Yield Mapping Technology By: Travis Baxter

Yield Mapping Technology

Yield Mapping describes collecting information based on the yield and characteristics of crops in reference to geographical location within in a field. The total data is often collected by monitoring moisture, nutrients, and threat of pests and weeds within specific fields (University of Nebraska-Lincoln). A Yield Monitoring Device is implemented to periodically record data consisting of mass or rates of flow of harvested material and uses this information to estimate total yield (Plant 2000). This information is then assessed alongside the related measurements and referenced to the geographical data to create a yield map. In combine harvesters, yield estimates are acquired by a plate that measures the force that harvested grain applies to it (Plant 2000).

(Michigan State University, 1998)

The practice of mapping crop yields has was introduced in the 1990s; however, with the increasing popularity of developing precision agriculture, Yield Mapping has become a major focus in increasing agricultural sustainability ("Yield Data Management"). Essentially, more advanced GPS and GIS technology is steadily coming out and allowing for more accurate Yield Mapping. Also, the devices and implements continue to decrease in size and functionality. The more accurate the data used to produce a Yield Map is, the more cost efficient and environmentally sustainable production agricultural is. Five years of Yield Mapping Technology is desired in order to bring specific field production to optimum efficiency, and within five years, Yield Mapping technology will be an absolute standard practice serve to change production agriculture forever (University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

Components of a Yield Mapping System

(Plant, 2000)
  • Grain flow sensor - determines grain volume harvested
  • Grain moisture sensor - compensates for grain moisture variability
  • Clean grain elevator speed sensor - used by some mapping sytems to improve accuracy of grain flow measurements
  • GPS antenna - receives satellite signal
  • Yield monitor display with a GPS receiver - georeference and record data
  • Header position sensor - distinguishes measurements logged during turns
  • Travel speed sensor - determines the distance the combine travels during a certain logging interval

The list above was retrieved directly from:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Web Developer Network. (n.d.). Yield Monitoring and Mapping. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from http://cropwatch.unl.edu/ssm/mapping

Benefits of Yield Mapping

Yield Mapping provides an opportunity for the most efficient agricultural production practices regarding environmental and economical sustainability. For the farmers, yield mapping technology can provide insight into the variability and concentration of yield limiting factors over time; however, the data provided can also allow for variable application based on the productivity of specific areas within a geological area (University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

This image describes managing productivity through yield mapping in order to increase economic efficiency as well as environmental sustainability through variable application of irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, and cultural practices (University of Nebraska Lincoln).

Problems Addressed

Yield Mapping allows farmers to apply only the inputs needed to reach the maximum possibility of productivity a field possesses. This results in the limited application unnecessary fertilizer, pest controlling chemicals, and irrigation that has negative impacts on the environment through leaching and build-up ("Yield Data Management").

By limiting unnecessary inputs, Yield Mapping also limits the amount of financial inputs that have no impact of field productivity. Lack of unnecessary financial input provides growers with opportunities to expand operations, increase efficiency, and improve sustainability ("Yield Data Management").

In Conclusion...

Yield Mapping technology is one of the most important components regarding precision agriculture. The highest yield with the lowest inputs is the ultimate goal for farmers in relation to financial and sustainability goals, and Yield Mapping is the tool that ties agricultural precision instruments together to increase the chances of meeting this goal ("Yield Data Management"). Yield Mapping has been proven to be the key to the future of sustainable agriculture by implementing nearly all precision instruments in components; however, what are the limitation to this technology? Currently limitations are being made irrelevant as sensing and geographical instruments continue to evolve, but when will the evolution of technology plateau regarding Yield Mapping?

("Yield Data Management")

Bibliography

University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Web Developer Network. (n.d.). Yield Monitoring and Mapping. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from http://cropwatch.unl.edu/ssm/mapping

Yield Data Management. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2017, from http://www.agrioptics.co.nz/portfolio/yield-data-mangement/

Plant, R. E. (2000, July & aug.). Precision agriculture can increase profits and limit environmental impacts. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from http://ucanr.edu/repository/cao/landingpage.cfm?article=ca.v054n04p66&fulltext=yes

Michigan State University. (1998, July). On the Road to Precision Farming. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://msu.edu/~brook/publications/prec_ag/jul1998.htm

Credits:

University of Nebraska-Lincoln | Web Developer Network. (n.d.). Yield Monitoring and Mapping. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from http://cropwatch.unl.edu/ssm/mapping Yield Data Management. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2017, from http://www.agrioptics.co.nz/portfolio/yield-data-mangement/ Plant, R. E. (2000, July & aug.). Precision agriculture can increase profits and limit environmental impacts. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from http://ucanr.edu/repository/cao/landingpage.cfm?article=ca.v054n04p66&fulltext=yes Michigan State University. (1998, July). On the Road to Precision Farming. Retrieved April 15, 2017, from https://msu.edu/~brook/publications/prec_ag/jul1998.htm

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