Revegetation Equipment Catalog

All-terrain Vehicles
Global Positioning Systems
Controlling Plants Mechanically
Controlling Plants Chemically
Controlling Plants by Fire
Site Preparation
Fertilizing & Mulching
Specialized Planters
Seed Harvesting
Seed Processing
Transport Trailers
Contact Us


Seed Harvesters

Grass seed can be harvested by several types of commercial machines. Hard slick seed is relatively easy to harvest while chaffy seed with awns and hairs that impedes the flow of seed through machinery is difficult to harvest. Timing of harvest is of utmost importance because seed development between medium dough and seed shatter can last from a few days to 2 weeks. Conventional grain combines are widely used alone or following swathing. Combining is a once-over treatment and must conducted when the greatest number of seeds are mature and remain on the plants. Brush harvesters have become popular for many of the chaffy seeded species. They can strip plants multiple times to capture seed crops that mature over a long period. Small plot combines and handheld units are also available. Seeds from shrubs are usually hand stripped and collected in lightweight hoops. Freshly harvested seed is usually high in moisture content and requires drying before processing to prevent damage to the seed.

                                 Grain Combines                  Hand Stripping
                                 Brush Strippers                   Research Plot Combines

Grain Combines                                                                                          Top of Page

Description and Application

Conventional grain combines are useful for harvesting large-scale seed fields. These self-propelled combines are designed for major grain crops but can be adjusted to handle many types of grass seed. Recent models are highly instrumented, and the operator can control all cleaning functions from an air-conditioned cab. A combine consists of a header assembly, threshing mechanism, separating and cleaning unit, storage bin, power-train, and a cab with all the controls. The header assembly consists of a reel, cutter bar, and an auger. Grass stems are severed just below the seed heads by the cutter bar, and the seed heads are fed into the thresher by an auger. Seed is separated from the seed heads and transported into the storage bin, while stems and trash are blown out the rear of the combine. Some grass species are cut first with a swather to aid in field drying. A pick-up mechanism mounted on the combineís header is then used to gather the crop into the combine. Swathers and pick-up devices are marketed by combine manufacturers and independents. A specialized stripping header assembly that replaces the standard header has been used effectively by commercial grass seed growers. The seed heads are stripped rather than cut before entering the threshing section of the combine. Grain combines are suited for high-production, commercial, grass-seed farms, but they are very expensive. They are not suited for rocky, uneven terrain or grasses that are excessively chaffy.

Grain combine
Conventional Grain Combine
Photo Courtesy Case IH


The manufacturers' websites list information on equipment sizes, accessories, dealers, and their email addresses.

AGCO Corporation
4205 River Green Parkway
Duluth, GA 30096
Phone: 770-813-9200
Fax: 770-813-6158

Case IH
700 State Street
Racine, WI 53404
Phone: 262-636-6011

Deere & Company
John Deere World Headquarters
One John Deere Place
Moline, IL 61265
Phone: 309-765-8000
Fax: 309-765-4225

MacDon, Inc. (grass swather)
9700 N.W. Conant Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64153-1832
Phone: 816-891-7313
Fax: 816-891-7323

New Holland North America
500 Diller Avenue
New Holland, PA 17557
Phone: 888-290-7377

Shelbourne Reynolds Inc. (stripper header)
P.O. Box 607
Colby, KS 67701
Phone: 785-462-6299
Fax: 785-462-6761

Brush Strippers                                                                                          Top of Page

Description and Application

Brush strippers were developed to overcome problems in harvesting light, difficult-to-handle, chaffy seed. In 1981, Aaron Beisel developed the Woodward Flail-Vac Seed Stripper (U.S. Patent No. 4,373,322) to harvest mainly bluestem species (Bothriochloa spp.). His hypothesis was that a brush that rotated upward at the leading edge would result in less stem breakage and thus a cleaner product than would be possible from a brush that rotated downward. In addition, the air flow produced by the shroud-covered brush would gather seed heads into the flailing brush and carry the stripped seed to the seed hopper. The unit has become the standard for harvesting numerous grass species in the United States, Australia, and other countries. Stripper units attach to the front-end loader frame on a tractor and are available in 4- to 12-foot widths, 12 foot being the most common. Trailer models and hand carried units are also available. Strippers are well suited for use on commercial grass-seed farms as well as small acreages and research plots because they are simple and very cost effective. They are not suited for rocky or rugged terrain.

