I looked at all the headers out there,” said Kellen Huber, owner of Tri Star Farm Services in Emerald Park, Saskatchewan. “I decided this one is best suited for our conditions.” He made those comments on the edge of a field as his dealership was demonstrating the Capello corn header in a test plot near Regina.
When looking to add a line of corn headers to his short-line dealership, Huber says he took a close look at what was available from all the aftermarket header manufacturers selling into the North American market. After investigating the options, Huber Believes the Italian brand, Capello, offers a blend of features that makes it ideally suited to growing conditions in Western Canada.
One of the most notable of those is the way the Capello header cuts stalks. The mower-style rotating knives under the table are mounted farther forward than those on other brands that offer cutters — and not all do. This knife position ensures the stalks have already been fed into the paired knife rollers on the header but are still standing up straight when cut, which helps minimize shelling.
“That’s better for the short corn stalks we have up here,” explains Huber. “It cuts them before the stalks get pushed forward. It’s a patented design.”
With shorter stalks, the ears hang lower to the ground than on taller stands common to areas with longer growing seasons. If a header pushes shorter plants forward before cutting them, some ears could go under the table, increasing harvesting losses. The rotating knives also create a more consistent stubble height.
To help prevent damage, each row unit on the header is protected by a slip clutch, which will allow that section to stop independently of the others without damaging the main drive components. On each side of the unit are totally enclosed chain drives, which keeps them lubricated and protected from the elements to increase component life. Headers larger than 12 rows get sealed gear boxes instead of chain drives.
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To prevent the header from digging into a high spot in the field, Capello units offer automatic header height protection. Metal bars under the polymer snouts act as sensors and contact the ground when the header is too low, sending a signal to the hydraulic system to raise it before damage occurs.
The deck of the Capello header has a relatively gentle 17-degree slope that ensures loose kernels and cobs are easily swept into the feeder house. “It’s near the middle of the range (of other corn headers),” said Huber. “Some are higher and some are lower.”
The gap between the gathering chains is hydraulically adjustable from the cab. The combine operator can easily close or widen the gap to match field conditions and prevent material from falling through.
Near the front of the gathering chains are flaps that prevent cobs and material from falling forward off the header until it can be swept up into the feeder house. Watching the Capello harvest corn, it was clear those flaps were a useful addition and did their job well.
The gathering chains are heavier than those on some competing models and use a polyurethane, large-diameter drive sprocket at the front for longer sprocket and chain life.
The unit demonstrated at the Tri Star field day was an eight-row head, but Capello offers a range from four to 16 rows. “We decided to start off small,” said Huber of the test unit. “But they (Capello) have a full range of working widths. And they’ve been in the business for quite a while. The company started out in the early ’60s.”