We've all heard the adage, "If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is." As farmers ourselves, this saying comes to mind whenever someone shares their experience with all-crop concaves. Let's face it, these concaves are designed for either gentle-threshing corn and soybeans or hard-threshing small grains. Even with cover plates or bar inserts that manufacturers offer to convert corn and bean kits for small grains, there's always a compromise.
That's essentially a swear word to a farmer. Cue the toe curling and eye twitching, we've been asked to compromise, to sacrifice yields during harvest that we worked so hard to precisely plant and nurture throughout the growing season. At Kondex, we don't like to compromise, and don't feel you should either. What happens when conditions are less than optimal? Why settle for an ok job in all crops when you can maximize performance in each crop? That is the solution we're offering with our KX7 concaves.
We've broken down the top five complaints we hear from people who have tried (or know someone who's tried) all-crop concaves and didn't get what they were promised.
1. My all-crop concaves are still plugging
Plugging occurs when crop material hairpins around the concave bars. This situation is most problematic in wet crop conditions and significantly reduces combine capacity. If the concave is plugged, the grain cannot get out and is more likely to be damaged or lost completely out the machine. KX7 concaves are designed with crop flow in mind. We've minimized the opportunities for crop material to hairpin, and the angled bar design encourages even the wettest material to flow above the concave.
2. I'm still seeing rotor loss with all-crop concaves
Despite some claims made of zero rotor loss, that's just not reality with an all-crop concave or any concave. It's scientifically impossible to avoid rotor loss completely. It can be greatly reduced, but you're going to get a much lower loss percentage when your concave is dialed in for a specific crop - hence why farmers love our KX7 concaves. Rotor loss is a result of improper threshing. If the kernels have not been removed by the end of the rotor, you're going to see losses. This commonly occurs with plugged concaves when there's nowhere but out the back for grain to go. It can also happen when the concaves are just not doing a good job. Our KX7 concaves deliver an earlier, more aggressive thresh that allows the grain to make it into the cleaning shoe faster. Some users have seen next to no losses, but on average, KX7 customers will see 0.25% to 0.5% loss levels - even in the highest producing corn fields.
3. My mixed-moisture fields are causing poor harvest results
We are always at the mercy of Mother Nature, and if trends of recent years hold true, we can expect to see a continuation of inconsistencies in crop emergence and cob diameters for years to come. When using an all-crop concave kit, you're limited in how much dialing in you can do to optimize your harvest. One of the most lauded benefits of KX7 is its ability to adapt to mixed-moisture conditions within the same field, row, and crop. It's very common to hear how KX7 effectively dealt with green-stem soybeans - "butter beans" or "green beans" as we're often told. Another common compliment is the ability to get all the kernels off the cob, something that's a challenge for most machines.
4. I just spent $7,000 on an all-crop kit and am not getting what was promised
Concaves are an investment. Usually, the greater the investment, the greater return - you get what you pay for. However, this is proving to be false for concaves. Harvesters are doing their research to find that alternatives priced above KX7 concaves are not the value they claim. KX7 concave kits for Case IH and John Deere have an MSRP between $3,900 and $4,500 (at the time of this article), depending on the combine model. Compare that to the aftermarket all-crop concaves ranging from $5,000 to $7,000+.
Now, let's play devil's advocate and add in the fact that you may need to purchase an additional one to two KX7 MaxRound or MaxThresh concaves beyond a base kit to optimize results in multiple crops. Each individual concave ranges from $470 to $775. But when you factor in the value of maximizing performance for each crop (meaning you'll retain more grain and capture better overall quality) and the high-wear additive that extends product life by two to three times, what was a nearly equal cost scale greatly tips in favor of KX7.
5. I'm seeing whitecaps and cracked grain with my all-crop concaves
No one wants to be docked at the elevator for whitecaps or cracking, but this is a common occurrence with all-crop concaves due to the inability to match threshing capacity to the crop needs. KX7 concaves are solving this issue and delivering better grain quality in all crops thanks to its design. KX7 features helical angled interrupter bars that deliver earlier, more aggressive threshing. Yet, the edge of the MaxThresh interrupter bars are softened by our Tungstrong laser cladding wear protection to shield against damage. The KX7 design also promotes air disruption, leading to greater grain-on-grain threshing that's ideal for superior quality - as shown in the grain sample image below.
If after reading the opposition to an all-crop kit you're still not sure about having to change out concaves, there are two things you should know. First, with KX7, the front and back concaves in John Deere and Case Mid-Series combines almost always remain the same between crops. This means you're only swapping a few half-width concaves in the middle. Second, if you absolutely do not want to change concaves between crops, it is possible to configure KX7 concavse to swap threshing and separating box inserts within a single assembly in a way that will work in all crops. There will be some compromise yet, which is why we don't promote these configurations, but the flexibility of KX7 allows you to create a configuration that's best suited for you. Our motto is, "Take Control of Your Harvest," because there's no other concave that gives you as much flexibility as KX7. What works in one region may not in another, but the control is with you in customizing your concaves to ensure the best possible harvest outcomes!
If you're considering new concaves and want to discuss KX7 further, send us a note and we'll gladly talk through all your options.