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In the Shop

RSS By: Dan Anderson, Farm Journal

As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.

Your new combine could perform more poorly than your old combine.

Jun 20, 2008
 Everybody is frantically trying to finish planting, re-plant, spray herbicides or side-dress fertilizer, but harvest is coming--in only a few weeks in wheat and small grain country. Here are some things to think about if you traded combines since last harvest:

-If you swapped tires and wheels from your old combine to the new combine, you may have to recalibrate the combine's wheel speed sensor to make the speedometer on the cornerpost accurate. If you use a yield monitor, the wheel speed sensor will have to be recalibrated to keep "acres harvested" accurate. Some owner's manuals tell how to calibrate wheel speed, otherwise you'll have to contact your combine dealership.

-If you use a yield monitor or yield mapping, be aware that hardware and software is changing rapidly for those systems. Yield monitor components that worked in your old combine may--or may NOT--transfer easily into the newer combine. Even if the components transfer, or if you purchased new components with the machine, there may be software updates available or recommended for the system. Contact the dealer for the yield monitor/yield mapping system to find out how to check for or download software updates long before you head to the field.

-If you kept your old platform or corn head, be certain their hydraulic and electrical connectors are compatible with the connections on the new combine's feederhouse. You may have to get adapters or extensions to make the connections work. Older combines and headers have analog electrical systems. New combines have digital electrical systems. Adapting an older analog head to work on a newer digital combine will "work", but some of the features and functions may not work as well as when the systems are of the same type.

-If you're mounting your old soybean cutting platform on a newer combine, think about whether the new combine has taller or different tires/wheels. If the new tires/wheels are different height than what was on the old combine, it can change the angle of the cutterbar and skid shoes. A platform that did a smooth job last year could suddenly become a bulldozer this year, simply because the platform mounts at a different angle on the new combine.

The biggest thing to remember if you traded combines is to check, test, and calibrate everything weeks before you're ready to go to the field. That way if you have to order adapter parts, download software or make other changes, you won't be scrambling to do it all on the day you wanted to start harvest.
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