My Story

a little about me

Andrew Conrad

Hello, my name is Andrew Conrad, I have studied agriculture ever since I was a child. I followed my father around our family farm everywhere. In high school, I participated in many FFA activities and am currently involved with agriculture. I graduated from the John Deere Technology Program at Northeast Iowa Community College Calmar, Iowa with an Associate of Applied Science degree in 2011.

In 2016, I graduated again from Northeast Iowa Community College with an Associate of Arts degree. I graduated from Upper Iowa University, Fayette, Iowa with a four-year degree in Business Administration in the spring of 2019. I continued my education through the years to gain more knowledge about daily business functions and marketing trends.

Conrad Restoration Inc. started in July of 2019. But ever since I was a young child, I always dreamed of operating my own farming operation and agriculture repair business. I grew up on our family farm and currently still help my family farm. We have our acres enrolled in pastureland, and alfalfa, with a light rotation of corn, soybeans, and oats. We have a cattle operation.

Huskers: Featured in Green Magazine

This article was written by Andrew Conrad and was featured in the December 2020 issue of Green Magazine.

One of my former co-workers, Joel Ackerman purchased a John Deere 300 husker in the fall of 2013 and in the summer of 2014, I purchased my first 300 husker as well. I didn’t know much about JD 300 huskers, but received an education real fast.

In the fall of 2014, I put the 300 huskers to the test.  My father picked the fields open with his IH 234 and we thought we would pick the interior of the field out with my 300 husker.  We picked about 100 feet and we checked our sample in the gravity box.  I noticed there was a lot of corn on the ground and a lot of shell corn in the wagon along with the ears of corn having a lot of butt shelling and end ear shelling.  I also noticed a lot of trash in with the load of corn. This about made me sick! The IH 234 picker never picked this variety of corn like this.  The 234 picked the corn very cleanly and hardly ever shelled.  Later that day I moved the deck plates in all the way and I still had a lot of shelling at the corn head and the ear of corn, once it got up into the husking bed, it would get caught at the end of the husker in two places.  This caused the ear of corn to grind and shell in this area.  I was so upset with the 300 huskers performance that we never used the 300 husker for the rest the 2014 harvest season.   

For the next couple of months, I didn’t know what to do with my 300 husker.  I even thought about selling the 300 husker.  Well, the first thing I had to fix with the picker was my trash and butt shelling issue.  I inspected the 244 corn head on my picker and noticed the deck plates were horseshoed and the stalk rolls were wore about half way up the stalk roll.  I thought about installing new John Deere stalk rolls and deck plates on my machine but decided against it because we have had trouble in the past with the chisel plow plugging up due to the heavy trash left over from the corn stalks.  We have actually had to go back over the field with a stalk chopper to get the stalk material to go through the chisel plow and our chisel plow even has disk blades in front of the chisel shanks.  Another fellow co-worker by the name of John Lindsey had the same trouble on his farm as well and he even had John Deere knife rolls on his 643 John Deere corn head.  John went to a farm show in Iowa and stopped at the Calmer Corn Head booth.  All of the Calmer representatives were busy at this time and John waited around the Calmer booth and Marion Calmer himself saw John waiting patiently, so Marion waited on him.  John said Marion was very easy to talk with and answered all his questions about Calmer BT chopping stalk rolls.  At the end of his conversation Marion enough give John his personal cell phone number and told him to call him if he had any trouble with Calmer products.  John comes back from the show and gives me a brochure of Calmer stalk rolls.  He said, “I think you and I should put these on our corn heads!”  John stated he was amazed how the owner of Calmar stalks rolls was present at the show and talked about Calmer products.

In August of 2015 my father and I went to Alpha, Illinois to tour the Calmer corn head factory and purchased two sets of Calmer BT chopper stalk rolls.  I never had the opportunity to meet Marion Calmer the day I purchased my stalk rolls but the people at the Calmer corn head factory were very nice and cared deeply about taking care of my needs to improve my John Deere 244 corn head.   They give my father and I a tour of the factory and demonstrated for us how the 10-knife stalk roll cuts the corn stalk into confetti.  The knife stalk roll cuts the corn stalk into 1-2-inch lengths.  This allows the corn stalk to break down faster.  They also demonstrated how the Calmar deck plate protects the butt end of the ear and reduces shelling.   Calmer also has a slowdown chain kit that consisted of a 6-tooth sprocket on the upper chain drive allowing the chains to slow down, not touching against the corn as much.  After the demonstration, I purchased new Calmer BT chopping stalk rolls, Calmer deck plates, and slow down chain kit.  The one nice thing I really enjoyed about the whole purchase was the number of free items they include in with the purchase.  They include two Calmer hats, a Calmer corn head hat that is in the shape of a big ear of corn, a corn head angle gauge, a tough pair of gloves to handle the Calmer knife roll, and a color printed set of instructions of how to install the new Calmar knife roll. Overall, I was very impressed with the Calmar factory, Calmer products, and Calmar customer support.  Soon after the purchasing of these Calmer products, I installed the products on my 244-corn head along with making several other repairs to the machine.

