BRANDON — Grain loss monitors don’t document how many bushels end up on the ground. Conventional drop pans are a nuisance and dangerous. The BushelPlus magnetic drop pan addresses those issues.
If checking combine losses was convenient, farmers would do it. But it isn’t, so they don’t, according to Marcel Kringe of BushelPlus in Brandon.
“Years ago they invented that crazy idea of running along the combine throwing pans under to catch some kind of poor sample. But combines are getting bigger and faster and that old practice is just way too dangerous. If you tripped, the combine could easily run you over,” says Kringe.
“We had to come up with a system that’s safer for the farmer, quicker and more accurate. Plus the pan never landed in the same spot, did it?
“I was working years ago on setting up combines with Martin (Reichelt, a.k.a. Doctor Harvest). We were working on bigger grain farms with a variety of all the different combines in a day. That’s where we came up with this idea.”
The BushelPlus system Kringe devised uses remote control drop pans along with a separator to clean the sample. The drop pans are held to the belly of the combine with powerful electromagnets. When the operator wants a sample, he continues running at normal speed with normal settings, then presses a button and the pan drops straight down into the stubble below the rear of the combine, where it catches grain coming off the back.
Kringe has an extensive combine background, having worked for Claas in Europe and as a farm manager in Russia before moving to Manitoba six years ago to work as an agronomist for Cargill. He now works as provincial sales manager for Thunder Seed and runs BushelPlus as a sideline.
“We would manage 15 or 20 combines per day, checking them twice a day, throwing the pan by hand. You get tired of that and it’s very dangerous, especially when you’re tired. That’s why we worked on developing this system. My friend Martin Reichelt started the design years ago, he’s the inventor. Then we worked together to refine it.”
On a wide body combine, the pan mounts below the feeder house and on the rear axle for other combines. The two magnets allow the operator to quickly attach the pan. There’s no bolts and no wiring involved. It’s all done with magnets. To ensure an accurate reading, a cover prevents kernels from dropping into the pan before it’s dropped. The same cover is used for both pan sizes. The smaller pan is used in tall difficult stubble such as straight-cut canola or three-foot hemp. The larger pan is used for cereals.
“It takes three seconds to attach the pan. When the operator is ready to drop the pan, he uses a radio remote control. That catches an accurate sample of the losses coming out the back. We have customers who didn’t realize they were losing three or four bu. per acre. Using the
BushelPlus, they cut their losses down to a half-bu. per acre. In one case with oats, we took the combine from eight bu. lost down to a 0.8 bu. loss.
“To clean the sample, we used to have sieves, and that took 15 to 20 minutes. Now we have a rechargeable separator so it takes 15 to 20 seconds. It gets the straw and chaff away from the kernels so you can weigh them. It’s better to weigh them than count them because your thousand-kernel weight always changes.
“Farmers also use the separator to check moisture in a swath in the field. They push the pan under the swath and shake a sample, then use the separator to clean it. They can also cool down a sample coming right out of the dryer in just a few minutes.”
BushelPlus is available directly from Kringe for a list price of $2,899. Details are available on the website www.bushelplus.ca.