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Four Common Questions About Yield Monitors

Updated: 09/21/2015 @ 12:35pm

Matt Darr, Associate Professor, Iowa State University, answers frequently asked questions about yield monitors.
Q: Do I need to calibrate my yield monitor if I’m just looking to compare relative differences between fields?
A: Yield monitor error over the course of a season can change ±15% depending on variations in crop conditions. Without adequate calibration, yield results cannot be compared across fields.
Q: Can I use a yield monitor to tell the difference between split-planter treatments or split-pesticide treatments in a field?
If crop conditions are similar, yield monitors can work quite well for this. If there are big differences in moisture, test weight, or crop health (machine harvest rate), then the margin of error will increase.

Q: Which hybrid should I use to calibrate my yield monitor if I’m harvesting a split-planter field?
Collect yield monitor calibration loads from both hybrids. This will reduce the maximum error and improve the likelihood of measuring a statistical difference.

Q: Can I use a yield monitor to evaluate performance differences in variety plots or test plots?
Unless the test plots are quite long, yield monitors generally do not provide adequate precision for consistently reporting winners and losers in test plots.

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