“Hi, my name is Marian Calmer and I’m a farmer from Western Illinois, and today one of our video series on combine settings for better harvesting today’s topic is about correctly setting the stripper plates on a corn head. In my humble opinion, the size of the ear in my opinion really doesn’t have a lot to do with the stripper gap setting. I think that the determining factor for plate width is more related to the size of the node on the cornstalk. I like to use common sense. I carry a machete with me in the combine and when I’m harvesting – depending on the hybrid I’m working with at the time – I’ll stop get out and cut a stalk off and carry it with me over to the corn head. I take the bottom leaves off so that I can see and gauge the size of the nodes. Now, of course remember that the node is not perfectly round, it’s elongated, and it’s going to be the widest part of the node is what’s going to need to go through the stripper plate.

combine helpline call marion calmerI popped up one of the hoods here on this particular corn head, so it’s a little easier to see.  Simply walk up there with the stalk, set it down in there between the stripper plates and as you can see it’s not going down between the stripper plate because the node is too big. I can’t take a large object and shove it into a small hole. It just doesn’t work. Also, if I can’t push the cornstalk through the stripper plates when it’s not moving forward cutting we’re never going to be able to push that corn stalk through the stripper plates at 5 MPH. So, through my research and observation my with this hybrid with this size of node on the corn stalk these stripper plates are set to tight.  As a result we’re going to have some negative effects because there’s going to be hesitation when the stripper plates hit the node and push the stalk forward then we won’t get good engagement with the stalk rolls and then we’re just not going to get a full length stalk chop.”

Butt shelling (knocking kernels off the ear at the plate) is a attributed primarily to fast header speed.

The faster that ear hits the deck plate the more likely it is to shell kernels

So, as a combine operator, if I’m seeing butt shelling from the cab, I’m going to reduce header speed. If I’m bulldozing stalks (pushing stalks forward before pulling them down), I’m going to open up those stripper plates and let the nodes go on through. Key Takeaways:

  1. Use largest cornstalk node size to set plates
  2. Watch out for kernel loss 
  3. Watch out for bulldozing stalks forward

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