Harvest lessons yield aftermarket combine solution
Harvest in the eastern Corn Belt can be a tough nut to crack. Conditions are often damp, limiting combine speed and challenging components. So designer and inventor Donnie Estes built an aftermarket system he hopes will help remove the phrase "tolerable loss."
Estes, a concave rebuilder from Frankfort, Ind., says farmers benefit from his patented RPR Thrashing/Separating Concave System because it cuts rotor loss and thrashes all crops with one concave system, including wet and dry corn between 30 bu. and 300 bu. per acre, 100-bu. green stem soybeans and 100-bu.-plus wheat.
The initials RPR stand for round bar, progressively open and restrictive flow. The system’s three concaves—one for thrashing, one split between thrashing and separating, and one for separating—contain an array of notched 1" round bars (7⁄16" down and 5⁄8" out) spaced progressively open, allowing grain to enter the cleaning section more quickly. Bars have a guaranteed wear life of 2,500 hours.
The RPR system also includes 14 Disrupter lugs that can be fitted to the separating grate to disrupt crop flow, releasing additional grain, Estes says.
Out the back. During the 2012 corn and soybean harvest, Eric Wappel used the RPR system on a John Deere 9870 near San Pierre, Ind. Before using the system, the combine had challenges.
"We were throwing a bunch of grain out the back," notes Wappel, describing how he could only harvest up to 3 mph for a rate of up to 2,800 bu. per hour. He second-guessed his decision to trade in a John Deere 8010 that could handle more than 4,000 bu. per hour.
With the RPR system, Wappel found that his John Deere 9870 could harvest early September corn at 34% moisture just above 4,000 bu. per hour.
The system is made for all large John Deere rotors. Prototypes are in progress for Case IH combines in 2014.
Between Corpus Christi and Houston, Texas, Larry Stary farms 1,200 acres of milo and corn, and combines an additional 3,000 acres of soybeans and wheat. He’s confident the RPR system left his fields cleaner this year.
Estes acknowledges some Disrupter lugs might have to be removed to leave wheat straw long enough for baling, though this might result in some rotor loss. The kit retails for $4,500.
You can e-mail Nate Birt at email@example.com.