Yield monitors have become very common on combines in the last decade. The primary goal of these devices is to help the producer monitor variability occurring in his or her fields. Utilizing GPS, this data can be saved spatially and downloaded to the producer’s computer to build an almanac that may be used to better understand how field inputs and growing conditions over a number of years (e.g., wet years, dry years) affect yield variability. Producers have also used this technology to conduct on-farm trials assessing economic return of various hybrids or management inputs.
The combine automates yield monitoring by aggregating data from various sensors, including speed, position, header height and width, mass-flow and moisture. Each of these sensors contributes an essential piece of data necessary to the production of an accurate yield map.