This chapter focuses on various factors that influence the designs of grain harvesting machinery. These machineries are not only influenced by the type of crop but also by the limited time available for harvest and cultural practices associated with the crop. Gathering head capacity determines combined throughput. The head must gather all the grain into the combine and also gather enough other plant material to cushion the grain during threshing. Cutterbar height affects the amount of plant material entering the combine. Small grain cutterbars are fixed on the grain platform and the operator endeavors to cut the crop just under the plant heads. The reel controls feeding of the upper part of plants into the grain platform. Bats on the reel push the top of plants over the cutterbar to aid cutting and sweep the material across the platform. For soybean or rice crops, pick-up fingers are often added to the reel to help lift and pick up the lodged crop. The center of the reel is slightly ahead of the cutterbar. If pick-up fingers are used, the reel should be positioned so that the pick-up fingers clear the cutterbar by at least one inch for all conditions. Stripper heads are sometimes used for rice and small grains. The stripper rotor has a set of combing teeth, which comb grain heads from stems. The rotor is covered by a hood to prevent grain flying away from the head. A platform auger gathers material into the feederhouse to the threshing area. The advantage of the stripper head is that it greatly reduces material other than grain entering the combine, which allows greater throughput and forward speed.
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