BRANDON — The recently held Combine College had specific courses in setting John Deere, Claas, New Holland and Case combines. The class for each brand was conducted by a technician who specializes in that colour.
The New Holland twin rotor class was conducted by independent combine consultant Murray Skayman from Virden. He said there are a number of slight but significant differences between the Belgium-built combines and those built in Grand Island, Nebraska.
“The Belgium combines are made for Europe, where they have these really big yields and wet material,” said Skayman, who has been trouble shooting combines for 45 years.
He said the Belgium combines come with a rubber flap on the top sieve. The Nebraska combines leave the factory without the rubber flap.
“Those flaps and covers are a problem with all the combines we have. They’re designed mainly for corn and soybeans. Then they ship them up to us and we’ve got to try make them work for cereals and canola. We can do it. It’s not impossible. But you have to understand everything that happens in there.
“For example, that rubber flap should be on all combines. We’re putting a major load on these sieves. If we weren’t loading the sieves, then we’d simply buy smaller combines. The bottom sieve needs a metal dam, and it’s not there on most combines. It’s only about a $100 item, but you’ve got to have it to control the air, otherwise you’ll have sieve problems.
“Harvesting canola, another thing that’s sometimes missing, is the cover underneath the beater. That cover should be in there when they sell the combine, but usually it isn’t. It’s a part number, but lots of times I’ll just take some sheet metal, drill two holes and put a bolt through it.”
The new IntelliSense automated crop setting system is designed to reduce grain loss, improve grain quality and reduce the number of decisions for the driver. It has cleaning shoe sensors, which measure the load, thus providing data for adjusting threshing settings, fan speed and the opening on the pre-sieve, upper sieve and lower sieve. The rotor vane adjustment is also automatic. Skayman cautions that the system won’t do all the thinking for you.
“You’ll be going along in a really heavy canola crop thinking you’re doing a great job, but it’s only doing what you’re telling it to do. If it’s not calibrated, then it will give you wrong information. You’ve got to get down out of the cab to throw pans.
“I have a whole variety of pans I carry with me. My favourite is this little tough one, about one square foot. It’s not very big, but it gives me a rough idea of what’s happening. And it’s heavy. I told Dad to build me a heavy pan, so he made it heavy. It’s probably 20 pounds, so it doesn’t bounce. It stays put where you throw it.
“Some of these guys are making really big drop pans that go in under the back. I guess they’re OK. The way spreaders throw the material, you don’t get a representative sample dropping a big pan right behind the combine. I like getting more off to the side, just about right outside the back tire, to get a better idea of how things are really falling. On a Case, you want to check both sides because you may not be loading the sieve evenly.”