Steel lugs help stop crop stems from roping in rotary combines.

The steel lugs that D.J. Estes designed in his machine shop to stop crop stems from rumbling and roping in rotary combines will now be sold through Case IH dealers as part of its regular parts supply. An agreement between Estes and Case was worked out in November.

"I always knew it was a good product," says Estes, sitting behind a desk in a cramped office on the second story of his manufacturing shed, one block north of the aqua-colored water tower in Flanagan, IL. "It was just a matter of getting the word out."

Estes first introduced the product, called The Disrupter, in 1995. Since then, Estes received a patent for the design and has sold 2,600 sets to date. "The response was so great, I had to hire out," Estes says.

The roots of roping. Estes says roping has been a problem since the mid 1980s, when plant breeders started breeding beans with green stems to keep the pods on at harvest and prevent crop loss. The green stems, which can be as tall as 40 in., tend to twist around in the rotor of a rotary combine, causing it to drag or even plug up during harvest. Piles of roped residue may be left in the field, which can interfere with fall field operations and fertilizing operations in the spring.

The Disrupter is designed to solve those problems. It consists of nine lugs, about 3/4 in. in diameter, that are installed on the grain separation grate of rotary combines.

"As the crop swings around the rotor, the lugs cut the stems up," Estes explains.

Starting this year, the lugs will be made of 26% solid chrome instead of hardened steel for longer life.

All rotors at risk. Estes says all rotary combines will rope because of their design. Grain travels in a spiraling motion around the rotor as it is being threshed and separated. "I think Deere's new rotary combine will have the same problem," Estes says.

Although The Disrupter was designed primarily to solve the problem with green stem beans, it works equally as well in other crops including corn and wheat, Estes says. "Any crop loss that is experienced in a rotary combine happens because whole corn shucks carry out kernels," he explains. "My Disrupter lug disintegrates corn shucks so the kernels will stay in the machine and the shucks go out in pieces."

Price for the nine-lug set is $359.

Aggressive rotor required. To make The Disrupter work efficiently, you need an aggressive rotor that is equipped with Case's green maize bar or Estes' Scallop bar, which helps separate the grain. On specialty rotors, a rice spike bar is required. Estes will rebuild rotor bars and sells Scallop bars for $75 each and rice spike bars for $12. Three to four Scallop bars or 20 to 30 spike bars are required, depending on the combine model.

For more information about The Disrupter, or for the name of a farmer in your area who has used the product, contact Estes Mfg., Dept. FIN, Box 397, Flanagan, IL 61740, 800/235-4461.