December 05, 2023

From the Fields: Time for combine maintenance

CABERY, Ill. — It’s been steady-as-it-goes at Smolkovich farms and the brothers are using the downtime to clean and check the combine in preparation for harvest.

Alan and John Smolkovich started the process of getting their John Deere 9570 combine ready on Aug. 17 with a grease gun and high-pressure air hose.

“We’ll go through the combine, check all the gearboxes, change the oil, all the normal stuff. We’ll check the feeder house chain. I tightened it up last year and straightened some of the bars on it and it looks pretty good,” Alan said.

When AgriNews met with the Smolkovich brothers a month ago, they were considering whether or not to apply fungicide. They opted not to pull the trigger.

“We never did any spraying of the corn or soybeans. With the prices where they are, we just decided to skip out and see what happens,” Alan said.

“I talked to other people who said they sprayed their corn, but didn’t spray the soybeans, and some said they’re not spraying corn, but they’re going to spray the beans. We thought we’d just take a chance and see what happens.

“We walked through some fields and we saw a couple of spots that had fungus, but otherwise it looked decent with no damage or anything.”

Timely Rain

John said the crops look better than they did two weeks ago.

“I was getting worried about the soybeans. I was looking at the fields a couple of weeks ago when I was mowing ditches and there were little-bitty bean pods on the top half of the plant. Then the rain came and I walked out there and the beans were all filled out and nice now. Maybe that’s the way it is and I just panicked too early or whatever,” he said.

“We needed that three inches of rain, but now the creeks are pretty much dry. We could probably use another couple inches real quick here, too.”

Looking ahead to post-harvest chores, they also plan to make some changes to their John Deere 512 ripper in the next few weeks.

“We’re going to be chiseling bean stubble this year, doing minimum tillage on the soybeans just to break the ground up. We’re going to change the wide points and put narrow points on and raise the shanks up so it doesn’t dig as deep into the ground,” Alan said.

They’ll also be doing another cut of hay in a couple of weeks.

Tom Doran

Tom C. Doran

Field Editor