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Queensland Government Imperial Bushel AD1875.jpg
Queensland Government Standard Imperial Bushel. Queensland Museum
General information
Unit systemimperial and US customary
Unit ofvolume
Symbolbsh or bu
Conversions (imperial)
imperial units
metric units
US dry units
US liquid units
imperial/US units
Conversions (US)
US dry units
metric units
US liquid units
imperial units
imperial/US units
A full bushel is represented by a basket in the lower right.

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 is 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.

The name "bushel" is also used to translate similar units in other measurement systems.


The name comes from the Old French boissiel and buissiel, meaning "little box".[1] It may further derive from Old French boise, thus meaning "little butt".[1]


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,[2] 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.[3] 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.[1] 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.[according to whom?]

The Winchester bushel is the volume of a cylinder 18.5 in (470 mm) in diameter and 8 in (200 mm) high, which gives an irrational number of approximately 2150.4202 cubic inches.[4] 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.[5] It is also somewhat in use in Canada.[]


1 imperial bushel = 8 imperial gallons
= 4 imperial pecks
= litres
? 8.25645 US dry gallons
? 9.60760 US fluid gallons
? cubic inches
1 US bushel [6] = 8 US dry gallons
= 4 US pecks
= cubic inches
= litres
? 9.3092 US fluid gallons
? 7.7515 imperial gallons


A table of weights from the secretaries of the different states, showing the number of pounds which their laws recognize as a bushel of different articles. c. 1854

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.[7] 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:

  • Oats:
    • US: 32 lb[7] (14.5150 kg)
    • Canada: 34 lb[8] (15.4221 kg)
  • Barley: 48 lb[7] (21.7724 kg)
  • Malted barley: 34 lb (15.4221 kg)
  • Shelled maize (corn) at 15.5% moisture by weight: 56 lb[7] (25.4012 kg)
  • Wheat at 13.5% moisture by weight: 60 lb[7] (27.2155 kg)
  • Soybeans at 13% moisture by weight: 60 lb[9] (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.[10]

Other units

The German bushel is the Scheffel. A Prussian scheffel was equal to 54.96 litres.[11]

The Polish bushel (korzec) was used as measure of dry capacity. It is divided into 4 quarters (?wier?) and in the early 19th century had a value of 128 litres in Warsaw[12] and 501.116 litres in Kraków.[13]

The Spanish bushel (fanega) was used as a measure of dry capacity. It is roughly equal to 55.5 litres in Castille.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "bushel, n.1", Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1888.
  2. ^ 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 |volume= has extra text (help). (in English) & (in Latin)
  3. ^ 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 |volume= has extra text (help). (in English) & (in Latin) & (in Norman)
  4. ^ The volume of a cylinder is V = (? · r2 · h) with r = ½ · 18.5 inches, h = 8 inches.
  5. ^ The relative difference is 1 - 2150.42 / V = 0.797×10-7.
  6. ^ Judson, Lewis (1963). Weights and Measures Standards of the United States (PDF). Department of Commerce: NBS Special Publication. p. 35.
  7. ^ a b c d e William J. Murphy. "Tables for Weights and Measurement: Crops". University of Missouri Extension. Archived from the original on 25 May 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  8. ^ Marketing Oats in Canada http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sis10952
  9. ^ |purdue.edu pdf with equation for moisture
  10. ^ US 1988 law on metrification https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/48/611.002-70
  11. ^ Lowis D'Aguilar Jackson (1882). Modern Metrology. p. 179.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Rykaczewski, Erazm (1851), "Korzec", Dok?adny S?ownik Polsko-Anglielski i Anglielsko-Polski, Czerpany z Najlepszych ?rode? Krajowych i Obcych, Berlin: W. Ksi?garni b. Behra, p. 98. (in Polish) & (in English)

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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