Brad Swearingen says he has cut his costs, increased his corn harvest efficiency and reduced field losses by switching to a row-independent corn head.
Row-independent corn heads allow you to combine corn in any direction — with the rows, at right angles to the rows or diagonally to the rows. Ear loss will be minimal any way you travel because the snouts are designed to funnel stalks into the stripping units without shaking, breaking or pushing the stalks over.
One good fit for row-independent corn heads is corn planted in 7-, 15- and 22-inch rows because it is harder to stay on narrow rows perfectly when combining corn. They also shine in downed corn. You can travel in any direction to pick up severely lodged corn.
You can improve harvest efficiency with row-independent corn heads, too. You don’t have to follow the rows when opening headlands, which means you can open fields faster. You don’t have to follow the rows on terraces or contours. You can combine around sloughs and wet areas. You can cut across rows to combine parts of irregularly shaped fields.
Row-independent corn heads even have some value in standard 30-inch row corn. If you get off the row while combining, they will still bring the stalks into the stripping units with minimal ear loss.
Swearingen, Hiawatha, Kan., uses a 24 ½-foot-wide Mainero row-independent corn head. He plants corn in 15-inch rows. Much of his land is hilly, and he plants corn on contours around the hills. It is difficult to keep a corn head exactly on the rows on side hills, he says. The row-independent corn head is more forgiving than a conventional corn head. He can also cross the rows wherever he needs to without worrying about pushing over the stalks or shaking the stalks so much that the ears fall off before they get into the combine.
Three row-independent corn heads were on display at the Farm Progress Show, Husker Harvest Days and Becknology Days this year.
ANY WAY HEADER: Farmers gather around the Mainero MDD-100 row-independent corn head on display at the Farm Progress Show. Photo: Lon Tonneson
The Mainero MDD-100 corn head is from Argentina and distributed in the United States by GBC Distributors. The Mainero snouts are shorter and mounted more rearward than conventional snouts, which allows the row units’ gathering chains to work farther ahead with a more gentle action. Because of the patented shape of the snouts, cornstalks not aligned with the stripping units remain attached to the ground as the snouts guide them into the gathering areas. The Mainero’s patented double-sprocket gathering chain design provides a wide V-shape that forms a broad entry channel for misaligned stalks. Available in 24 1/2-, 28-, 31 1/2- and 35-foot widths. For more information, contact GBC Distributors, Humboldt, Sask., at 306-682-5888 or see mainero.com or grainbagscanada.com.
WORKS WELL IN TWIN ROWS: The Capello row-independent corn head works well in twin rows, including twin 20-inch rows, according to farmers who have tried an early version of the corn head. Photo: Tom Bechman
The new Capello Gladiator 700 Series corn head is available in 20-, 27- and 32-foot widths. The Italian-made Capello corn heads feature Quasar technology, the company’s own technology that produces rugged operating units. The new corn head is lower-profile. Part of the secret is in the design of the snouts and snapping rolls. Capello has demonstrated the new concept at various locations, including at the Becknology Days Field Show, held by Beck’s at its home base in Atlanta, Ind. Beck’s Practical Farm Research staff ran a Case IH combine equipped with the head before the show and measured losses, demonstrating that harvest losses running across the plot were minimal. To learn more, contact Capello USA, a division of Worthington Tractor Parts, Worthington, Minn., at 800-CAPELLO, or visit capellousa.com.
GREAT IN LODGED CORN: The Geringhoff Freedom corn head features an exclusive snout and gathering chain design that allows you combine corn in any direction or pick up severely lodged corn. Photo: Curt Arens
The Geringhoff Freedom row-independent corn head has an angled twin-chain system that optimizes crop feeding, reduces crop loss and plugging, and maximizes yield retention. The new gearbox design allows row units to be placed closer together, so it performs better in narrow-row spacing and is aggressive at harvesting downed corn. For more information, contact Geringhoff Manufacturing, St. Cloud, Minn., at 320-252-4633 or see geringhoff.com.
Tom Bechman, editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer; Curt Arens, field editor, Nebraska Farmer; and Lon Tonneson, editor, Dakota Farmer contributed to this article.