How Yield Monitors Work

There are four different measuring techniques used for yield monitors around the world today. Ron C. Johnson, a writer and lecturer on precision agriculture and author of the book, Target Farming, A Practical Guide to Precision Agriculture, outlined for Precision Ag Illustrated a closer look at how yield monitors do their monitoring.

Johnson notes that there are four measurement techniques and several others currently under development. The four main measurement techniques in use are: Impact, or Mass Flow; Weight; Optical; and Nuclear. “The first two types of yield monitors are common in North America whereas the last two are European in origin and not commonly seen here (although the optical type is gaining popularity),” says Johnson. He notes that the nuclear monitor is currently outlawed in North America.

Impact, Or Mass Flow Yield Monitors

Impact yield sensors measure force exerted on a plate, paddle or fork by the grain coming off the top of the clean grain elevator. According to Johnson, John Deere’s sensor uses a potentiometer (which is a variable resistor something like the volume control on a stereo or TV). The potentiometer is mounted to a two-part bracket. Half the bracket is bolted to the combine frame and the other half is connected to the impact plate. The two halves of the bracket are held together by flexible strips which allow some movement as the grain hits a deflection plate. The harder the grain hits this plate the more the resistance of the potentiometer changes. This change is converted to an electronic signal which can be used to calculate yield.

Some impact-type yield monitors use a load cell instead of a potentiometer. A load cell is also a resistive device but it’s made of thin wire bonded to a flexible membrane. The membrane is then bonded to a metal member which receives mechanical stress from the impact plate. As the member flexes slightly, the thin wire is stretched enough to change resistance. Again this change in resistance is converted to an electrical signal which is used to indicate the yield.

Some yield sensors use a paddle (Ag Leader), others a fork (MicroTrak), which extends down into the flow of grain as it comes off the top of the elevator. The paddle or fork is sensed by using the load cell device. Impact yield monitors come up with a yield value by reasoning that the more grain coming off the top of the elevator, the more force exerted against the load cell.

Weigh-Type Yield Monitors

Weigh-type monitors use a load cell connected to a metal arm which supports the weight of either the hopper itself or the grain flowing through the clean grain cross auger. The more grain in the auger, the more force exerted on the load cell. Auger speed, temperature, suspension and inertia are factors which must be taken into account in this type of system.

Ag Tech is one of the companies manufacturing weigh-type yield monitors.

Optical-Type Yield Monitors

These monitors are manufactured by RDS in England and are now being sold by Satloc, Inc. These monitors use an infrared light and detector installed across the clean grain elevator. Empty auger paddles temporarily block the infrared beam shooting across the auger housing. When grain is on the paddles the beam is blocked a high percentage of the time as compared to the reading from an empty auger paddle. Like the impact monitor, calibration is accomplished by combining a certain amount of grain while in calibration mode. The actual weight is logged on a monitor and the monitor correlates the light signal with the yield.

Nuclear Yield Monitors

These monitors use a small radioactive source which transmits a beam of particles across the clean grain elevator and measures how much comes out the other side. The more grain the less radiation that gets through the flow. AGCO currently uses this method on monitors sold in Europe.

