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Turn Yield Maps Into Profit Maps

Q :I have a GPS-equipped yield monitor on the combine. How can I make the most of the data collected?

A:Yield mapping is an easy way to gauge how variable your fields actually are. This is a great groundtruthing opportunity for all of the yield mappers out there. The only problem is remembering how much better were the good acres versus the poor acres and the amount of good acres in a particular field.

After the harvest, it s time to download the yield cards to your computer and start uploading and cleaning your yield data. Anyone who has tried to download their yield data knows that there are inaccuracies with un-cleaned raw data. The good news is that some farm management software can fix these inaccuracies or you can hire a consultant to clean your data for you. It is estimated that up to 30 per cent of the raw data collected off the combine card is inaccurate or false. Once these inaccuracies are fixed, you can start printing off maps and detailed statistics of the field that will be very realistic compared to what actually happened that year in the field.

Having a cleaned up yield map of a particular field is only half the battle these days. We need to know more and look past the pretty pictures. It is fascinating to break down the amount of acres in a particular field with their corresponding yield. This yield audit can produce information vital to populating a profitability map. Think of it this way, if you know your unit cost per acre ($/acre) in your field and you know what you yielded (bushels/acre) on every individual acre because of your yield map. By estimating what you will sell your crop for ($/ bu.) and matching that to the map you ve just turned a yield map into a profitability map.

Once you look at your yield maps in this way you ll start to understand how many acres are losing money on a given field. With that information you can then place the fields in a priority sequence to start fixing them. Variable rate technology might be the answer or there could be simpler agronomic factors that can be investigated and addressed. Farming land that is not profitable doesn t do anyone any good.

JustinCleaverisageo-coachforAgri-TrendGeoSolutionsInc.andworkswithSureGrowthTechnologies.Contacthimat [email protected] orat1-306-743-2721

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