Scientists Use Precision Farming to Monitor Sugarcane Yields

Linda Benedict  |  6/1/2005 1:32:03 AM

Caryn E. Benjamin, Michael P. Mailander and Randy R. Price

One important application of precision farming is yield mapping. Yield maps provide site-specific information that can aid in managing fertilizer and pesticide rates. Yield maps consist of two variables, the crop spot yield (pounds) and the position (longitude, latitude) of that yield in the field.

LSU AgCenter scientists undertook a project involving the design and testing of a sugarcane yield monitoring system mounted on a chopper harvester. The sugarcane yield monitoring system was comprised of a yield sensor (scale), a data acquisition system and a differential global positioning system (DGPS). A scale mounted in the floor of the elevator took instantaneous measurements of the cane yield (weight) directly. A dump wagon equipped with a weighing system (weigh wagon) was used for each test.

Experiments were conducted with different levels of cane maturity, harvest speed and row length. Tests were done with two different varieties. For each test, the scale readings were summed and compared to the weigh wagon. The results showed the scale predicted the weigh wagon with 89 percent accuracy.

Farmers who use the chopper harvester will be able to measure their sugarcane crop yields with this system. Another benefit of using this system is that the farmer can almost eliminate the problem of overloading the tractor-trailers with cane.
Caryn E. Benjamin, graduate student; Michael P. Mailander, Associate Professor; and Randy R. Price, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, LSU AgCenter, Baton Rouge, La.

(This article was published in the fall 2001 edition of Louisiana Agriculture.)

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