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Yield monitor Rx

Updated: 07/26/2013 @ 2:22pm

As seemingly flawless as yield monitors appear to be, they, like the combine they serve, require attention in the form of calibration, advises Bob Nielsen at Purdue University.

Calibrating a yield monitor simply requires harvesting individual loads of grain that represent a range of yield levels in the fields to be harvested. The amount of grain required for each calibration load ranges from 50 to 100 bushels depending on the the yield monitor manufacturer.

The grain weight of each load is estimated by the yield monitor as the grain is harvested. The grain for that specific load is then offloaded from the combine hopper and weighed on a weigh wagon or commercial scales. The actual weight is then entered into the yield monitor console, and the yield monitor firmware makes adjustments to curve.

Conceptually, the calibration process is about fitting a response curve between grain flow rate and flow sensor signal strength in order to estimate low, medium, and high yields. Makes of monitors appear to differ in the nature of the calibration curve that is determined.

Some manufacturers suggest that only one grain load is necessary to perform an accurate calibration, while others recommend harvesting three to six loads. “The goal here is to capture the full range of grain flow rates (yield levels) you expect to encounter during the harvest of your fields,” Nielsen explains.

Capturing a range of flow rates can be a nuisance because it typically requires harvesting individual full header width loads at different speeds or partial header width loads at a constant speed. This headache plus the time it takes to off-load and weigh the individual grain loads are among the most common reasons why growers do not faithfully calibrate their yield monitors.

Nielsen offers an in-depth guide to yield monitor calibration, complete with illustrations, here.

Or you can contact Nielsen by email.

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