It looks a bit like a meat grinder, but a new device developed by Manitoba farmer Gerry Devloo is specifically designed to crank out information on the quality of canola being harvested.
Devloo, who along with family members farms near Somerset in south-central Manitoba, has developed a canola seed crusher that measures and crushes a sample of 250 seeds so a farmer can determine the green-seed count in the crop.
“It is just much simpler than using the conventional paddle and roller system for crushing seed,” says Devloo. “We take lots of different samples at harvest and it can be slow, and a bit messy using the conventional paddle to collect the desired count and then use a roller to crush the seed. I figured there had to be a better way.”
After a few prototypes later in the farm shop, Devloo came up with the portable, table-top (tailgate top) canola crusher. With four revolutions of the crusher handle, it cranks out a strip of masking tape with a perfectly aligned, already crushed 250-seed canola seed count.
“You just put a cup or a handful of seed in the small hopper at the top of the crusher, crank the handle four times, and you have a crushed measured sample pressed onto a strip of masking tape ready for counting,” says Devloo. “It takes about 20 seconds and you can crush as many samples as you want.” You can crush and evaluate the samples at the kitchen table, or right on the tailgate of a truck in the field.
The conventional green-seed counting process involves filling the rows of tiny seeds cups on a two-by-10 inch plastic paddle with the recommended 250 canola seeds. You lay a strip of two-inch wide masking tape over the aligned seed, and then use a hard vinyl roller to crush the sample to expose colour of the seed flesh. It doesn’t take hours, but it can be a bit fussy getting the seeds in place, and masking tape applied.
With the Devloo crusher it is just a matter of putting half a cup of seed (or desired amount) in the hopper, and turning the crusher handle four times. The device holds a roll of masking tape that feeds into the crushing mechanism. The crusher counts out the desired number of seeds that pass through two notched crushing wheels. Another soft roller presses the crushed seed, in neat rows, onto a strip of masking tape. With each crank, the tape, with crushed seeds affixed, feeds out the back of the device. You just tear off the sample strip and start evaluating the sample.
The durable crusher, retailing for $775, is made of welded aluminum, with crusher wheels running on heavy duty bushings. Devloo says it is very portable and easy to carry in the cab of the truck.
“It is basically a lifetime unit,” says Devloo. The Canola Crusher was among the Innovation Award winners at the 2016 Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina.
For more information contact Gerry Devloo at 204-825-8030 or email at [email protected].