This season could be very challenging for producers, an equipment rep said
By Diego Flammini
With soybean harvest approaching, farmers may want to get a head start on preparing combines and other harvest equipment.
A thorough inspection of the header is a good place to start, said Kelly Kravig, harvest marketing manager with Case IH.
“How well the header can cut and convey the crop is absolutely critical in how well the combine can harvest,” he told Farms.com. “It comes down to simple things like checking the integrity of guards and sickles and checking if sickles are still sharp. The last thing you want is to go into a tough soybean field and not be able to harvest properly.”
Keeping extra parts and hardware in the combine can help reduce downtime should an issue arise, he said.
Farmers should also pay close attention to belts around the header.
Old belts could result in subpar performance, Kravig said.
“Belts stretch and sometimes (the equipment isn’t) achieving the right tension and isn’t able to harvest as well as you’d like it to,” he said.
The smoother the header can bring the crop into the feeder house of the combine, the greater the productivity, he added.
Basic inspections are also important for the combine itself.
Check its settings to ensure the combine is ready to go when the harvest window opens. And having extra concaves could help if soybeans aren’t completely mature yet.
“You want to check the configurations and see if the combine is set up for corn or beans,” Kravig said. “Farmers this year may be challenged with beans that aren’t fully mature, or you’ve got ripe pods but tough green stems. If a farmer gets into tough threshing conditions, a small wire concave up front can help thresh those tough pods and get the beans separated efficiently.”
Producers can perform these inspections themselves or take their equipment to a local dealership.
Many dealers will provide customers with an overview of the machine and what repairs or maintenance they should perform, Kravig said.