Combine clinic for small grains harvesting held in Grundy Center

TR PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND -Titan Machinery service technician David Freeseman points out a particular area on Wade Dooley’s combine that needed to be adjusted for small grain harvesting.

GRUNDY CENTER — Titan Machinery of Grundy Center hosted a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day “Combine Clinic for Small Grains Harvesting” for small grains harvesting on June 27. This event was part of Practical Farmers’ main 2018 field day season, which includes 40 events across the state, and beyond, on topics spanning the agricultural spectrum.

In theory, harvesting small grains standing in the field with a soybean combine head is possible. In practice, however, many farmers experience high grain loss when they try this harvest method. The reason is most likely due to how the soybean combine head is set up. By making some key adjustments, it’s possible to significantly increase the amount of grain captured.

Brandon Maxwell, Titan Machinery’s area product manager opened the clinic with a PowerPoint presentation on the Case IH series of combines which include the Legacy, Mid-range and Flagship series of models. He presented the 10-hour daily system checks and 50- hour weekly checks before going into depth on the settings that needed to be adjusted from settings used in normal bean and corn harvesting when converting to small grains harvest.

He went into depth on each part that needs to be adjusted such as rotor settings, concave settings, and the grate type, chaffer settings, shoe settings, and fan RPM. He also showed the difference between standard rotor machines and those that use the specialty rotors.

Wade Dooley, a Practical Farmers of Iowa member from Albion, brought his combine to the field day which is set up for harvesting cereal rye later this summer. Dooley has grown winter wheat, oats and rye for the past four to five years for cover crops, but now grows primarily rye as he says it gives him a more robust cover crop in the spring.

“The goal of this day is to get all of us farmers together to talk about the different machines we have and troubleshoot who to make them better,” Dooley said. “We also want to try and figure out how to harvest small grains more efficiently.”

He added, “Titan machinery puts on a combine clinic in the summer for fall harvest of corn and beans, but we have never had a clinic on small grain harvesting which requires different combine settings. With so many more farmers growing small grains now there is a serious knowledge gap. One can go on YouTube and watch a video, but really a person doesn’t know how good that information is.”

“As far as books go, they are mainly written about harvesting in conditions not common to Iowa. The boys out west with their winter wheat do not have near the humidity that we have here,” Dooley said.

Titan service technician David Freeseman, used Dooley’s combine to show the group how making adjustments in the gathering (head), threshing and cleaning areas can increase the ability of the combine to capture as much grain as possible, as cleanly as possible. He also then moved to a Legacy and Flagship machine to point out the differences in the combine itself and in the adjustments that needed to be made.

He also took the group outside to the lot to be able to look at the combine heads themselves and see the settings that needed to be made on the different type heads, while fielding questions form the group members.

“I learn a whole lot more when the machine is right in front of me and a mechanic is telling me what to do than if I was just reading a manual or a book or watching a video,” Dooley concluded.

Titan Machinery operates a network of full-service agriculture and construction equipment stores in the United States and Europe. Customers can buy or rent new and used construction and agriculture equipment; purchase parts; and get service support. Titan Machinery represents its manufacturing partner, the CNHi family of brands – including Case IH, Case Construction, New Holland Agriculture and New Holland Construction.

Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Its values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit Interested persons in the area can also visit with them at the Grundy County Fair on July 19.