Yield Maps: Harvest’s Report Card

by | 12.7.20

The smell of fall is in the air. Combines, tractors, and carts are greased and ready to hit the field. Trucks and trailers stand poised in a line at the shop ready for the grain to be taken from the field to the bins or elevator. In a many growers’ minds, the best part of the year is here. All the decisions made over the past year that come to this. Harvest shows us just how those decisions played out.

We all know mother nature plays a large role in determining how our decisions affect the outcomes, especially this year where some parts of the country were too wet, some were too dry, and some experienced 100-year winds that knocked crops to the ground. Natural variables combined with our management decisions culminate in the final crop, but how do we evaluate how our decisions worked best? That’s when we turn to yield maps.

Yield maps are the farm equivalent of a report card. Our total averages may give us good information for overall performance, but yield maps however show us what worked and where. Even though a corn field averages 200 bushel per acre, there can be several spots that yield 150 and others 250. Fertilizing for 200 bushels with this type of variance will result in over fertilization of the lower areas of the field and under fertilization of the higher areas of the field.

Not only does this result in initial waste, it generates long-term detriment to yield averages as a whole. As the higher areas are depleted of nutrients, it takes longer to replace and build back what was lost. This is where yield maps shine as one of the drivers for variable rate fertilizer applications and seeding applications. Post-harvest data analytics using yield maps are important for next year’s planning. Tracking where different hybrids are planted and how they performe are valuable metrics to monitor. Yield maps can also be compared year over year. 

Yield maps themselves are not new — for many years, growers and trusted advisors have been collecting yield data — but how we use them is evolving. Some farmers have gotten frustrated with collecting data because there isn’t a clear and concise mechanism to help make planning decisions or understand why the farm performed the way it did. By combining your yield data with the other data you’ve been collecting, Arva’s AI platform can understand why your field yields high in certain spots and low in others, and what factors will influence that that yield.

Data management and data interpretation has long been at the forefront of many people’s minds, but now with advanced technology we can access those data stacks and create immense value for sustainable farming practices. We want to come alongside the trusted advisors and their clients to build that value and show you where you can save money, direct product placement, and get a better plan for next year’s season.

As we begin harvest, here are two articles to think about how this year can be a pivotal change in the way you work with data on your farm:

1) No-Till Farmer — The Importance of Collecting Accurate Yield Monitoring Data

2) Ohio Ag Net — The Benefits of Collecting Good Yield Data

For more information reach out to Matt Rohlik at m.rohlik@arvaintelligence.com or give him a call at 320-894-3838.


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