Custom Harvesting Leads To Unique Stalk Chopper
When his custom combining customers wanted him to buy a stalk chopping corn head, Eric Wehling had a better idea. Why spend $50,000 on a new corn head when he could build his own? Seven years later, he’s on his fifth-generation design and he's got a commercial chopping conversion kit ready to sell. His kit requires half the horsepower of an OEM chopper.
"I'm all about working with off-the-shelf components," says Wehling, Wehling Repair & Fabrication. "I found suppliers with the gearboxes, shafts and belt drives I needed. I use a supercharger belt for the main drive. It is superior to other belts. I fabricated the sheet metal, brackets, etc."
Wehling runs a custom farming service and operates a full-service repair shop for tractors, combines and diesel trucks. He also does retail sales for several component suppliers. However, an engineering degree and experience with AutoCAD, plus a love of building things, helped get the project going. Spending 20 years in equipment engineering, including working internationally and in research and development of new products, also didn't hurt.
In the fall of 2020, he rolled out his latest prototype on his Case IH 1660 and 2388 combines with 6-row Deere headers. He designed it to fit 40 and 90 series Deere corn heads, personal favorites of his.
"We run red combines and green corn heads," says Wehling. "The corn heads were designed in the 1950's and 1960's, when engineers had a head, and they were built tough."
Wehling notes that there is a vast amount of after-market components for rebuilding and maintaining these corn heads. "If you have a corn head you like, why get rid of it?" he asks. "These are proven tried and true and can be adapted to almost any combine."
Initially, Wehling is adding his stalk chopping unit to corn heads brought to his shop. "Our goal is a kit we can ship to your door and anyone with the knowledge can install," he says.
Wehling makes a wedge kit to help red combine owners interested in using a green corn head. He notes that the angles of the two don't match up.
"We incorporated a wedge kit and an adapter plate into one unit," says Wehling. "It matches a legacy Case IH combine to a Deere corn head. "You can drop your Case 1020 header and scoop up your Deere corn head without adjusting the faceplate angles on the feeder house."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Wehling Repair & Fabrication, 10305 Saint Bridget Dr., Chippewa Falls, Wis. 54729 (ph 715-379-2092; firstname.lastname@example.org).