Bushel

Bushel

Overview
A bushel is an imperial
Imperial unit
The system of imperial units or the imperial system is the system of units first defined in the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824, which was later refined and reduced. The system came into official use across the British Empire...

 and U.S. customary
United States customary units
United States customary units are a system of measurements commonly used in the United States. Many U.S. units are virtually identical to their imperial counterparts, but the U.S. customary system developed from English units used in the British Empire before the system of imperial units was...

 unit of dry volume
Dry measure
Dry measures are units of volume used to measure bulk commodities which are not gas or liquid. They are typically used in agriculture, agronomy, and commodity markets to measure grain, dried beans, and dried and fresh fruit ; formerly also salt pork and fish...

, equivalent in each of these systems to 4 peck
Peck
A peck is an imperial and U.S. customary unit of dry volume, equivalent to 2 gallons or 8 dry quarts or 16 dry pints. Two pecks make a kenning , and four pecks make a bushel....

s or 8 gallon
Gallon
The gallon is a measure of volume. Historically it has had many different definitions, but there are three definitions in current use: the imperial gallon which is used in the United Kingdom and semi-officially within Canada, the United States liquid gallon and the lesser used United States dry...

s. It is used for volumes of dry
Dry measure
Dry measures are units of volume used to measure bulk commodities which are not gas or liquid. They are typically used in agriculture, agronomy, and commodity markets to measure grain, dried beans, and dried and fresh fruit ; formerly also salt pork and fish...

 commodities
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 (not liquids), most often in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. It is abbreviated as bsh. or bu. In modern usage, the dry volume is usually only nominal, with bushels referring to standard weights instead.
  • 1 U.S. bushel = 8 corn/dry gallons = 2150.42 cu in ≈ 35.2391 litre ≈ 9.30918 wine/liquid gallons.
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Encyclopedia
A bushel is an imperial
Imperial unit
The system of imperial units or the imperial system is the system of units first defined in the British Weights and Measures Act of 1824, which was later refined and reduced. The system came into official use across the British Empire...

 and U.S. customary
United States customary units
United States customary units are a system of measurements commonly used in the United States. Many U.S. units are virtually identical to their imperial counterparts, but the U.S. customary system developed from English units used in the British Empire before the system of imperial units was...

 unit of dry volume
Dry measure
Dry measures are units of volume used to measure bulk commodities which are not gas or liquid. They are typically used in agriculture, agronomy, and commodity markets to measure grain, dried beans, and dried and fresh fruit ; formerly also salt pork and fish...

, equivalent in each of these systems to 4 peck
Peck
A peck is an imperial and U.S. customary unit of dry volume, equivalent to 2 gallons or 8 dry quarts or 16 dry pints. Two pecks make a kenning , and four pecks make a bushel....

s or 8 gallon
Gallon
The gallon is a measure of volume. Historically it has had many different definitions, but there are three definitions in current use: the imperial gallon which is used in the United Kingdom and semi-officially within Canada, the United States liquid gallon and the lesser used United States dry...

s. It is used for volumes of dry
Dry measure
Dry measures are units of volume used to measure bulk commodities which are not gas or liquid. They are typically used in agriculture, agronomy, and commodity markets to measure grain, dried beans, and dried and fresh fruit ; formerly also salt pork and fish...

 commodities
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 (not liquids), most often in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

. It is abbreviated as bsh. or bu. In modern usage, the dry volume is usually only nominal, with bushels referring to standard weights instead.

Precise definitions

  • 1 U.S. bushel = 8 corn/dry gallons = 2150.42 cu in ≈ 35.2391 litre ≈ 9.30918 wine/liquid gallons. The original definition was the volume of a cylinder
    Cylinder (geometry)
    A cylinder is one of the most basic curvilinear geometric shapes, the surface formed by the points at a fixed distance from a given line segment, the axis of the cylinder. The solid enclosed by this surface and by two planes perpendicular to the axis is also called a cylinder...

