Wider headers mean uneven residue

One new product uncovered at the 2010 Farm Progress Show was a head carrier for a 45-foot grain head. When the sales rep was asked what he would do when they built a 60-foot head, he threw up his hands and said he would retire first!

Wider heads speed up harvest, but could they cause issues? Stacy Odom, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in northern Indiana, recently attended a workshop where experts indicated that since more residue and chaff end up behind the combine, residue isn’t spread evenly.

“We can take care of that with row cleaners,” Odom says. “But I wonder about the effects of uneven distribution on soil fertility and soil tilth.”

Visitors to Becknology Days who stopped by the agronomy tent saw a graphic example of what happened when chopped corn residue wasn’t spread across the full width of the corn head. “Soybeans were no-tilled this spring, and where the residue was heavier, there was slug damage on the soybeans,” explains Vince Winkler, a Beck’s agronomist.

At planting time, a photo was taken where there was no residue, revealing soil in good shape for planting, and then one of soil from under the residue, where it was still extremely moist.

This article published n the October, 2010 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.