I’m fortunate that MGA has a couple of seed cleaners. That makes my job easy when I have a couple of hundred pounds of seed to clean. However, when I have just a small amount I can clean it by hand. After I’ve threshed the grain heads in a paper bag, I can pick the empty heads out and pour the grain in front of a fan and clean it that way. I picked up a little separator at a yard sale one time and it works to get the big pieces out. You could make a small screen separator yourself using some hardware cloth tacked to a homemade frame.

Hand-made seed cleaner

I also have an old seed cleaner called a ‘fanning mill’ that I found in a barn in a nearby town. Sometimes these are advertised as ‘threshers’ but they are really seed cleaners. They shake a set of screens, and a fan blows away the chaff. I had to replace all the old leather belts and staple new screens into the frames but it works great. I use mine to clean dry beans. And cranking the handle gives me a lot of exercise.

As I said before, I’m lucky that MGA has some modern seed cleaners. We have a table top ‘Clipper’ seed cleaner and we also have a larger one we recently bought from Adaptive Ag, a company run by Mark Fulford and Geoff Johnson in Searsport, Maine. They import a lot of small scale threshing , cleaning, drying and storing equipment . It’s very hard to find small scale harvesting equipment these days. Much of it is older and in need of repair. It comes from the days of small family farms and a lot of it has been thrown away, sold for scrap, or is now in the ‘antique’ market. In fact, antique markets are a good place to find some stuff.

modern cleaner grain
modern seed cleaner 2

This is the ‘Clipper’ table-top or office cleaner.

MGA’s village scale seed cleaner from ‘Adaptive Ag.,’ on which they later mounted an electric motor.