Kickin’ Tires – Ep11 — How Does Your Combine Measure Up?

The ability to collect machine data wirelessly from farms across Canada is starting to yield practical information that can help farmers become more efficient — evidence that takes colour out of the equation to answer questions like “what’s the optimal engine speed of my model XYZ combine during harvest?” or “should I use a fuel conditioner in my combine?”.

There’s been plenty of talk about the potential of “big data” helping farmers make more informed decisions, but turning huge swaths of information into something usable is still a challenge in many cases.

So on this episode of the Kickin’ Tires machinery podcast, co-hosts Shaun Haney and Jim Hale are joined by Jay Kinnaird, product manager with Farmers Edge, to discuss how they collected internal operating data from 457 combines across Canada last fall.

As Kinnaird explains, they inserted CanPlugs in the ISOBUS port on each machine to track and transmit operating information from 13 different combine models. They trimmed the data, removing points where RPMs were below a certain threshold, when the combine was outside a field border, and when the machine wasn’t moving. In the end, they were able to determine the litres consumed/hour for each model.

“It was close to what you thought. The newer, higher productivity machines, higher classes with more engine horsepower were burning more fuel than the smaller ones,” he says (see the graph comparing models in the podcast player below.)

Crop type, moisture, topography, header size are all factors that impact fuel use, so Kinnaird says their next goal is to consider these variables to determine litres consumed/acre, and from there, litres consumed/bushel harvested.

The trio discuss what the ability to collect and analyze this data means for growers, how the same information could be collected from tractors and sprayers, and Jim’s new school bus driving venture, among other things. Check it out — the latest Kickin’ Tires:


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