Preparing your Technology for Harvest
We’ve all been there – you’ve waited all spring and summer for your crops to grow, mature, and dry down enough to be harvested, but then you get to the field to start harvesting, and your technology is not working as it should. How frustrating! With harvest just around the corner for many of us, and having already begun for others, it never hurts to remind yourself of the steps you can take to try to prevent the beginning-of-harvest-technology-related headaches. We’ve compiled a list for you to remind you of some steps you can take to prepare your precision ag technology for harvest.
Ensure that previously collected data has been backed up onto an external storage device (e.g. a USB drive). If your monitor has setup or configuration files, make sure those are safe as well if you intend to use them in the future. It’s best to be as organized as possible when saving your data – use specific naming structures that include year and/or year and season so that you can easily locate that data later. After the backup is complete and you are sure that the files have been saved to a safe place, delete old files from the monitor if storage is close to full.
Update the software on your yield monitor, often the dealer or service provider can help with this if needed. Software updates for certain monitors are available online, such as through Precision Planting 20/20’s website.
Determine whether your technology subscriptions are current, such as your Climate FieldView subscription, GPS subscriptions, etc.
Perform maintenance on your hardware - make sure cables are fully connected to their respective plugs, check for damage to cables or your monitor and replace or repair if necessary, if you’re using new technology, check that you have all of the necessary cables to stream data, etc. It’s also important to consider some of the components on the combine that are used to measure yield, such as the mass flow sensor, moisture sensor, etc. It’s important that the mass flow sensor and other yield measuring components are in good working order and are not worn out.
Consider cleaning up your monitor data if you haven’t already – delete irrelevant guidance lines, farms or fields, check for duplicate farms and fields in the system, etc. because it will be easier to recognize what’s current.
Calibrate your yield monitor for each crop that you are going to harvest to ensure the validity of the data that you are collecting. You may need to calibrate a few times throughout the season to adjust for high or low grain moisture as well and to also ensure that the calibration you’re using is still giving you accurate data. If you are going to submit your data to crop insurance, verify that the calibration logs are being recorded because the insurance will likely also need those.
Check your settings -The lag time setting, header position setting, header cut width, and the distance traveled measurement all play key roles in measuring yield so accuracy is key!
If you have new equipment or software to use this harvest, make sure you have entered the required measurements, such as GPS offsets or header width.
Start your equipment and check that there are no errors or alerts that may need your attention prior to harvest. If you’re using autosteer, it’s also important to check that all components are functioning properly.
If you have questions regarding how to perform any of the steps above, your dealer should be able to point you in a helpful direction. There are also many great resources online to help you prepare for 2019 harvest. Have a safe and successful harvest season!
Additional Resources that may be helpful:
By: Katie Linder
Katie Linder, Precision Agriculture Lead for Linder Farms, pairs her educational experience with the true hands on learning one gains from growing up on a grain farm in central Ohio. As a self-proclaimed precision agriculture enthusiast, she has a deep passion to improve the production of agricultural products in the U.S. so that we may feed the world.