Farmers have heard time and again. Your on-farm data – especially yield data collected at harvest – is valuable. That’s why it’s critical to take proper steps to ensure this data is collected correctly, according to Southern States Cooperative senior precision ag program planner Marlin Melander.
With harvest being such a time-sensitive venture, Melander says now is a good time to get a plan in place for before, during and after harvest. A week or two before harvest begins is a good time to get the ball rolling, he says.
“Growers should make sure sensors, cables and GPS receivers are all up and working well,” he says. “Accurate calibration for a combine is [also] a must when gathering yield data. Calibrate before each different crop is harvested.”
During harvest, farmers should check yield monitor sensor and GPS records location data to verify it is working properly. To do this, check recorded data after the first day of harvest, Melander suggests.
“Make sure the data is saving and the monitor is working correctly,” he says. “You don’t want to think you are recording through a whole corn harvest, only to discover afterwards you haven’t recorded anything.”
After harvest, it’s time for analysis. Look at what areas have performed better (or worse) than others, and determine the underlying causes for these deviations in yield, Melander says. He also recommends archiving data, as it sets a baseline of field performance and can unearth new insights for years to come.
“We see more now from the data from years past than we did at the time,” he says. “Who knows what we’ll be able to see in the future?”
Want to learn more about data collection on your farm? AgWeb has resources that can help.
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