Thirty years ago, harvesting down corn afflicted by storm damage or even rootworm feeding was a hassle. It still may not be your idea of fun, but modern corn heads and combines make this task much less tedious. Operated correctly, they leave far less corn behind, even without a corn reel or similar device mounted on the head.
Here’s a look at Agco’s Fendt Ideal 9T combine harvesting in less-than-optimum conditions. The early August derecho that swept through parts of eight states affected the corn at the Farm Progress Show site near Boone, Iowa. The crop was partially lodged and twisted. The Ideal 9T operated in field demonstrations at the site as part of the Farm Progress Virtual Experience.
Find the demo at FPVExp.com under “Demos.” Registration for first-time visitors is quick and free. Once you’re inside the site, you will have the option of watching various combines, including the Ideal. You’ll hear Max Armstrong, a Farm Progress broadcaster, narrate while the machine makes a pass through the field.
In addition, the author rode along as Zachary Stejskal, marketing product specialist with Agco, piloted the combine in the same field on the following day. Here are insights on the Fendt Ideal 9T, based on that ride plus a walk around the machine.
Note: Agco recently introduced larger models, the Fendt Ideal 10 and 10T, for 2021. Because the Fendt Ideal 9T, introduced two years ago, was the model operating at Boone, it’s the one featured here.
Features and footnotes
Fendt Ideal model 8, 9 and 10 combines feature two 16-foot-long rotors for threshing and separating. Stejskal explains that the first 4 feet of each rotor threshes grain, and the back half-plus of each rotor is devoted to separation of grain from other material.
Automation is an option on this model, Stejskal says. A camera positioned to view inside the clean grain elevator helps the combine’s automation system adjust to keep grain quality within limits that you specify. With the automation option, the operator can see a picture from the clean grain elevator on a monitor inside the cab.
Spreading residue across the entire width of the header is especially important for farmers in minimum-tillage systems today. There’s an in-cab option to control residue spreading to account for wind direction, Stejskal says.
Large hopper capacity and quick unloading time mean the combine stays on the go, harvesting at maximum capacity for longer, he adds. The Fendt Ideal combine demonstrated at Boone holds 485 bushels of corn in the hopper, and unloads at up to 6 bushels per second. Stejskal calculates that the fast unloading speed can save up to 16 hours over the course of the season for an average operator with 3,000 acres of corn.
The Ideal 9T combine was up to the challenge of harvesting down corn. Walking where the combine had run revealed very little corn was left behind. The primary difference was that Stejskal ran at a slower ground speed in some spots compared to normal operating ground speed.
See pictures of the combine in the field in the accompanying sildeshow.