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Monday, November 15, 2010

Harvest is Over

For grain farmers, harvest is over and it is time to think about what do we do next.  One of the things you should be thinking about is yield data.  It might even have been a good idea to do this before crop planning, tillage, and fall weed control.  If you are not recording your yield data, you are just spinning your wheels.  When I was young, Dad might record how many wagon loads of corn came off of field and that was the best we could do.  I know some producers who have a yield monitor, but they are not recording the data.  They usually write down the field average, but that is it. 

In the modern world, one of the biggest things we can do to grow better crops is to look at the yield data and figure out what went wrong, or if we are lucky we can figure out what went right.  Yield data from only one year might have lots of information that only applies to that year, so it is good to look at multiyear data.  That can be done by normalizing the data.  Knowing costs and field operations completed is important.  Then you can figure out parts of the field that made money or not.  To me the most important aspect of yield data is looking at it to see where the trouble spots are and what we can do to overcome the trouble.  Some soil related problems can be fixed.  Others not so much.  Or if you can fix them the fix is expensive. 

I have reservations about variable rate seeding, but if you are trying that or sold on it, the yield data is needed to write your prescription for next year.

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