Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

An ounce of prevention is worth a bushel at harvest

Corteva 10-04-21 combine settings Corn_Harvest_Minnesota_C1557-lowres.jpg
Minimize harvest losses through the proper combine settings.

Combine settings are critical to minimizing harvest losses. Using the manufacturer-recommended settings as a starting point, growers should adjust to the condition of the crop. Unlike weather conditions, harvesting losses from combine settings — such as header, threshing and separating losses — can be controlled.

  • Header losses occur when ears fall to the ground in front of the corn head or ears bounce out of the corn head. When this occurs, entire stalks can be missed.
  • Threshing losses occur in the cylinder and concave where corn is shelled from the cob. When kernels remain attached to the cob, they are usually lost out the back of the combine as the crop residue is ejected.
  • Separating losses are unattached kernels that fail to make it to the clean grain stream and, like threshing losses, are blown out the back of the combine.

“There is a very simple method for determining how much is corn is lost off the head and out the back of the combine,” said Joe Ailts, Pioneer Field Agronomist. “When harvesting, mark off a 10-foot area and count the loose kernels on the ground. Every 20 kernels in a 10-foot area is equivalent to one bushel lost.”

Frequent checking and readjusting can help reduce both harvest losses and kernel damage. The goal of proper combine settings is to achieve a smooth, even flow of crop material moving through the machine, so that minimal losses occur.

Source: Corteva Agrisciencewhich is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.