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.

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.

Tips for Combining in Muddy Conditions and Proper Platform Calibration

Rainbow after a harvest shower

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.

Configure your 2600 / 2630 Monitor for Soybeans while Optimizing Hydraflex Pressure

by  Sloan Product Support Team, Assumption, IL 

I have been helping a lot of guys switch over to beans in the last week and have a few common questions that come up. The first is how to switch your combine monitor from one crop to another crop when you have a Greenstar monitor installed.  On the GS2 or GS3 displays navigate to the document tab. This can be found by hitting the very bottom right button on the screen then hitting GS2 or GS3 on the following screen depending on which model you are using. Document should be icon letter “I” on the page displayed below.

Select the “Change Harvest Settings” button from the top of the screen and select the crop you are changing to, as well as the brand and variety below that. Once accepted this will change the crop identification on the combine armrest screen to what was selected on the Greenstar monitor. You can then adjust your combine’s harvest settings after making the appropriate changes to the outside of the machine as instructed in the operators manual for what crop you are harvesting.


Change Harvest Settings on Greenstar Display

The second common question is how the pressure setting on your hydraflex platform affects the performance of the head on the ground. This setting basically affects the amount of weight that is on the ground from the header. The height of the cutter bar will remain in the same position off of the ground but the header won’t push as hard on the ground as you cut. Pushing occurs the most in the early morning hours when first starting for the day and then also in the later afternoon/evening hours. The higher the pressure setting will cause a lighter head on the ground and the header to float over the ground easier. The lower the pressure setting the more weight on the ground and the header holds on the ground better. This setting will need to be adjusted throughout the day for optimal performance out of your hydraflex platform. Try and run the least amount of pressure that you can without seeing any pushing occurring behind the head. The outside of the head tends to push up the worst so keep an eye on these locations when adjusting the pressure. Adjustment of the pressure can be done with the AHC knob on the armrest of the combine while running the header in the field.

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