Head Loss and Residue Management

Head Loss and Residue Management from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Keith Byerly

by Keith Byerly

Every year, our ACS Equipment team is out there trying to find innovative ideas and products that bring profit to your operation. Sometimes that means being out on the bleeding edge, where you have to have a few failures to gain success. Other times that means incorporating products and ideas that are so simple that you wonder why you didn’t come up with it yourself. One company that seems always to be on the “so simple” side is 360 Yield Center. They are the company that brought us Y-Drops, and now they are releasing some products for fall we need to talk about.

The first thing I want to talk about is a new gathering chain called 360 Yield Saver. Now I know it is going to be hard to think of a gathering chain as a piece of precision equipment but stay with me. Your traditional gathering chains have a space in them where the ear is supposed to fall, and then be swept up into the head. This gives us multiple chances as it travels along the deck plate to have kernels knocked off. With the 360 Yield Saver gathering chain, we replace those spaces with brushes like you see inside of a vacuum meter. These brushes give us a softer landing when the ear comes down, and eliminate that opportunity for a gap all the way down to the deck plat.

If we use the old standard of 90,000 kernels per bushel, then two kernels per square foot equal 1 bushel per acre. Now maybe I am a bit of an idealist, but I don’t know that there are a lot of times we are losing more corn than that. Until we get into an ear that likes to shatter on impact. Then the loss is magnified. But what about those nubbins? They aren’t pretty, but they add up. 360’s side by side tests indicates that Yield Saver reduces Header Loss by around 80%. That means for most growers; we can have a one year ROI. And the longevity seems to be pretty good with the brushes lasting for an entire harvest for most growers.

On the other side of the head, are the parts we don’t see, like our stalk rollers. Not a piece that has gotten much consideration over the last 20 years, but possibly an area that is ready for an improvement. The traditional job of this roller has been to move the stalk down and separate the ear so we can harvest it without pushing gobs of trash through the combine. The 360 CHAINROLL is designed to do the same but incorporates the idea that we can begin our residue management in the fall. It chops and crimps the stalk, but leaves it in a long piece, so we aren’t dealing with a bunch of fluff come next season. And because it’s crimping it as it passes through, the idea is that we open the stalk up to more points for microbial action to begin, so we get a faster breakdown and a quicker release of Nitrogen the following season.

What we have seen from both of these products looks very promising. Our intentions are to have a head set up this fall and let growers try a few rounds with the technology. We are going to grade header loss with the 360 Yield Saver and your current head. We are also looking at working with Mike and the RD department on a system to isolate residue and look at its decomposition prior to your planting next spring. Yield Saver is in limited release this fall, but CHAINROLL is in full production. If we have peaked your curiosity on either of these products, please get ahold of myself or any of the ACS equipment team. When you’re looking out the windshield this fall, let’s make sure that the sick feeling of watching ears bounce out of your head isn’t one you have to experience. Every kernel adds up for your bottom line.