Farmers are waiting for Guinness to recognize their accomplishments
By Diego Flammini
Corn growers from Farmer City, Ill., used CLAAS machinery to establish two world records and break another.
Craig Stewart and his sons Bob and Brad set out on Sept. 26 to create the benchmarks for corn harvested in 10 hours. Currently, Guinness only recognizes harvest records for eight- and 12-hour intervals.
The family “used a (CLAAS) Class 9 760 LEXION TERRA TRAC combine with our 16-row 30-inch corn head,” Jeff Gray, product manager of field support for CLAAS of America, told Farms.com. “Supporting that combine was a CLAAS XERION 5000 tractor pulling a 1,100-bushel Kinze grain cart.”
In total, the farmers used one combine, three tractors and three grain carts, Gray said.
Mother Nature challenged the growers the morning of the harvest.
The field received about half of an inch of rain the night before, and grain moisture fell between 17 and 18 percent.
Nevertheless, the growers pushed forward with their record attempts.
For each record, the Stewarts had to bring the combine to a complete stop and unload the corn into a grain cart. The grain cart then unloaded the corn into a truck, which delivered the crop to a nearby elevator to calculate the totals.
At the eight-hour mark, the growers had harvested 43,739 bushels of corn. The 10-hour interval equated to 54,302 bushels and, in 12 hours, the farmers harvested 63,770 bushels of grain.
The previous record for corn harvested in eight hours was 19,196 bushels. Jay Justice, a producer from Beckley, W.Va., set the mark in 2001, Guinness says.
The 10- and 12-hour harvest records set on the Stewarts’ farms beat the previous marks by about 3,000 and 10,000 bushels respectively, Gray said.
The 10-hour record also holds special significance with Gray.
He operated a CLAAS LEXION 760 TERRA TRAC combine in 2010 to help harvest 51,153 bushels of corn in 10 hours, setting an unofficial record.
But he could easily see the advancements in combine technology watching the harvest from the sidelines this year, Gray said.
“It’s always a surprise when you can push the machinery to its limits and the result is just phenomenal,” he said. “What stands out to me is that, in 2010, as an operator, I was responsible for the majority of the settings and adjustments on that combine and would have to make periodic changes during the harvest.
“This time, we let the combine make those adjustments. The technology has evolved in eight years so that we can let the combine optimize itself automatically. We’ve reached a point where farmers are managing the machinery instead of operating it.”
CLAAS is waiting for Guinness to officially recognize the records, Gray added.