Fix Little Things To Boost Combine Performance

Checking belts, chains, elevators, fluids and more are important tasks before no-tillers take to the fields for harvest.

Pre-season combine maintenance not only saves you time at harvest, but may also help you harvest more grain.

Here’s a checklist of maintenance items and adjustments you might consider before harvest arrives.

Elevators And Shoes

Before harvest, check all paddles and replace missing or damaged equipment. Inspect chain and paddles for excessive wear and replace if needed.

Also, replace sprockets if teeth are worn so chains aren’t stretched. Tighten the chain to manufacturer’s recommendations.

You should tighten the clean-grain chain at the bottom of the elevator if you have a yield monitor. Generally, leave the top shaft and bearing in a constant position so it doesn’t change the grain’s impact on the yield monitor’s mass-flow sensor.

Feeder House Maintenance

Examine slats and replace worn and bent ones. Make sure slats are operating parallel to each other.

Sagging chains accelerate wear, eventually leading to chains jumping on sprockets. It’s normal for the center chain to sag a bit because of the weight of the slats and upward force of the crop material.

Don’t over-tighten chains, as this can lead to shaft and bearing failure.

Examine eye rollers, pins and keepers, as well as all chain bits for wear. Also look for cups. Worn valleys and teeth that are cupped back on the feeder house’s top sprocket are sure indicators that a replacement is overdue.

Another task is to feel the drive belt. Handle the entire length of it while looking for cracks, missing pieces, burned spots and belt separation.

Any of…

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Leverich jim

Jim Leverich

No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellow for 2022, Jim Leverich is a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis. His 1,000 acre-farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his contributions while at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category) in 2006. A talented presenter and writer, Leverich was a regular guest columnist for No-Till Farmer in 2011 when it earned the Gold Medal as the nation’s top newsletter from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

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