     18.5 in (46.99 cm) in diameter
    Diameter
    In geometry, a diameter of a circle is any straight line segment that passes through the center of the circle and whose endpoints are on the circle. The diameters are the longest chords of the circle...

     and 8 in (20.32 cm) high, which gives an irrational number
    Irrational number
    In mathematics, an irrational number is any real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio a/b, where a and b are integers, with b non-zero, and is therefore not a rational number....

     of cubic inches, but later this bushel was redefined as 2150.42 cubic inches, about 1 part per million less.
  • 1 Imperial bushel = 8 Imperial gallons ≈ 36.3687 dm³ ≈ 2219.36 cu. in.
  • 1 bushel = 4 peck
    Peck
    A peck is an imperial and U.S. customary unit of dry volume, equivalent to 2 gallons or 8 dry quarts or 16 dry pints. Two pecks make a kenning , and four pecks make a bushel....

    s
  • 4 bushels = 1 coomb

Use as unit of weight



Bushels are now most often used as units of mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

 or weight
Weight
In science and engineering, the weight of an object is the force on the object due to gravity. Its magnitude , often denoted by an italic letter W, is the product of the mass m of the object and the magnitude of the local gravitational acceleration g; thus:...

 rather than of volume. The bushels in which grains are bought and sold on commodity
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 markets or at local grain elevator
Grain elevator
A grain elevator is a tower containing a bucket elevator, which scoops up, elevates, and then uses gravity to deposit grain in a silo or other storage facility...

s, and for reports of grain production, are all units of weight. This is done by assigning a standard weight to each commodity that is to be measured in bushels. These bushels depend on the commodities being measured and the moisture content. Some of the more common ones are:
  • Oats
    OATS
    OATS - Open Source Assistive Technology Software - is a source code repository or "forge" for assistive technology software. It was launched in 2006 with the goal to provide a one-stop “shop” for end users, clinicians and open-source developers to promote and develop open source assistive...

    • USA: 32 lb = 14.5150 kg
    • Canada
      Canada
      Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

      : 34 lb = 15.4221 kg
  • Barley
    Barley
    Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

    : 48 lb = 21.7724 kg
  • Malted barley
    Malt
    Malt is germinated cereal grains that have been dried in a process known as "malting". The grains are made to germinate by soaking in water, and are then halted from germinating further by drying with hot air...

    : 34 lb = 15.4221 kg
  • Shelled maize
    Maize
    Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

     (corn) at 15.5% moisture by weight: 56 lb = 25.4012 kg
  • Wheat
    Wheat
    Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

     at 13.5% moisture by weight and soybean
    Soybean
    The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses...

    s at 13% moisture by weight: 60 lb = 27.2155 kg


Other specific values are defined (and those definitions may vary within different jurisdictions, including from state to state in the United States) for other grains, oilseeds, fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s, vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

s, coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, hair
Hair
Hair is a filamentous biomaterial, that grows from follicles found in the dermis. Found exclusively in mammals, hair is one of the defining characteristics of the mammalian class....

, and many other commodities.

Government policy in the United States is to phase out units such as the bushel and replace them with metric
Metric system
The metric system is an international decimalised system of measurement. France was first to adopt a metric system, in 1799, and a metric system is now the official system of measurement, used in almost every country in the world...

 mass equivalents.

The name "bushel" has also been used to translate non-US units of a similar size and sometimes shared origin, like the German "Scheffel
Scheffel
- People with the surname Scheffel :* David Z. Scheffel, associate professor of anthropology* Joseph Viktor von Scheffel , German poet and novelist* Mark Scheffel a state legislator in the U.S. state of Colorado...

".

History


The bushel was originally a measure of capacity for grain. During the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, the bushel of wheat was supposed to weigh 64 tower pounds, but when the tower system was abolished in the 16th century, it was described as 56 avoirdupois pounds
Avoirdupois
The avoirdupois system is a system of weights based on a pound of 16 ounces. It is the everyday system of weight used in the United States and is still widely used to varying degrees by many people in Canada, the United Kingdom, and some other former British colonies despite the official adoption...

. The bushel was rarely used in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 or Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

during the Middle Ages.

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