Manitoba threshing bee yields new world record

An aerial photo shows 25 to 30 of the antique threshing machines at the July 31 Harvesting Hope world record attempt at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum. (Shaylyn McMahon photo courtesy Harvesting Hope)

Owners and operators of antique threshing machines unofficially cracked the world record for a threshing bee at a fundraising event Sunday for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and Manitoba Agricultural Museum.

The Harvesting Hope event, held at the museum site at Austin, about 45 km west of Portage la Prairie, saw 139 threshing machines run simultaneously for 15 minutes, breaking the previous record of 111.

Almost 8,000 people are estimated to have attended the event, at which 750 volunteers from across Canada and the U.S. worked on the threshing crews, organizers said Tuesday in a release.

The new record for “most threshing machines operating simultaneously” remains unofficial until certified by the U.K.-based Guinness World Records organization.

The official record was last set in August 2015 at Festival de la Curd at St-Albert, Ont., with 111 machines operating. The previous record, 41, was set in 2013 at another Canadian Foodgrains Bank fundraiser during the Olde Tyme Harvest at Langenburg, Sask.

Sunday’s event, in the works since last summer, involved 75 acres of winter wheat bound into 30,000 sheaves. The machines, in all, were capable of threshing approximately 17,000 bushels of wheat per hour, with 6,100 horsepower of total engine capacity.

A final tally of funds raised at the Harvesting Hope will be available in a few weeks, organizers said.

“We’re all very happy to have succeeded, and the feedback we’re getting is great. Everyone seems to have really enjoyed themselves,” event co-organizer Elliot Sims said in Tuesday’s release.

Funds earmarked for the Foodgrains Bank are to go toward helping improve production practices on small-scale family farms in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya, while the museum’s share will go toward its work “preserv(ing) Manitoba’s agricultural heritage.” — Network

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