Step 1: Pre-Harvest
Any effort you spend prior to harvest making sure your system is working well will be worth it.
First, make sure sensors, cables and GPS receivers are all up and running. In addition, make sure you’ve done any recent updates required for your yield monitoring system.
It is also important to keep in mind the importance of sending your client/farm/field names from your data management system, to your field display. This is crucial, to ensure consistency of field names and to avoid overlapping data. While some growers use a USB stick to transfer this data, others are taking advantage of companies who offer wireless transmission of data, such as Trimble Ag Software.
With the right connectivity hardware, you can automate the process of sending and receiving data from your field display and reduce headaches both in the field and in the office.
Step 2: During Harvest
It is recommended to check your yield monitor to make sure it is working properly after the first day. This can be done by importing the yield data into your software and taking a quick look at the data. This way if you see a problem with the data, you can correct it the next day to prevent further data corruption.
Another thing to consider during harvest is to review your yield monitor documentation to see how often their monitor requires calibration. Many monitors need to be re-calibrated throughout harvest as crop conditions change and as they harvest varieties where the crop has different conditions.
Step 3: Post-Harvest
This is when growers really start to see the payoff of tracking yield monitor data. The maps will clearly identify the higher and lower producing zones – then the investigation begins into what’s causing field variability and whether there are cost-effective measures to improving it. In some cases it is recommended to involve a trusted advisor to help you fully utilize the data on your farm.