Everyone knew the future was here when the first yield monitor hit the combine cab in the early 1990's. For the first time you could tell without just guessing which spots were yielding more than others. In those days the hardware was rather intrusive, sometimes resembling a black box. There were also questions about how different monitors were recording data and how accurate they were. Indiana Prairie Farmer even commissioned three Purdue University ag engineers to study and compare various yield monitors, and let farmers know how they stacked up on features and accuracy.
The main conclusion then was that there were differences. There were also questions created because some monitors used different methods to calculate yield than others. Today, with more companies using the CANBUS philosophy so more precision equipment can talk to each other, monitors may still do things differently or display things differently, but the results are compatible with more software packages for working with the data than they were 20 years ago. Some now send data directly to an office computer so that it's not necessary to download data onto a card every night.
Del Unger, Carlisle, is trying out one of the newest entries into the yield monitor game this fall. His combine is equipped with a Precision Planting yield monitor. The sensors in the combine are the same. The display screen looks more like a Precision Planting 20/20 Seed Sense monitor used at planting time, only the screen is bigger.
So far Unger is happy with how easy it is to use the monitor and get data from it. It also reads out current yield in a convenient place where all he has to do is look over and see the number. A limited number of the monitors were released for this fall. Expect more units to be available before harvest next year.
Looking for ways to maximize corn yield? We have a new free report - Maximize Corn Yield Potential - just updated for the 2013 season. The 32-page report offers a range of insight into ways you can put more bushels in the bin.