I disconnected the husking roll drive chains and removed each rubber-husking roll. I rebuilt each rubber-husking roll with new tire carcasses cut out using a punch press. I replaced any bearing in the husking bed that felt rough while turning over. I also replaced the bushing holder spacer pieces on each holder. The old bushings were stepped and needed to be replaced. Installed rebuilt rubber husking rolls. Installed new drive chains for husking rolls.  Also replaced several other chains on the husker.

Finally, I was able to take the husker to the field and was very pleased with how the husker performed. After installing the Calmer rebuild kits, in good operating conditions, it helped eliminate stalk material and husk going through the husker. With this being said, it helps the husking bed do a better job of husking the ear of corn and less stalk and husk material going through the machine. At first though, I was still upset on how the ear of corn was moving through the husking bed. I measured the husking roll brushes and noticed they were over 1 inch worn down. I replaced all the brushes in the husking bed and this helped but was still not impressed. My father had the idea to install husking paddles from an IH 234 husking bed. This helped move the ears of corn through the husking bed more efficiently, I installed husking paddles from an International Harvester 234 corn picker husking bed along with two extra bars between husking rolls to protect against shelling on the end of the husking bed in two places. After performing these repairs, the husker performed well. I was very pleased with how the husker performed after making all of these repairs. I needed to make these repairs in order to make the husker perform well in the harvesting of over 200 bushel an acre corn. 

Along with having a 300 husker with a 244, in the fall of 2017, I restored a 300 husker with a 243 (30-inch rows). I completely went through this machine and for some reason have an addiction to 300 huskers and IH 234 pickers. In September of 2019 Gayle Noble from Albion, Nebraska purchased one of my restored 300 huskers. He said both of my 300 huskers were two of the nicest 300 huskers he has ever seen. This last fall I restored another 300 husker with a 244 cornhead. This was another extensive project which required a complete rebuild of the machine. In fact, the previous owner was very excited I restored the JD 300 husker. I took it to the field last fall and was pleased with the performance of 300 husker. 

I currently have two 300 huskers restored, one JD 300 husker with a 243-corn head (30-inch rows) and one husker with a 244 cornhead (38-inch rows). Both of theses machines are currently for sale. I also currently rebuild rubber-husking rolls for John Deere 300 huskers and IH 234 husking beds. When I sell a set of husking rolls for a 300 husker, I include the two extra bars and paddles to help move the corn through the husking bed. I also sell several rebuilt and used parts for John Deere 300 huskers. Currently I produce new stalk ejector shafts and new wagon elevator extension piece BN100169 for sale. There are also several parts in the works of reproducing as well. Feel free to ask questions about my parts collection for JD 300 huskers and rebuilding 300 huskers, Andrew Conrad at 815-541-7630.

Hopefully in the future I will have an article comparing the IH 234 and John Deere 300 husker. Also, I know some of you readers are wondering why I enjoy restoring corn pickers so much and this question has been raised to me by several customers. In my opinion in the restoration part of farm equipment, there are very few people who do restoration on corn pickers. I feel they are a very important part of agricultural history and they need to be preserved for future generations to come.

I’d like to thank Joel Ackerman, John Lindsay, Gerald Johnson, Steve Lange, Raymond & Pat Thul, Daryl Copp, Gary L., Kevin Bos, Corn Picker Bob, Bill Wessel, Gayle Noble,  my father Alan Conrad for helping me with all of these projects,  Andrew Berlage & family, past & future customers, God, and The Green Magazine for helping me make this John Deere 300 husker restoration & parts dream of mine a reality. Thank you all!!!

Contact me!

I prefer to work with customers over the phone or via email.  Contact me at 815-541-7630 or I am located in Scales Mound, Illinois.