It’ll pay to spend a little more time this fall getting your combine set to handle variable crop conditions caused by this summer’s weather, says Iowa State University Extension ag engineer Mark Hanna.

Spotty rainfall, along with sandy or clay soil spots, and temperature extremes have resulted in varying ear, stalk and bean pod sizes within fields or even individual rows.

“Such variations put a premium on combine adjustment,” Hanna says. “Don’t assume crop conditions. Do a pre-harvest inspection of fields for variability. Combine grain losses can be held to 1 bushel per acre or less if the crop is standing reasonably well.”

Combine losses can add up quickly, he says. Just two corn kernels or four soybeans per square foot on the ground equals one bushel of yield loss.

Capturing every kernel

Minimizing harvest loss is always important, especially with...