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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Field Testing of Cotton Yield Monitors

Authors
item Sassenrath, Gretchen
item Thomson, Steven
item Williford, Julius
item Hood, K - HOOD FARM AND GINS
item Thomasson, A - MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIV.
item Williams, J - GLOBAL POSITIONING SOL.
item Woodard, D - GLOBAL POSITIONING SOL.

Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 3, 1999
Publication Date: June 6, 1999
Citation: SASSENRATH COLE, G.F., THOMSON, S.J., WILLIFORD, J.R., HOOD, K.B., THOMASSON, A.J., WILLIAMS, J., WOODARD, D. FIELD TESTING OF COTTON YIELD MONITORS. NATIONAL COTTON COUNCIL BELTWIDE COTTON CONFERENCE. 1999. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary: Differences in yield and quality within a cotton production field can result in an economic differential ranging from a net loss of more than $200 per acre in parts of the field to a net profit in excess of $200 per acre in other parts of the same field. Site-specific management of these disparate zones has the potential to provide a significant economic benefit to the producer by optimizing the profit margin of each management zone individually. Key to realizing these anticipated benefits of precision agriculture is the ability to spatially identify and quantify the yield potential within the production field. Advances in adaptation of precision agricultural technologies have been hampered in cotton production due to the lack of an accurate, reliable yield monitor. The research reported here examined two commercially available yield monitors and one monitor under development. Although a reasonably accurate measure of yield within a production field was possible, this required careful and rigorous attention to cleaning of the sensors, frequent recalibration, and post-processing to remove introduced errors. Overestimation of the cotton yield resulted from stringers of cotton blocking the sensors, build-up of foreign matter on the sensor face, and excess leaf and trash material in the cotton. The assiduous measurements necessary to maintain confidence in the reported values limit the utility of the currently available monitors in a production setting.

Technical Abstract: Two commercially available yield monitors and one developmental model were field tested in Mississippi. This study was a component of an on-going research effort exploring within-field variability in crop yield and quality. The main objective of this study was to measure the accuracy and reliability of yield monitors for on-farm use. Yield monitor accuracy was reduced by dust build-up on the sensor face. Strands of cotton caught on imperfections in the picker chute also contributed to sensor inaccuracies. The continual drift observed in sensor accuracy together with the inability to distinguish between trash and lint limit the utility of currently available monitors in a production setting.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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