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Calibrating your yield monitor: Get correct yield data all season

Category: Farm Financials, Farm Business Planning | No Comments

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Every tool, piece of equipment, and process has a purpose. Most often that purpose is straight forward. So, why do you use a yield monitor? Seriously, ask yourself. What are you getting out of the transaction of having a piece of machinery recording every track of the combine and seeing how much you yield? You can tell what you yielded based on the scales at the end and some simple math. So why? I'm guessing you may have been thinking to yourselves reading that, "Heck, that's easy! I want to know how much I yielded in specific parts of the field. I want to know what the moisture is. Also, I want to have this data to use and look at for years to come. It may have value to third parties as well, so I can make an extra few bucks on it now and again."

While I can't argue with that, what I can argue with are guys expecting any of that to hold water if they don't calibrate their monitors in a timely fashion before and during harvest. The fact is, data that starts clean is the cleanest data possible. Sure, you can go in afterwards in a wonderful program like Field IQ to clean it up later, but curative measures never work better than preventative measures. Do you know someone who has had a hip replacement? Sure, a hip replacement beats a bad hip any day. But I would personally rather have a good hip than a hip replacement.

Calibrate Now, Save Time Later

So, how do you go about getting that squeaky-clean yield data right off the bat? You calibrate the heck out of your monitor. Don’t get discouraged! It's not all that much work. This coming from my brother, who farms in Mid-Eastern Missouri and hasn't had to do a post-calibration in years: "Calibrate your moisture twice per season and your yield twice a day and with every new variety." You might think, I don’t have time to do that every day! It doesn’t take much time and it will save you time from having to do the calculations after the fact.

Your moisture is typically accurate and may not need any adjustment. Your yield can be affected by several things. First of all, the moisture will change throughout the day, affecting the test weight. Also, the difference in hybrid can make for different grain sizes and test weights. Other things can come into play here, so calibrating your yield twice a day and for every variety is a good preventative to get that beautiful yield data that everyone wants.

Now, of course, things can fall through the cracks. Some yield just has to be post-calibrated and cleaned to be used in the future. In those instances, it's nice to have a program that is great for something like that. If you find yourself in that situation, look for a program to have all your field data in one location including soil fertility information, integrates with MyJohnDeere and other yield monitoring software, and is mobile friendly.


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Written By

Shane Lotton

Shane Lotton

Precision Ag Analyst

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