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Harvest Both Crops and Data This Fall!

by Jul 31, 2015Training & Support, Yield Monitoring

It’s that time of year where we get to see if all of our hard work this spring paid off, and hopefully the wet spring and summer hasn’t slowed things down too much.  Fall is going to sneak up on us as we hit the downward stretch and we don’t want to get caught not being ready for harvest.

Most growers that have diverse operations are curious to see where the best yields are so they can know which seed, chemicals, and fertilizers worked best for their operation.  Utilizing a calibrated Ag Leader yield monitoring systems, will show growers which practices made them the most money.

Since fall will be here faster than you think, I am going to give you a few steps that will get you ahead of the curve for the 2015 season. Do the following to get your display ready for harvest!

  1. Export any existing data to the card, USB, or AgFiniti if there is still data from previous operations.  Once you have completed that, it is very important to make a backup of the display.  If the display were to have any problems during operation, you could get a temporary display and load the backup data on it to keep you up and running. If the display is not up to date on the current firmware, we strongly recommend upgrading.
  2. The current firmware for the Ag Leader® Integra and Versa displays is 6.4.
  3. Now that you have all that information on your card from the previous operations, it will be helpful to bring all of that data from the USB to the computer and load the files into SMS.  Once you have brought in all the data to SMS you can clear out the USB.  For tracking purposes, it’s best to have a clean USB
  4. Create a new season in your display. If harvest is the only function you use your display for, it is likely a new season will be needed.  If you also plant or use Direct Command operation, there is likely a season created.  If you use the Integra or Insight, make sure to use the same season, because you would be able to utilize our variety tracking feature using the planting maps.
  5. The list of fields in your operation may also need to be updated. Adding or deleting fields can be done at this time as well.
  6. If you different combine, you will need to build a new configuration.  When building a new configuration, it is important to make sure all measurements and offsets are entered in correctly.  This will guarantee the most accurate mapping.

The last four steps will help as you prepare the machine for harvest. These calibrations will affect your yield and moisture maps, so they must be done accurately.

  1. Header Calibration.  The header calibration determines the logging area.  When the head reaches its set point, the area count will stop.  The set point for the head is crop type specific because different crops are harvested with different heads and at different heights, so make sure you calibrate for each crop type. 
  2. Vibration Calibration. When doing the vibration calibration the head needs to be attached to the combine, and the separator needs to be on, and the RPM’s must be between 250-650 RPM’s or full throttle.  Since different crops use different heads, the vibrations calibration is crop specific like the header calibration, so multiple calibrations are required for multiple crops. During this process, the system is recognizing any natural vibrations that is seen by the flow sensor that could be mistaken as grain flow.  Remember, the vibration calibration is very simple and only takes a minute, but don’t forget it. It’s important!
  3. Temperature Calibration is the next, and it is a one-time calibration.  If the temperature is calibrated later in the season, it will affect your moisture calibration, and it will throw off your data that you have already recorded, so do it right away.  The temperature reading that the sensor is giving should be close to the actual temperature outside, but it may not be exact.  Enter an offset to make the temperature on the display correct.  A temperature calibration should be done while temperatures are stable. If the combine has been sitting the hot sun or operating for a while, it may have a higher temperature that is not ideal for the calibration.
  4. Distance Calibration is the last calibration and the final step before completing the preseason checklist. The distance calibration is for calculating area accurately.  Generally, a GPS receiver displays speed and position, but if GPS is lost, there can still be an accurate area count by knowing distance traveled and swatch width.  For the distance calibration, flag a known distance, for example 200 feet press start and begin driving.  While driving the distance, the system counts pulses and converts them to feet.  You will press stop when the vehicle crosses the end marker.  If the system says it drove 206 feet and it actually drove 200, enter that information.  Repeat the process until it is accurate within a couple of feet.

After beginning harvest, you will still need to do weight and moisture calibrations. Once all the calibrations are complete, the system will be very accurate. We hope that all of your blood and sweat (but not tears because there is no crying in farming) have paid off!  If you have any questions, contact Ag Leader Technical Support at (515) 735-7000.

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