Working With Yield Monitors During Calibration

Key tasks while calibrating equipment:

  • When collecting temperature readings make sure the combine has been out in normal operating temperatures for several hours. A reading from the combine when it has been in the shed can result in much different readings than under direct sunlight.

  • Take temperature readings close to the moisture sensor on the combine. Since temperature has a direct impact on moisture, this action produces a more accurate calibration, and thus, the accuracy of the precision farming monitor information.

  • Collect moisture calibrations for each grain type. Take a good representation of the moisture of the grain harvested throughout the loads. Depending on the current weather and field conditions, moisture levels can fluctuate quickly. This, in turn, can greatly impact best harvest conditions, drying time, and when the grain can get the best price at sale.

  • When calibrating the monitor for ground speeds, use typical field conditions rather than a road or waterway. Tire slippage can create inaccuracy with calibration.

  • Harvest calibration loads at different flow rates. Yield will vary throughout the field. Adjusting flow rates will improve accuracy. When calibrating loads, it is recommended to use loads between 5,000 to 8,000 pounds. This helps reduce variability with excess grain that may be in the combine.

  • Gather loads in well represented areas of the field. Avoid starting calibration loads on turn rows, weed patches, or areas of major topography changes in the field. Hillsides and rolling ground can impact calibration load data because of how the grain impacts the flow sensor.

  • It is recommended to calibrate for each type of grain for each year. The dynamics of the combine changes from wear and tear and can influence the outcome of your yield data.

  • When conducting on-farm research trials or harvesting fields with multiple varieties, consider creating a calibration load for each treatment or variety. For example, calibrate for regular corn and high-oil corn separately due to the differences in test weight and moisture characteristics of the grain.

  • Calibrate for different moisture levels per type of grain. For example, calibrate differently for corn below 22% moisture versus corn above 22% moisture.