The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Some areas of the midwest are battling excess moisture. Here are a few things to remember when you're harvesting in mud:
-Be aware that the angle of the cutting bar on bean platforms is tilted back several degrees when the combine's tires are wallowing in ruts a foot deep. A change of even a few degrees can dramatically change the height of cut and how well the cutterbar glides over the surface.
-Bean platforms pick can pick up mud when they get plowed into soft soil; corn platforms suck in more mud than you might expect when entire stalks with their rootballs get pulled into the machine. Be sure to check concave and sieves regularly to make sure they don't get plugged with mud. Also check the housings of the lower clean grain auger, upper clean grain elevator and the grain tank loading auger. Mud can get packed into those and increase wear to their augers or paddle chains. I've seen the bottom of clean grain elevators so full of hardened mud that the rubber paddles on the conveyor chain had an inch worn off their edges.
-Be prepared for increased maintenance expenses on harvest equipment during harvest and this winter. Even after floodwaters recede, the stems of soybeans that have been flooded have a lot of sand and grit stuck in their nodes. Combining crops that have been flooded is like combining sandpaper. Combining beans that have been flooded any time during the growing season increases the need to replace sickle sections and guards during harvest. Sand and grit in soybean stems and cornstalks also dramatically increases wear to the concave, threshing elements and straw chopper knives. To a degree, the abrasives also increase wear to the louvers on sieves. Be sure to check anything exposed to "dirty" crop material during, and especially after harvest for excess wear.
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