Last week we talked about how even an incorrect calibration procedure can give you half your value back from the monitor and produce good field averages. But would you buy a new tractor knowing you could only use it every other day? It would be giving you the same thing, half the value. The other half of the value of your monitor is accurately mapping the in-field variations of yield.
We could spend time discussing the wrong ways of calibration, which includes calibrating with semi-loads and scale tickets, but instead let's get down to how to do it right. The first thing you should do is be sure you have inspected all the components on your combine. Check for wear and proper installation. Next check that you have all the correct settings in your system. For example, be sure you have the correct header widths and, depending on the age of your system, all the initial calibration settings. Consult your manual or dealer for the important settings to check.
Once you are satisfied you have your settings correct in the monitor you should then calibrate temperature, speed, header height and vibration. Depending on your monitor type you may or may not have to calibrate these sensors. For example, on the older John Deere monitors (prior to the 2012 S series) you did not have to calibrate temperature or vibration. Again, consult your manual or dealer if you have questions.
So now you should be ready to head to the field. You only have two sensors left to calibrate but these are the big ones. Your moisture sensor is first. You should find an area in the field that is as consistent in moisture as possible. I like to run a hopper load for calibration. If you are using an Ag Leader monitor, set up a new load or region in the monitor and harvest the hopper full. As this hopper is being emptied, collect a sample of the grain. Be sure to get a representative sample from the entire load. Remember your moisture sensor took a reading from the grain every second during harvesting. Use a reference moisture tester to test this sample. In the monitor enter the resulting value and calibrate the system.
For the John Deere systems you have one of three different style moisture sensors to calibrate depending on what model combine you have. The procedure as stated here will work for you but how you enter the correction is different. Again, spend a minute looking at your manual and you will find how to enter the moisture correction value.
Next time we will discuss grain weight calibrations and describe exactly how to use grain flow to get accurate data.