Fine-Tune Yield Monitors To Get More Out Of Harvest

Cleaning the sensors, calibrating distance and speed and doing some homework with the owner’s manual will benefit no-tillers.

As you think about harvest, it’s a good idea to review small things that can make a big difference in your no-till operation.

One of them is calibrating your yield monitor. Doing this ensures that you’ll have accurate information from which to make better management decisions.

Among other things, a monitor that isn’t finely tuned will underestimate high-yielding areas in fields and overestimate lower-yielding areas. It’s important to calibrate at many flow rates so the processor knows how to respond to different mass-flow rates.

An accurate yield monitor also lets you build prescription maps for fertilizer and seed, potentially lowering your input costs and improving yields and profitability.

Role Of Sensors. Yield monitors determine yield by measuring the impact of the grain going across a load cell inside the top of the clean-grain elevator. Each year, test weights and grain quality can impact how the mass sensor reads the information, thus the reason for recalibrating each year.

It’s important to keep the distance between the paddles and the top of the elevator the same so the mass-flow sensor can get a consistent reading. Thus, all clean-grain elevator tightening should be done at the bottom of the elevator.

Most systems measure grain moisture from a continuous measurement of the electrical conductivity of the grain. Because conductivity in grain varies with temperature, the sensors also use temperature sensors. So it’s important to make sure the temperature sensor is working correctly.

Do this by leaving a thermometer on the sensor throughout an afternoon…

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Leverich jim

Jim Leverich

No-Till Farmer's Conservation Ag Operator Fellow for 2022, Jim Leverich is a no-till farmer near Sparta, Wis. His 1,000 acre-farm has been in his family since 1864 and no-tilled since 1984. An innovator and educator, Leverich has 35-plus years of no-till and on-farm research experience, and possesses a deep, practical understanding of what makes no-till work. For his contributions while at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Leverich was named the No-Till Innovator of the Year (Research & Education category) in 2006. A talented presenter and writer, Leverich was a regular guest columnist for No-Till Farmer in 2011 when it earned the Gold Medal as the nation’s top newsletter from the American Society of Business Press Editors.

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