RTK Stations & Rowsense Tips

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI

Blue Mounds, WI

Platteville Mound

Phil Loduha

We installed a new RTK base station in Wiota, WI this past week. The 24 hours survey is complete and it’s ready to use. Contact us if you are interested in using this base’s frequency.

Wheat Drilled with AT and 15' drill

Things have been going pretty smoothly with many guys wrapping up soybeans. We’ve been getting some calls on rowsense as people are switching over to corn. First of all, check your rowsense feelers and make sure the slop is adjusted out of them. Next, if you have a lot of hills and contours try turning up your steering sensitivity (140 has been working well for a lot of guys). If you are still having issues, give us a call and we can take a look at it.

I installed Active Implement guidance on a Steiger 600 with an external SCV and Protrakker drawbar hitch for pulling a 2510H this week. It was working very well.

9R Tractor Communication Problems

by Jared Wheeler, Assumption, IL

We have been getting calls recently on 9R tractors having communication problems.  One of the most common complaints that customers are noticing is that their AutoTrac isn’t working or other controllers are missing from the CAN.  This is often caused by moisture getting into the connectors at the back of the tractor.  This has been a big problem this year due to the amount of rain we have received.  If you are noticing something similar to this happening to your tractor then go to the back of the machine and check the ISO connector and the 2 connectors that plug into the back of it.  If you see moisture in the connections then spray it with contact cleaner or it might also need replaced.  If you follow the 2 connectors out of the back of the ISO connector you will find 2 more connectors that also need to be checked.  You can see these connectors circled in red.9R Communication

Cracked Corn, Leaving corn on the Cob, and Unloading Auger Failures

Harvesting at K&J Farms

by Josh Zuck, Lanark, IL 

Harvest has been in full swing in Northern IL. Customers are seeing 235 – 250 bu /acre yields and around 22 – 25 % moisture. Customers are still having some issues with cracking corn with the higher moisture. The first thing to check it to make sure your feed accelerator is on the slow speed. Also run your rotor slower than Deere’s recommendations.  Run slow enough to prevent damage, but fast enough to get all the corn off the cob. If you are still having issues with cracking, install the smooth feed accelerator paddles and even a feed accelerator slow down kit. We have been selling a few of these and customers are seeing a big improvement in the grain tank. The part number for the slow down kit is BH81691.  Contact your local Sloan Implement Parts Department for more info and pricing.

I have been seeing some full season corn that was planted early in the spring where the moisture is around 20%, but the cob has been rubbery and customers are having a few issues with getting the corn off the cob. If you are noticing kernel loss on the rotor sensor, you want to raise your chopper and put the chopper in neutral. By raising the chopper you are dropping all the trash in a wind row and making it easier to see if you are leaving it on the cob or it is just not making it out of the rotor on to the chaffer (loose corn). Mainly, I have been seeing it left on the cob. To correct this, tighten the concave a few millimeters at a time and re-check the rear of the machine. Speeding up the rotor helps with this also. I have been speeding up 20 rpms at a time to make sure I am not damaging the corn.

Unloading auger failures have been back to haunt us once again. The main reason for the failures are leaving the unloading auger full. Customers are “topping off” the grain cart when the bin is full and then shutting off the unload when it is still full of corn. What is happing is the higher moisture corn is then sitting in the auger as they continue picking. The main failure area we have been seeing in the top splines in the vertical auger are getting stripped. When you engage the auger, it will strip the splines then shear the shear bolt in the unload hub.  Make sure if you are going to top off the cart, only pick what the cart can hold so you can run the auger empty, especially in higher moisture corn.


Proper Platform Angle and Header Calibration Tips

S680 with near peak fall colors near Muscoda, WI

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Corn and soybean harvest resumed late last week as a window of weather has entered Central Illinois.  The corn has dried way down since before all of the rain and the beans are much more ready to cut as well.

John Deere just announced the release of shared coverage maps for swath control.  This will allow two planters in the same field to use the headlands created by the other planter.  This has been a highly sought after enhancement and will be available in Feb 2015.  More details to follow.

When cutting beans, the steeper the angle of cut (other than perpendicular) will result in less beans “run over” by the snout on the end of the header.  It also will improve feeding into the header.

On draper heads, make sure that you never take crop down only on one side other than for a very short distance.  Doing so will cause the crop to be pushed across the center belt and pulled under the opposite side belt and can result in plugging of the side belt.

Make sure that you re-calibrate your headers as header control performance will need to be at its optimum in the current soft conditions.  Also insure that the pitch on your feederhouse is correct for the header on the combine.  One quick way to check this is to press the 2 or 3 button on the hydro handle with the header switch turned on and allow the header to lower to the ground.  Shut off the machine and go out to the ends of the header and check the outer yellow skid shoe for level.  If it is pitched too far forward it can cause the cutterbar to push material in front of the header.  If it is too far back then it will cause the material to build up under the header and and drag material.

