Measuring Yield-Limiting Field Characteristics with a Yield Monitor
Location: Medstead, Saskatchewan
Combines: New Holland CR9060, CX8080, TR98
Crop Type: Wheat, peas, canola, barley, oats
Calculating the cost of a field’s yield-limiting characteristics year-on-year.
Measure the dollar-per-acre differences on yield with yield maps. FarmTRX automates yield data correction and the processing of data into agronomy-ready maps.
Why Does it Matter:
To make data-driven decisions that will boost long-term field health, productivity and profitability farmers need usable, granular yield maps.
The Cost of Moisture Variability Year-on-Year
Eric Wassmuth was halfway through harvesting his 1000-acre wheat and canola farm in Greencreek, Idaho with a newly installed FarmTRX Yield Monitor when he lost the engine on his New Holland CR970. It would be at least a week before he could get replacement parts in to fix the engine, too long to be stuck waiting at harvest time.
Farm manager Bryn Casson farms in Northern Saskatchewan and deals with significant year-to-year moisture variability across the family farm. In one year, areas of an 180-acre field were too wet, drowning out crops. Yet, in the subsequent dry year, the same previously flooded areas yielded the best.
Casson needed a way to validate and quantify yield loss from field drainage issues long term.
“The big thing was putting a dollar value on what we’re losing to these wet spots every year,” Casson says. “We’ve talked about it for years and years. We know we’re losing money, but how much? A couple $100 bucks or $100,000?”
Supporting Farm Management Decisions with a Yield Monitor
Casson has been running FarmTRX yield monitor’s on the family’s 2,600-acre farm since 2015. His uncle, Perry Casson, a software, GIS, wireless communications and electronics expert, built the prototype FarmTRX system when they needed an inexpensive yield monitor solution for their three 1990s-era combines to participate in a variable-rate fertilizer trial program. The early yield monitor was designed to simply and quickly install on any combine, deploying easy-to-use precision yield-mapping capabilities onto new combines or older combines without a factory system.
Casson relies on yield monitor data and maps as an all-purpose management evaluation tool:
Post-calibration features let farmers focuse on what matters; farming. With the elevator results ticket farmers can post-calibrate their yield data through the Web App so you can always get agronomy-ready yield maps after the fact. As part of the automatic processing into maps, yield data is corrected and normalized to reveal accurate trends in yield, removing unloading points, overlap, headland turns etc.
The result? Yield maps that are accurate and usable to validate farm management decisions.
Casson relied on his yield maps to validate where the fields were most impacted. In the 180 acre field alone there was approximately $50,000 in potential yield loss during the 2020 flood. A decision to purchase drainage equipment for around $50,000 was easy to make with this knowledge in-hand. By comparing the yield maps from 2020 to 2021, he could pinpoint precisely where and how much each field’s drainage affected their profitability and project this over time.
750 acres, 5 operators, 3 combines and 2 crop types harvested over multiple weeks.
Yield Maps Help Farmers Do More of What Works for their Fields
The longer he collects FarmTRX yield mapping data, the more Casson can fine-tune his approach to managing the farm’s field variability. Even the farm’s approach to variable rate fertilizer is changing, Casson says. His local agronomy company is now moving away from grid sampling and leaning toward topography and zones. The FarmTRX Trend of Yield map provides an easy jumping off point for selecting areas for representative samples.