A farm combine is a machine that facilitates the harvesting process. It reaps, threshes, and winnows grains, which enables farmers to get clean grain. Investing in a new combination is a significant decision for farmers, influencing the efficiency and productivity of their harvests. To make the most informed choice, it’s essential to consider specific features that align with the unique needs of your operation.
To operate efficiently, a combine must have a powerful engine. Some newer models offer up to 690 engine horsepower for harvesting crops that require more power. This increased capacity allows farmers to increase harvesting efficiency without needing to drive the combine at a higher ground speed, which can cause damage to belts and other components. When looking at dealer selling combines, it is essential to check the machine’s engine for signs of overworking or excessive wear and tear. Look for a well-maintained rotor/cylinder bar and check that the bearings are adequately lubricated. If a combine’s bearings are worn or damaged, they could overheat, which can be dangerous. Combines are some of the most time-saving equipment available to agricultural workers. They separate and process corn, soybeans, wheat, and other grain crops by cutting a swath of plants with a header, then beating the ears or pods against an inedible chaff — called reaping; blowing away the inedible chaff — winnowing; and transporting the grains through a straw walker to be baled later.
A combine should have good traction to minimize machine slip, improve maneuverability, and maximize productivity. This can be accomplished by ensuring tires are correctly inflated for road and field speeds, and the correct tire sizes are used. Also, a high-flotation mud-traction axle can minimize soil compaction while allowing the combine to traverse wet or muddy conditions. Duals work well on combines in dry to moderately wet conditions as they spread the weight of the combine and load over a broader footprint to reduce soil compaction. They can be further enhanced with IF or VF-CFO technologies to increase their load-carrying capacity without changing air pressures. They can cause ruts in wet and muddy dirt but are not as extreme as tracks and require a bit more maintenance to remove rocks, sticks, and stalks from the sidewalls of the tires. Super singles are the predominant tire fitment on combines primarily used for wheat harvesting and in the north, where corn or soybean headers are more common. They provide better traction in the field and on the road and help to minimize stubble damage.
Comfortable seats are crucial for a combine operator to be at peak performance and efficiency during harvest. Look for a seat with an extended warranty and ergonomic design. Also, make sure the seat foam is made of a quality material. CLAAS’ Lexion cab is designed to be as comfortable as possible for operators, with an air-suspended operator seat and low noise levels. A large grain tank window makes it easier for operators to see the grain as it fills the tank, while a repositioned PROFICAM system and new windshield wipers improve visibility. The cab has up to 16 work lights with high-end LED bulbs to illuminate the working area when needed. Plus, a 10.4-inch Cebis display helps to keep essential functions within easy reach and intuitively organized for maximum ease of use.
Good safety habits are essential to anyone who operates a combine. They should be observed during pre-operational checks, starting, transporting, towing, operating, and field repair and maintenance. Moreover, good safety practices are essential for the operator because of these machines’ size and power capabilities. When looking at a used machine, inspect it for visual damage and rust that can affect operation. Look for signs of leaks from hydraulic, fuel, or coolant systems. Also, look for thick auger flighting. Because the wheels that steer many self-propelled combines are in the rear, they can fishtail if turned too quickly at transport speeds. Two brake pedals are provided to control individual drive wheels to assist with turns and help stop the combine in a straight line. However, if either is depressed more aggressively than the other, the combine can swerve or tip over. To avoid this, the brakes should be depressed evenly and slowly.
New combines are designed to run at total capacity and help farmers achieve the best possible grain yield. However, even the newest equipment requires daily care and maintenance to keep it running safely and at optimal performance. This includes keeping lubrication levels in all bearings to reduce friction and heat. It also means cleaning the combined shoe after every harvest to remove any accumulated residue, which can ignite when exposed to hot engine components or threshing equipment. Keeping a fire break around parked equipment is essential to minimize potential damage and increase safety. Some manufacturers have developed technological features to help make a combine safer and more efficient.