Main Article Content
Aims: To develop and evaluate an affordable, accessible, easy-to-operate and functional small-scale thresher machine to make cowpea farming a profitable venture.
Study Design: Fabrication and performance evaluation.
Place and Duration of Study: Premises of DAF Technical Services, Ilorin, Nigeria, between June, 2017 and February, 2018.
Methodology: Construction of a cowpea thresher machine was carried out by sizing and marking out the plate with the aid of scriber and cutter. The shaft was smoothened and the various components were welded and assembled with the aid of fasteners. The thresher was made-up of the feeding unit, which provided an opening through which the cowpea was introduced into the machine for threshing. As the various components of the cowpea thresher (threshing drum, the lower concave (screen), the spikes and separating unit) were being assembled, dimension analysis was carried out on two varieties of cowpea grains. This was meant to determine the screen sieve size.
Results: Findings from this study indicated the mean cowpea grain threshing efficiencies of 71.40, 66.10, and 63.10% at a different speed of 472, 339, and 283 rpm respectively. The maximum throughput capacity (59.78 kg/hr) was obtained at threshing speed of 472 rpm. This revealed that as the speed decreased the threshing efficiency, the throughput capacity and grain loss also decreased, while damaged grains are negligible.
Conclusion: The fabricated cowpea thresher is therefore, a suitable machine with high efficiency to carry out necessary small scale post-harvest operations in cowpea production.