Yield Monitor Performance in Hilly Terrain
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Combines: John Deere 9870 STS
Crop Type: Wheat, Chickpeas, Beans
Giving farmers a yield monitor that works in a region with notoriously hilly fields and the confidence to make farm management decisions based on quality yield maps.
FarmTRX Yield Monitoring technology addresses the design limitations of common factory yield monitors in hilly and non-uniform terrain.
Why Does it Matter:
Farmers need accurate yield data in order to put a dollar value on their farming decisions, no matter the field conditions.
Overcoming Yield Monitor Inaccuracy in Steep Topography
For crop consultant Doug Johnson, traditional yield monitors just haven’t been reliably accurate enough to justify the cost for his clients. The hilly topography of the region renders most mass deflector plate style monitors inaccurate, leaving his customers at a disadvantage with fewer options for yield mapping their fields.
Johnson serves farmers in the rolling hills of the Palouse, an agricultural region of the Inland Pacific Northwest famous for its hilly terrain. In their Northern Idaho region some fields boast 30 to 40-degree verticals, that’s ski-slope steep. That steep and rolling terrain undermines the accuracy of traditional factory yield monitors.
So when Johnson learned how FarmTRX Yield Monitors work differently from most factory systems, and could perform despite his challenging harvest conditions, he was intrigued enough to trial FarmTRX.
For Johnson, the difference in FarmTRX’s yield measurement technology meant being able to get accurate yield maps, no matter how hilly his client’s fields.
Of course the proof is in the doing, so after learning about how FarmTRX works differently, Johnson agreed to a field trial. Johnson’s client, farmer Clint Zenner, installed a FarmTRX Yield Monitor on his John Deere 9870 STS combine which was already equipped with the factory yield monitor.
Harvest was already underway when the field trial was proposed, but a rainy-day delay was enough time to install the system. With patent-pending QuickConnect technology for the optical sensors, installation can be completed on any combine with a clean grain elevator in under three hours, no matter the make, age or model.
For Zenner, this level of yield sensitivity provided valuable decision-making information. He had considered investing in an expensive flex-draper header to minimize header loss during downhill passes. But before using the FarmTRX system, he had no way to know how much yield he was actually losing. The yield map determined only a 4% yield difference between his uphill and downhill passes, not enough to justify an expensive equipment purchase using resources that could be put back into the farm elsewhere.
Zenner can rely on his FarmTRX yield maps to explore the effect of different harvesting techniques on yield loss and retention. For instance, he can trial harvesting slopes at a slight angle and monitor the yield data to evaluate return.
For farmers who are comparing varieties, FarmTRX’s yield measurement sensitivity means there is no need to follow a complicated (and confusing) harvest process harvesting a trial field in two batches. Instead, they can harvest the whole field and use the yield data to compare varietal differences.
This level of fidelity is also helpful for organic growers with weed infestations that may end up as low-yield areas that otherwise wouldn’t record any yield on a traditional factory yield monitor.