Finding Extra Profit This Fall
By Chad Colby @TheChadColby
Published in Farmers Hot Line
With each passing season there is a greater focus on technology in all aspects of farming. In this edition of Technology Times I will give you a few pointers that will help you increase your harvested bushels per acre without purchasing any new equipment.
On our family farm I remember my Dad teaching me the “art” of combine setup as a young farmer-in-training on our state-of-the-art International 1440 Axle-Flow combine.
“Simply put, you should always be adjusting your machine to the ever changing conditions. And always remember, normally, speed kills. Slowing down helps reduce grain loss; provided your machine is running at capacity. And don’t forget things change with different seed varieties and even the slightest change in moisture.”
Over the past several years I’ve had the honor to help many growers reduce their grain loss to acceptable levels. Do you know the one thing that most of these growers had in common? They were unaware that the majority of a combine’s losses come from the header—regardless of the crop. The trick is to understand where your problem or weak spot is and adjusting your machine accordingly, and saving those extra bushels.
During corn harvest, we’ve learned that improper adjustment of the stripper plates and header speed caused the most problems.
Loss during the soybean harvest has become much less with the widespread use of ‘draper’ style heads. Over the past few seasons we’ve constantly found 2-bushel gains from a conventional grain platform. Think of it this way—if you are rising over 800-acres of soybeans these heads will actually pay for themselves.
My best advice for your operation is to pay close attention to your combine’s performance this fall. And when you see a problem, fix it right. With the latest technology, most adjustments can be made right from the drivers seat.
Don’t forget to simply do the math. There’s major dollars on the line for all sized operations. A farmer with 3000-acres split between corn and soybeans can easily gain 2-3 bushel an acre with these simple tips. With the low prices that we see today, it is of even greater importance to not let those dollars, and bushels, get away from us.
Most combine manufactures have through guides and grower support to assist you. This would be the first place I recommend you look to find direction on your piece of equipment. Just keep a watchful eye for possible problems, especially with newer operators.
Also, as a friendly reminder, please keep safety on your mind this fall. We all know with harvest comes a fast pace and long hours—a simply double-check or a second-look can be the difference. Have a safe harvest.