!

After harvesting, there are three steps to processing rice: threshing, dehulling, and winnowing. Having hulls makes it a bit more complicated than processing wheat, but I plan to take it one step at a time. Threshing was my first step. My question was, how?

The first thing that came to mine was our yard-mulcher-turned-grain-thresher.

Our first little mulcher was inadequate for that task, so Dan turned it
 into a feed processor (how-to here). We also use it for threshing wheat.

Made from an old Yard Machine brand chipper/mulcher, we've been using it to thresh our wheat for several years. The rice harvest was small enough that a simpler method seemed more in order.

Threshing screen on top of the wheelbarrow. 

My threshing screen is a frame with quarter-inch hardware cloth stapled to the bottom. The grain heads are rubbed on the screen and fall through into the wheelbarrow. It's a slow method, but good for smaller harvests. This worked fairly well, and also taught me something about harvesting rice. Even though I cut it when the heads were golden brown, I should have let it dry out more before cutting it. I say this because the grains were stubborn to be loosened from the stalk. Proper ripeness is the fine point between green and shattering (which is when the seed falls on it's own to the ground). I had to figure this out for wheat, so I'm not surprised I'd have to learn for the rice too.

The result.

I planted a quarter of an ounce (7 gram seed packet) and yielded just under four pounds before dehulling and winnowing. Not as much as I had hoped, but considering how hot and dry our summer has been, I'm still pleased. I will definitely grow upland rice again next year.

The next step will be learning how to dehull it. (Another learning curve new adventure!)

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