"Quick Feed" Fingers Pull In Broken, Fluffy Stalks

Last fall Bob Dunton had more than 1,000 acres of downed corn on his Topeka, Ill., farm.

He fitted his cornhead with a spider-type down corn reel to rake stalks into the header, but he had to move along at a slow crawl of .7 mph because the fluffy, dry stalks would pile up on top of the feeder auger. He had to climb off the combine frequently to manually remove trash.

He decided he had to find a way to make the feeder auger more aggressive so it would grab stalks and pull them in. He first tried an old idea that many other farmers have tried. You simply take large lock washers and slip them over the edge of the flighting. The spring tension of the washers holds them in place but Dunton quickly found out they didn't have enough "grabbing power" to really solve the problem.

So he started experimenting with other solutions and eventually came up with an idea that really works. He simply bolted flat metal strips to the auger flighting. The strips extend only about 3/8 of an inch past the edge of the flighting but he found out immediately that the idea worked great. He was able to move along at a brisk 2.5 mph and all the fluff would feed on through. Even in mid afternoon, when stalks were at their dryest, he had no problems.

The idea worked so well Dunton says he plans to leave the fingers in place permanently. He feels the aggressive feeding of the auger will help harvest under any conditions.

He's in the process of patenting the "Quick Feed" idea and plans to offer a do-it-yourself kit for sale later this year.