For a lot of grain growers, annual planting decisions are guided by familiar routines and the long-range weather outlook.
However, Ramsey Bros Integrated Technologies Manager Mick Hadley says harvest yield data is a far more reliable and profitable way to map out your cropping program.
“These days, harvesters gather data as fast as they gather grain,” he says.
“All that yield data is your key to tracking and correcting paddock variability so you can apply inputs more efficiently, increase yields and maximise profits.”
Mick offers three simple steps for extracting the full value of your yield data:
- Download it.
Data left on a thumb drive or in-header monitor does not contribute anything to the farm.
- Clean it.
Data errors from sensor delays, headland turns, etc need to be identified and removed.
- Analyse it.
Once you have good data, analysis reveals its true value for understanding paddock performance and improving next season’s outcomes.
However, he points out that growers are unlikely to complete Step 1 if they lack confidence about Steps 2 and 3.
“Anyone who isn’t sure how to clean and analyse their yield data should hand that side of things to a professional,” Mick says.
“Whether you want to learn how to do it yourself or you just want to see your results and input maps for the year ahead, using the data your harvester has collected will be worth it.
“As an annual farming investment, it could be just as valuable as buying fertiliser and seed.”
Mick says yield data can be the key to identifying performance differences across paddocks, then producing precise input maps to use through the summer and at seeding.
These results-based, data-driven maps allow growers to focus applications of nitrogen and trace elements on areas of yield deficiency while avoiding over-investment in soils where the full yield potential is already being achieved.
Equally, identifying profitable zones can help establish the advantages they have that other areas are lacking.
“Yield maps can be overlayed with other data sets to provide an in-depth picture of what is going on across each paddock,” Mick says.
“Mapping is a very intuitive way to compare yield results with biomass measurements, soil sampling, nutrition inputs, management zones, and cropping plans.
“Long term comparisons also help highlight what is or isn’t working, from measuring your long-term return on investment to proving that some crops are just not profitable in some paddocks.”
Yield data analysis helps ensure every dollar you put into your soil is working to maximise the money that comes back out. Year on year, it can add up to transformational changes.
“All the answers are in your yield data,” Mick Hadley says.
“Analysis helps you ask the right questions.”If you have any questions about your yield data, or if you’d like help from the Ramsey Bros Integrated Technologies team, contact them on 0488 845 970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org