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Tailgate Talk

September 28, 2013
Calmer 30 Row Corn Head
As yield goals continue to ratchet higher and corn rows inch closer, Calmer Corn Heads fits the demands with its 30-row, 12" corn head, which retails for $300,000.   

By Nate Birt and Sara Brown

Corn Head Eats Narrow Rows for Breakfast

The world’s first 30-row, 12" corn head is like harvesting fields with a fine-tooth comb. Marion Calmer designed the head in response to increased interest in narrow rows.

"The future in corn production is going to be smaller ears, but a lot more of them," says Calmer, CEO of Calmer Corn Heads.

To build the head, Calmer cut away one side of the gearbox and installed hydraulic stripper plates, automatic header height controls and row-sensing navigation capabilities. In order to build the 12"-wide poly snouts to withstand soil impact, Calmer added interior ribs and increased the amount of poly in each snout to avoid bending them under the combine at harvest.

The 10,800-lb. head features two stalk rolls and a single gathering chain with one big paddle, the latter of which reduces overall weight and creates a lower horsepower requirement. (A comparable head could weigh up to 14,000 lb.). Calmer anticipates rows could go as narrow as 10" with 10" seed spacing, which he says could consistently yield corn between 300 bu. and 400 bu. per acre, assuming plant populations of 60,000. His new head is designed for 12" rows with 10" seed spacing.

He tested a smaller model on 2,500 acres in Adele, Iowa, during the 2012 harvest on corn fields yielding 258 bu. per acre. Calmer says he will have covered 10,000 acres with two additional heads by the end of harvest this year.

What a Day!

27-Acre Victory

WAD photo option 2

On the first day working in the field, this farmer’s tractor overheated—then his left front tractor tire blew. As he was limping out of the field, he caught a tree root from a fence that had been taken out the previous fall and it wedged between the duals. Since when is 27 acres a victory?

If you’ve had one of those days—or caught someone else’s on film—we’d love to share it with our readers. E-mail high-resolution images to or mail prints to What a Day!, Farm Journal, P.O. Box 958, Mexico, MO 65265. Photos for publication will be selected on a first-come basis.

Stat Rack

Put all of your chips on the table, then get some more. A group of University of Illinois students recently served up the biggest batch of salsa ever:

6,840 lb. Total weight of the record salsa batch, up from the previous high of 5,868 lb.

1,200 lb. Tomatoes added to the salsa

200 lb. Onions used in the mix

20 lb. Spicy goodness in the form of jalapenos

70 gal. Lime juice—that sour supplement

5 gal. Size of the buckets used to fill the large tank of salsa

2012 Last year the university broke another food record—for the most people simultaneously husking corn

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - October 2013

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