Sensors are at the heart of precision agriculture and are the foundation of our measurement and control principles. Read more about sensors here.
One example of a sensor is the yield monitor (or yield sensor). Whether attached to a combine harvester churning through fields of wheat, or a sugarcane harvester cutting up billets, the yield monitor is the equivalent of your school end-of-year test results. It provides you with feedback on how well you did: your crop yield performance.
With today's technological advancements there's almost nothing that doesn't have a sensor measuring it. What previously may have taken days to calculate with pen, paper and perhaps a calculator can now be done in real-time, on the fly!
And it's not just measuring your overall field performance—with the addition of GNSS, you can also get a breakdown of your hectare, acre, or even square meter plot performance!
Ok, ok. This all sounds very impressive and advanced but why should you care? Well, going back to our school analogy, imagine after you spent the year trying your absolute best, learning, changing and improving, you submit your test. The teacher takes one quick glance and simply writes down your score. Hooray, you passed—but only just! Is there still a lot of room for improvement, or was it pure good or bad luck that resulted in your final score? The problem is that your teacher didn't pay attention to where you went wrong. So where do you go from here? Unless you have specific information, it's hard to determine what to improve or change. There are so many variables!
This is precisely why a yield monitor is so valuable when it comes to assessing your farming results. It closes your feedback loop for continual improvement. With a yield monitor you can see where to improve. You can see what didn't work and you can see where you need to change. It sets the benchmark. It's like a teacher who has given you detailed feedback you can actually use to get smarter about your activities, and improve your results.
To be clear, your journey with precision agriculture doesn't necessitate you to have a yield monitor, but as we've explained, it really can help.
From this we can continue to build on our knowledge, becoming even more precise through employing control technologies through our FMIS.
If you want more advice about what yield monitors can do for your farm, talk to the AFS experts at your local authorised Case IH dealer.