Corn and soybeans are obviously very different crops. Corn is tall and generally has a single ear per plant. Soybeans are relatively short and are covered in pods full of seeds we need to harvest. We have one combine, but we employ two different heads for each crop. The same head we use for beans will also get a little bit of exercise in summer when we harvest some wheat.
So how do we switch heads when we switch crops? It’s easy! Each head has a trailer to rest on for storage and transport. Although the heads are very different they attach to the feeder house of the combine in the same fashion. The combine picks up each one in the center where crops feed through. The draper has one PTO shaft and the corn head has one on each side. Both have their electric and hydraulic controls securely latched into place with the same mechanism. Please enjoy my quick video of picking up, hooking up, and setting the draper back down on the trailer!
In addition to changing heads there are also a few changes needed on the combine side. The rotor that begins the process of separating seed from crop may need the speed adjusted which can be done from the cab within a certain range, or its transmission may need shifted into another gear. The drum in the feeder house right behind the head needs to be in the high position for corn and low for beans. Various other items like rotor clearance and sieve spacing will adjusted as well. Once dialed in for crop conditions you’re ready to roll!