Combine operators often are so focused on combine adjustments related to threshing and separating grain that they overlook the importance of adjusting their combine’s residue chopping and distribution system.
"I tell farmers that next year’s crop starts with how well they cut and distribute the residue from this year’s crop," says Jeff Gray, senior product specialist, Claas Lexion. "They need to make sure the chopper’s knives are sharp, and that it’s set up and adjusted to spread residue evenly across the width of their header’s swath.
"It’s especially important in green-stem soybeans to get that residue cut up as fine as possible and evenly distributed," Gray says. "If you don’t get it cut up enough, it can cause problems with plugging tillage or seeding equipment next spring. If you don’t get it distributed evenly across the full width of the header, it can cause uneven warming of the soil at planting and affect plant emergence next year.
"It’s not exaggerating," Gray says, "to say that the way operators adjust and operate their combines affects two crops—the crop they’re harvesting and the crop they’ll plant the next spring."