Grain yield monitoring is an integral tool in the Precision Agriculture management system. When used in conjunction with a satellite-based navigation system, it provides spatial information on output variability, output response to managed inputs and is used to identify limiting resources in the crop production process. Accurately matching measured yield quantities with spatial units within a field is therefore important. At present, a simple linear time shift is employed by all commercial monitoring systems to account for the delay between GPS recorded positions and subsequent yield measurements. This study examines the internal process of grain transport to the sensor by monitoring the flow of strategically coloured grain. The flow is shown to be significantly influenced by mixing induced by threshing and auger transport processes. In contrast to the common assumption that grain moves as a spatially related cohort through to the sensor, the results suggest that a diffusion process is more realistic. A parametric model for the diffusion process is provided which suggests that from each individual yield measurement a maximum 20% of the mass could be assigned to a single spatial unit of the size that is typically allocated. The results imply that for further analyses, the inconclusive spatial origin and artificially smoothed quantities of instantaneous yield measurements should be considered.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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