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Tips to Tackling Lodged Corn
Tamra Jackson-Ziems, University of Nebraska
Increased incidence of stalk rot combined with high winds in some states have left some fields a tangled, lodged mess. Here are some tips to harvesting lodged corn.
- Start harvesting on the downwind side of the field.
- Operate the head as close to ground as possible and flatten its angle.
- Reduce ground speed. Set gathering chain and snapping roll speeds to match combine speed.
- If field speeds are significantly reduced, that means the amount of material being threshed and separated is reduced. You will likely have to reduce rotor and cleaning fan speeds to avoid kernel losses.
- Adjust gathering chains for more aggressive operation with points opposite each other and relatively close together. Consider turning gathering chains around to increase their aggressiveness.
- Adjust deck plates so they are spaced only slightly wider than cornstalks.
- Operate the head as low as practical.
- Harvesting in a single direction against the leaning stalks may help. But run down rows first and evaluate losses before devoting a lot of time dead-heading through the field.
- Adding a corn reel to the head may or may not help limit losses. But a reel appears to allow for greater travel speeds. Another accessory to consider: spiral cones mounted on row dividers.
- In severely lodged corn, you can try harvesting with a grain platform. If you do so, remember the amount of material other than grain entering the combine will be higher. This calls for concave clearance and increased cleaning fan speeds.
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