The following are the key types of combine harvester settings that every operator should be aware of before driving the combine to the field.

Combine harvester's settings and adjustments for optimum performance

Depending on many factors relating to the crop or the field conditions, a combine harvester could be adjusted to various settings to give the machine optimum performance in the field. The following are the key types of combine's settings that every operator should be aware of:

  • Ground speed
  • Rotor RPM
  • Concave clearance
  • Air volume
  • Chaffer setting
  • Sieve setting

1. Ground Speed

   Ground speed is the speed at which the combine travels through the field while chopping the crop. Ground speed is set by the machine operator as known as the driver. The ground speed ultimately determines the amount of material that enters into the combine's processor depending on whether the combine is moving too fast or too slow.

When a combine moves too fast, the following could happen:

  • Overloading of the combine
  • Grain loss
  • Engine inefficiencies

When a combine moves too slow:

  • Underloading hence underutilization of the machine
  • Grain damage
  • Grain loss
  • Engine inefficiencies

2. Rotor RPM

Rotor rpm is the speed at which the rotor turns as it threshes and separates the grains from the non-grain materials. Rotors rpm affects the combine's throughput capacity and the aggressiveness at which the crop is threshed.

When the rotor turns too fast, there is the risk of:

  • Grain damage
  • Rotor damage
  • Excessive material on the shoe
  • Shoe loss

When the rotor turns too slow:

  • Rotor loss
  • Unthreshed crop
  • Limited throughput

Read also: The difference between the natural flow (transverse) and axial flow in combine harvester's design

3. Concave clearance

Concave clearance is the clearance between the concave and the threshing elements of the rotor. This setting of the combine controls the aggressiveness of the threshing section of the processor cage as well as the throughput capacity. It should neither be too tight or too wide.

4. Air Volume

The air volume setting controls the amount of air supplied to the cleaning system for grain cleaning. This setting controls how effectively grains are cleaned after they are threshed. Too high air volume could lead to the cleaning of the shoe while too low air volume could lead to overloading of the shoe, dirty grains, and leaning shoe loss.

5. Chaffer Settings

This setting controls the paces available for grain and materials to fall through to the lower sieve. It should not be too open or too closed.

6. Sieve settings

This process controls the spaces available for grain to fall into the clean grain auger for delivery into the grain tank. Neither should it be too open or too closed. 

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