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7-Point Plan to Prep Combine Technology for Harvest


Pre-harvest efforts ensure efficient operation, data collection

Before rolling combines into the fields this harvest, be sure all systems are “go”. Today, testing and updating on-board combine technology is just as crucial to harvest readiness as checking bearings and belts.

With computerized systems running well, growers can harvest efficiently, minimizing crop loss and ensuring grain quality. Having yield monitors and data collection tools ready to go will ensure valuable data is captured and available when it’s time to plan the next crop.

Download the latest updates
Be sure to download the latest firmware and software for all combine components to help improve operating efficiency and productivity. Many times, software updates are available and easy for growers to install themselves. If needed, schedule an equipment dealer technician to install these updates.

Combine harvesting wheat

Get details from the dealer
When updates offer substantial differences in machine operation, the equipment dealer should help test the system, explain new features and provide training on its use. Often, this is part of a comprehensive pre-harvest checkup that includes mechanical inspections on bearings and belts.

Collect and safe guard yield data
Yield data is one of the most important tools available to ensuring next year’s harvest is even better, so be prepared to accurately collect and store data. One item often overlooked is the memory card. Cards can go bad after just a season or two, so purchase new memory cards each season. Thumb drives or flash SD memory cards are inexpensive compared to the value of the data they hold. Different systems may require different sizes or styles, so check those details and consider keeping a couple different sizes on hand.

Calibrate yield monitors and check GPS
Yield monitor calibrations should always happen at the beginning of the season. When capturing yield data for decision making, it’s more important to maintain the margin between high and low yielding areas across the field than it is to get the exact yield per acre.

Adjusting mid-season or in the middle of the field can cause much wider discrepancies than actually occurred, which can affect strategic planning in coming years. Start by getting your field information into the yield monitor according manufacturer directions. Don’t waste critical field time by waiting to do this during harvest.

Next, ensure your GPS receiver is working. These receivers often have updates that are critical to accuracy. Finally, calibrate paused modes to ensure travel and other downtime isn’t recorded.

Yield sensors
Sensors can be difficult to test before grain is running through the machine. Follow test procedures according to manufacturer directions to apply weight similar to grain and check for error codes. In addition, check the padding around sensors, which can be damaged by rodents during storage.

Test data collection and storage
After the first day of harvest, remove the yield data card and download the information. Make sure the card is storing the data correctly. Waiting to download data until harvest is complete can be a costly mistake. A faulty card or a missed upgrade can damage the data, and there’s never a second chance to repeat this year’s harvest. Newer systems may transfer data wirelessly. It also pays to check the transfers early in the harvest season to ensure they are accurately collecting data.

Communicate information
Once harvest is complete, data is ready to be shared with trusted suppliers and consultants. Your Southern States representative is ready to help you use this information to plan the next crop and make adjustments to optimize your production.


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