Threshers break Guinness World Record in Austin

Manitoba became home to another world record July 31 when 139 antique threshing machines harvested a field simultaneously for 15 minutes at the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin, Man.

“This was a once-in-a lifetime event,” says Elliot Sims, co-organizer of Harvesting Hope: A World Record to Help the Hungry, held at the 62nd Manitoba Threshermen’s Reunion & Stampede at the Museum.

“You just don’t see stuff like this anymore,” he says. “The energy from the participants and crowd was amazing. You could feel the pride and excitement.”

Nearly 8,000 people came to the Museum to watch 750 volunteers from across Canada and the U.S. break the Guinness World Record for “most threshing machines operating simultaneously.” The previous record was 111 machines held by a group from St. Albert, Ontario.

The record is unofficial until it is certified by Guinness World Records.

Altogether, 75 acres of winter wheat was bound and 30,000 sheaves were cut to be threshed during the event. Combined, the machines were capable of threshing approximately 17,000 bushels of wheat per hour, with 6,100 horsepower of engine capacity driving them.

“This was truly a celebration of our agricultural heritage,” says Sims. “We’re all very happy to have succeeded, and the feedback we’re getting is great. Everyone seems to have really enjoyed themselves.”

Funds raised at the event will be split between the Manitoba Agricultural Museum, which hosted the world record attempt, and Canadian Foodgrains Bank. A final tally will be available in a few weeks.

The funds going to the Foodgrains Bank will be used to help small-scale farm families in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya learn to grow more and better food so they can better provide for their families. The funds going to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum will be used to help it continue to preserve Manitoba’s agricultural heritage.

“We were really proud to be a part of this record-breaking event,” says John Longhurst, director of Resources and Public Engagement with the Foodgrains Bank.

“Since the Foodgrains Bank was created by and for Canadian farmers, it’s only fitting, and a huge honour, to be part of the effort to break the record for using antique farm machines, and to also raise money to help end global hunger.”