Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Agricultural and Biological Engineering

First Advisor

John H Lumkes

Committee Member 1

Robert M Stwalley

Committee Member 2

Dieudonne Baributsa

Committee Member 3

Dennis R Buckmaster


As the global population rises, food security is among the most important grand challenges of our time. While agriculture has significantly developed in parts of the world, other parts are severely underdeveloped, inhibiting agriculture productivity, which is a necessary component of the solution to the food security challenge. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), in particular, has seen little growth in productivity, something that has been correlated to its low agricultural mechanization. One barrier to mechanization in SSA, where the average farm size is less than 2 Ha, is the cost of farm equipment. This leaves many farmers with just basic tools to perform farm operations. Threshing is a critical part of processing grains, which are staple crops in most countries. Traditional methods of threshing are time and energy consuming and can result in significant grain losses. Threshers that are available are imported, expensive, or too large for most farms.