The Importance of Good Data

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Greetings from Sloan Implement Company!  I hope everyone enjoyed great food and family time over Thanksgiving.  I am looking forward to more of the same as Christmas quickly approaches

Warmer than normal weather has been the rule this fall in our area.  A great deal of NH3 was applied, but there will definitely be some spring application needs as well.

Let me ask each of you if you had an autotrac system 10 years ago in 2005?  What about 5 years ago?  I bet the answer to the first question would be that very few had a system in ’05.  I would venture to say that many, or more likely, most of you had at least 1 system in 2010.  The question for most producers today would not be if you had a system, but rather how many systems you currently have in your operation? I pose these questions to shine a light on how fast technology is changing and how much of an impact it has on you and your business.

If autotrac was the first big use of GPS technology, section control or auto swath is definitely a close second. So what is number 3?  Any guesses?  It is a hot topic in nearly every farm publication or Ag website.  The answer is data.  Not just data, but GOOD data!  Inaccurate data is not much better than no data at all.

So how does good data have an impact like autotrac or section control?  Good data is the inside information you need to help you make informed decisions about every acre within your operation.  All of you know that there are productive and not-as-productive areas in each of your fields.  But the question is not just how productive or not-so-productive, but how big is the good area and where and how much does it change as you move out of the highly productive area?  Even better, why does it change?  Can we fix it? Is there something holding back the sweet spots from getting even better?  The list could go on and on.  Treating every acre of the field the same, or flat rate application, of seed, fertilizer, nitrogen, lime, etc. does not make agronomic sense, especially in these economic times. Knowing what each acre is putting in your pocket will be of paramount importance going forward.

I will admit that the amount of information that can be gleaned from yield maps, soil tests, application data, etc. is mind boggling and can be intimidating.  The question you are probably asking, is how do I know when, where, and how much change to make?  The only way to answer this question is to have a good “data bank” of past history from each field.  This can then be used by you or a trusted advisor to guide your decisions. As with anything of value, good data takes time and effort to collect.  The good news is that nearly every combine/planter/application tool built within the last 10+ years has the ability to collect the data you need to build your data bank.  The even better news is that most customers already have the majority of the equipment they need to complete these tasks!

Another storm on the horizon is the political climate (pun intended!) in Washington.  As fewer folks in the general population actually understand production agriculture, greater imposition on your use of commercial fertilizers, chemicals, etc. will be the focus of many state houses and in Washington.  Has anyone seen a news story about the algae bloom in the Gulf as an example? The ability to show, on an acre by acre basis, how accurately and efficiently you use inputs will be extremely valuable, if and when the rules change.

So where do we go from here?  Make a point to start or continue to collect good data from this point forward!  Calibrate and post calibrate your combine yield monitor, record your as-applied planting rates and varieties, and obtain the as-applied fertilizer maps from your ASP (Ag Service Provider).  All of this needs to be in an electronic format so it can be used later on.  Find someone to help you clean up your data if you are not able or willing to do it yourself.  Sloan Implement offers a basic data service that allows you to begin to collect GOOD data without even owning a computer, all while using the GPS equipment you already own.  You can see more info on Sloan’s Data Management service here.  John Deere has a website, www.myjohndeere.com, where you can store and view the data as well from any smart phone or tablet and share it with only those you choose.  Finally, find a trusted advisor to help you interpret the data and help you make informed decisions.

In conclusion, even if you think you are not ready for all of this, start collecting good data now!  Remember my questions at the beginning of the article?  How many of you had an autotrac system 10 or even 5 years ago?  The difference now is that you could get into an autotrac system whenever you made the decision to do so.  Collecting data takes time.  You have seen how fast the last 10 years has changed.  Imagine what the next 5 or 10 years has in store.
Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 20 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

 

Wisconsin Planting, Exact-Emergence, W260 Windrower & 500R Platform

W260 & 500R cutting Alfalfa

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI 

It’s still pretty busy in Southern Wisconsin.  With all of the cool and wet weather over the last few weeks, some guys are just now finishing up corn and beans. Others are busy spraying, cutting down rye. or making hay. Some sidedressing has started as well. Most of the corn in the area is getting a little yellow from the dampness and nights still in the 30’s. Today’s sun and heat is just what it needs.

The ExactEmerge stands look very good. We walked some fields and talked to customers today. Overall they are very happy. The singulation and spacing is very good. The planters that we checked also had sectional control dialed in nearly perfect.

