Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Yield Checks

This past week we did our last yield check for the fall harvest season.  Yield checks are a great way for farmers to evaluate their crops and determine if the management practices used during the growing season were successful. 

This is my weigh wagon.

The wagon has an electronic scale to measure the pounds of corn or soybeans unloaded into it.  Once the crop is weighed I auger it into the farmer's wagon or semi.

Another tool I use to do a yield check is a portable moisture tester.  This measures the moisture and test weight of the crop.  The moisture percentage of the grain being harvested determines how it will be handled and dried.  Typically corn is harvested between 18% and 30% moisture.  Some years the corn is wetter and some years the corn is drier.  Towards the end of this fall harvest there was some corn coming out of the field at 16%.  This is great for the farmer as few dollars will be spent on energy to dry the crop.  Our corn goes into our bins at 16%. 

Here is a self portrait or yours truly pushing my measuring wheel.
In order to figure out the yield of a crop on a bushel/acre basis I need to know the area that the farm has harvested.  So, I usually walk behind the combine and measure how far the farmer runs the combine.  The width is based on the row width a farmer plants the crop in and how many rows the combine harvests.  In our area, most corn is planted in 30 inch rows.  However, we have neighbors who plant 20", 36", or 38" rows.   Most of the combines in this area harvest 6,8, or 12 rows at a time. 
As farm equipment gets largers our costomers comment that
the hardest part of a yield check is getting the combine auger lined up
to dump corn into the little weighwagon.

Once I have the weight, moisture and area I enter the information into a couple of mathematical equations and come up with the yield in bushesls per acre.  It was a fun fall to run the weigh wagon because the yields in our area were excellent.  The corn yield checks ran from 190 bushels/acre to 275 bushels/acre.  The soybeans were great as well ranging from 62 bushels/acre to 84 bushels/acre. 

I consider the farmer to the original over achiever.  The yield checks we do help farmers determine if management practices worked for them or if they may want to change something next year.  Farmers often put in test plots or experiments in their fields to determine for themselves if something needs to be changed.  Maybe I should say farmers are the original scientist.  We do yields checks or test plots to determine the effects of planting date, planting seed populations, fertilizer applications and rates, various seed treatments such as fungicides, tillage practices even planting depth of the seeds.  The sky is the limit as far as to what a farmer may experiment with!

Once I have the yield data I input this into our Pioneer computer along with the GPS coordinates and field history for the yield check plot locations.  If you go to www.pioneer.com you can enter a ZIP Code into the yield map locations and bring up yield checks and plot results for most of the US.  It's a great web site to learn about crops in the US if you are interested.  Have Fun!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Suzanne,

    Dropping by from Busy-at-Home. Glad to hear corn yields are good for you! I really appreciate seeing what you do and how you do it. Your blog is a great resource.