Draper Platforms: Belt Speed Controls Even Feeding

Run the reel on drapers farther forward and higher so the grain falls onto the belts causing less grain loss. ( Lindsey Benne )

On draper platforms best results come from running reels “forward and up.”

“We typically run the reel on a draper in good-standing crop with the fingers barely in the top of the crop,” says Jason Strobbe, North American sales manager, MacDon. “The goal is to have just a little pressure on the tops of the stems at the moment they’re cut to gently tip them onto the draper belt.”

Adjust belt speeds on platforms so bean stems move sideways toward the feeder house as soon as they fall onto the belt. Slow belt speeds allow clumps of stems to build up before the belt moves them sideways, which then feed into the feeder house in bunches that degrade threshing and separating efficiency.

Excess belt speed can center-feed the feeder house. Fast-moving bean stems from each side of the platform collide in the center of the platform and form a narrow windrow that feeds only into the center of the feeder house. Belt speeds should distribute the material across the full width of the center belt to optimize even feeding into the combine’s threshing system.

Proper adjustment of small grain platforms prior to harvest can minimize grain loss to less than 1 bu. per acre. Understanding where grain losses originate is critical to optimizing the performance of not only grain platforms, but the combines behind them.

“You can adjust your combine’s rotor speed, concave settings, cleaning fan speed and sieves all day long and none of those adjustments will fix grain loss problems at the header,” says Brett Kvasnicka, senior marketing product specialist for combines, AGCO North America. “It’s necessary to get out of the cab and spend time looking at the ground, from the front of the machine all the way to the back, to see if the loss is from shattering due to a dull knife, because of reel position, or maybe it’s related to the action of the auger. Don’t blame the combine for problems created at the header.”