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
Ag Weather Service
Decision Support SoftwareSciFi in Ag: Will Amazon’s Alexa Control the Family Farm Someday?
January 19, 2017
*Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
Decision Support SoftwareHTS Ag, AgriSync Announce New Partnership
December 28, 2016
HTS Ag will strengthen their customer connection with their recent partnership with AgriSync, a remote support mobile app. With the Read More
Decision Support SoftwareOrion Samuelson to Keynote 2017 FarmLogs Mobile User Conference
December 14, 2016
FarmLogs today announced that the most recognized voice of agriculture, Orion Samuelson, will keynote all three stops of the 2017 Read More
Decision Support SoftwareAgDNA FMIS Platform Selected for Tulane Nitrogen Reduction Challenge
December 14, 2016
AgDNA’s farm management software is among five solutions selected for the Tulane University Nitrogen Reduction Grand Challenge. The aim is Read More
Trending Articles featured image
ProfessionalsWelcome to the Newly Enhanced
December 29, 2016
Talk a quick look around our website and we hope you’ll notice it’s significantly different as we head into 2017 Read More
Ryan Raguse and Matthew Grassi
ProfessionalsIndustry Executives Talk New PrecisionAg Professional Brand
December 19, 2016
EFC Systems President and CEO Ernie Chappell Myriad Mobile Cofounder and Chairman Ryan Raguse Read More
PrecisionAg Professional logo
Industry NewsMeister Media Debuts PrecisionAg Professional
December 13, 2016
Agricultural technology is accelerating, and precision agriculture is gaining renewed interest across cropping systems. At the same time, growers are Read More
Sensors/IoTNew Farming Focused IoT Partnership Announced
December 13, 2016
Infiswift, an enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) platform developer, announces a partnership to develop IoT solutions with Acuitus Ag, an Read More
GVM E-Series cab
Ag Tech GlobalGlobalization And Precision Agriculture
December 7, 2016
Globalization has taken on a negative connotation in some circles in the U.S. in recent months. The lightning rod for Read More
Farmers Edge Truck
Data ManagementFarmers Edge, Trotter Fertilizer Form Partnership To Enhance VRT Programs
November 29, 2016
Farmers Edge, a global leader in precision agriculture and independent data management solutions, has partnered with Trotter Fertilizer, Nebraska’s foremost Read More
Latest News
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
EventsRetailers, Consultants Untangle Software Decision Proce…
January 19, 2017
Today, business and agronomy management software is the engine that facilitates a smooth running ag business. The next software decision Read More
Ag Weather Service
Decision Support SoftwareSciFi in Ag: Will Amazon’s Alexa Control the Fami…
January 19, 2017
*Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
Data ManagementNew Partnerhship Between AgIntegrated, CDMS, SeediQ Wil…
January 18, 2017
AgIntegrated, Inc. (AGI), CDMS, Inc. and SeediQ announce a partnership to develop, promote, and sell a single-source crop input reference Read More
Corn Field Sunset
Ag Tech GlobalAg Technology Among Focus Areas For Kohli Impact Invest…
January 18, 2017
Tej Kohli, a serial entrepreneur, global businessman and philanthropist, has announced he has earmarked an initial $25 million USD, through his Read More
Terry Griffin
Business ManagementUsing High Tech To Make Farm Decisions
January 17, 2017
Raj Khosla, professor of precision agriculture at Colorado State University, challenged farmers to think about how far the technology of Read More
Decisive Farming My Farm Manager mobile app
Ag Tech GlobalLeading Canadian Farming Co-op Brings In New Tech To Bo…
January 17, 2017
Co-op, one of the largest agricultural retailers in Western Canada, is partnering with farm management company Decisive Farming to provide Read More
Business ManagementCNH Names Danford Industry Relations Manager
January 17, 2017
Dan Danford has been named Industry Relations Manager, Precision Solutions and Telematics (PS&T), for CNH Industrial, parent company of agricultural Read More
Australian Harvest
Ag Tech GlobalAustralian Precision Agriculture Market, Forecast To 20…
January 13, 2017
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Australian Precision Agriculture Market, Forecast to 2020” report to their offering. Read More
Norris planter
Innovation SeriesCompelling Consultant Panel Kicks Off Next Month’s Prec…
January 12, 2017
Jeremy Wilson, Technology Specialist at CropIMS and renowned precision expert, leads a panel of top precision consultants to kick off Read More
Data ManagementProspera Selected for Top 100 Artificial Intelligence R…
January 11, 2017
CB Insights today selected Prospera to the prestigious Artificial Intelligence 100 list (“AI 100”), a select group of emerging private Read More
Business ManagementBREAKING: FAA Considering Less Restrictive Commercial D…
January 11, 2017
FAA is working toward allowing more freedom for drone operators, and at the same time is working with NASA on Read More
DronessenseFly, Agribotix Combine eBee SQ and FarmLens Offeri…
January 11, 2017
Agribotix has partnered with senseFly to offer a new combined solution for professional users. This technology solution combines the top Read More
Sentera software
DronesSentera Announces NDVI Livestream Capabilities for Doub…
January 10, 2017
Sentera today announced the upcoming release of LiveNDVI Video: livestreamed NDVI video via Sentera’s Double 4K sensor. This breakthrough technology Read More
Young Corn Field
Ag Tech GlobalEurocontrol To Commercialize Precision Agricultural Ini…
January 9, 2017
Eurocontrol Technics Group Inc., a Canadian public company specializing in the acquisition, development and commercialization of innovative test and measurement Read More
Corn Field
Data ManagementWaypoint Analytical, Highland Precision Ag Announce Str…
January 9, 2017
Waypoint Analytical (WP), based in Memphis, TN, and Highland Precision Ag (HPA), based in Mulberry, FL, are pleased to announce Read More
Western Canada Wheat field
EventsSixth Annual Precision Ag Summit Set for January 16-17 …
January 4, 2017
The 6th annual Precision Ag Summit will be held Jan. 16-17, at the North Dakota Farmers Union Conference Center in Read More
University of California Merced Professor Stefano Carpin
Hort TechRobots, People Working Together To Save Water, Enhance …
January 3, 2017
A nearly $1 million grant from the USDA is helping University of California researchers refine collaborative robotic technology that could Read More
Wade Barnes Farmers Edge using FarmCommand
Data ManagementFarmers Edge Makes Precision Ag Simple
January 3, 2017
Jon Labine of Argyle, MN, is a regional sales representative for Farmers Edge Inc., one of the latest entries in Read More