Photos by Tom J. Bechman
MEASURE HEADER LOSS: Once you’ve constructed a rectangle with 10 square feet inside (on ground in front of combine,) shell into the rows, back up 20 feet, and then measure kernels inside the rectangle placed over each row. Average the numbers to get average loss per row.
SIMPLE FRAME: Buy lengths of 1-inch-diameter PVC pipe and four elbows at your local big-box store. For 30-inch-row corn, you need two 30-inch lengths and two 48-inch lengths. Cut the pipe with a hacksaw.
LAY OUT PIECES: Find a suitable flat spot to lay out the four pieces of PVC pipe once they are cut. Have the elbows handy.
MEASURE AGAIN: Double-check your measurements. Remember that the inside measurements must be 48 inches long and 30 inches wide to create 10 square feet of inside space.
ATTACH ELBOWS: The elbows should fit snugly. You can just snap them together if they fit tight enough, or add an appropriate adhesive if you don’t want to risk them coming apart.
CLEAR OUT RESIDUE: Once in the field, place the frame over each row. You can either check header loss or check loss in the center of the machine after each pass. Remove as much residue as you can as carefully as possible before counting kernels.
TAKE MULTIPLE COUNTS: If you don’t want to lose time combining, perhaps someone else in your operation can take counts while you continue harvesting. Make sure that person lets you know if results change so you can adjust the machine to reduce losses.