Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of grain (or other crop) from the husks and straw to which it is attached. It is the step in grain preparation after reaping and before winnowing, which separates the grain from the chaff. 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 1786 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 was traditionally a bee in which local people gathered together to pitch in and get the season's threshing done. Such bees were sometimes festivals or events within larger harvest festivals. Today the original purpose is largely obsolete, but the festival tradition lives on in some modern examples that commemorate the past and include flea markets, hog wrestling, and dances.
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- M. Partridge, Farm Tools through the Ages (1973)
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- "Andrew Meikle (1719-1811) engineer and inventor of the threshing machine, the predecessor of the combine harvester". Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
- "The Threshing Machine -- Separation of Grain from Stalks and Husks".
- "Welcome to the Donnelly Threshing Bee".