Make room for data

Yield monitors are standard options on many combines today, and yield-mapping data is important information for MFA’s precision agri­culture services. With harvest season near, University of Missouri Extension offers these tips for collecting yield data before combines hit the field.

  • Back up last year’s yield data.
  • Copy each season’s data to a unique folder.
  • Maintain several backup copies of the display/raw data in different locations to prevent losses from theft, damage or modification.
  • Delete old files from the memory card or USB drive. Clear display memory if storage capacity is low.
  • Check data cards or USB drives to make sure they work properly.
  • Contact your local dealer or manufacturer for the most recent software and firmware upgrades for your yield monitoring and mapping system, the display, GPS receiver and other components.
  • Check all cables, connections and sensors for wear or damage. Ensure that wiring and harness connections are tight.
  • Make sure moisture sensor units are clean and undamaged.
  • For combines with a mass flow sensor (usually at the top of the clean grain elevator), look for wear on the flow sensor’s impact or deflector plate. Replace the plate if worn or damaged.
  • Look for excessive wear on the grain elevator and missing or worn paddles.
  • Make sure the clean grain elevator chain is tightened to manufacturer specifications.
  • For combines with an optical sensor, ensure the clean grain elevator paddles are not rubbing against sensors.
  • If purchasing a new or used com­bine with an existing yield mon­itoring system, check for proper installation.
  • If using a grain cart with scales or a weigh wagon for yield monitor calibration loads, check that they give accurate data. Check weights against certified scales to ensure load estimates are within a few percentage points. Use the same scales throughout calibration.
  • To ensure your grain moisture meter’s accuracy, take it to a local grain elevator with a federally approved moisture meter. Com­pare estimates on grain samples with a wide range of moistures.
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Still time to be counted

In March, invitations to complete the 2020 Census began arriving across the United States. Maybe you filled out the questionnaire immediately and dropped it in the mail. Maybe you went online or called to provide the requested information. But maybe you have not yet responded.

If so, you’re not alone. In Missouri, the self-response rate to the census is 61.9%, according to Marilyn Sanders, regional director of the Chicago Regional Census Center. That means nearly 40% of the people in our state do not make the time to respond to the census. The good news is there’s still time to be counted. The self-response phase of the 2020 Census continues until Oct. 31.

“The census is now. The census is important. It informs decisions for the next 10 years. It’s an opportunity for each and every one of our voices to count,” Sanders said. “The data informs so many decisions. Most recently, it helped with distribution of funding based on population as a result of COVID-19 and the Cares Act.”

The census also helps government officials plan distribution of more than $675 billion in funding each year for hospitals, schools, roads, public works and many other programs, according to Sanders. By responding to the census, you can help make sure your community is well represented.

Additionally, the census is more easily accessible than ever before. You can respond online at census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020 or by mail. Census-takers will also follow up with households that have not responded. This variety of options has grown extensively since the last census in 2010, providing an opportunity for even more people to respond, Sanders said.

About 5% of people in rural communities do not have mailable addresses, which means they receive their mail through post office box delivery instead of at home. Because of COVID-19, census employees paused delivery of question­naires to those addresses. However, the operation resumed in June, and all questionnaires should now have been delivered to those households.

“Now, the message is ‘Go online, respond by phone or fill the questionnaire out to complete the census,’” Sanders said. “It’s simple, it’s easy and it’s safe.”

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Only youth livestock events are planned for 2020 Missouri State Fair

StateFairShowYouth livestock shows will be the only activities happening at this year’s Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. There will be no parking or admission fees for spectators to attend, but social-distancing guidelines will be in place. The 4-H Building will also be open to the public, and camping is still permitted. For a complete show agenda, visit online at mostatefair.com/ judging-schedules.In the wake of COVID-19 closures and concerns, more than half of the nation’s state fairs have been can­celed or modified for 2020, according to press reports and online postings. The Missouri State Fair is among those that have curtailed most traditional events. Only youth livestock shows and sales are now scheduled to happen as planned Aug. 13-23 in Sedalia.

The switch to this pared-down version of the fair was announced July 17, a drastic departure from plans released just a month earlier to continue most fair activ­ities with the exception of live concerts and a few other features. Concerns about public safety and the withdrawal of major sponsors and vendors were cited as reasons for the cancellation of all events not related to youth livestock exhi­bitions.

Keeping the livestock compe­titions intact maintains the fair’s mission to showcase agriculture, said Missouri Director of Agri­culture Chris Chinn.

“The most important thing the fair does is tell the story of agriculture,” Chinn said. “This is the most basic function of the Missouri State Fair, and it’s one that is the center of the fair this year. The young exhibitors who have quickly learned to be flexible and adaptable show me the promise in agriculture’s youth. I’ve watched as 4-H and FFA members across the state, uncertain if their county fairs or state fair will even go on, still go out and walk their livestock, clean them and teach them to do well in a show ring. It’s an act of endurance, and it’s one that is desperately needed right now.”

MFA will continue to support the state fair by providing in-kind donations that include feed, cattle panels for sale rings, water tanks, trophies and awards.

The Missouri State Fair, which started in 1901, has only been canceled one time. That was during World War II.

Most of Missouri’s neighbors have also canceled or modified state fair plans. The exception is the Kentucky State Fair, which is scheduled for Aug. 20-30 with COVID-19 contingencies in place. Like Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas changed their state fairs to events centered around live­stock competitions. The Arkansas State Fair, previously scheduled for October, has been canceled but may consider holding youth livestock shows. Cancellations have been announced in Iowa, Illinois and Tennessee, which opted not to hold state fairs for the first time since World War II. In Oklahoma, it’s the first time without a state fair since it began in 1907.

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