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Scalability of Yield Monitor Data for Supporting On-Farm Research

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2021 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting  2100444.(doi:10.13031/aim.202100444)
Authors:   Alysa A. Gauci, Alex Lindsey, Scott A. Shearer, David Barker, Elizabeth M. Hawkins, John P. Fulton
Keywords:   On-farm research, plot size, precision agriculture, yield monitor.

Abstract. Precision agriculture technologies and their increased adoption on farms have led to an increase in conducting on-farm research. With this field-scale research, yield monitor data is one of the key data layers used to evaluate the impact of treatments on yield or profit. However, the relationship between plot size and sensor sensitivity to create accurate yield estimates has been limited. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to (1) determine the accumulated weight per pass to account for pass variability, (2) evaluate the sensitivity of mass flow sensors of grain yield monitoring technology in relation to plot length for providing yield estimates within each pass, and (3) determine if there were significant differences amongst using different yield monitoring platforms. Six plot lengths (treatments) were used: 7.6, 15.2, 30.5, 61.0, 121.9, and 243.8 m. Intentional yield differences in corn (Zea mays) were created for each plot length by alternating strips of 0 and 202 kg N/ha which allowed varying flow conditions to monitor changes in yield. At harvest, corn yield was measured by a commercial combine equipped with two yield monitors and a plot combine harvesting adjacent to the commercial combine that recorded yield estimates every 7.6 m. Yield estimates from each were compared to determine the sensitivity of the yield monitoring system to detect yield variations along each pass. Results revealed statistically significant differences in yield estimates amongst the two yield monitors for each treatment. It was not until the 30.5 m treatment that one of the yield monitoring systems had accurate estimates when compared to the plot combine; the other yield monitor did not provide any accurate estimates. A minimum plot length of 61.0 m was needed to accurately report induced yield variation in the current study, but the magnitude of yield difference and platform being used could potentially shift the minimum plot length requirements.

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