Most small farmers have neither a cash cow in the barn, nor a money tree in the back yard. Hard work, in and of itself, is not enough. To remain profitable small farmers need to focus on adding value to their agricultural products. The ability to pearl (partially or completely remove the bran from grain kernels) represents a huge opportunity for small-scale grain farmers in the Northeast. Pearling reduces the cooking time, a major constraint to consumers’ use of many specialty grains. Pearling can also be used as a management tool for vomitoxin/DON (deoxynivalenol), which is all too prevalent in small grains grown in the Northeast. Vomitoxin, produced by Fusarium graminearum, is located in the bran. By removing the bran, pearling presents an opportunity to control the DON level in grain. After extensive research I have not been able to find any locally grown pearled grains in North America. Also, I have been unable to find a pearling machine that has power requirements (10 hp or less) appropriate for use on most small-scale farms.
The goal of this project is to design, build and test a farm-scale grain pearling machine. The plans for the machine will be drawn up in CAD (Computer Aided Design) so it can be built by others for $6,000-$7,000 (plus their time). A field day with Elizabeth Dyck will be held at our farm to discuss the machine, creating value-added pearled products and reducing DON. Dr. Dyck will also share information at conferences and field days.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project seeks to build a small farm-scale pearling machine. The pearling machine will have a theoretical throughput of 1,000lbs of grain per hour. I will design the machine in CAD so that when I am finished plans will be available for other farmers to build their own pearling machines. Once construction of the machine is finished, I will test it with several different small grains. I intend to figure out the settings to partially pearl grain in one pass and fully pearl grain in 2-3 passes. I will also work with project advisor Dr. Elizabeth Dyck to get grain that has elevated DON levels and pearl it to different levels. The grain would then be sent out for testing to benchmark the potential for DON reduction.