Tuesday, August 28, 2018
We had a formal, mechanic-performed inspection of the S680 combine done, and it revealed some work that needed to be done. These were things that we did not discover on our own inspection. Most was routine belt replacement, 2 on the right side, and 3 on the left. Belts that are severely cracked or have chunks broken out were our targets. It made sense to replace them now, rather than risk a likely failure in the field. But the biggest reveal was some significant cracks in the frame that holds the chaffer and sieve. That discovery qualified our machine to come under a John Deere “PIP” (Product Improvement Program). This PIP allows the mechanic to pull out the chaffer and sieve, and replace the frame. It’s a nice thing that this significant repair to the cleaning system is on John Deere’s dime! Mechanic Nathan from Hutson’s (the dealer from whom we purchased this combine) performed the inspection. He will be doing the PIP, and will assist us with the other repairs that are needed. He will be returning today, and together with him, we should have this S680 all buttoned up and ready to go for harvest!
It was quite hot doing yesterday’s mechanic work. But we were inside a building and the shade it provided made it much better. There was a good breeze yesterday, too, but that didn’t flow through the building very well. Another above-average temp is predicted today 92F (33C). We are predicted to return to the 80s by the end of the week.
We tested a sample of corn yesterday, and it was a little drier than we expected. The test ran 26.4% moisture when we were expecting 28%. This time of year, when you take a hand sample, it always runs about 2% below what you would get if you took the combine out to gather a sample. But, still that makes us think that a couple weeks’ worth of the ‘solar dryer’ in action will bring that moisture level down to where we could get started with corn harvest! We’d prefer 22-23% at the start. We will likely harvest corn until we have some soybeans ready, and then move almost entirely through the soybeans. When we return to corn, we hope that it will be around or <17%, and then that grain will not have to go through the dryer. After the corn is done, we will move to the double-crop soybeans (DCB) that were planted after the wheat harvest in June. There are also a few patches of replanted soybeans in the White River bottoms that will likely be the last places the combine runs for 2018.
We are beginning to see in the soybean fields a slight hint of yellow, as the ripening process begins. Two weeks, especially with these 90s and high 80s temps, will push that along quite nicely. The combines will be very busy very soon!