A combine marketing manager provides some in-season maintenance tips
By Diego Flammini
Depending on the size of the operation and Mother Nature’s co-operation level, farmers may only have a few weeks to complete harvest.
And once combines start rolling, the last thing a producer wants to experience is a combine breakdown.
With uptime at top of mind, Farms.com spoke with Kelly Kravig, a combine marketing manager with Case IH, for tips on how to keep the combine running well during the harvest season.
“Once you get into the season, it’s a matter of daily maintenance,” he told Farms.com. “The biggest thing is making sure you have common parts on hand in case you have to replace anything.
“This year especially, we’re recommending farmers have spare dividers and hoods on hand because, if you’ve got downed corn and are trying to creep through the field, there’s a good chance you can fold something under.”
Growers may also want to check yield monitors periodically.
Calibrating them at the beginning of harvest is always recommended, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure the readings are accurate.
“Just do a few checks to make sure the loads you’re hauling in are consistent with what you’re seeing on your display,” Kravig said. “The same can be said about header height control and feeder house calibration. If you do this type of maintenance up front, it’ll make the season go a lot smoother.”
During fall harvest, producers bringing in food-grade corn or beans should also check for areas on the combine where crop residue has collected.
If there’s residue where it shouldn’t be, cleaning it out with air pressure can help ensure smooth combine operation.
Some combines have “clean-out doors that you can open and take a wand with some air pressure and blow out all of the crop residue,” Kravig said. “Guidelines are usually set out in operator’s manuals.”
Overall, if a producer approaches his or her combine prior to fall and tunes it up like it’s going in for winter storage, they shouldn’t run into any issues during harvest.
“A lot of farmers see the value in it because it prevents expensive and time-consuming delays and lets farmers get the crop off faster," Kravig said.