Crop handling machinery includes the storage of crops (particularly the cereals), milling and mixing machines, winnowing machines (for cleaning grain to be used for seed and for dressing seed).

Figure 1 and 2: An old type grinding machine (left) and an old type winnowing machine (right)

Source:img.masterpieces.asemus.museum                                              Source:historiccookingschool.s3.amazonaws

Hand Operated Grinding Machines are used for grinding maize and other cereals into a coarse orfine meal.

Winnowing Machine operated by hand or motor and suitable for cleaning small amounts of seed

Large buildings are used for storing grain. Threshed grain from the combine or maize sheller is tipped from a trailer into the two concrete hoppers in front of the building. The grain is then treated with an insecticide and augered into storage bins inside the building. The process is mechanised and the grain does not need to be moved by hand. The grain is stored in bins or silos and milling and mixing of stockfeed takes place inside the building. The above explanation is based on the grain being used for the animals on the farm.

If the grain is intended for wholesale purpose to maize mill, co-ops or off the farm sales, then other farm storage is necessary such as farm silos. The maize is tipped into a unloading hopper and augered into the silos.

Figures 3 and 4: show a farm made storage silo for the inside of a shed (left) and the layout of a farmshed for storing and mixing animal feed (right)

Figure 5 and 6: Typical farm silos (left) and Augering maize into the top of a silo (right)

Source: www.simeza.com                                                      Source: growingon.wordpress.com

Figure 7 and 8: Rolling and Grinding Mill (left) and a Small Hammer Mill (right)

Source: sabko                     Source: alaskapelletmill

Figure 9 and 10: Feed Mixer (left) and a Chaff Cutter (right)

Source: alaskapelletmill.                                                            Source: alibaba


Due to the very high cost of farm machinery, good maintenance is important for the farmer. This includes protection from the weather by housing, protection from corrosion and decay by painting, regular attention to lubrication, and the adjustment and replacement of parts. Most farm machines are used for only short periods during the year, and the rest of the time they should be housed under cover in an implement shed for protection against sun and rain. Before being put away in the shed after use, all machines should be cleaned, any worn parts replaced, and any bright parts such as plough bodies given a coating of waste oil. It is particularly important to thoroughly wash and clean sprayers and fertiliser distributors because both spray and fertiliser can corrode metal very quickly.

Figure 11: A typical farm workshop

  1. well-equipped farm workshop is necessary for good tractor and machinery maintenance, and large farms employ one or more mechanics in the workshop. The workshop should be equipped with benches, a good selection of tools including power tools such as drills and grinding stones. The large farm workshop will have a pit, suitable for working below vehicles and some machines, a pulley for raising heavy engine parts, and an oxy-acetylene welding outfit used to join together broken metal parts and to rebuild steel or cast iron parts which have become worn down. Lubricating oil and grease should be stored in the farm workshop, and the farm diesel tank situated in a shady area nearby. Petrol must be stored in an underground tank.


The following table gives figures for output per day and litres of fuel used for the common farm operations. Although there can be large differences from farm to farm according to the size of tractors used, the soil texture of the farm, and the operating efficiency of the drivers, the figures below are averages which will give you an idea of outputs and can be used in farm planning and budgeting.

Table 1: figures for output per day and litres of fuel used for the common farm operations

As an example of how these output figures can be used, take the case of a farmer who wishes to prepare 500 hectares of land for maize in 9 weeks.


The output of a 3 furrow disc plough and roller is 2.3 ha a day.

Therefore, 500 ha will require 500 = 217 days of ploughing.


The time available is 9 weeks or 9 x 6 = 54 working days.

To complete the work in 54 days will require 217 = 4 tractors and ploughs 54


The output of a tractor and heavy disc is 7.5 ha a day.

Therefore, 500 ha will require 500 = 66 days of discing.


The time available is 54 days therefore more than 1 set of discs will be required


The output of a 6-row maize planter is 10 ha a day.

Therefore 500 ha will require 500 = 50 days of planting which is within the time available 10 .

With the high cost of modern machinery, a sound plan is to keep an Operation Sheet for each

machine on the farm, showing the amount the machine is used each season, and the costs of any repairs and replacement parts fitted. The layout of such a sheet is shown below.