A hammermill is an invaluable tool when processing seed. It is used to break up the shell or pod, liberating the seeds from the pods. This improves the planting process but separating seeds and improving seed to soil contact.

One might think a hammermill would damage the seed, but the hammers are not circulating in unison. They are alternating to allow seeds and debris (aka chaff) to move through the screen holes without damage. Once processed, the seed is hand screened to remove the bulk of the chaff.

This hammermill was purchased from CS Bell Co.  They custom make this cast iron and steel hammermill to your specifications; we chose Model 10 with a bottom discharge. It has a 1.5HP electric motor with variable speed drive control, which requires a 220 outlet. It has a 6” chute for the input of the seed and an 18” tall clearance for the output; this clearance height allows for the size of a plastic bin to be placed in this area to collect the seed and resulting chaff.

It is a very dusty, dirty, and loud operation. Be sure to locate the hammermill outside and wear a dust mask, eye protection, and ear muffs.


The hammermill is used for breaking up native seeds.
The hammers of a hammermill.

Knowing what speed and what size screen to use comes with experience but not to worry, it’s nearly impossible to do anything wrong!  The beauty of this piece of equipment is you can change the screen and change the speed to fit the size of each seed. If you want a very fine product use a high speed and a small hole size for the screen. We have found we use 2 sizes the most. 

Hammermill screen sizes

Once the seed is processed, we will then screen it further to remove the majority of the chaff. I don’t get too specific with the cleaning but we want to have a good idea of how much seed is being spread. Removing the bulk of the chaff is the only way to have that info.