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Monday, September 6, 2010

How much is a bushel?

The air is getting cooler, the grass is browning and the mood is changing. It's that time of year.

You may be thinking, yes it is football season. Get on your gear, hop on the couch and pop open a cold beverage! But I'm talking about a different kind of season - corn harvest. Since corn is the main crop we produce, this time of year is our Super Bowl!

My family produces irrigated corn, which was especially strenuous this summer because of the amount of days over 100 degrees. When it is that hot out for that long, it's hard to keep up on the irrigation and keep the corn plants from being compromised. We're hoping for a good harvest and awaiting the yields.

You will hear the term bushel thrown around a lot this time of year in the agriculture industry. What exactly is a bushel?

  • a bushel is a unit of measurement used to describe dry ingredients
  • it is used to describe agricultural products like wheat, corn, apples, etc.
  • it contains 4 pecks or about 8 local gallons (you have to say local because UK gallons are larger than US gallons, thus UK bushels are also larger)
  • it measures volume not weight
  • bushels can help you understand yield, but you have to be careful with weights because it is probably clear that a bushel of apples weighs out differently than a bushel of corn
  • the USDA has a set of standard bushel weights that I have listed below
  • a lot of farmers will talk about wanting "250 bushel corn" and that just translates to the goal of producing 250 bushels of corn per acre planted
  • while you may see traditional bushel baskets in the grocery store holding apples or peaches; corn is harvested, taken to an elevator or barge in large trailers and weighed out on large scales

USDA Standard Bushel Weights
Soybeans, wheat 60
Flax, rye, shelled corn, grain sorghum 56
Corn-and-cob meal (ground ear corn) 45
Cracked corn, corn meal 50
Barley 48
Oats 32
Apples (Eastern) 42
Apples (Colorado) 40
Peaches 50

Enjoy your football season and think about the farmers in harvest!

Tera Rooney


  1. Thanks for sharing the insight on bushels. I added you to my listing of favorite "food and farm blogs" and look forward to following.
    Katie from North Dakota

  2. Thanks for the traffic Katie. I'm glad you enjoy our group's work!



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