Year of Publication

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Agriculture

Department

Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Scott A. Shearer

Abstract

Yield monitors have become an indispensable part of precision agriculture systemsbecause of their ability to measure the yield variability. Accurate yield monitor data availabilityis essential for the assessment of farm practices. The current technology of measuring grainyields is prone to errors that can be attributed to mass flow variations caused by the mechanismswithin a grain combine. Because of throughput variations, there are doubts regarding thecorrelation between the mass flow measurement and the actual grain volume produced at aspecific location. Another inaccuracy observed in yield monitor data can be attributed to inexactcut-widths values entered by the machine operator.To effectively address these yield monitor errors, two crop mass flow sensing deviceswere developed and used to correct yield monitor data. The two quantities associated with cropmaterial mass flow that were sensed were tension on the feeder housing drive chain and thehydraulic pressure on the threshing cylinder's variable speed drive. Both sensing approacheswere capable of detecting zero mass flow conditions better than the traditional grain mass flowsensor. The alternative sensors also operate without being adversely affected by materialtransport delays. The feeder housing-based sensor was more sensitive to variations in cropmaterial throughput than the hydraulic pressure sensor. Crop mass flow is not a surrogate forgrain mass flow because of a weak relationship (R2 andlt; 0.60) between the two quantities. The cropmass flow signal does denote the location and magnitude of material throughput variations intothe combine. This delineation was used to redistribute grain mass flow by aligning grain andcrop mass flow transitions using sensor fusion techniques. Significant improvements (?? = 0.05)in yield distribution profile were found after the correction was applied.To address the cut-width entry error, a GIS-based post-processing algorithm wasdeveloped to calculate the true harvest area for each yield monitor data point. Based on theresults of this method, a combine operator can introduce yield calculation errors of 15%. Whenthese two correction methods applied to yield monitor data, the result is yield maps withdramatically improved yield estimates and enhanced spatial accuracy.

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