Planting Cover Crops with a Valmar Seeder and Vertical Tillage Tool

by Lucas Benning, Vandalia, IL 

Things in Southern Illinois, as with the rest of the state, continue to be very wet. I have heard of combines and grain carts getting stuck, but nothing major. Yields continue to be very good for our area. Most guys are planning on a 200 bu/a corn average and hopefully 50bu/a for soybeans. The recent rains have made the double crop beans in the area look very good and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some double crop fields beat some of the early planted beans that didn’t receive rain in July and August.

One thing starting to make an impact in our area is cover cropping.  Guys are seeing cleaner fields in the spring that are free from weeds, and in the process they are boosting organic matter in the soil. Currently there aren’t many options for planting your cover crops.  You can fly it on with an airplane or you can make 2 passes, first with the tillage tool and next with the seeder. Cost is a concern for both of these methods.  Broadcasting during fertilizer application is an option, but stand quality can be an issue because of poor seed to soil contact.

Valmar has created a seeder that combines many of these methods and it can be operated and recorded with a John Deere GS3 2630 or 2600 display.  A Valmar seeder is a bulk bin with a set of rollers and a fan that blows the seed through tubes, similar to a John Deere air seeder, but much more compact. These bins are universal and can be mounted to anything.

mcfarlane cover crop seeder 003

Valmar Seeder on a McFarlane Reel Disk

The seed tubes run directly in front of the rolling basket harrow so the seed can get the proper seed to soil contact.

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The Valmar is either ground or hydraulically driven.   I think the hydraulic drive is the better option since the ground drive wheel seems flimsy and the chain is prone to jumping off.  In order to run the system with a JD GS 2600 or 2630 display you must have the hydraulic drive option as well as a John Deere Dry Rate Controller.  Ag Express has a wiring harness that plugs into Deere’s 37-pin rate controller as well as the PWM valve and the speed sensor on the seeder. It is controlled through a GS 2600/2630 display similar to an air seeder and uses a PWM valve as a controller. You then add your calibration factors and start to calibrate the PWM valve and then do a CFR drop test.  The drop test is where you enter your bulk density of product, test speed, test rate, desired weight, and expected CFR. The expected CFR can be approximated because after doing the test the monitor will give you the weight it thought it dropped and you have to enter the actual weight and it will adjust the CFR accordingly. We had to do the drop test a few times in order to get it dialed in, but we also started with an expected CFR that was way off and had to narrow it down from there. After that everything should be set and ready to run.

The Valmar seeder solves the expense of a plane and the wasted fuel with 2 passes. It also helps with the seed to soil contact issue with broadcasting with fertilizer.

If you have any question about this setup get a hold of your local AMS Specialist or salesman for more information.

mcfarlane cover crop seeder 002


Platform Maintenance and Feeder House Adjustments

by Bill Kletecka, Cuba City, WI 

Harvest in southwest Wisconsin is off to a fevered pace with dry fall weather, and dry crops.  Customers have been actively combining beans with yields ranging around mid to upper 60’s.  Bean moisture’s have been very good with very little of them overly dry.  The stems of the beans have been another story, with very little of them being fit for cutting.

Green stemmed beans truly test the cutter bar on the head, and the customers that maintain and adjust their heads are able to cut cleaner fields.  We recommend replacing both guards and sickles yearly to ensure a clean cut.  We have found that the edge on the guards is equally if not more important that the knife sections for clean cuts.   On 600F series head it is very critical to keep the hold downs tight to the sickle.  The rule of thumb for them is the thickness of a business card between the hold down and top of the sickle.  For the 600FD heads we found that is also critical to adjust the feeder house fore and aft on the combines.  This is due in part to the increased distance from the sickle to the rear of the head.

Here are some fast instructions for an S series combines.  Remember, if you are working under the feeder house to put the safety stop on the cylinder. This diagram shows the fasteners to loosen.

Fore/Aft Feederhouse Adjustments


Do not loosen “C”.  Once they are loosened you can lengthen your turnbuckles on the top of the feeder house keeping them in equal length.  We found that three full turns on the turnbuckle are more than enough to get a better cut.  After the turnbuckles are set tighten up the hardware, and you should be able reattach the head and check the angle.  All combine operators manuals show how to do this in more depth if more info is needed.

2014 Harvest Photos Sept 30-Oct 10

Here are some more pictures taken from Sept 30-Oct 10.  It’s still early October with plenty of nice autumn days ahead.  There should be several more photos posted in the next few weeks courtesy of our product support team in the fields with our customers.


Philip Loduha Starting Wurms Farns 9570 and 630F


Wurms 9570 and 630F in Soybeans


9570 Chopper in Action


Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow


Schuldt Farms Harvesting Soybeans


Floaters on a WI 9770

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Eclipsed Harvest Moon over Ludwig Family Farms


S670 & 635FD Flex Draper Demo to Wills


Harvesting at K&J Farms


Climbing the Hills in WI


Big Yields on this Hillside


Cutting Beans under a Harvest Moon

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Fence Post Through a Combine


Harvest Moon

photo 2

Vance Farms Harvesting Green Beans near Havana, IL

photo 3

Green Bean Harvest