Beyond the harvest functions, other combine issues should also be considered.

Growers sometimes switch combine manufacturers. While most combines work similarly, specific functions may operate differently; for example, different-sized concaves and thrashing elements on the rotor. Review the operator’s manual for specific configuration of the combine for the alfalfa seed harvest.

If a grower plans to hire a custom harvester, Aubin offers these suggestions. Choose a custom harvester with a good reputation and is willing to work with the grower to maximize seed quality and minimize seed loss.

Also, consider the quality of the custom harvester’s equipment to move the harvested seed from the field to the local elevator, Aubin says.

Well maintained equipment can reduce seed damage. A rule of thumb is up to 1 percent seed damage can occur each time the seed is moved if grain-handling equipment is not properly maintained.

Aubin also stresses the importance of safety during the harvest. Make sure all combine operators are aware of the safety measures outlined in the operator’s manual.

For more information, contact Aubin at (214) 578-8320 or john@combineharvestingsolutions.com.

Check out these Western Farm Press blog entries:

Would you drink GM wine?

Too many straws have emptied the bucket

Growers divided on US ethanol policy