The Precision in Practice column brings you the latest reports from producers across North America who have put precision farming into practice in their own operations. Visit this column regularly to see what your neighbors are saying about precision farming and how they use it on their farms.
Short broadcast interviews with these and other producers can be found in the Precision Ag Minute archives.
John Deere systems used: GreenStar Yield Mapping System
Q: What exactly is yield monitoring?
A: Yield monitoring is often the first step that producers take in precision farming. This device is an electronic tool that collects data on crop performance for a given year.
Q: What are some of the benefits of yield monitoring?
A: Yield monitoring helps to identify weak areas so growers are able to properly target these specific areas. After targeting deficient areas growers are then able to properly fertilize. This process helps improve weak areas while also saving money. Instead of fertilizing the entire field, yield monitoring makes it possible to single out and fertilize only the segments that are considered weak and lack a proper amount of nutrients.
Q: Can you use yield monitoring by itself?
A: Yes. However, it seems to work better with other avenues such as grid and soil sampling. With grid sampling we find that different areas need different amounts of fertilizer.
Q: How has yield monitoring benefited growers?
A: Growers gain knowledge and insight from devices such as yield monitoring and grid sampling. This allows them to better manage their farms while also making better management decisions. When weak areas are identified and addressed, growers see positive environmental benefits while also seeing economic gain.
Q: Do growers save a significant amount of money while using this technique?
A: Through yield monitoring and the maps they provide, growers are able to identify the most underperforming areas. Growers can then sample the soil of these specific areas while not having to do the rest of the farm. This allows growers the ability to cut back on products. Not every part of a farm needs the same amount of fertilizer, and yield monitoring, with the help of soil and grid sampling, helps producers be selective in what parts of their farms need special treatment.