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Yield monitor or auto-steer?

I farm less than 1,000 acres and am thinking of investing some money into some of the newer technology for my farm.  My budget for this is only about $5,000 so I'm a little limited on my options.  If you had to choose between a yield monitor and EZ steer which would be the smartest decision to maximize my ROI?  Thanks.

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5 Replies
guitar Paul
Frequent Reader

Re: Yield monitor or auto-steer?

Tough question... I farm 1800 acres and I've had a universal JD auto-steer for 3 seasons now and a yield monitor for 1. If I had to pick today I would choose the auto-steer.  My yield monitor is cool to watch but it hasn't told me anything about my fields or variety's that I didn't already know, and if at all possible I take the 30 minutes needed to switch the auto-steer into the tractor or combine that will be used that day. I drove pretty straight before auto-steer, but now even family members that help out drive straight as a chalk line and have more time to pay attention to the equipment.  ps. if I could only put auto-steer in one piece of equipment, it would be the combine.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Yield monitor or auto-steer?

Auto Steer.

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Senior Reader

Re: Yield monitor or auto-steer?

I really believe auto steer is the better option . You can use it for all operations from tillage, planting, and harvest thus speading the cost out over the most time used. yield monitors  are ok but a auger wagon scale is much more accurate and also the next combine you get will probaly have installed. good luck KZ

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Jim Meade / Iowa City
Senior Advisor

Re: Yield monitor or auto-steer?

If you can get autosteer that will do what you want at the accuracy you want for that money, that would be attractive.  But, can you?  I don't know.  I'm a bit skeptical.


For the money you have to spend, I'm wondering if a guidance system might not be a good start?  Just a light bar.  Get the autosteer next year and the yield monitor the year after.  Talk to a couple of different salesmen and see what you can get for your money.

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wky frmr

Re: Yield monitor or auto-steer?

I also farm small, only a few hundred acres, and I have both auto steer and yield monitor.  I went with the yield monitor first and as much as I love auto steer I think I'd still go with the yield monitor first.  


I farm ground that varies a great deal in yield potential.  I have learned a great deal about my fields from yield data and  I use the yield data to make good variety decisions and also for variable rate nh3 prescriptions in corn.  I also use the yeild monitor box to feed vr data to the nh3 applicator.  Variable rate nh3 pays for me and vr seeding could be in my future.  


On the auto steer side, it saves me time and chemical on my sprayer; about 10%.  Due to my size this is not a lot on one pass but it does add up over time.  I started with guidance only, but found it very tedious and still had to use foam markers.  This year is the second with auto steer and I never even turned the markers on.  I also use it for nh3 application and some tillage although I till very little ground.  It also has saved about 10% on nh3 due to decreased overlap.  


I got here gradually buying equipment as I could, but I would hate to do without any of it now.  Hope this helps.

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