Row By Row / April 2020

Efficiency and profitability goals lead Iowa farmer to a Drago corn head.

After 14 Seasons With A Drago Corn Head, Daren Lauritsen Says, “It Owes Me Nothing.”

The farming goal of Daren Lauritsen is to be as efficient and profitable as possible. He had that goal in mind in 2004 when he purchased a Drago corn head to match his John Deere combine.

“Every other brand at that time was basically the same,” the Iowa farmer remembers, “I was looking for a corn head that stood out. The Drago corn head had automatic deck plates and that’s why I made the purchase.

“We want to capture as many kernels as we can, I like knowing I am saving yield, and the automatic deck plates allow me to concentrate on other things in the cab during harvest – I don’t have to worry about settings and gaps.”

Drago was still a relatively new brand in the U.S. at the time, but Lauritsen says he wasn’t concerned about durability.

Could See It Was Well-Built

“Every purchase is a risk,” Lauritsen says. “I could see by its heavier gathering chains and larger sprockets that it was well-built. And I wasn’t disappointed. The durability of the corn head was outstanding. During the 14 years we owned the corn head, we only needed to replace the gathering chains, knife rollers and bearings – things I describe as routine maintenance. We had no serious problems.

“Service and parts availability were superior, too,” he notes. “We never considered anything other than genuine Drago parts. The performance of the corn head was so reliable we had no reason to try anything else.”

“That corn head owed me nothing,” Lauritsen says. “It’s a highly mechanized piece of equipment and the lack of downtime and expensive maintenance made our ROI desirable compared to other brands.”

Purchases Another Drago

Fourteen years after his legacy purchase, Lauritsen said it was time to look at a new corn head and purchased a 12-row folding Drago GT in 2019.

“With the challenging farm economy we need to capture as much yield as we can,” Lauritsen says. “Drago was the only brand we seriously considered. We follow what other corn head brands are doing and the problems they are having – some brands have actually gone backwards with the changes they’ve made. We had no incentive to look at other brands.”

“There were ongoing improvements from the Drago legacy to the Series I, to the Series II, and tremendous improvements with the GT,” Lauritsen says. “The amount of new technology was enough to say, ‘Okay, it’s time to go ahead and upgrade because it’s totally worth it.’

“Really, there was no reason to change brands. Over the past 14 years, there had been no significant improvements with the other corn heads – there were no new technologies.”

Achieves Goal For Efficiency

Lauritsen says they ran the GT last season and it lived up to their expectations. “It has fewer moving parts for easier maintenance, plus better feeding so you can run at a higher speed,” he notes. “Plus, along with the automatic deck plates, the GT also has QuadSuspension which is designed to limit ear bounce in wetter corn, and butt-shelling when corn is dry.

“We purchased the GT for its superior performance and durability,” Lauritsen says. “It fits perfectly with our goal of being as efficient and profitable as possible.”