Check data systems before harvest to ensure best results

Farmer Combining Corn in Field
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University of Missouri Extension natural resource engineer Kent Shannon offers tips for collecting farm yield data prior to harvest.

  • Back up yield data from the previous season.
  • Copy each season’s data to a unique folder.
  • Maintain several backup copies of the display/raw data in different locations to prevent losses from theft, damage or modification.
  • Delete old files from the memory card or USB drive. Delete old files from display memory if nearing storage capacity.
  • Check any data cards or USB drives to make sure they work properly with your yield monitoring display.
  • Contact your local dealer or manufacturer for the most recent software and firmware upgrades for your yield monitoring and mapping system, the display, DGPS receiver, and other components. Obtain information about these upgrades through the manufacturer’s website or by contacting technical support.
  • Check all cables, connections, and sensors for wear or damage. Ensure that wiring and harness connections are tight.

For clean grain-elevator-mounted moisture sensor units:

  • Make sure the sensor is clean and undamaged.
  • Clear the clean grain elevator of grain and debris.
  • Check that the manual clean-out motor on the moisture sensor is working.

For combines with a mass flow sensor (usually at the top of the clean grain elevator):

  • Look for wear on the flow sensor’s impact or deflector plate. Replace the plate if worn or damaged.
  • Look for excessive wear on the grain elevator and missing or worn paddles.
  • Check the spacing between the paddles and the top of the elevator. Verify that it meets the manufacturer’s requirements.
  • Make sure the clean grain elevator chain is tightened to manufacturer specifications.

For combines with an optical sensor (mounted on the side of the clean grain elevator):

  • Make sure the sensors are clean and undamaged.
  • Ensure the clean grain elevator paddles are not rubbing against sensors.
  • If purchasing a combine, whether new or used, with an existing yield monitoring system, check for proper installation. Verify that the mass flow sensor is mounted securely. If using a grain cart with scales or a weigh wagon to weigh grain harvested for yield monitor calibration loads, check that they give accurate weight data. Check weigh wagon weights against certified scales each season to ensure the load estimates are within a few percent. Use the same scales throughout calibration.

If you aren’t sure of the accuracy of your grain moisture meter, take it to a local grain elevator with a federally approved moisture meter. Compare estimates on grain samples with a wide range of grain moisture content, such as 13 to 28 percent. Document differences between your meter and meters are known to be accurate.

For more information, contact your county MU Extension center.

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