2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2, Page #15[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Farmers Like Calmer Trash Reduction KitMarion Calmer's "trash kits" have built up quite a reputation for reducing trash buildup in combine corn heads. We recently talked to two satisfied customers (Calmer Corn Heads, Inc., ph 309 629-9000; www. calmer cornheads.com).
Calmer says the root of the problem is that combine gathering chains run too fast. The gathering chain lugs often break off the top half of plants before the stalk rolls have a chance to pull the plants through the stripper plates. The stalks are then pushed to the center of the head where they can pile up and cause a problem.
Calmer's kit installs in three steps.
Step 1 - 6-tooth gathering chain sprocket: To slow down the gathering chains, Calmer's kit uses a 6-tooth gathering chain sprocket that's 25 percent smaller than the factory 8-tooth sprocket. Slowing down the gathering chains allows the stalk rolls to make more revolutions, which makes more of the plant disappear below the stripper plate before the gathering chain lugs can break it off.
Step 2 - revolving window knife rolls: The kit comes with revolving window 2-piece knife roll shells. They create two open windows per revolution, and use four flutes in the receiving and pinching zones. These modes of action repeat several times to successfully separate the ear and chop the stalk.
Step 3 - beveled stripper plates: Beveled stripper plates are longer to scoop up low hanging ears in down corn. The plates are straight in the front retrieving area to reduce ear wedging, and beveled in the stripping area to allow the stalk rolls to engage more ear shanks, husks, and leaves.
Mendell Elson, Miami, Mo., has five years of experience with Marion Calmer's combine trash reduction kit and says he likes everything about the system, especially the way it lets him keep moving without having to stop because of trash buildup.
Since installing the kit in 2004, Elson hasn't had to stop even once for trash. He has run up to 6 mph in 200-bu. corn without a problem.
Elson was among the first to adopt the Calmer kit. He says it's the combination of Calmer's slower gathering chains and the beveled stripper plates, along with proper stalk rolls, that makes the most difference. "There's a great reduction in crop material going into the machine, which makes it possible to operate at higher speeds," he notes.
Mike Shaw of Ogden, Iowa, used the Calmer trash reduction kit for the first time last fall. He says he likes the way the Calmer adaptations reduce down time. He also says the snapping rolls do a better job separating ears from stalks.
Shaw says Calmer is ahead of the pack both in performance and bang for the buck, and that he's totally sold on the kit's performance. He spent about $900 per row. Deere has been following up with some improvements, too. However, Shaw says Calmer's system works better and costs about $100 less per row than Deere's.
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