With dry weather taking a toll on corn yields, the last thing you want to do is lose it during harvest. And according to this release, you need to pay very close attention to your combine settings to help minimize kernel damage and grain loss.
There’s nothing quite like a combine rolling through a field of bin-busting corn yields. Today’s combines are built to handle it. But, working with drought-stressed corn means less plant material and smaller corn kernels.
“With attention to detail and a few simple combine adjustments, growers can maintain kernel integrity, produce a clean grain sample and minimize grain harvest loss.” says John Keller, product performance manager for Gleaner combines.
Keller offers these recommendations:
- Allow for adequate material flow. In drought years, it’s critical to keep enough material coming into the combine.
- Lower your header to take in more crop material than you normally would. The stalks and leaves will provide cushioning and prevent excessive kernel damage. Particularly in today’s Bt corn, leaves will hang on to the stalks to help cushion the grain and decrease butt shelling before crop enters feeder house.
- Other ways to increase material volume to meet the needs of today’s high-capacity combines are using a larger corn head to feed in more rows of crop or increasing the machine’s ground speed.
- If you experience grain damage or combine plugging this is likely caused by an uneven flow of crop material caused by an improper adjustment. Refer to the combine operator’s manual or contact your local dealer for advice on combine adjustments for drought conditions.
- Be careful when threshing to prevent grain from going out the back of the machine. Fan speed should be slowed and sieve openings should be made smaller to account for smaller kernels.
- Remember to keep the stripper plates close and to narrow the snapping roll openings on your corn head to accommodate smaller ears and stalks.
Also pay attention to other parts of the combine. Filters need to be checked, and screens need to be cleared. Fires can also be more common during hot, dry conditions.
So are you prepared for harvest?