Farm Progress

Ask a CCA: Analyzing the data with sound agronomics allows for good management

August 14, 2017

3 Min Read
YIELD DATA: During this harvest, put your yield data to work for you for next year.

By Logan Haake

As we start looking at fall harvest it is a good time to think about yield data and what it can provide for your operation. Recording good data is important to making accurate recommendations.

What is the first step to collecting good data?
Calibration is your first step, which consists of several different components. Changing the “cal-factor” can be done by running weights of harvested grain to make accurate adjustments. This should be done several times during the harvest season when changing crops or experiencing major moisture changes in the grain being harvested.

How important are offsets?
Another component of collecting good yield data is having accurate offsets. Some of the offsets would be height of GPS receiver, receiver to the head, and receiver to the back of the machine. Header height is also important to turning on and off the recording of the yield data. The more adjustments to the calibrations and offsets give better data.

How can I use yield data?
So I have my machine calibrated and recording accurately … What is next? Yield data can be implemented into many different situations on the farm. One of the most basic is georeferenced crop-removal, which allows for variable-rate fertilizer replacement of nutrients. This can also be layered with an intensive soil test program to make the most economical fertilizer application. With accurate placement of the fertilizer, it allows for maximizing the full potential of every acre. For example, lower production would not receive as high of a rate or no fertilizer, and on the flip side the high production areas can be pushed to reach higher yield potentials.

How can imaging help?
Yield data can also be layered with imaging to come up with variable-rate nitrogen recommendations. These recommendations can be placed into the operations nitrogen program as an early-season nitrogen application or a late-season N application, such as a Y-drop application. Good on-farm yield history allows growers to create multiyear yield analysis to find the common zones that have the biggest opportunity spread across various years and conditions.

How does yield history help with farm history?
Collecting multiple years of yield data allows for more accurate management zones. A good collection of yield data would consist of five years or more of data. This also allows for years of extreme or outside-of-normal conditions to potentially be taken out of the data set when making recommendations. As the data is collected and layered, the management zone can move according to yield, soil type, application of products and grower knowledge of the farm. The application equipment technology allows for accurate application of phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, foliar product applications and variable-rate seeding by varying seeding rates and hybrids.

In conclusion, yield data collection can be a pivotal part of an operation. Timely entering your spatial data into a GIS software system will help make sure data is not lost. There are new tools in the market to make this process seamless. An example is wireless data transfer and other in-cab applications that allow for hands-off transfer vs. pulling information on memory stick or SD cards and importing into a computer or other external device. Again another key ingredient to remember is making sure to calibrate to collect good data, which allows for many opportunities to maximize efficiency and profitability of farming operations. Analyzing the data with sound agronomics allows for good management recommendations.

Logan Haake, CCA – Legacy Farmers’ Cooperative, [email protected]



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