The incoming results from the 2019 season are a testament to the modern farming practices the industry use, continually doing more with less. Producers understand where efficiencies are found and a lot of that comes back to doing effective analysis on the year as it played out agronomically. What management practices lead to the highest yields? Can profitability increase with change in management strategy? It comes back to right product, right place, right time, right rate!
The answer lies within yield data. Yield data is the foundational piece of information from which to build spatial information on. It measures variety differences, responses to fertiliser, topography, soil type and environment, and chemical decisions made throughout the season.
One of the greatest benefits of yield mapping is to identify areas of variability. Whether its boosting poorer producing areas or pushing the limits of the highest producing crops, yield data paves the way for variable rate application, or zoned management practices. Implementation of variable rate applications is now a simple, streamlined process in many circumstances. Any form of spatial information can be overlayed to provide further insights- including elevation maps, protein maps and profitability maps to show where the highest grossing part of the paddock is.
Most headers are capable of recording yield data, no matter which colour it may be. In order to record yield data, there are a few steps required:
Before entering the paddock:
- Ensure all appropriate maintenance is completed on each header
- Update all in cab software
- Make sure the GPS screen is ready for harvest- clean off any old data that may take up storage space and ensure appropriate naming of paddocks, paddock boundaries and guidance lines are all in place. A precision ag consultant can assist with this.
- Calibrate the header to ensure the most correct and accurate measurement
Whilst in the paddock:
- Check that data is being recorded
- Calibrate the header according to each crop type whenever crop type is changed
- If telematics to automatically export data files are unavailable, make sure that data files are regularly downloaded to a USB (and backing this USB up to a place that can be accessed easily)
Once the data has been collected, the next step is to take a look! There are several online platforms that allow for data visualisation for free, including My John Deere Operations Center. The upload process is quick and easy on any windows device. From here, post calibration can be completed by anyone with access to the total dry yield of grain taken from the paddock. When observing the yield data, if there’s something that doesn’t quite look right, the data may require “cleaning”, but this is not always necessary.
To get the most out of yield data, information must be ground truthed- meaning that additional knowledge must be put with it to understand why the identified differences occur- these may be soil tests, EM38 maps, seeding data or local knowledge. Overlay, merge and compare other forms of data such as NDVI maps, previous years yield data to observe areas of opportunity; all analysis that can be completed in an Operations Center account. This information can then be used to reduce variability within the paddock and make more data backed decisions to improve overall profitability.
For more information on setting up yield monitors, data cleaning and interpretation, and how variable rate applications could work for your business, get in contact with Matt or Laura at AGree Decision Ag on 03 5382 9457.