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Harvest Report: Good, Dry Weather Throughout The Midwest’s Western Edge

Harvest is progressing well in guest blogger Corwyn Lepp’s territory, which includes several states and a variety of crops. Lepp is the Case IH combine product specialist covering South Dakota, southeastern North Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Crops include corn, soybeans, winter and spring wheat and sunflowers – along with a little bit of milo, edible beans and popcorn. Lepp grew up on a farm and has spent his entire career working with combines. (They’re his favorite machines.) With 27 years of machinery experience and starting at International Harvester, Lepp spent 12 years as a territory service manager, and 13 years as a territory sales manager before jumping into his combine specialist role two years ago.

The predominant crops in my area are corn and soybeans, and we’ve had good weather for harvest – virtually two straight months of very nice weather with no rain delays. The corn and bean crops have been good, but very dry. I think weather may have impacted yields somewhat, because we had very little rainfall in July and August.

Most of the corn is coming out of the field with less than 20 percent moisture, and a lot of it’s coming out at the 14- to 15-percent level.  Customers are spending next to nothing in drying costs. The soybeans came off dry, too. We’re seeing a lot at the 8- to 9-percent moisture level, so guys are taking less weight to the elevator.

Some customers were seeing shatter loss on those dry beans, especially from auger headers, because the bean pods were being threshed before they reached the feeder. That’s where the Case IH 2162 draper header did a very good job of saving soybeans.  In some of the demos I did, we saw as much as a 3-bushel an acre savings over conventional auger headers. The gentle, even feeding is a lot easier on the crop when bringing it into the combine.

Axial-Flow combines have been doing a nice job bringing in dry corn, too. I’ve been getting a few calls on how to set the corn heads for the dry conditions to prevent shelling loss. You can find my tips and suggestions for saving grain at caseihharvesting.com. You’ll also find under the video section some homemade real world videos of combines and heads operating in my area, along with video links to our CaseIH YouTube site.

As far as yields go, there’s a wide range out there. On beans, it’s anywhere from 35 to 55-bushels, depending on where you farm. Corn is anywhere from 125 to 190 bushels, with 180 pretty common.

Wheat harvest has been done for a couple months. The South Dakota wheat crop was pretty fair, with 50+ bushels per acre. The wheat yields were an improvement from those found down south.

We’ve also got a lot of sunflowers – mostly oil sunflowers and some confectionary sunflowers (the kind you eat) – in the middle of South Dakota and up into North Dakota, and they’re harvesting those right now. Harvest is going well so far, and the weather is cooperating. I’m hearing that yields are running about average at around 2000 lbs per acre.

I’ve had a couple of calls this week asking how to set the combine head in sunflowers to get a cleaner sample in the tank. This is one of the amazing things about Axial-Flow combines: the crop adaptability.  (As a product specialist, once we see how harvest is progressing in an area, we can help customers and dealers get ready in advance, with information on how to set the machines for existing conditions.)

Next year, some of the new features coming on our 7230, 8230 and 9230 combines should also help our customers, such as faster unloading speeds (from 4 to 4.5 bushels per second) and longer unloading tube options. Those will be nice for large producers, as equipment and headers widths get bigger.

Here’s one final Axial-Flow story I’ll leave you with: Last week, I was doing a demo in corn. We basically brought the combine to the farmer’s yard, where I set and adjusted it for corn. Then we went into the field – and made virtually no adjustments – and it did a perfect job. That’s what we mean when we say, “Axial-Flow combines work right out of the box.”

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