by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL
Rain has slowed harvest progress in Central Illinois. A few farmers are back at it today with cautious optimism. As with any wet and muddy condition, power requirements are usually at higher levels than with dry and firm field conditions. Now might be a good time to change your fuel filters if you are at or near that service interval to prevent having to do so in the field.
Another issue with softer soils is that header control and its calibration become more important. Make sure that your header has been properly calibrated even if it has been done in previous years and appeared to work fine when we had better field conditions. Also, make sure before you do the calibration, all of the mechanical flex arms underneath the platform are free from mud and debris and are working freely as well as the sensor rods too. Once you start the calibration, when the lower header command is on the screen, make sure you lower the header to the ground and hold down on the lower switch for a few extra seconds to make sure that the sensors are fully compressed. This will insure that the full range of the sensor will be taken in to account during the calibration and make for better header performance. In the field, if you are experiencing material “drag up” issues increase your hydraflex pressure. This will remove weight from the cutterbar and allow it to slide over the ground easier. If problems persist, make sure that the yellow poly skid shoes are running level with the ground. This can be accomplished by changing the pitch on your feederhouse face plate. Another tip is you can turn up the header and/or tilt sensitivity to make the system more reactive. Cutting beans at an angle can also reduce residue challenges in soft soils as the cutterbar is constantly swept clean by incoming crop. The more severe the angle you cut the less crop you will run over with the end snout and skid shoe.