ExactEmerge Section Control

ExactEmerge Section Control

Exactemerge Spacing

Exactemerge Spacing

We have cut some rye and alfalfa with the new W260 windrower and new 500R platform with Tri-Lobe conditioning rolls. The W260 has a 6.8L engine that with 260 engine horsepower at 2400 rpm and up to 285 horsepower at the power bulge. The windrower didn’t bog down at all in tall, wet, and sometimes lodged rye, all while going a constant 12 mph across the field. Meanwhile, a competitor’s windrower couldn’t get over 6.5 mph in the same field. The W260 seems to be a great fit for heavy crops and/or hills. The new 500R platform was making a very nice and even windrow in both rye and alfalfa. The 500R includes a new overshot cross auger that delivers increased performance in windrow formation and cut quality. Crop flow is also improved because of the auger and additional converging drums that are taller and closer together on each end of the platform to provide an even flow into the conditioner while reducing bunching, recutting and wrapping on the ends.

W260 500R Rye

W260 & 500R Cutting Rye

500R converging drums overshot auger and tri-lobes

500R converging drums overshot auger and tri-lobes

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 19 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.  Learn more at www.sloans.com

Planter Monitor Shows Low Population in Soybeans?

4066R ATU RTK Research Plot Sprayer Tractor

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

If you are seeing several rows or your average population is running low in soybeans, here are a couple things to keep in mind.  It is normal for the planter to read slightly low in soybeans, especially in 30″ rows.  The amount of soybeans passing the seed sensor is very high.  If you are experiencing this symptom, verify the actual planted population is correct by digging some seed in a few random rows.  17’5″ is 1/1000 of an acre for 1 row on 30″.  Multiply the amount of seed in this distance by 1000 will give you your population for that row.  Check a few rows to verify.  Another thing we have noticed this year is that if you have not brushed your seed tubes before switching to beans you could experience this symptom.  Talc and seed treatment can build up from corn planting and can impair the ability of the sensor to accurately count seed.  Finally, make sure that you are using talc in the central fill planters with beans.  This is especially true if using a treated bean or delivery tube plugging can occur.  Remember that it is just as important to properly mix the talc as it is to use the proper amount.

 

JD 4020 AutoTrac Planting Soybeans

Here’s a video of Larry Probst, store manager at Sloan Implement in Effingham, IL, planting soybeans with his Autotrac ready 4020 and 7000 12 row planter.

Sloan Support is written by the product support team at Sloan Implement, a 19 location John Deere dealer in Illinois and Wisconsin.   Learn more at www.sloans.com

Deactivate Implement Detection and ExactEmerge Planter Video

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Software update 15-1 (spring 2015) has finally given users the ability to shut off implement detection.  Implement detection auto-populates the offset dimensions of the planter and tractor for the purpose of swath control and does so at each key cycle.  The system is supposed to save any changes made by the operator.  However, sometimes these dimensions are incorrect or different than those entered by the operator when auto-populated causing unexpected skips or overlaps in the field.  Many times this is not recognized until the crop emerges and many acres have been done incorrectly.  To disable this feature, go the Menu, Display, Diagnostics, Multiple Displays,   Change Settings, and then uncheck the Auto Implement Detection checkbox and hit the save button.  At this point, verify that the dimensions that are loaded in the display are correct for both the tractor and the planter.  This should prevent the system for changing them and will eliminate the implement detection warning screen at start up.

The ExactEmerge  high speed planters have been rolling for the past two weeks with great success.  Here’s a video of one screaming across the field in excess of 10+ mph being pulled by a JD 8370R.

 

Atwood Planting Progress and Row Clutch Status Lights

Planting Near Cuba City, WI

by Matt Sweitzer, Atwood, IL 

For the most part we are still too wet to plant around the Tuscola/ Atwood area. We have had a few guys get their planters set but for the most part we are still waiting on dryer conditions. For those of you running swath control we have a new product called a row clutch light. This light will plug into the row unit harness for any planter running Deere electric clutches. The light turns on when the unit stops planting. The light turns off when the unit resumes planting. This makes setting section control much easier allowing you to visually see from the cab roughly where your planter is turning on and shutting off. This DOES NOT replace digging for seed!!! You still need to dig to find out exactly where your seed is starting and stopping.  This light will give you an idea of what adjustments you need to make. It is still critical that you have your measurements for the machine and implement entered into the display before you begin adjusting your section control. See you local parts department or AMS specialist for more information.

You can see more info on this light by clicking here.

Row Clutch Indicator Light – Click Picture for More Info

 

 

 

ExactEmerge Autotrac Settings

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

ExactEmerge planters, with their increased speed, create a new challenge for Autotrac, especially in soft or mellow soils.  Make sure that you are using your MFWD and Differential lock.  Secondly, if the tractor is getting off the line very far, go to the advanced settings and raise the steering response rate and the line tracking sensitivity.  This will make the tractor more aggressive with staying on the set A/B line.

