In some ways corn reels to help pick up down corn are kind of like electrical generators. You by them as insurance policies, hoping you will never need to use them. But if you need them, then they are there and ready to go.
As harvest winds down, some reports suggest farmers are pulling corn reels bought years ago out and mounting them on their combines to do a field hit by wind or some other calamity during the season. Wind damage reports were more prevalent than usual this year in Indiana. If you've got down corn, then it may be worth your time to install the reel and get as much of the corn as you can.
"I thought about just putting the head down and getting what I could get, knowing I would drive over a good bit of it," one farmer says. "But it's not very good in the first place. I hate to compound the problem by leaving more corn out there that could have contributed to yield."
In this case, the farmer had a corn reel in the back of his shed. He had bought it when weather hit his fields a few years ago. "It really does a good job of pulling it in," he notes. "We're going to put it on and go after what we can get. It will take some extra time to mount it, but when you don't have much out there anyway, it's worth it to do what we can. Having the corn reel installed will make a big difference in how much corn we're able to salvage in those fields where corn in down."
Models are now available that let you adjust the reel fore and aft from the cab hydraulically. Many of the early models came in a set position. Adjusting the position of the reel relative to the corn head meant loosening and removing bolts, and physically moving the reel forward or backward. On some models, the new control is an option. With some makes, it can be retrofitted onto existing corn reels.