Caution: Will combine parts be available this fall?

By Randall Reeder, P.E., Ohio State University Extension Agricultural Engineer (retired)

You probably know about “supply chain” issues with new pickup trucks, construction materials, computer chips and even Christmas presents. Have you considered how that might affect your corn and soybean harvest schedule this fall? 

         What will happen if a part fails on your combine? John Fulton posed that question at our Ohio No-till event Aug. 27 at Woodruff Farms in Champaign County. Although it is impossible to predict every part failure, at least have a spare on hand for those most likely to need replacing sometime in the future. 

         John Fulton, OSU Ag. Engineer, mainly talked about technology for no-till planters. But he began his presentation with the urgent topic of preparation for fall harvest and ways to reduce delays. 

Check DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) to be sure it is fresh, especially if the combine has been unused for 4 months. The quality degrades and reduces horsepower. Preventing a combine fire is critical. Buy a cordless leaf blower and every night blow out all the trash, especially in the engine compartment. 

         For planters, it’s not too early to consider and order new “technology” for 2022. You probably won’t need all the options available, costing up to $12,000 per row unit. Row cleaners can be adjusted on-the-go. Hydraulic down force technology maintains consistent seed depth, which is often a problem in no-till. Yield increases of 5% to 9% are common. “Smart Firmer” senses moisture, temperature, and other factors in the seed furrow allowing adjustments from the cab. Closing wheels complete the planting process. Follow up by scouting fields after planting to evaluate the technology. 

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