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Soybean farmers harvesting with Case-IH axial-flow combines share a common complaint: roping. Their combine rotors wind the stem of the soybean plant instead of slicing it, creating a bean straw rope that lays out behind the machine, making no-till farming difficult and disking almost essential for double cropping. When Soybean breeders developed early-maturing varieties to reduce the shattering of beans during harvest they improved bean yield, but they inadvertently added to the roping problem. The stems of the new varieties are usually green and tough at harvest, nearly impossible to separate with a regular rotor.

Don Estes, as an agricultural equipment welder near the corn and soybean fields of central Illinois, heard farmers repeatedly complaining about roping during harvest and figured out a solution. “What I did was put some cutters in the keystock grate section of the rotor where they will cut the straw as it begins wrapping or roping,” Estes explained. The cutters consist of nine steel lugs laid out in a circular pattern on the keystock grate and bolted into place. Made of 3/4-inch steel, the lugs have a 55 rockwell hardness material applied to each face or front. The straw, after being thrashed over the concave section of the rotor, continues into the keystock grate where it meshes with the sharp lugs and is “disrupted” “The lugs can be installed in the keystock grate without the grates,” Estes pointed out. “Installation takes about half an hour.”

Naming his invention “The Disrupter,” Estes made and tested six different sets in 1994 before going into commercial production on the product in 1995. It is now installed on more than 1220 combines in 24 states for use primarily on soybeans and corn. “The Disrupter pulverizes the corn shucks that would otherwise flow out the back of the combine, taking a lot of kernels with them. Some growers have reported increased yields because of this,” Estes noted.
On soybeans, The Disrupter cuts stems into 4- to 8-inch pieces, preventing roping and allowing the straw spreader to spread more evenly. It also reduces rotor rumbling caused by inefficient feeding.

The Disrupter lugs have been designed for both keystock grates and the earlier flat grates of Case-IH combines. On conventional rotors, a notched Casse-IH green maze bar or the “Scallop” bar made by Estes must be added to the rotor to make it more aggressive, swinging the straw past the lugs to increase the effieiency of The Disrupter.

The Disrupter for $440 and the Scallop Bar for $225-$300.


“The Disrupter” was originally designed to stop the roping and rumbling with green stem beans in all of the Case-IH Axial-flow combines, both the conventional and specialty rotor, although the problem was not as severe with the specialty because the rotor itself was more aggressive. However, because of the more aggressive rotor in the specialty another problem has arisen that “The Disrupter” has solved. Rotor loss in corn with corn shucks carrying kernels out the back. Remember that you must use the Rice Spike Bars in the specialty rotor because they do the same job as the scallop bars do in the conventional rotor. (Force the straw past or through “The Disruptor” lugs.) With the aggressiveness of the Rice Spike Bars over the back half of the rotor YOU MUST remove all of the Retarder Bars that originally existed on all specialty rotors, “The Disrupter” lugs act as an internal straw chopper.

It is very important that “The Disrupter” lugs be used with an aggressive rotor.  In the conventional rotor you must use the green maze bar, and in the specialty rotor you must use the rice spike bars.

Reasons to use “The Disrupter”
    • Stops rotor roping of green stem soybeans in both conventional & specialty rotors.
    • Stops rotor rumbling in all crops with heavy straw.
    • Stops rotor loss in corn due to whole shucks carrying kernels out in both conventional and especially in specialty rotors because they are more aggressive.
    • Helps spreaders spread more evenly.
    • No disking field for anhydrous application.
    • Cuts wheat straw for easy spreading when double cropping.
    • Cuts and crushes rice straw for faster decaying and quicker field return.
    • Improves straw chopper efficiency because the pieces are smaller upon entry.
    • Power requirements do not change with “The Disrupter” and some clients have reported power increase. (less constipation in the rotor)
    • Improves crop flow in edible beans and black-eyed peas. (install only 1/2 set)
Reason not to use “The Disrupter”
    • Baling wheat straw

“The Disrupter” lugs are made of solid 28% chrome that enhances the operation of all Axial-Flo combines.

  • US Patent # 5,569,080
  • 20,000 sets sold


  • Separation KIT for all 1440-236 Conventional Rotors ( 3 Estes Mfg. Green Maze bars & 1 set of Chrome Disrupters)……. $624.00
  • Separation KIT for all 1480-2388 Conventional Rotors ( 4 Estes Mfg. Green Maze bars & 1 set of Chrome Disrupters)…….$749.00
  • Separation KIT for all 1440-2366 Specialty Rotors (31 Chrome Rice Spike Bars & 1 set of Chrome Disrupters)……. $927.00
  • Separation KIT for all 1480-2388 Specialty Rotors ( 32 Chrome Rice Spike Bars & 1 set of Chrome Disrupters……. $963.00


  • CORN – Thrash & Separate – 50 BU to 300 BU (wet & dry) NO ROTOR LOSS UP TO 5 MPH


  • SOY BEANS – Thrash & Separate  (green stem or dry) NO ROTOR LOSS


  • WHEAT – Thrash & Separate (excellent sample) NO ROTOR LOSS


  • POP CORN – Thrash & Separate (excellent test) NO ROTOR LOSS


  • RYE GRASS – Thrash & Separate  (even 5 feet tall) NO ROTOR LOSS


  • ALL CROPS – Increase capacity


All standard rotors lose 1-2 bushels
1000 acres = $8,000.00
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