Leave a Reply

Decision Support Software Stories
Data ManagementWinField United Details Upgraded ‘Insights’ Capabilities
November 21, 2017
WinField United has made several strategic investments to strengthen its total agronomy solution for retail and farmer customers, according to Read More
Topcon_TAP
Decision Support SoftwareTopcon Agriculture Introduces New Connected Agricultural Ecosystem
November 13, 2017
Topcon Agriculture has introduced TAP, the Topcon Agriculture Platform, a cloud-based agricultural ecosystem designed to provide real-time monitoring and data Read More
Decision Support SoftwareFarmers Edge, Service Provider Talk High-Frequency Imagery Deal
October 11, 2017
As the domestic ag tech market continues to mature and develop as we barrel into 2018, another intriguing partnership has Read More
John Deere Combine Harvester at Hagen Farms
Decision Support SoftwareAg and Rail Equipment Uptime Critical for Good Harvest
October 9, 2017
Across the American Heartland, growers have started harvesting their crops for what the USDA predicts will be a good yield Read More
Trending Articles
Used Combine
Service ProvidersFinding New Precision Ag Opportunities in Older Equipment
November 15, 2017
Whether to buy new or used equipment has been and continues to be an important topic for growers. When it Read More
Blue River Tech See and Spray prototype in CA
Business ManagementIs the Agtech Startup Boom Over?
November 13, 2017
In the past few months there has been a flurry of acquisitions of agtech startups by major players in the Read More
Spray Drift
Business ManagementProtecting Your Business with Ag Data: What Dicamba Can Teach Us (Guest Column)
November 9, 2017
All over the country, in ag communities large and small, farmers are reporting crop damage, neighbors are fighting, lawsuits and Read More
Kokoda-Trek2
Australia/New ZealandPrecision Agriculture in Papua New Guinea
November 2, 2017
I recently spent two weeks in the Central Highlands area of Papua New Guinea (PNG) on the Kokoda Track. The Read More
Robotic-Field-Scanner
Specialty CropsOpinion: Agriculture’s Big Data is Coming to You
October 20, 2017
If you think your world is changing at a dizzying pace, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. That’s my takeaway from Read More
Brazil-Soybean-field
AmericasIPNI Brazil: Precision Agriculture to Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency
October 16, 2017
As I mentioned in my last article, the IPNI Brazil Symposium on Precision Agriculture was held in early October in Read More
Latest News
EuropeAgritechnica 2017: 5 Quick Takeaways from World’s Top F…
November 21, 2017
Agritechnica 2017 wrapped up this past weekend, and now with the show in the books and a few days to Read More
FOTO-CAPA
AmericasAgricultural Drones in Brazil: A Look at Training and P…
November 21, 2017
Technology adoption usually occurs in stages. In agriculture, it progresses best when new innovations are spurred by competition, and the Read More
Data ManagementWinField United Details Upgraded ‘Insights’…
November 21, 2017
WinField United has made several strategic investments to strengthen its total agronomy solution for retail and farmer customers, according to Read More
Service ProvidersSciFi in Ag: Smart Pills for Cows (and other livestock)
November 21, 2017
On November 13th of this year, the FDA approved the first digital pill for human-use with a digital ingestible sensor. Read More
bayer-bosch-weed-detection
Tools & Smart EquipmentState-of-the-Art Weed Detection Technology Could be Ava…
November 20, 2017
As part of a three-year research partnership between two German agricultural and tech giants, Bayer and Bosch are developing smart Read More
DronesDrones Play Critical Role in Ohio Agricultural Research
November 17, 2017
The Springfield Beckley-Municipal Airport now has a new hangar for unmanned aircraft and precision agriculture, writes Allyson Brown on GovTech.com. Read More
Iowa-Farmer China
AsiaIowa Farm a Model for Modernizing China Agriculture
November 16, 2017
The buddy seat on Rick Kimberley’s combine-harvester is a fine vantage point from which to observe precision farming. The combine’s Read More
Field
Data ManagementThe Climate Corp., Deveron Form Drone Analytics Partner…
November 16, 2017
The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., has announced a partnership with Deveron UAS Corp., that will deliver farmers Read More
aggateway
Service ProvidersAgGateway Recognizes Leaders at 2017 Annual Conference
November 16, 2017
At its annual conference last week, AgGateway honored individuals and companies that are advancing electronic connectivity efforts in agriculture and Read More
corn field
UncategorizedTopcon Agriculture Prepares to Release Horizon 4.02
November 15, 2017
Topcon Agriculture has announced the addition of new functions including Auto Turn and Steer to Boundary applications in its upcoming Read More
Used Combine
Service ProvidersFinding New Precision Ag Opportunities in Older Equipme…
November 15, 2017
Whether to buy new or used equipment has been and continues to be an important topic for growers. When it Read More
John-Deere-Air-Carts
Systems ManagementJohn Deere 1910 Air Carts Can Now Be Retrofitted with S…
November 14, 2017
Intelligent Agricultural Solutions, LLC (Intelligent Ag), a leader in electronics innovations for modern farming, has released Engage Zone Control, the Read More
Climate FieldView Script Creator
EuropeThe Climate Corp. Expands Global Digital Agriculture Pl…
November 14, 2017
The Climate Corp., a subsidiary of Monsanto Co., has announced at Agritechnica, the world’s leading trade fair for agricultural machinery, Read More
Soybean-Field-Photo-Barbara-Eckstein
Data ManagementWeather Forecasting: How Does It Work, and How Reliable…
November 14, 2017
Do you ever wonder exactly how the weather forecast is made? And how good are they, really? In last month’s Read More
Topcon_TAP
Decision Support SoftwareTopcon Agriculture Introduces New Connected Agricultura…
November 13, 2017
Topcon Agriculture has introduced TAP, the Topcon Agriculture Platform, a cloud-based agricultural ecosystem designed to provide real-time monitoring and data Read More
Topcon A6
Systems ManagementTopcon Agriculture Adds ISOBUS Communication to Opus Co…
November 13, 2017
Topcon Agriculture has added industry-leading ISOBUS universal terminal and task controller functionality to the Opus A6 and A8 consoles. The Read More
Blue River Tech See and Spray prototype in CA
Business ManagementIs the Agtech Startup Boom Over?
November 13, 2017
In the past few months there has been a flurry of acquisitions of agtech startups by major players in the Read More
Data ManagementAgGateway Grain Transfer Proof of Concept Shows Promise
November 10, 2017
We talk about closed-loop systems quite a bit in modern production agriculture. Having a closed-loop, or completely self-contained, system is Read More