Yield Data Must Be Accurate For Your Operation To Benefit

Jul 29, 2020

Beginning the Precision Ag Journey
In today’s tough commodities market, there is little room for error. That’s why it is so important to have quality yield data to use in your decision-making process. If your yield data is inaccurate, every decision you base it on will suffer. Capturing and utilizing accurate yield data will help you determine what works best on your farm so you can improve on your management practices and replicate success going forward.
Is this easier said than done? I’m not going to sugarcoat it - it definitely takes time and requires focus. There are a number of steps to take to extract and refine quality data from your fields and manage it effectively. Fortunately you have dependable resources in your corner to help you succeed, including your local GreenPoint AG precision ag specialist and some powerful precision ag platforms. Let’s take a closer look at some things you can do to ensure that you attain reliable yield data from your operation.
Analyzing soil samples is key to identifying the highest and lowest performing areas of your fields and creating management zones. Many growers in our area use a 2.5 acre or 5 acre grid to perform soil samples on their fields once every three years. After repeating this cycle a couple of times and importing the data into precision ag platforms like Incompass® Ag Technology, the WinField® United R7® Tool and Climate FieldView™, most have a good handle on where fertility levels will be from year to year. They can simply replace whatever nutrients the previous crop used and perform spot checks using zone sampling based on yield data.
Although the process takes awhile to complete, you will ultimately end up saving money in the long run because you’ll be able to use those precision ag platforms to build yield maps and prescribe variable rate seeding and fertility prescriptions. This enables you to increase input efficiency and improve overall field performance by pushing for high yields in the best parts of your fields and being conservative in areas where soil drainage issues and other conditions dictate.
Recording and analyzing the results of in-season crop protection applications, NutriSolutions® tissue tests and corrective nutrient applications can help you anticipate the production challenges you might encounter in future seasons and account for them in your crop management plan. Importing this data into precision ag platforms like those mentioned above gives you the ability to compare the results of new practices and see how they performed against past yield results.
For example, for the first time last year, one of my customers decided to incorporate a fungicide when he treated his cotton crop with a plant growth regulator (PGR). When he compared the yield results to those of the previous four years, he found that he yielded 40 to 50 lbs/A more under the same general growing conditions. This prompted him to try it again this year to see if he could replicate those results.
Pre-harvest equipment inspection is essential to ensure that you collect accurate yield data. In the month leading up to harvest, ask your ag technology specialist or local equipment dealer to come out and examine your crop moisture sensors and mass-flow sensor pads to make sure they’re up to par. Have them calibrate vibration, temperature and ground speed and verify that GPS, mass-flow sensors and temperature are properly communicating with each other. If any of these sensors are off, your yield data will be off as well.
Properly calibrating yield monitors is one of the most important steps to take during harvest. While monitor calibration is technically recommended every time you change hybrids or varieties, most producers find it isn’t practical due to time and labor constraints. However, recalibrating is essential when there’s a large variance in seed size. Post calibration is possible in some cases, but data is considered unusable when multiple combines are out in a field and they’re each calibrated differently.
Finally, never hesitate to contact your local GreenPoint AG Ag Technology Specialist to learn more about getting the most value out of your data. They’re well versed in the ins and outs of collecting, segregating and analyzing quality data. You can count on them to leverage precision ag platforms to their fullest potential to help you customize inputs and provide the best ROI for your operation. And if you’re experiencing a problem, chances are that they’ve encountered it before and they know how to deal with it.
This article was written by Carey Webb, Ag Technology Specialist for the Mississippi Delta. You can reach him at carey.webb@greenpointag.com.

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