8 Ways to Customize Your Combine
Apr 16, 2024
No combine works perfectly in all crops under all conditions. That’s why there are so many options and accessories for combines and headers. Here’s a list of harvest issues, along with products to help cure them.
Gathering chains play a role in salvaging lodged corn. Re-positioning the chains so the “staggered” lugs are paired can improve feeding. Some operators mount gathering chains backward, allowing open edges on the backside of the lugs to more aggressively engage cornstalks. Aftermarket options for gathering chains include adding Calmer Corn Heads’ small plastic paddles to the lugs to increase surface area. Instead of metal lugs, 360 Yield Center Yield Saver’s bristled blocks on each gathering chain intermesh to grip stalks, cushion the butts of ears to reduce butt-shelling and reduce kernel loss between the stalk rolls.
Corn head reels nudge tangled stalks into gathering chains and stalk rolls. Long arms or paddles mounted over each row on a rotating shaft that spans the width of a corn head prevent stalks from bunching at the front of stalk rolls. Reel speed is controlled by a variable-speed hydraulic motor. Options range from Kelderman Manufacturing’s simple design that’s manually adjustable up/down and fore/aft to Hawkins Ag’s hydraulically adjustable corn head reel that can be adjusted up/down and fore/aft on-the-go.
Stalk rolls come in a range of designs. Case IH’s knife edges meet and cut stalks from each side. John Deere’s RowMax has knife edges that oppose or intermesh, offering differing degrees of cutting/chopping aggression. Geringhoff’s Rota-Disc uses rolls with intermeshing slots and disks that shred stalks on a somewhat vertical plane to leave the tops of corn stubs flayed. Aftermarket options include Calmer Corn Heads’ knife rolls with spiral noses that improve feeding to the knife edges. Chainrolls from 360 Yield Center have intermeshing serrated edges to create stalks that, if not sliced, are crimped into mangled “chains” that speed degradation.
There is no single concave that will optimally thresh all crops. Round bar concaves are recommended for corn. Small wire concaves work best for small grains. Most OEMs offer filler plates, bar inserts, cover plates and other accessories to improve threshing in high moisture corn and greenstem soybeans.
Impellers and accelerators transfer crop from the top of the feederhouse into the threshing area. Claas Lexion impellers might benefit from serrated wear strips in ropey crops. John Deere’s serrated wear plates can be replaced with “swept back” plates or smooth plates to minimize damage in high moisture corn.
Kuchar Combine Parts, Estes Performance Concaves, Kondex and Copperhead Ag offer concaves. Each has special features to address crop situations that challenge OEM concave capacity and grain quality issues. According to Jeff Gray with Claas Lexion: “If somebody spends the time and money to put in a new one, whether it’s OEM or aftermarket, the new concaves are perceived to work better. First, because they’re new, and second, the operator tends to pay close attention to setting and adjusting them correctly after they spend all that money.”
Lankota offers an electromagnetic clutch kit that mounts on the grain tank cross auger/unloading auger drive. The operator can turn the cross augers on and off, so the vertical and horizontal unloading augers can clean out when unloading on the go.
Clogged combines are no fun. Arnold Innovations’ “reversers” hydraulically reverse and dislodge clogged feed accelerators in John Deere STS combines, threshing cylinders in Claas combines and rotors in New Holland machines. Lankota’s Slug Removal Tool manually unclogs John Deere STS discharge beaters. John Deere’s Feed Accelerator Tool clears plugged feed accelerators. Lodged CornGathering chains play a role in salvaging lodged corn.Corn head reels nudge tangled stalks into gathering chains and stalk rolls.Stalk rolls come in a range of designs. Case IH’s knife edges meet and cut stalks from each side.Threshing ProblemsThere is no single concave that will optimally thresh all crops.Impellers and accelerators transfer crop from the top of the feederhouse into the threshing area.Kuchar Combine Parts, Estes Performance Concaves, Kondex and Copperhead Ag offer concaves.Accessorize to OptimizeLankota offers an electromagnetic clutch kit that mounts on the grain tank cross auger/unloading auger driveClogged combines are no fun.