We had Precision Farm Parts in Sherwood, ND build us a new adjustable concave which would work for corn, wheat, canola, etc. Fabrication delays kept us from having things ready for wheat season, but when it arrived it gave Lee a chance to try her hand as a forklift operator--this was the maiden voyage for the new (for us) machine we picked up from Greenheart Farms--our longtime neighbor and an excellent transplant greenhouse.
Besides the fancy concave was a fancy new enclosed cylinder with the new style offset beaters. This in theory is easier to clean as it is enclosed, and has a significantly higher capacity / threshing action. The newer combines tend to do a much better job of pulverizing the straw, which means it is easier for the sieves, fans etc. to handle the material. Also, as the cylinder has much more mass, it should churn through the tough stuff better by keeping its speed up (read fewer plugs). You can see at the left the fancy new green one next to the open style old set up. For only $7,000 you too can have one like this,
Our good friend Ernest Bergsagel, a multi-generational wheat farmer in Montana has been helping us with the combines, so after he finally got through his delayed spring things in Montana, he came down here last week to get this installed. Ernest was tired of the 85 degree Montana weather and wanted to experience some 110 stuff, and we obliged.
It was a fair bit of work. Ernest supervised our young crew in the finer art of Combine theory and repair. Gerry, Jed and Trent got plenty of chances to bust knuckles and get overheated. Jake Havins, our research farm supervisor (the one trying to stay out of harms way on the photo above right), is adding combines to his experience set. So now the new concave and cylinder are in, as is the nice new white conveyor belt, which Gerry is tightening in the image above. Besides the white conveyor belt, we have painted the interior and exterior of the combine white and we settled on yellow trim, although there were some who wanted ghost flames and perhaps a Unicorn... The color is critical so that we can see everywhere inside and out to clean all the material out of the machine. With the "kernel" clean standard we must adhere to when working with biotechnology crops, every thing we can do to facilitate cleaning is put into place.
With luck, we will have the last of the belts on hand end of the week and be ready to start the endless adjusting which combines always need... More later as we play!