My Review of Combine Advisor, New for John Deere S700 Series

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Corn and bean harvest was in full swing last week  (18-22 Sept).  Soybeans seemed to be the crop of choice to harvest first while growers were waiting on the corn to dry down a bit more.  I had a chance to operate one of the new model year ’18 S780 combines with the Combine Advisor Package installed in a cornfield not far from Assumption.  Combine Advisor automatically helps maintain machine performance once the operator initially sets the machine.  It has a high-speed camera on the clean grain and tailings elevators to monitor grain condition and tailings load in each respective elevator.

Combine Advisor Live Camera Video Feed

After the operator has set the machine to perform to his satisfaction, he will press the “set performance target” button and continue harvesting.  Once this is done, the system goes into action. For the next few rounds in the field, it looks at the loss monitor for separator and shoe loss levels.  It also inspects the free grain and trash levels in the tailings elevator via the tailings camera.  Lastly, it checks out the clean grain camera for foreign material and broken kernels.  During this period of time, approximately 10 min, it is learning the acceptable loss/damage/trash levels for each respective system.  Once it completes this learning period the system is ready and active.

Combine Advisor Adjustment Page

As the operator continues through the field,  the system is monitoring all of the above conditions and is looking for one that is outside the range that it experienced during the 10 minute learning period.  If it notices that one of the parameters is outside of acceptable levels, it will change one or more of the appropriate settings in the combine to try and correct the situation.  For example, if the system saw that the amount of free grain detected by the tailings camera was above the learned period level, it would open the sieve to try and direct more of this free grain to the clean grain elevator.  After the adjustment, the system will watch and see if the problem got better, got worse, or stayed the same for about 5-10 min.  It will also see if any other areas were affected, like in this scenario, if more foreign material was also introduced into the clean grain system.  If it lowered the free grain in the tailings, it would leave the sieve setting alone.  If it saw that the foreign material level went up it might close the chaffer or increase the fan speed to try and mitigate that development as well.

Combine Advisor Adjustment Settings Page

I got to experience firsthand the machine making needed adjustments on the fly.  We were harvesting corn in a field with 2 varieties.  We set the machine in the driest variety and continued harvesting.  It did have some small patches of replant in it, but the machine did not make “knee-jerk” adjustments when encountering the small patches of replant.  The customer was receiving a discount on drying costs from an elevator and decided we would move to the other end of the field to the wetter variety to take advantage of the discount.  I noticed shortly after I had moved to the new variety the combine had slowed the rotor and opened the concave.  I knew this because it had turned those two setting blue on the monitor.  I questioned why the combine had done this so I went to the performance history page and it showed me the reason for the change was because the broken grain levels had risen substantially.  After the machine had evaluated the change for a couple rounds it left them in place as we continued on through the field.  It made some other changes here and there to try and clean up the sample.  Some of them it left in place but some of them it did not leave in place an put them back to the original.  Once we got back into the drier variety the combine began to make adjustments again.  When it had finished “readjusting” the settings were nearly exactly where they were when we left the drier variety the first time.

Combine Advisor Performance History

I have set many combines in many different situations over my 20-year career with John Deere and Sloan Implement.  I can honestly say that this feature made me a better operator.  Not because it knew what adjustment to make better than I did, but because it was constantly watching the performance of the machine while I had other distractions.  I was also watching for drain sumps in the field.  Is the grain cart operator too close or too far away from my auger?  Am I going to make it to the end without running the grain tank over?  Are there any trucks here because the cart is almost full?  Am I running my deck plates too wide because I see a little corn shelling on the ground?  Etc., etc., etc.  Even if you are an experienced operator, you have many more things you are watching for as you run through the field in addition to keeping tabs on the performance of the machine.  If you are not an experienced operator, you can feel more comfortable that the machine is watching and adjusting as needed to do a good job.

To be honest, I thought this new technology was going to be nothing more than another bell and whistle that was just going to result in more phone calls for me to deal with while helping growers understand it.  I’m 99.9% sure I will still get some phone calls about it, but I think the value it brings will be worth it.

Thanks for spending your valuable time with me and hopefully this has given you some insights to the new Combine Advisor package.  Please be safe out there and have a bountiful and profitable harvest this fall.

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

Combine Settings for High Yielding Soybeans

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

It is looking like the soybean harvest this fall will be challenging with the size of the crop and the amount of weeds.  Just as a reminder to prevent unwanted down time, here are some basic combine settings for soybeans.

-Make sure feed accelerator is in high (belt in groove closest to combine)

-Rotor in high side (550 – 650 rpm)

-Straw chopper set to high

-Feeder house drum in the low position

-Feeder house drive chain in high for drilled or heavy tall beans

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

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.