Precision Point Blog

Back to Basics in the Combine

by Chad Swindoll on September, 22 2017 in Displays, Yield Monitoring

I have been around combines since I was a kid, and one of the things I learned early on from my father was the importance of setting the combine properly. The amount of crop that is wasted from improper combine settings or operation can be sickening. Real dollars get thrown away through the threshing and cleaning systems of ALL combines every year.

We see this when we pass by green fields from seeds that sprouted post-harvest. A general rule of thumb is that for every two kernels of corn we see per square foot behind a machine equals one bushel/acre loss. There are a few ways Ag Leader can help. 

8% Losses in 200 bu/acre Corn @ $3.50 per Bushel = $56/Acre Loss

Ag Leader made waves in the agriculture industry 25 years ago by introducing the on-the-go yield monitor, enabling producers to manage their crops at a level previously unheard of. InCommand displays were built on the idea that farmers want information that helps them make quick decisions with high confidence while in the cab. Variability exists within all of our fields, and a few simple pieces of information provided by Ag Leader displays can be of great value to you as you dial in your harvest operation.

Combines, like any other machine, perform best when within certain operating ranges. Most producers set their combines using a combination of manufacturers recommendations, gut feel, talking to neighbors, and checking for loss on the ground. We have even seen the introduction of many aftermarket products which are sold to enhance the threshing efficiency and/or reduce losses.

Available on the last three generations of Ag Leader displays, the bushels/hour reading can be helpful in determining and keeping your combine in the “sweet spot.” Keep in mind, using this feature as a tool is only valid when a calibration is done properly so that the flow is accurately measured. With InCommand, only two loads are needed to achieve the legendary Ag Leader yield monitor accuracy. By using the bushel/hour reading as a reference and checking for harvest loss, you can keep your machine operating in a range to minimize losing dollars through the rear of your machine. If your combine is operating above its ability to clean the grain, harvest losses can be dramatic. Do not assume that just because the machine is not struggling that there are not excessive losses.

 

In most crops, we also see a correlation between crop moisture and header loss. Dryer crops means that the action of the header can cause “shatter”. We can see this if we stop the machine in the field and examine the ground in between the header and where the residue begins that is being expelled from the rear of the machine. By keeping an eye on the moisture reading and doing some checks throughout the day, the operator can quickly determine areas he may need to slow header speed or ground speed to prevent losses. Because InCommand displays sync with one another, even the grain cart operator can help with this job since he has access to all the information that is being produced during the harvest operation. Also, remember that maps on InCommand include a direction of travel indicator.

 

The investment in Ag Leader yield monitoring is much more than a means of collecting yield maps. We want our customer to be InCommand of harvest

Chad Swindoll

Chad works as a Precision Technology Agronomist for Ag Leader where he helps lead product research, spends time understanding crop production problems that farmers face each year, and helps our team “talk like farmers.” His knowledge of farming is based on hands-on experience working in the family farming operation in the Mississippi Delta region. Prior to this role, Chad was the Mid-South territory manager for Ag Leader, serving the region’s dealers for three years. Chad attended Mississippi State University where he obtained a Meteorology degree and GIS/Remote Sensing Certification in 2011. He is husband to Edna and father to three wonderful children. Chad’s passion is serving the Almighty Creator, his family, and agriculture.

Read More by Chad Swindoll

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