Don't Overlook The Need To Calibrate Yield Monitors For Each Crop

USDA software, called Yield Editor, can help remove errors in your data.

Published on: Sep 30, 2013

Collecting yield data from yield monitors is crucial for your precision agriculture applications. But a University of Nebraska-Lincoln specialist says that information is only as good as the accuracy of the yield monitor.

Joe Luck, UNL precision specialist, says yield date allows producers who have been doing precision ag management to evaluate year to year what is happening in their fields, and, more specifically, within management zones in those fields.

Yield monitor calibration is one of the most important aspects of collecting that data, and it's often overlooked by many producers at harvest time.

"It is important that yield monitors are calibrated for every different crop that producers harvest," Luck says. "If you are harvesting corn, you need to perform a calibration for corn; if you switch to soybeans, you need to perform a calibration for that and so forth.

Joe Luck says yield monitoring systems can generate some errors that should be removed.
Joe Luck says yield monitoring systems can generate some errors that should be removed.

Luck says that another factor that is becoming very important right now is "cleaning" the yield data, or removing the errors from that data.

Farmers have been using yield monitors for more than 20 years, but the systems haven't changed very much and still tend to generate some errors.

A software program available from USDA, called Yield Editor, can help remove those errors, according to Luck.

"This is becoming important as producers use yield data to develop new prescription layers, such as nitrogen recommendation based on yield information from the previous year," he says.

Luck also recommends producers become familiar with the capabilities of farm management software to bring in yield data from the harvester, display that data and then perform some sort of analysis of that data. Even if producers are going to allow a trusted advisor to manage their data, understanding how that process works will result in better communication about the goals for their operation.

For more information about the best precision agriculture management practices, go to precisionagriculture.unl.edu.

Source: UNL CropWatch