When Mick Hadley talks about ‘garbage in, garbage out’ at harvest time, he is not talking about weed seeds and screenings.
As Integrated Technologies Manager for trusted farm machinery business Ramsey Bros, Mick is actually emphasising the value of collecting accurate yield data on the header, and the huge impact that can have on next year’s program.
“Accurate yield mapping lets you get maximum value out of your header and your harvest operation,” he says.
“It can help improve farm management, planning and economic decision-making.”
By using GPS information to map the yield data as it’s collected, yield mapping can help pinpoint variations in soil moisture content, clay levels, soil texture, soil depth, soil pH and nutrient levels across each paddock.
The latest protein and moisture sensors give an even clearer picture of grain quality and where extra inputs might be needed.
Mick says accurate data collection is the key and it is worth investing time and effort to get it right.
“Growers need to be meticulous when it comes to calibrating monitors, adjusting flow meters, and making sure equipment is properly set up,” he says.
“There is a direct connection between accurate yield data, precision ag, and profitable farming.”
He offers a handy checklist to help ensure their yield mapping data will be as accurate as possible. Some checks can be conducted before starting the harvest and some should be done before entering each paddock.
Simple checks to improve yield mapping accuracy:
- Make sure the base settings in your yield monitor are correct, things like…
- HEADER FRONT WIDTH
- DATE & TIME
- CROP TYPE – There are normally different calibration settings for each crop type.
- GROWER, FARM & FIELD
- Check your recording device – Data card or USB,
- Make sure it is compatible with your display and has the correct amount of storage space. Be careful not to go too big – it may freak your screen out! Between 4GB and 8GB is usually about right.
- Make sure it is cleared of any previous data and formatted before you start the season.
- Calibrate the FLOW SENSOR carefully – including for different flow rates and yields. Read your harvester’s operation manual for the correct calibration procedure.
- Calibrate the MOISTURE SENSOR against an accurate moisture meter.
- On machine start up.
- Make sure your memory device is plugged into the yield monitor BEFORE start-up.
- Fully power up your yield monitor BEFORE starting the machine. This ensures all the machine controllers are online and talking to each other prior to start-up.
- Make sure the HEADER HEIGHT SWITCH is set up and working correctly. This is what activates the yield monitor to turn data logging on and off through headland turns.
- DON’T try to calibrate (or re-calibrate) any sensors mid-way through a paddock.
- Check your Yield Data early – after the first day, or paddock if possible.
Download and check a data sample so, if there’s an issue, you won’t have lost a whole season’s information.
- None of the above is hard to do but, if wrong, your yield data could have large errors and be completely irrelevant. Or worse… not be there at all.
Mick says that without these steps, inaccuracies can get baked into this year’s harvest data and erode profits in the following season, from the unnecessary expense of over-applying inputs to the yield cost of under-treating soils or applying inputs in the wrong place.
“Poor data collection leads to poor results,” Mick says.
“Garbage in, garbage out.”
For more information, contact:
Integrated Technologies Manager, Ramsey Bros. T. 0428 430 147