“This year’s crop is so bad I just don’t see the point of yield mapping.”
I’ve heard that line repeated by more than a few farmers this fall as they prepared to go to the field to harvest a severely subpar crop.
I don’t know who started the rumor that yield monitors were only to be used for good crops! Granted there certainly is no pride down at the local coffee shop showing off maps of fields that only produced half a crop. But that shouldn’t be the point of yield maps in the first place. It is not a work of art. It is an agronomic record to learn from. Sometimes Mother Nature teaches us from very hard lessons. Accept them, learn from them and move on.
I understand the inclination to want to wipe disaster years like 2012 from your memory. But turning off a yield monitor or trashing yield data on a crop because it didn’t measure up should never be an option in the age of precision farming. It’s sort of like turning off your young child’s baby monitor because you don’t want to hear them cry. It’s irresponsible in both cases!
I would argue that you actually learn less about your fields and your management practices in a good year than you do a bad one. A lot less! How do you fine tune seed populations to soil in a perfect year? The answer is you don’t. How do you evaluate drought tolerant hybrids if it rains just the right amount every week? If there was ever a year that tested modern seed genetics it was this crop year! How do you gauge nutrient removal if you don’t have a precision fuel gauge like a yield monitor? Nutrient management alone is worth keeping a yield monitor on in both good times and bad.
As you can tell at Prime Meridian we take yield mapping very seriously. It is the cornerstone of many of our multiple year Prime Packages. It is critical information that provides the template for many variable-rate seeding prescriptions. And finally it has become necessary digital data that will be required by government agencies and federal crop insurance. Even if you do nothing with it – collect it, save it and protect it in a secure online AgriMAX account.
You only have so many harvests in a lifetime. They all tell a unique story. It is important to you and your farm’s future not to skip a single chapter.