GROUNDNUT, SUNFLOWER and maize are important crops in India. Decorticating dried groundnut pods (breaking groundnut pods to remove the kernels inside) and shelling of maize cobs and removal of kernels from sunflower heads for consumption, commercial or seed purpose is an important farm operation. Whether it is decortication of groundnuts or threshing of sunflower or shelling of maize, is a tedious process, especially for small to marginal farmers.
Traditionally, these operations are carried out manually and are time and labour intensive operations. Equipment or gadgets that meet these processing needs of small and marginal farmers are lacking. Considering the need for such equipment, researchers at the Post Harvest Technology Scheme at University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore have developed a three-in-one mini groundnut decorticator, sunflower thresher and maize sheller. The machine is designed in such a way that it would perform all the three operations separately, according to Dr. Ranganna, Head, Post Harvest Technology Scheme at the Institute.
This small hand-operated device has a mild-steel body and the decorticating mechanism consists of four wide U- shaped fins fitted with rubber beadings and a serrated concave sieve, which encloses the decorticating chamber from below. Beadings are provided to facilitate smooth shelling of the pods. The pods are fed through a hopper from the top. In addition, the equipment is fitted with separate inter-changeable attachments at the end of the extended section of the movable handle for maize shelling and sunflower threshing operations. The attachments include a mild steel convex shaped disc with a number of fins on the convex surface fixed about one inch apart. The disc is attached to an extended shaft and can be turned by rotating the handle manually.The kernels from dry sunflower heads get separated when the head is slightly pressed against the fins on the rotating disc. This disc is replaced by another attachment when shelling of maize is required.The tubular maize shelling attachment consists of three mild-steel rings welded and tapered slightly, with three flat fins on their inner surface. Dried maize cobs are pushed into the ring of the tubular unit, and when rotated, the maize kernels get separated from the cob without damage.
"The unit has a capacity of shelling about 18-20 kg of grains per hour with an efficiency of 98 per cent. It has been found that hardly any shelled or decorticated grains get damaged during threshing, shelling or decortication," said Dr. Ranganna. The unit is particularly helpful in decorticating of groundnut for seed purpose. The seed material required by small to marginal farmers can be very easily obtained a day prior or even on the day of sowing of the crop - which ensures better prospects of germination, he explained.
The unit, being small, can be transported easily. "A large number of these units have already been sold to the farmers in southern Karnataka. At present there is a growing demand for this machine from farmers in several states, as the machine is priced at Rs.650," he said. For more details readers can contact
The Head, University of Agricultural Sciences,
Post Harvest Technology Centre,
Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK),
Bangalore 560 065,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 23330153 extn 345.