Types of Headers and What They’re Used For

a header is used on a western australian wheat farm to harvest ripe grain
May 13, 2021 Renan 0 Comments

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Your job doesn’t end once you’ve had your new (or used) combine harvester shipped to the farm; you’ll also need to determine which type of header attachment is best for the job you’ve got in mind. If you choose the wrong header, you could experience unwanted hiccups during the harvesting season; you may even see a reduced grain quality and yield, which has a knock-on effect on your profits (and nobody wants that!).

Headers are available in a myriad of shapes and sizes, often with specialized purposes. It can be easy to identify the right type of header if you look at how the original equipment manufacturer segments the products available for purchase, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also get confusing. Plus, with the right transport company, (like Tractor Transport) header transport services are easy! Below, we’ve taken the time to introduce you to the most commonly used combine headers and which crops they’re most suited to. As a quick introduction, these are the header types we’ll be discussing in a little more detail:

  • Corn headers
  • Draper headers
  • Grain headers
  • Auger headers
  • Flex headers
  • Pick-up headers
  • Sunflower headers

Corn Headers

Corn headers are primarily built to aid with the harvesting of row crops, including corn. Corn headers have cones that are designed to fit neatly between cornrows. Between these cones, the header has gathering chains that snap the stalks using knife rolls. The cut stalks fall to the ground while the crop heads are fed into the auger at the back of the header, which then transfers the corn into the combine’s feeder house.

Suitable for: Row crops where stalks aren’t needed, corn, and soybeans.

a header is used on a western australian wheat farm to harvest ripe grain

Draper Headers

Draper headers are so-called because of the belts themselves that drape the machine and feed crop to the central belt, which loads the harvest into the combine for separation. Draper headers are useful for preventing pinching and slugging. They differ from more conventional auger headers that utilize stainless steel floors rather than conveyor belts.

Suitable for: Peas, beans, grains, and wheat.

Grain Headers

Sometimes referred to as wheat headers or draper headers, these attachments utilize a canvas-style rolling platform that catches crops from the sickle bar. They then feed the grain through the combine for cleaning and separation.

Suitable for: Wheat, grain crops, peas, and beans.

Auger Headers

Auger headers, sometimes referred to as tin fronts, are a more conventional type of header. They typically have quite a large diameter, and the horizontal auger is used to feed crop material from the cutter bar into the auger table. Auger headers then channel the crop into a central position for combine harvester feeding.

Suitable for: Grains and wheat.

Flex Headers

Flex headers are designed to operate over uneven ground. They feature guards that protect the blades which do the cutting, so there’s less chance of inadvertently dulling the blades through contacts with rocks and other unwanted materials. Flex header functionality is often combined with draper headers to ensure an efficient harvest.

Suitable for: Harvesting fields with uneven ground.

Pick-up Headers

These headers are designed to pick up crops that have been windrowed. Pick-up headers have long times on the header, which collect up the produce and transfer it onto the belts that feed the auger. The auger then moves the crop into the combine harvester. These headers are some of the most versatile, and they can harvest a wide variety of crops.

Suitable for: Peas, beans, lentils, grass, grains, and canola.

Sunflower Headers

As the name suggests, this is a more specialized header. However, it’s commonly used in many U.S. states such as South Dakota and North Dakota, which produce millions of pounds of sunflower seeds each year. Although it does resemble a corn header, usually there are sunflower trays that are fitted to the cutter bar to keep heads and seeds in the front of the header, while a head snatcher component speeds up the harvest and optimizes seed collection.

Suitable for: All sunflower varieties.