South Dakota company offers corn head kits

GROTON, S.D. -- Leading Edge Industries Inc. of Groton, S.D., this year launched a new product -- Operation Harvest Sweep -- an attachment kit that installs on corn headers to reduce shatter loss.

The Harvest Sweep kit for a John Deere 612 corn head involves custom deck plates, custom gathering chains and impact sweep pieces that mount onto the custom chains. Photo supplied by Leading Edge Industries. (Agweek)

GROTON, S.D. - Leading Edge Industries Inc. of Groton, S.D., this year launched a new product - Operation Harvest Sweep - an attachment kit that installs on corn headers to reduce shatter loss.

Shawn Gengerke is a fourth-generation farmer and CEO and founder of the company.
“We started with research about three years ago, and started selling the product in February of 2015,” he says.
The company, based about 20 miles east of Aberdeen, S.D., sells direct to farmers throughout the Corn Belt. The cost of the system is $1,450 per unit when sold direct, and up to $1,650 per unit, through retail vendors. The product sells in six, eight and 12-row kits.
The system is promoted to cut shatter loss by 80 to 85 percent, Gengerke says.
Cut losses 80 percent
Shatter loss varies with moisture content at harvest. Harvest loss from corn shatter typically is 1 bushel to 3 bushels per acre when corn is harvested at 20 percent moisture, but can increase to 3 bushels to 5 bushels per acre when harvest-time moisture content is as dry as 16 percent to 17 percent. Losses were 6 bushels to 8 bushels per acre in the dry year of 2012, a rate some farmers matched during the dry harvest of 2015, he says.
The shatter loss phenomenon is getting worse because seed companies are breeding corn varieties that dry down faster, to cut crop drying expenses.
“Farmers are harvesting earlier in the season, trying to finish harvest before the corn dries down too much and shatter losses get too bad,” Gengerke says.
The attachment replaces the manufacturer’s deck plates and gathering chains. It uses patent-pending components. The kits are available for most popular makes and models of corn headers. Each kit contains deck plates and sweeps units that bolt onto gathering chains.
Operation Harvest Sweep deck plates are lipped to retain shattered kernels, rather than allowing them to fall to the ground. Gathering chains are equipped with sweeps to bring shattered kernels from the deck plates to the auger. The gathering chains also have impact pads, designed to reduce shattering and offer gentler corn handling, Gengerke says.
Herbicide savings
Besides saving grain for sale, another benefit is that kernels don’t fall to the ground and create volunteer corn in the following year’s soybeans and other crops.
“Farmers potentially save money by reducing chemical application (to kill the volunteer corn), but they can also prevent yield reduction of the next year’s soybean crop,” Gengerke says.
He graduated from Groton High School and earned a degree in ag production and plant science from Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.D., in 1995. He founded Leading Edge Industries August 2004.
The company’s other product is the Load Judge, hopper trailer sensor system.
The Load Judge system uses three vertical light bars to read the shape and distribution of grain in a semi-tractor trailer for easier loading. The guidance system for loading is designed to help combine drivers complete loading without the need to have people climb onto trucks, which saves labor and offers safety advantages. As grain falls into a trailer, a computer algorithm creates an image of the grain contours that can be seen on a driver’s screen, available with an iPad, iPhone or Android, allowing the driver to know where to drive forward or backward.
For information on the product, visit, or call 605-397-2020. Contact Gengerke at . The company will be in Minot, N.D., on Jan. 27 to 29, for the KMOT Ag Expo at the North Dakota State Fair Center.

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