Setting corn head gathering chain timing for an efficient harvest
Properly setting corn head gathering chain speed helps prevent both the bulldozing and breaking of cornstalks. Improper gathering chain speeds can also contribute to kernel loss and increased trash intake.
Start with initial gathering chain speed of 55 RPM for peak corn head performance. If butt shelling is a problem, slow down and calibrate the gathering chain speed until you observe stalks being pushed or ‘bulldozed’ forward, then speed up the chains until bulldozing stops.
Combine settings & Refinements
For Corn Harvest
Click any item to watch the video of Marion talking through each combine tip
Sieve Settings for Corn
Our most watched video on YouTube. Harvest with the bottom sieve wide open! Watch the discussion here.
Corn Head Angle
The right angle of attack improves wear life and effectiveness of the stalk rolls. Park the combine on a level surface and lower the header until the lowest point of the row unit is approx. 2-inches above the ground. Place a protractor on the plates to measure the angle. Try to achieve 23-25 degrees in standing corn.
Gathering Chain Speed
Begin calibration with initial gathering chain speed of 55 RPM. If you are seeing butt shelling, slow down the corn head until it starts to bulldoze cornstalks then speed back up until bulldozing stops.
Cross Auger Adjustment
Fine tune your cross auger to prevent ear slicing and cracked grain. Adjust vertically to have 1 3/4-inches of clearance between flighting and the tray.
Stripper Plate Gap
Pull a stalk from the field to test your stripper plate gap. Ensure the stripper plates are wider than the the third cornstalk node from the brace root. Watch our video for full settings.
Feeder House Chain
During your pre-harvest maintenance routine, adjust the feeder chain to maximum length and as close as possible to the cross auger. Run at maximum speed to reduce the potential of ears piling up during the handoff from the corn head to the feeder house.
Increase your combine's rotor speed until you can see the first cracked kernel in the grain tank then reduce speed by 10RPM.
Increase fan speed until the red chaff and pieces of broken leaves are no longer showing up in the grain tank.
Adjust transport vanes to the slow position (bottom of the vanes to the back of the combine). This will reduce kernel loss from the rotor area.