Combines today not only harvest a crop, they also harvest lots of data. Now technology is helping growers analyze that data into recommendations for next year. Almost every combine today has a yield monitor, and it is the instrument watched the most closely by the combine operator. Yet, is that yield data accurate? Dam Emmert, with DuPont Pioneer, says monitors need to be calibrated when you switch hybrids to make sure the data is accurate, “Because we are making more and more decisions on that data. If the monitor is not calibrated, it is garbage in garbage out.” Emmert told HAT the calibration may need to be done several times during harvest, as you move from earlier planted crops to later planted crops, ”As the corn dries down the calibration can change. Even differences in hybrids and test weights can effect calibration.”
Technology is also helping us do a better job of assessing our nitrogen levels. Emmert says the Encirca software, for example, really helped growers estimate how much nitrogen they lost during the heavy rain periods this year. “There were a few growers who had Encirca tell them they might be deficient in nitrogen,” he stated. “They applied some additional nitrogen in the area indicated and got a nice yield boost at harvest.” He said some other growers did not make the application and, at harvest, wished they had. These are just two examples of how technology is helping growing gather more data and make more use of it.