Seed Hammer Mill

by Mike Saxton, Shaw Nature Reserve, Missouri Botanic Garden

Seed collection is a big part of the restoration strategy at Shaw Nature Reserve. Last year we brought in around 750lbs of milled seed from 278 species with a crew of five restoration technicians and a robust volunteer corps. Most of our seed goes to overseeding areas where we have cut/treated/stack/burned honeysuckle and privet and into low diversity, older prairie plantings.

We had a 25-year-old MacKissic – Might Mac hammer mill that we had been using for the last few years. It’s dusty (no dust collection system), loud (finicky gas powered motor), vibrates/walks all over the place, and has a bottom drop where the seed just falls to the floor for us to sweep up. It works well enough but for the amount of seed we collect and the time/energy we put into our seed program, we needed an upgrade.

With grant support from the Robert J. Jr., Trulaske Family Foundation, we secured funding for a new hammer mill and dust collection system.

After speaking with friend and colleagues in the conservation world, (see GRN Nachusa hammer mill blog), I had hoped to purchase a C.S. Bell mill but they went out of business during the pandemic. After an exhaustive internet search, I landed on the #5 Meadow Mills hammer mill. 10 horse motor, single phase, 220V, professional grade, made in USA. We hooked it up to a Baileigh – DC2100C as a dust/seed collection system. We do not vent the exhaust outside but are using the massive built in air filter.

Fabrications that we made:

  • Welded heavy duty castors to the metal frame
  • Installed an HVAC ductwork elbow and 4in tubing to connect two units
  • We utilized a stainless steel sink as a nice seed table.
  • We need to fab up fins to make the gullet deeper.

All in all, we are very happy with this set up. It is a powerful mill and the dust collection system is heavy duty. We have kept the huge air filter on the Baileigh but might someday vent the dust outside the building. Luckily, we have an in-house electrician who was able to do the 220V wiring for us. We have found that we can fit a paper barrel into the dust collection bin and deposit seed directly into the barrel. The addition of the hammer mill to our restoration program has resulted in greater capacity and ease of operation.

Figure 1 – Hammer miller as delivered and dust system newly assembled
Figure 2 – HVAC duct work elbow added for 90 degree turn
Figure 3 – Marking sink to-be-cut so as to fit the table and mill together
Figure 4 – stainless steel sink as seed table
Figure 5 – seed set up.
Figure 6 – Technician Marley Schwendemann mills seed
Figure 7 – milled seed mix
Figure 8 – large air filter

About Grassland Restoration Network blog

Bill Kleiman publishes this blog. Bill's daytime job is manager of Nachusa Grasslands. We are looking for guest authors on various topics of grassland habitat restoration. Contact me with your ideas or drafts.
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3 Responses to Seed Hammer Mill

  1. Ronald Cress says:

    It won’t be much, but I’d like to contribute to your desire to vent the system. Where should I send it ?

  2. sandfarmer2 says:

    Was able to buy an Almaco portable grain thresher at Auction. Its basically a seed processing machine set up like a combine that has several settings to process prairie grasses , And forbs . Can blow the thresher drum out w compressed air to keep the different seeds separate. Almaco has a factory in central Iowa (Nevada) that can still provide parts.
    It’s mounted to a trailer that I can easily tow to different prairie prairie volunteer groups to help those who have large amount of seeds but lack a thresher to process them.

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