Submitted to: Horticulture Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2002
Publication Date: 3/1/2002
Citation: DAVENPORT, J.R., REDULLA, C.A., HATTENDORFF, J.J., EVANS, R.G., BOYDSTON, R.A. POTATO YIELD MONITORING ON COMERCIAL FIELDS. HORTICULTURE TECHNOLOGY. 12(2):289-296. 2002. Interpretive Summary: Yield mapping is an integral part of precision farming. Methods to map potato yields have been developed and were tested from 1998 to 2000 on commercial farms in southeastern Washington. Potato fields are typically harvested with multiple diggers, so several diggers were equipped with yield monitoring equipment each year. Yield monitoring data was not always consistent from digger to digger probably due to inconsistent calibration between harvesters and equipment performing differently on different harvesters. Some yield monitoring data needed very little manipulation of data after harvest, whereas other yield data required extensive processing due to equipment failure. These studies show the importance of proper and consistent calibration of potato yield monitoring equipment and the importance of coordination and standardization of the data from multiple harvesters when attempting to yield monitor potatoes with currently available equipment.
Technical Abstract: An accurate yield map is imperative for successful precision farming. From 1998 to 2000, at least two potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) fields on a commercial farm in southeastern Washington were yield-monitored using commercial yield monitoring equipment without digger operator interaction. Different fields were monitored each year. Multiple potato diggers were used to harvest the fields and the diggers used were not necessarily the same at each harvest. In all years, yield monitoring data was missing from some part of the fields due to equipment failure or not having yield monitoring equipment installed on all potato diggers. In 1998, extensive "banding" was observed on at least one circle where adjacent rows gave dissimilar ranges of yield monitor values, likely due to dissimilar calibrations. Banding was also observed in 2000 when the yield monitoring equipment installed on each of the three diggers performed differently. We found that some yield monitor data need minimal post-processing or correction, while other yield monitor data need substantial post-processing to make them usable, while still other yield monitor data may not be reliable due to equipment failure or other causes. Overall, when multiple diggers, hence multiple yield monitors, are used for potato harvest, it is necessary that all yield monitoring systems are properly calibrated. However, even with the proper calibration before harvest, it is still likely that the potato yield monitor data will need differential post-processing.