Growth Trends for Related Jobs

How to Sort Grain From the Chaff

careertrend article image
Hemera Technologies/ Images

Threshing machines and now combines have taken the place of removing chaff by hand in the US. Chaff is the inedible stalks, leaves and seed casings found on grain plants such as wheat, corn and soybeans. Before the invention of the threshing machine, people separated grain from chaff by trampling or beating harvested plants. Modern machinery uses similar techniques that shake chaff from the grain, allowing the weight of the seeds to collect at the bottom and fall through a metal mesh separator.

Place a tarp on the ground or a hard surface. Lay your harvested wheat on top of the tarp.

Beat the stalks with a shovel or stick. Thrashing and flailing the stalks helps release the grains from their seed casings

Lift the tarp off the ground and carefully shake it until the grains collect at the bottom.

Sweep the large pieces of chaff off the grain and allow the wind to blow the lighter pieces away.

Pull the sides of the tarp upward to make a funnel for the grain. Hold the tarp about 2 feet above the bucket and slowly pour the grain. The weight of the grain will help it land directly into the bucket while excess chaff will blow away. Repeat this step until all the chaff has been separated.


Harvest wheat when it is ripe and ready to disperse seeds.

  • Harvest wheat when it is ripe and ready to disperse seeds.

Laura Fernandez has been writing freelance articles and blogs since 2009. She specializes in agriculture and has published work in "Wallaces Farmer" and numerous websites including Fernandez has a bachelor's degree in agricultural education from Iowa State University.