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Storing your soybean header

Storing your soybean header

Winter storage prep should start right after harvest, an industry rep says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Soybean harvest across the U.S. is nearing completion.

Nationally, about 73 percent of the crop is off, the USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin said on Oct. 26.

On a state level, Minnesota farmers have harvested about 95 percent of their soybean acres while farmers in the Dakotas have harvested 93 and 91 percent of their respective soybean crops.

As the 2021 soybean harvest nears its end, farmers could be thinking about winter soybean header storage.

Storage prep should begin soon after harvest because header condition will be fresh in a producer’s mind, said Jim Franceschetti, a product marketing manager with Case IH.

“Doing it now, while a farmer knows the field conditions they just went through, is recommended,” he told “If you store your header and then go back to it later on, you could forget about something which has the potential to cause issues down the road.”

Cleaning the header is a good place to start.

Coming off harvest, there’s likely crop residue and other debris caught in the header.

“An air compressor is a nice tool to have to get rid of all foreign material and make sure there are no blockages within the feeding system and the other major components,” Franceschetti said. “

Greasing and lubrication is another important part of a storage routine.

Identifying areas that need attention will ensure they don’t rust or corrode, he said.

“The headers will have details about where to apply the grease,” Franceschetti said. “Also make sure drive chains are lubricated and you’re greasing the knife head bearing, the gauge wheel assembly, the header drive PTO and the auger drive PTO. These are all major components of the header system.”

From there, soybean farmers should look at the cutter bar.

Inspecting the knife drive, the guards and the sickle section is important.

“You’re looking for wear and tear from the harvest season, anything broken or any foreign material that’s in there,” he said. “Anything that looks like it needs replacing should be replaced at this time, and any foreign material is going to be used as a nest for critters, which we don’t want.”

For farmers who have draper headers, be sure to check the draper belt for cuts, tears or frayed edges.

Producers should also check oil levels and filters for necessary top ups or replacements, Franceschetti said.

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