Forage combine harvesters are among the most efficient but also most expensive harvesting machines. Manufacturers are interested not only in achieving maximum efficiency but also in automating their maintenance and ensuring the highest quality of fodder. In this article, we will look at machines and solutions offered on the model market both for big family farms and large agricultural enterprises and service companies, writes “Agro-Center”.
This year, corn harvest was successful and the product had high quality. Experts say that due to weather conditions corn reached full maturity 1.5-2 weeks earlier than before.
Harvesting silage crops, mainly corn, requires a lot of energy. Powerful forage harvesters available on the market have powerful engines – even the smallest models have almost 400 horsepower, and the largest engines have more than 1,000 horsepower. Even although the working mechanism of different harvesters is the same, machines differ in details and equipment.
Combine harvester’s fingers
A unit of a combine consists of several main components, which include: pulling rollers, threshing drum, split rollers, and deflector air duct. The first element, pulling rollers, is responsible for tightening the material, but it isn’t their only function. The length of the cut of the material also depends on the speed of the rollers. Each of the manufacturers described below uses a hydrostatic drive that is responsible for this function. The differences between machines of specific brands depend on the number of rolls: there are 4 in John Deere, New Holland and Claas machines and 6 in Fendtach and Krone machines. Manufacturers that use a 6-roll system claim that it provides a smoother and more even flow of a mass.
Large diameters from Fendt harvesters are used here; drums are 720 mm long. Each manufacturer offers drums with a different number of knives, from 20 to 40, mounted in two rows, in the form of an inverted letter “V”. An exception is John Deer: short knives form four rings around the drum. Threshing drum has a diameter of 670 mm and a width of 680 mm or 850 mm (the largest models are 8600, 8700, 8800). Additional equipment is a drum with 48, 56 and 64 blades. Each knife is fixed with three screws, which do not need to completely removed when installing new ones. The process of sharpening the knife, as in the machines of other manufacturers, is automatic.
A choice of a drum with a given number of knives should be determined by types of plants that one plans to process and their intended use: a smaller number of blades – longer sections (for example, grass, 30-40 mm), many of them require more intensive shredding. It is assumed that silage corn should be cut into 20 mm pieces, and the smallest plants should be shredded for biomass; drums with the biggest number of knives are intended for them.
Great choice of cutting
The task of the next element, split rollers, is grinding of the material and, above all, mechanical damage to the grain, which greatly affects a quality of the feed. Standard rollers from most manufacturers are long and operate at several different speeds. Differences in a speed range from 10 to 60% – the bigger speed, the more intense the process of shredding the material. An exception is Fendt, which uses discs (conical) with a toothed surface. Thanks to this form and a large area of contact with the material, their work is much more intense than that of traditional rolls. It is worth noting that you can set the strength of the folds and the distance between individual plates.
When it comes to grinding, blades start to move thanks to a belt. The intensity of their work is regulated by moving a pushing wall – the closer to the rotor, the higher the rate of emission, but also the faster a wall channel is used.
A forage harvester is mainly associated with corn-harvesting machines. However, one should remember that these machines have a wider range of features.
When choosing a forage harvester, one should pay attention to the type of steel from which it was made, and the method of regulating the force of pushing, which will allow to quickly change a situation, for example, from work on grass to working on corn or grain.
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