Low Cost Yield Monitor Fits Old And New Combines
FarmTRX retrofit yield monitors can be used with any age combine, installed in a few hours, and calibrated in minutes. Using the FarmTRX subscription service web app, data is cleaned, processed and interpolated within seconds of being uploaded to the cloud. Moments later, yield maps appear.
Frustrated with high-cost commercial yield monitors producing low quality data, Perry Casson decided to build his own. The fact that Casson had one foot on his Saskatchewan farm and another in the world of high technology software didn’t hurt in creating FarmTRX. After making his mark developing software and hardware for cell phone networks in the 1980’s and 1990’s, he returned home to the family farm in 2003. A year later he co-founded a software company specializing in GPS-based tracking of flights and vehicles.
While running variable rate fertilizer tests with Cavalier Agro in on-farm plots in 2015, his frustration with available yield monitors peaked. In a few days time he built a data logger. His software company helped with the programming. Within 3 years he had introduced the yield monitor and a subscription service to process the data and produce yield maps.
“We’ve priced the yield monitor at $1,849,” says Braden Wyatt, FarmTRX. “Our optional subscription service cleans up the data, correlates multiple combines and produces useable yield maps for 10 to 50¢ an acre.”
The monitor can be installed in 4 hrs. or less. It includes a GPS receiver and rooftop antenna, Bluetooth connectivity and data storage sufficient for at least 5 years on an internal SD card. Self-cleaning optical sensors measure the height of grain on each passing paddle.
The unit’s Bluetooth connection eliminates the need for a dedicated in-cab display. The mobile app for Android or Apple IOS allows a phone or tablet to be used for real-time data review.
At its most basic, the yield monitor measures and displays yield data in real time in the cab, at a terminal or on a mobile device. Later analysis is what gives such data its value, but only if the data is accurate.
“When we looked at yield monitor data coming off of other yield monitors, it was shocking how difficult it was to get accurate data with some of them,” says Wyatt. “Some yield monitors require a huge investment in learning. We try to make ours as easy as possible to use. Monitoring yields doesn’t have to be a strenuous activity.”
Using the GPS point location, uploaded data is automatically located within the field boundary.
Calibration is simple and can be done immediately after installation or automatically in the cloud at a later time using the web app. All that’s needed is to enter total known yield from particular fields. Calibration is needed only once a season.
Raw data can be shared with others in various formats. It can be moved to Climate Fieldview or one of the other default export settings. Bluetooth sharing eliminates the need for cards or flash drives and their potential loss.
FarmTRX emphasizes that all yield data and maps are the property of the farmer. Wyatt says more changes are ahead for the FarmTRX. “We’ll be introducing a moisture sensor later this summer,” he says. “We are looking to add some other precision technologies in 2020.”