corn harvest

Click any item to watch Marion talk through the solutions to common corn harvest symptoms

Problem Description

Steps to correct problem

Video Tutorial

Broken Cobs in Grain Tank

Adjust the top sieve to achieve the desired appearance in the grain tank sample. 

Butt Shelling or Kernel Loss

Most likely attributed to stripper plate design or gathering chain speed, watch the videos to solve this problem.

Corn in the tailings Auger

Improper bottom sieve adjustments can lead to corn in the tailings auger. Marion shows you how to fix this problem.  

Corn Loss on downhill side
of combine

Adjusting your combine's fan speed can help reduce this problem. Watch to learn more. 

Cornstalks breaking Off

Excessive gathering chain speed can clip off stalks while entering the corn head. Hear Marion's advice to solve the problem.

Cornstalks not entering row units

Cornstalks cannot travel efficiently into the row unit without a space for the stalk to enter. Currently, Calmer BT Chopper® Stalk Rolls are the only rolls in the industry with this patented design to allow the entry of stalks in al crop conditions. 

Cornstalks Not Processed

Cornstalks fail to get processed if they can't enter the stalk rolls. Calmer Stalk Rolls have a special feeding chamber to easily engage stalks to be become processed into confetti-like pieces for fast decomposition, easier planting, and increased yields. 

Cornstalks pushed over

Stripper plates, gathering chain speed, and/or stalk rolls can all contribute to this problem. Watch our videos to refine your settings to solve this problem. 

Cracked Grain in  Tank

Your cross auger, rotor speed and/or sieves could be the culprit.

Ear Separation Problems

Watch our videos to learn how to check your corn head angle, stalk rolls and gathering chain speed to mitigate this problem. 

Excessive Stalk Roll Wear

If the corn head angle is too flat, stalk rolls don't perform as effectively and wear faster. 

Feeder House Congestion

Learn how to adjust your feeder house chain to reduce the congestion of material at the feeder house. 

Harvesting Down Corn

Marion has numerous recommendations for reducing your stress levels while harvesting down corn. Click to visit our entire page of recommendations for a more efficient down corn harvest. 

Foreign Material in Sample or tank

Improperly set sieves and fan speed can result in foreign material in the grain tank. Easily solve this problem with Marion's recommendations. 

Overloaded Cleaning System

Adjust your sieves to help prevent overloading your combine's cleaning system.

Rotor Loss

In Case IH Combines, adjust your transport vanes to the slow position (toward the back of the combine). Watch the video to see how. 

Sliced Ears

An improperly adjusted cross auger can result in sliced ears and kernel damage. Learn how to set it properly to reduce this yield-robbing problem. 

Small Ears Falling Through Head

Stripper plates are set too wide if this is happening. Learn how to adjust them properly for maximum performance. 

Unthreshed Ears

Rotor speed helps reduce un-threshed ears. Marion will walk you through solving this problem. 

Click any of the links below to access the full SET of combine tips & Training Videos! 

NEW Wheat Harvest Concave Settings

Tune up & Diagnose


Refine & Improve

Combine Harvester General Terminology

1. Cut the crop : Header

Headers cut, lift and trim the plant from it’s final stage of growth.  The first contact point for crop moving into a combine, which we have specialized for the challenges of corn. The cutting action of the platform in particular influence combine performance because of the power requirements needed to cut the crop.  Combines thrive on smooth, even feeding of crop into the machine and the header is responsible for that flow. Bunch-feeding due to misadjusted reels dramatically increases grain damage and loss out the back of the machine.

2. Accumulate and Transport: Feeder House & Conveyor Neck

The Feeder house connects the header, but performs more than merely conveyors between the header and the combine. The feeder house drum and conveyor chain flatten the inflowing crop through the neck and prepare it for effective processing in the critical threshing stage.  Each stage of the material transport must be managed and refined through careful observation and tuning.  

3.  Threshing Chamber : concaves, cover plates and rotor speed 

The threshing chamber is the tunnel of working the valuable material for the not valuable plant matter.  The threshing segment of the combine uses physical rubbing action between the steel drum and the grain. The proprietary design of your machine will include threshing lobes, rasp bars, open windows, cover plates and all manner of mechanical enhancements to deal with the particular grain you are harvesting. We have many video tutorials on the effects of concave type and it’s effects to the major grain types like soybeans and corn.  We HIGHLY recommend you try cover plates in soybeans for example. The rotor surface of the concave uses centrifugal force and other grain to knock kernels from cobs, beans from pods and seeds from seed heads pushing them through the slots or holes in the drum. The effectiveness of that rubbing action is proportional to the rotor/cylinder speed and the clearance between the threshing components and the surface of the concave.  The size of your concaves are a critical function determining effectiveness.

  • Too narrow and grain gets passed out the back of the threshing tube overloading the sieves
  • Too fast and grain gets cracked by the excessive force.

The optimum concave clearance and threshing speed for a particular crop at a specific moisture is in the owner’s manual but can often only be tested in the field with a combine kill stop.  We recommend you cozy up with your owner’s manual and some of our tutorial videos in the cool of your home on a hot summer’s evening to develop a clear understanding of the testing and troubleshooting that will make your harvesting fast, efficient, and clean.  

4. Separate : The Sieves, upper and lower 

The separating portion of a combines the cleaning fan, upper sieve and lower sieve into the powerful tool that gave the machine it’s name. In this segment of the process the goal is to “float” the mat of material other than grain (chaff, stems, etc) on a cushion of air to be spread out the back of the machine. The balancing act here becomes allowing the grain to fall through (early as possible in threshing) to the sieves allowing the shaking motion of the sieves to direct the grain down through the residue.  As you can imagine there are several important diagnostic tools in balancing this air vs. gravity equation of separation.

5. Spread residue : Chaffer, Choper & Spreader 

Stalk choppers on the head reduce trash coming into the combine, so you don’t have to deal with it on the back end (and are our specialty).  Chopping used to be secondary to threshing and separating grain but BT cornstalk genetics combined with reduced or no-till practices have turned residue management into a critical function.  In soybean harvesting the stems and stalks are going up through the feeder house and your combine has a straw chopper at the exit of the threshing chamber for that reason.  Our harvesting tips are as simple and pragmatic as start up wind and harvest down wind so that you allow that residue to spread as evenly as possible for long-term soil health.