Tweaking Your Combine

Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson September 6, 2017 11:17


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Dave Mowitz, Editorial Director at Meredith, discussed in detail the actions you should take when you’re trying to find your combine’s operating “sweet spot”.  His source for this information back in 2013 was from Successful Farming magazine’s Combine Doctors, Earl Knuth and Graeme Quick, and their first binding rule is to live with your operator’s manual.  According to Knuth, it reveals the crucial first baseline adjustments and gives a wide array of tips on fine-tuning settings.

Their other key components include the following advice:

  • Make only one adjustment at a time.
  • Know why you’re making an adjustment before you make it.
  • Double-check the result of the last adjustment before you make another.
  • Operate the combine at its maximum capacity as you adjust speed and operation.  The result according to Quick will be more grain-on-grain threshing, less grain damage, and higher field efficiency.
  • Check Operation frequently and especially when crop conditions change.
  • Perform a kill-stop examination if it’s allowed (check your manual).  It will freeze the action to reveal what’s actually occurring in the concaves, cleaning shoe, etc.

There are 7 areas where you can make adjustments to your combine:

  1. The crop.  This means getting out of the cab and walking fields.
  2. The cutting platform.  Adjustments are crucial here as they account for 80% of total harvest losses in soybeans.
  3. The head.  Tweaking has become simplified with automatically adjusting deck plates, but adjustable plates are prone to spacing problems.  This won’t be noticed unless you get out and measure the row spacing.
  4. The feeder house.  This part of your machine serves a critical role in presenting the crop to the threshing cylinder rotor.  How the crop goes in is the way it’s going to go through your entire combine.
  5. The threshing and separation units.  This mechanism works best when the cylinder/rotors are balanced with concave clearance.
  6. The cleaning shoe.  You usually don’t fiddle with these adjustments unless you have grain blowing out the back of your combine or your tank samples aren’t clean.  But you should make adjustments more than once season per crop.
  7. Chopper settings.  The chopper’s operation is now key in determining how residue will impact next year’s crop.  It consumes a lot of horsepower and could be a power drain on the rest of the combine if it’s improperly set.


For more specific details regarding the tweaking of your combine, log on to: .  In this environment of low commodity prices and narrow margins, every last head of grain counts!


-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team




Teresa Olson
By Teresa Olson September 6, 2017 11:17
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