Narrow-Row Corn Head Could Speed Up Harvest

Dissatisfied with his previous corn head’s snapping rollers, Ross Bishop built a 20-inch, eight-row corn head out of International parts in pursuit of a shorter harvest time.

When no-tiller Ross Bishop wanted to speed up harvest and found his corn head was holding him back, he faced a tough choice: Purchase a brand-new header or build one himself. He chose the latter.

Bishop no-tills corn, soybeans, wheat and cover crops on his 600-plus acre farm near Jackson, Wis. Until last year’s drought, he was averaging 150 bushels of corn at a harvesting rate of 4 mph.

While that kind of production is successful for his area, he wants to take his harvest performance up another notch.

Last spring, he converted three old 38-inch, four-row corn heads into a 20-inch, four-row head using International parts. He’s been farming in 20-inch rows since 1997, but had grown dissatisfied with the snapping rollers on his previous John Deere corn head.

The problem, Bishop says, was how the rollers intertwined.

“It’s like a wall or mixer,” he says. “Once I get to 4 mph with the combine — and it can go a lot faster because of its capacity — the head won’t take in the material because it’s a bottleneck.”

Speeding up would only push down on the stalk and cause ear losses. With the new head, Bishop’s goal is to get the combine up to 5 mph or faster without sacrificing production.

Old Parts, New Head

To build the new header, Bishop repurposed parts he bought for “little to nothing.”

He took the three heads completely apart and used them to weld on additional pieces to both sides of…

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Laura allen

Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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