Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 24 November 2017

How to help your machine survive a sticky harvest

Bruce Lett

With the ongoing summer deluge, this year's harvest is shaping up to be a challenging one for man and machine. But there are ways you can prevent wet crops putting a dampener on things

The 2012 harvest is unfortunately shaping up to be a wet one with record-breaking levels of rainfall in June and a pretty wet July making matters worse.

Unless there is a drastic change in weather conditions into August, it's going to be a tough one for both man and machine.

With that in mind it would be a good idea to take the time to prepare the machine for the worst.

If ground conditions are wet then it is inevitable that bulldozing will take place and there will be clay entering the harvester.

Clay can and will stick to auger housings, elevator housings and pretty much everywhere it's not supposed to.

Wet crops will put extra strain on all aspects of the separation process and the mechanisms driving them.

Back in the wet harvest of 2008, the Achilles heel of many combine harvesters was the failure of the unloading auger drive mechanism. This became overloaded with wet crops and clay resulting in many failures across Ireland and Britain.

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Some manufacturers ran out of auger spare parts and gearboxes because of these extreme conditions, resulting in even more delays for farmers and contractors.

Principles

The basic principles of conventional walker-type combine harvester design have changed little over the decades.

The design has, of course, been improved upon with modern engineering methods, electronic monitoring and controls, and hydraulic systems. At the core of the harvesting process though there are a combination of drive mechanisms including belts, chains, gears and gearboxes.

The following are a few tips on how to keep these parts performing at their best this harvest.

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