A bushel (abbreviation: bsh. or bu.) is an imperial and US customary unit of volume based upon an earlier measure of dry capacity. The old bushel was equal to 2 kennings (obsolete), 4 pecks or 8 dry gallons and was used mostly for agricultural products such as wheat. In modern usage, the volume is nominal, with bushels denoting a mass defined differently for each commodity.
Queensland Government Standard Imperial Bushel. Queensland Museum
|Unit system||imperial and US customary|
|Symbol||bsh or bu|
|1 imp bsh in ...||... is equal to ...|
|imperial units||8 dry gallon|
|metric units||36.36872 L|
|US dry units||8.2565 gal|
|imperial/US units||2219.36 cu in|
|1 US bsh in ...||... is equal to ...|
|US dry units||8 dry gallon|
|metric units||35.2391 L|
|imperial units||7.7515 gal|
|imperial/US units||2150.42 cu in|
The name "bushel" is also used to translate similar units in other measurement systems.
The bushel is an intermediate value between the pound and ton or tun that was introduced to England following the Norman Conquest. Norman statutes made the London bushel part of the legal measure of English wine, ale, and grains. The Assize of Bread and Ale credited to Henry III, c. 1266, defined this bushel in terms of the wine gallon, while the c. 1300 Assize of Weights and Measures usually credited to Edward I or II defined the London bushel in terms of the larger corn gallon. In either case, the bushel was reckoned to contain 64 pounds of 12 ounces of 20 pence of 32 grains.
These measures were based on the relatively light tower pound and were rarely used in Scotland, Ireland, or Wales during the Middle Ages. When the Tower system was abolished in the 16th century, the bushel was redefined as 56 avoirdupois pounds.
The imperial bushel established by the Weights and Measures Act of 1824 described the bushel as the volume of 80 avoirdupois pounds of distilled water in air at 62 °F (17 °C) or 8 imperial gallons. This is the bushel in some use in the United Kingdom. Thus, there is no distinction between liquid and dry measure in the imperial system.
The Winchester bushel was the volume of a cylinder 18.5 in (46.99 cm) in diameter and 8 in (20.32 cm) high, which gives an irrational number of cubic inches. The modern American or US bushel is a variant of this, rounded to exactly 2150.42 cubic inches, less than one part per ten million less. It is also somewhat in use in Canada.
|1 imperial bushel||= 8 imperial gallons|
|= 4 imperial pecks|
|= 36.36872 litres|
|≈ 8.25645 US dry gallons|
|≈ 9.60760 US fluid gallons|
|≈ 2219.36 cubic inches|
|1 US bushel||= 8 US dry gallons|
|= 4 US pecks|
|= 2150.42 cubic inches|
|= 35.23907016688 litres|
|≈ 9.3092 US fluid gallons|
|≈ 7.7515 imperial gallons|
Bushels are now most often used as units of mass or weight rather than of volume. The bushels in which grains are bought and sold on commodity markets or at local grain elevators, 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 on the moisture content of the commodity. Some of the more common ones are:
- Barley: 48 lb (21.7724 kg)
- Malted barley: 34 lb (15.4221 kg)
- Shelled maize (corn) at 15.5% moisture by weight: 56 lb (25.4012 kg)
- Wheat at 13.5% moisture by weight: 60 lb (27.2155 kg)
- Soybeans at 13% moisture by weight: 60 lb (27.2 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, fruits, vegetables, coal, hair and many other commodities.
Government policy in the United States is to phase out units such as the bushel and replace them with metric mass equivalents.
The German bushel was the Scheffel.
- "bushel, n.1", Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1888.
- Ruffhead, Owen, ed. (1763), The Statutes at Large, Vol. I: From Magna Charta to the End of the Reign of King Henry the Sixth. To which is prefixed, A Table of the Titles of all the Publick and Private Statutes during that Time, London: Mark Basket for the Crown, pp. 22. (in English) & (in Latin)
- Ruffhead, Owen, ed. (1763a), The Statutes at Large, Vol. I: From Magna Charta to the End of the Reign of King Henry the Sixth. To which is prefixed, A Table of the Titles of all the Publick and Private Statutes during that Time, London: Mark Basket for the Crown, pp. 148–149. (in English) & (in Latin) & (in Norman)
- William J. Murphy. "Tables for Weights and Measurement: Crops". University of Missouri Extension. Archived from the original on 25 May 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
- Marketing Oats in Canada http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis10952
- |purdue.edu pdf with equation for moisture
- US 1988 law on metrification https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/48/611.002-70
- Alexander, John Henry (1850), "Weight and Measure Systems: Warsaw", Universal Dictionary of Weights and Measures, Ancient and Modern; Reduced to the Standards of the United States of America, Baltimore: John D. Tot for Wm. Minifie & Co., pp. 151–152.
- Rykaczewski, Erazm (1851), "Korzec", Dokładny Słownik Polsko-Anglielski i Anglielsko-Polski, Czerpany z Najlepszych Źrodeł Krajowych i Obcych, Berlin: W. Księgarni b. Behra, p. 98. (in Polish) & (in English)
- U.S. Commercial Bushel Sizes for Agricultural Crops at the Wayback Machine (archived July 9, 2018)