Brush grass stripper
Woodward Flail-Vac Seed Stripper mounted on tractor front-end loader frame.

Schematic of brush grass stripper
Schematic of Woodward Flail-Vac Stripper.
Diagram courtesy of Aaron Beisel.

Additional Information

Dewald, C.L. and Aaron Beisel. 1983. The Woodward Flail-Vac Seed Stripper. Transactions of the ASAE 26:1027-1029.

Loch, D.S., P.W. Johnson, T.A. Jensen, and G.L. Harvey. 1996. Harvesting, processing, and marketing Australian native grass seeds. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 39:591-599.


The manufacturers' websites list information on equipment sizes, accessories, dealers, and their email addresses.

Aaronís Engineering
Route 1, Box 26
Fargo, OK 73840
Phone: 580-698-2613

Ag-Renewal, Inc.
Woodward Flail-Vac Seed Strippers
1519 East Main
Weatherford, OK 73096
Phone: 800-658-1446
Phone: 580-772-7059
Fax: 580-772-6887

Native Seedsters, Inc. (seed plucking)
100 Poly Drive, Suite 150
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: 406-294-2995
Fax: 406-657-2006

Prairie Habitats Inc.
P.O. Box 10
Argyle, Manitoba
Canada, ROC 080
Phone: 204-467-9371
Fax: 204-467-5004

Hand Stripping                                                                                            Top of Page

Description and Application

Seed from some native shrubs and grasses are available only by hand stripping from plants in wildland stands. Hand carried power brush or flail strippers are practical for harvesting some grass and forb species. Vacuum units can be utilized also, provided the seeds do not strike the motorís impeller. Seeds (berries & fruits) from most shrubs are acquired by hand stripping. Collectors for hand stripped seed include bags, baskets, cans, tubs, and numerous homemade devices. Lightweight collector hoops made from strong ripcord cloth and plastic tubing plus a padded shoulder strap are versatile and popular for extended use. Badminton (grasses/forbs), tennis (shrubs) rackets, or short sticks are used to flail seed or fruits into the collectors. Handheld hoops are suitable for small and large patches and with an experienced operator can be effective and timely. They are used also in wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas.

Hand-held power grass stripper
Handheld Powered Seed Stripper
Photo courtesy of Prairie Habitat Inc.

Hand-held hopper for seed collection
Hand Collection of Seed Using Racket and Light-Weight Hopper.
Photo Courtesy of John Kinney, Forest Service.

Additional Information

Jorgensen, Kent R. and Richard Stevens. 2004. Seed collection, cleaning, and storage, Chap. 24. In: Stephen B. Monsen, Richard Stevens, and Nancy Shaw (compilers), Restoring Western Ranges and Wildlands. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-136, Ft. Collins, CO.


The manufacturers' websites list information on equipment sizes, accessories, dealers, and their email addresses.

Prairie Habitats Inc.
P.O. Box 10
Argyle, Manitoba
Canada, ROC 080
Phone: 204-467-9371
Fax: 204-467-5004

Happy Hopper Service
1136 West 285 South
Orem, UT 84058
Phone: 801-222-9352

Research Plot Combines                                                                         Top of Page

Description and Application

Research plot combines are designed for organizations that harvest hundreds of small plots. These combines have the same features as the large grain combines except they are very narrow in width. They usually have special instrumented weighing systems to accurately records grain weight for each plot. They are designed for level cropland and should not be operated on rocky, rough, or sloping land.

Research plot combine
Research Plot Combine
Photo Courtesy of Wintersteiger Inc.


99M Avenue
Nevada, IA 50201-1558
Phone: 515-382-3506
Fax: 515-382-2973

Kincaid Equipment Manufacturing
P.O. Box 400
Haven, KS 67543
Phone: 620-465-2204
Fax: 620-465-3509

Wintersteiger Inc.
217 Wright Brothers Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
Phone: 801-355-6550
Fax: 801-355-6541


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