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Yield Monitors Might Be Smarter Than You Think

Yield Monitors Might Be Smarter Than You Think

Maybe yield monitors can't think for themselves, but they're pushing the envelope in that direction!

The yield monitor in the cab on Nick Wenning's combine displayed a lot of green and dark green colors as he moved across the field, harvesting a plot. That's because yields were relatively high, well above 200 bushels per acre. The yield monitor was an Ag Leader Integra series, running on WAAS-type correction for the GPS signal.

Related: Can Precision Ag Make the Move From an $8 an Acre Industry?

Think for itself? Well, maybe not, but this yield monitor can adjust the legend for colors based on yield automatically.

I assumed that Wenning set up the legend for the colors so he could see a difference in yields across the field. On almost all monitors red and yellow colors are lower yields, and green or darker green colors are higher yields. Blue bars are often missing passes that haven't been harvested yet. As each strip is harvested, it fills in with color on the screen once the combine passes through.

I was surprised to learn that while Wenning could set up his own legend manually, he didn't have to. The yield monitor would do it for him automatically. Huh?

Related: Why WAAS Signal May Not Be Most Accurate Choice

"That's right – it determines the yield range you are in and sets up a legend so you can pick up differences by looking at the map," he explains. "It then tells you what the range is in bushels that it is using to color the map in the legend on the side of the screen."

A computer that thinks for itself? Well, maybe not, but it sounds like it is close to making its own decisions.

Wenning went on to note that as he moved across the field and yields changed, the monitor could automatically go back and later the legend and change the colors if it wanted to, just to make it easier to pick up differences in yield. That usually only happens if you go from one yield level to another and there were rather large differences, he noted.

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