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Marion Calmer has a lot of experience modifying corn heads, particularly with his development of a 15-inch corn head. And the Lynn Center, Ill., no-tiller has a lot of experience modifying corn headers for improved performance.
The owner of Calmer Corn Heads offers his best 18 tips for harvesting downed corn. This is the full-length version of a story that accompanies a feature entitled, "Harvest-Time Residue Management Hurdles And Solutions" in the upcoming Summer issue of No-Till Farmer's Conservation Tillage Product Guide that will distribute July 27.
1. Install auto-header height on your corn head. We prefer the Headsight sensor system to Deere or Case sensor systems. Headsight is more sensitive and is spring loaded so you can back up without tearing it off. (Headsight: (574) 546-5022)
2. Flatten the corn head angle. We prefer to make gravity less of an enemy. When the corn is lodged in a direction other than "with the row," push the bottom out (wedge kits) or pull the top beam of the corn head toward the combine. Park the combine on a level surface and lower the header until the lowest point of the row unit is 2 inches above the ground. Place a protractor on the stripper plate and read the angle. I like 20 degrees for down corn and 24 degrees for standing corn.
3. Increase the corn head angle. If the corn is lodged "with the row," a steeper angle allows the gathering chain lugs to get closer to the ground…