Software upgrade simplifies harvest calibration

When Al Myers introduced his Yield Monitor 2000 25 years ago, the idea of having GPS-located yield maps for every field with on-the go yield data was “a figment of most growers’ imagination,” he said. But as farmers have learned in recent years, while those yield monitors are great tools, they’re used best when their information is accurate.

That requires calibration of the yield monitor each season, and for some it means calibrating more than once each season. But calibration can be tedious, since most yield monitor systems require four combine hopper loads— sometimes gathered at slower speeds — to make sure the system is reading your grain properly.

For 2017, Ag Leader is changing the rules for its InCommand 1200 and 800 displays. The company has announced that farmers can now get an accurate calibration with just two combine hopper loads.

The refined approach comes with a software upgrade for these displays that can make calibration simpler.

“And if the user is not seeking an absolute measure of yield, but wants a basic calibration, we can do that with just one load,” says Luke James, territory manager, Iowa, Ag Leader.

For farmers with scales on their grain carts, this process will be pretty simple. Collect one hopper load at normal capacity and take a measurement; then collect a second hopper load at half-capacity. Calibrate from those two measurements.

During a discussion of the new system at Ag Leader’s 25th anniversary dealer event, it was pointed out that calibration is best based on where you capture those two loads. First, avoid taking calibration loads on headlands, where compaction can impact yield. And second, collect samples from areas where the crop looks more consistent.

Once calibrated, the new software adds another feature — a resettable bushel-counter. Snodgrass pointed out that for farmers who are harvesting and know that the bin they want to fill has perhaps 3,200 bushels of space left, can count those bushels and improve their storage use, too. And they can reset the bushel-counter on the screen for better management of loads going to different locations.

The InCommand displays offer a range of features for managing application and harvest. This latest innovation will change the rules for a lot of producers. As more farmers seek better data from their operations, harvest calibration becomes more important.

New GPS option
Ag Leader has also announced that its GPS 6500 receivers will now support TerraStar-L for frequency correction. This signal, which provides dual-frequency correction, is also a repeatable differential source.

The system provides 6- to 8-inch pass-to-pass accuracy, and a 15-inch repeatable accuracy with a five-minute convergence time.

For many farmers this is precise enough for their operations and provides another option. Ag Leader already supports a range of signals including Glide, WAAS/EGNOS, TerraStar-C and RTK to meet farmer needs. The TerraStar-L support will be part of an upcoming firmware release. GPS 6500 units purchased after the firmware is released qualify for a free one-year TerraStar-L subscription.

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