While you might be glad to finally be done with harvest 2017, don’t neglect to make any necessary notes to improve combine performance next harvest. Farm equipment mechanic Dan Anderson says to watch for the following three issues, in particular:
- Do you have “beaver huts” in your soybean fields after harvest? Irregular wads or bunches of soybean straw across a field are often due to bunch feeding at the platform. A reel that is out-of-phase from side to side will feed good on one side of the plat- form but build up bunches ahead of the auger on the side that is slightly forward or higher. Run the reel all the way forward and all the way back twice a day to rephase the hydraulic cylinders. If the reel won’t stay in phase (front to rear or up and down) for more than a round or two, make a note to have the hydraulic system checked before next harvest.
- Did lots of volunteer grain sprout in your fields after harvest? If the density of sprouted grain varies across the field, wrack your memory to recall what changed at the point where sprouts increase or decrease. An increase in grain loss often occurs when an operator doesn’t change the machine settings from the previous night before he starts harvesting dewy crops the next morning. Someday somebody will tie grain loss monitors to their GPS mapping system. Those maps will dramatically change the way operators run their machines, when they see how sensitive com- bines are to variations in ground speed, crop density, crop moisture and other variables.
- Did you pull small pieces of ragged metal from auger hoppers while unloading trucks? They prob- ably came from somewhere inside the combine. Take the metal to your local dealership and pass them around among the mechanics. There’s a good chance they’ll recognize where they came from in the combine and help you decide what repairs need to be made during the off-season.