Three Tricks for Harvesting Lodged Corn

October 19, 2015 08:00 AM
Three Tricks for Harvesting Lodged Corn

Corn head snouts are flying out of the dealership after a recent spate of wind gusts across the territory that ranged from 30 to 45 mph. Guys are trying to deal with lodged corn, running their snout tips tight to the ground, and...we're selling a lot of corn head snouts as a result.

When you compare the cost of replacing snouts, along with the potential for running rocks through the machine, there comes a point where you have to accept that you can't get every ear. But before admitting defeat, here are things that have helped some of our customers deal with lodged corn:

  • "Corn head reels," hydraulically driven gadgets that help direct tangled stalks into the gathering chains, seem to help in corn that's tangled and twisted in multiple directions.
  • If the majority of stalks are leaned or laid-over in one direction, I've heard of farmers borrowing, renting or buying corn heads for 15-inch rows. The theory is that with the narrow row spacing it's possible to harvest across rows, so the guys just combine at whatever angle to their rows helps best feeds stalks into the corn head. Some guys say 20-inch heads will combine at an angle to the rows just as well as 15-inch heads. I can't vouch for that, but it's worth a try.
  • We've had customers that used their soybean platforms to salvage horribly flattened fields of corn. It took a lot of patience, and some creative settings of the combine to handle all the trash, but they felt it was the only way to salvage the badly damaged fields.

If there are other tricks or mechanical gadgets that can help harvest downed corn, I'd be interested in hearing them. (Leave a comment on Dan Anderson's blog or send him an email.)

And if one of your plastic corn head snouts get tweaked after an attempt to grub every ear off the ground, as long as the plastic isn't punctured or torn, and as long as the bend is gentle and not a sharp crease with the plastic whitened along the crease--sometimes leaving the snout outside on a warm, sunny day will magically "heal" minor bends or dings in the plastic.

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