Don Estes is the inventor of a combine add-on called The Disrupter that helps stop soybean crop stems from roping in rotary combines (see “Stop roping in your rotary,” March 2000, http://bit.ly/ddRN0G <http://bit.ly/ddRN0G> ). Now Estes has designed a kit for John Deere STS series combines to reduce grain or “rotor” loss in corn.
Estes says he learned about rotor loss in John Deere STS series combines by reading farmer posts on Web forums last fall. “Farmers reported they were finding corn on the ground, especially in high-yielding or high-moisture areas of their fields,” he says.
“Any crop loss that is experienced in a rotary combine happens because whole corn shucks carry out kernels,” Estes continues. “The Disrupter serves as an internal cutting device that will disrupt the flow of the crop and help keep more grain from being carried out of your combine.”
The John Deere Disrupter kit consists of 12 metal lugs that are installed in the separation section of the combine’s rotor on a 90° angle with the crop’s rearward movement. The lugs pulverize the shucks as the shucks pass through the separator, leaving grain in the machine instead of on the ground.
Estes displayed prototypes of The Disrupter kit for John Deere STS series combines at the 2010 National Farm Machinery Show and has sold a few dozen kits since then. Tony Ferkin, a customer from New Zealand, says The Disrupter cut grain losses by 50% in tough, high-yielding areas of his fields and virtually eliminated them in normal conditions. “Even if these disrupters [decrease] losses a small amount, they are well worth the investment in my view,” Ferkin says.
Cost of the John Deere STS Disrupter kit is $388. Estes continues to supply Case IH dealers with kits for the Axial-Flow combines. The company also rebuilds and hardfaces cylinder bars, rotor bars, concaves, and other wear parts on combines.