 

ExactEmerge Row Unit on Display in Assumption, IL

ExactEmerge Row Unit on Display in Assumption, IL

 

 

Deere Winter Software Update 15.1 and Swath Control Settings for Spring

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

We have been running a lot of meters this winter with our seed meter test stand.  One of the major causes for performance issues is leaving the disk in the meter over an extended period of time.  This warps the disk and can disfigure the seal.  Make sure that when you are finished planting that you remove the disk from the meter and store it in a vertical position.  The best way to do this is take an old broom handle and slide the disks on it and then hang it so the disks are vertical.  Throwing them in a box or on a bench will cause them to warp.  Another issue we have seen is leaving seed in the planter.  This attracts Disney characters to make their winter homes in your planter meter.  They feast on the seed and your rubber vac seals.

Planter Clinic Lanark

Winter Planter Clinic Lanark, IL  March 5, 2015

 

Deere just announced the winter software update (15-1).  It is a good practice to update your AMS components with the latest software updates.  It is especially important to update your receivers this year as there is going to be a frequency change in July.  If you perform the winter software update it will automatically find the new frequency when it is released.  This is true for both the ITC and the Starfire 3000 receivers.

One of the main in-season issues or questions we get during planting is the swath control settings.  It is absolutely imperative that the receiver to machine measurements for the tractor and the planter are checked and entered into the GS3 display.  This will make sure that the GPS receiver and display can calculate the position of the seed tubes and turn on/off the clutches at the proper time.  If these dimensions are not entered correctly the time adjustment will likely not do much good to correct any stop/start planting issues.  So, before you start, check these dimensions against a tape measure and make sure that they are correct.  Along those lines, Sloan Express sells a light that will turn on and off with your clutch to give you a visual reference as to the exact time the clutch is turning on or off.  You can put one on the outside rows of the planter so you can be sure that the clutches are performing correctly. You can see more info on this light by clicking here.  It won’t get you down to the last 6” of where the last seed was planted but it will help you see if there was a moderate or major change in the settings for swath control.

Row Clutch Indicator Light – Click Picture for More Info

 

 

 

The Importance of Planter Meter Inspections and Clearing your Yield Data

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Winter is the time to get your planter meters inspected and tested so you are ready to go for spring.  We can run your meters on a modern test stand and check for doubles, skips, and misplaced seeds.  Our test runs are 1000 seeds per run and we require 3 consecutive tests of 99.7% or better performance for a passing grade.  It might not pass due to several factors.  It could be worn parts, a misaligned double eliminator, improperly adjusted hub setting, or a myriad of other factors.  The test stand allows us to find the “why” behind the problem.  We will then contact you about the recommended changes and get your approval to make these repairs.  Most times John Deere Pro Max meters don’t need  a tremendous amount of parts to get them ready to roll.  Of course, all of this is dependent upon how the meter has been cared for and how long it has been since it was last checked over.  The only way to know is to put them on a test stand and have them checked out.  Emerged corn is not the time to discover an issue with your meters so have them tested.  The planter is a system of different components working together and the meter, while being the heartbeat, is not the only item that can cause issues if not properly maintained.  Your entire planter including the row units, frame, drive system, delivery system, air system, etc. should all be inspected to insure that you are ready to go when mother nature decides to cooperate.  If you do take your meters to get inspected make sure to take your seed that you are going to plant this year along with it to the dealership.

planter meter

Another item to get squared away now is your data collection system and autotrac monitor.  Download all of the data from the monitor and make sure that it is safely backed up.  Remove the data from the monitor and install any available software updates.  These are usually released by John Deere in Mid-February.  Now you should re-load any setup data with all of your farms, fields, and varieties.  Don’t forget to also load in the CORRECT dimensions of the tractor and the planter so your clutches will shut off correctly.

 

 

1770NT vs. 1775NT Non-High Speed John Deere Planters

by Lucas Veale, Assumption, IL 

Here are the main changes for the 2015 John Deere 1775 Planter with Max Emerge 5 row units:

Ability to run cable drive and granular insecticide.  Can run with 1.6 or mini hopper and cable drive.

Gauge wheel arm bushings much more durable because of smooth bushings rather than full thread-much longer life

Double eliminator is adjustable from outside the meter with a knob and a number.  Repeatable from season to season and seed to seed.

No elbow on the mini hopper to impede seed flow.  Less time spent shaking hoses because of seed stuck in the delivery hose.

All vac air is from the main hoppers.  Cleaner air with less debris in meter housing.

Easier access to the meter with a 1.6 bu hopper.  No need to remove the hopper from the unit to access the meter.  All done from the side.

With new quick change doors, you can easily snap in the knocker wheel and bean flapper.  They are no longer bolted in.

Here are some pictures of the new row unit

doubles eliminator up close 1 up close 2 up close 3