You get one shot, every year, to record your harvest data accurately from the start. To some growers, this is essential. To others, if their bins are full by harvest end they are satisfied. The only thing missing with a mindset like that is an accurate yield file to help with management decisions.
With our low commodity prices, growers are looking for ways to maximize yields and their ROI. Analyzing past crop care plans and yields can help lead management decisions to do just that. You will be able to identify what worked, and what did not. From here, you can turn precision into decision ag.
When we started our ProVantage program, we quickly realized the importance of having good, accurate yield data. Yield data files are the foundation of variable rate prescriptions and operation decisions. We have also learned that the more years of yield files collected, the more accurate our prescriptions and decisions can be. Accurate yield data becomes increasingly important when you variable rate fertilizer and only put back enough product to offset the removal from the previous year. Calibrating your yield monitor and making sure it is in prime condition to record the coming harvest takes little time (20-40 minutes). This is minimal when you consider the value yield files can provide.
Each crop year brings about different conditions and challenges. The result, no two crops are exactly the same. Differences might be: a rapid grain fill, slow grain fill, kernel density, temperature, kernel texture, high yields, low yields, etc. All of which influence how the crop flow is sensed by the mass flow sensor. Not only does this show the importance of calibrating, but it also shows the importance of recalibrating at the start of each new crop year.
How do you know that you are comparing apples to apples without a calibrated monitor recording your work? Some growers even argue that recalibrating for every new variety is important. They certainly could be correct depending on how different their varieties are.
Although the steps to calibrate your yield monitor may vary depending on brand, these are the fundamentals:
If everything is done correctly, Ag Leader and Precision Planting systems can be within 2% or less of the actual yield.
It’s a simple concept, garbage in (inaccurate calibrations or uncalibrated monitors), garbage out (poor yield data). As technology becomes the driving force behind our industry, it is time we adapt and start reaping the benefits that yield files offer.