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

 

Sloan Winter Technology Expo in Atwood, IL Feb 3

You are invited to attend Sloan’s Sprayer Clinic on Tuesday March 3 at our Atwood, IL Training Facility.

Classes will begin at 9 am and finish at 2 pm.

Our sprayer experts will provide training on the following topics:

  • Set-up and operation of Spraystar monitor
  • Section control and Documentation
  • Solution system changes from 30 series to R’s
  • Service and maintenance
  • Sprayer walk around
  • And answer any questions you might have about your John Deere sprayer
  • You can view more info and register at sloans.com by clicking this link

You can view more info and register at sloans.com by clicking this link.

Sloan Winter Technology Expo in Atwood, IL Feb 3

You are invited to attend Sloan’s Winter Technology Expo on Tuesday February 3 at our Atwood, IL Training Facility.

The expo will begin at 8 am and end at Noon.  Stop in at any time.

Our product support specialists will provide training on the following products:

  • Field Connect, Machine Sync, & Shared Coverage maps
  • MaxEmerge 5 planters
  • MaxEmerge XP planters
  • Planter Test Stand and Seed Meter Inspections
  • Gator Mapping and RTK Boundary Service
  • Sprayers
  • New Generation 4 Command Center
  • Myjohndeere.com and JD Apps
  • Seedstar 2/XP Simulator, Swath Control, Documentation
  • Accudepth for Field Cultivators
  • Autotrac Controller & Rate Controllers
  • Sloan Call Center

You can view more info and register at sloans.com by clicking this link.

AMS Expo, S Series Combine Updates, and Rowsense for Forage Harvesters

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI

Last week, we spent a couple days in Atwood, IL helping with technician training and the customer AMS Expo. This week we will be in Litchfield for the customer expo on Thursday Aug 7th. Northern customers should mark their calendars for Thursday, August 28th in Belmont, WI. We are combining our fall AMS classes and our combine clinic together with some new items to change it up a bit this year. We hope to see you there!

Most of the area was working on 3+ weeks of no rain until Monday night. Widespread rain caught most of the area with anywhere from .3” to over 4” of rain. At the store in Monroe, I dumped out 2.4” Tuesday morning. At our place near Barneveld we had just under 1”. The corn was starting to fire up the stalk when I headed to IL last week and it changed for the worse while I was gone for a couple days. Beans were also showing stress especially on the lighter ground. The Field Connect moisture probes have also being showing the need for rain as the irrigation pivots were getting to the point where they could no longer keep up. There were days where the daily moisture change throughout the probe was negative .30-.40”. Our top end yield got dinged some over the last couple of weeks, but overall the crop still looks pretty good and this rain should really help fill out the corn and beans. There are still a few wheat fields out there to harvest. Some customers working on some 3rd crop hay while others maybe starting their 4th cutting in 10 days or so. The demo W235 will be around Monroe for the next week before moving up to the Mt. Horeb area. Give us a call if you are in either area and want to give it a try!

John Deere just released their 4th quarter programs. The following retail bonuses are in place until the end of October: $250 off GS3 rowsense activation, $500 off machine sync radio, $500 off machine sync activation and $500 a field installed JDLink MTG with Remote Display Access. I know we’ve priced some rowsense and JDLink installs for Wireless Data Transfer, so now would be a good time to buy either if you’ve been on the fence.

We installed a set of rowsense feelers on a Self Propelled Forage Harvester (SPFH) last week. Unlike rowsense for combines, the SPFH’s do not require a rowsense activation to run and they can also run without a display or GPS.

SPFH with Rowsense

SPFH with Rowsense

Rowsense Feeler on rotary head

Rowsense Feeler on rotary head

Model year 2014 combines with Final Tier 4 engines will have a new feature on them called Interactive Combine Adjust (ICA).  This allows the operator to select an area that they would like to improve (Grain Quality, Grain Loss or Straw Quality). The combine will then walk the operator through possible adjustments and make them for the operator when possible (like closing the sieve). At the end, you will be able to see a before and after shot of your grain loss monitor to see if the condition improved. It should be a neat feature to try out this fall. Just like any other combine adjustment, it’s highly recommended that you only make one adjustment at a time, so you can pinpoint whether it ended up helping or hurting the situation.

Interactive Combine Adjust (ICA)

Interactive Combine Adjust (ICA)

Speaking of grain loss monitors, model year 14 combines will also throw a new code at you if you have not calibrated your grain loss monitor yet.

Grain Loss Calibration Code

Grain Loss Calibration Code

After you properly set your combine, you will need to follow the following steps to calibrate your grain loss monitor:

Main Menu (bottom RH corner)

Combine Icon

H- Set-up Icon (dot with an arrow pointing at it)

G- Set-up Crop

Press the triangle calibration button (found beside the vision trak cal value) while harvesting at your normal ground speed and engine load. You should then see that value change.

 

Wisconsin Wheat Harvest and New AMS Products for 2015

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI

We’ve been busy harvesting wheat in northern IL and southern WI this last week. The weather has been warm and dry, so getting the wheat and straw out of the field has not been a problem. Yields, test weight and straw have been good for the most part. I have heard some rumors of vomitoxin and some loads getting rejected at elevators. We could use some more rain across the area. Most fields have not had any rain for 2 weeks now. We had a few showers in the area this morning, but they only wetted the sidewalk for the most part. We do have some more chances Saturday and Sunday though.

We were out at Deere’s ISG headquarters in Urbandale, IA this week for our annual summer meeting. There we talked about changes to www.myjohndeere.com and the Field Analyzer. There will be some nice additions for those using Apex today. If you have a combine with a valid JDLink subscription and a GS3 2630 display, contact us to set-up a free trial of Wireless Data Transfer for harvest this fall. The only other item that you will have to buy is the Ethernet cable. We also discussed the fall software bundle and Field Connect. The fall software bundle should be out by mid-late August. With John Deere’s product introduction coming up on August 18th, they were pretty tight lipped on the new products for 2015 and beyond. We will be sure to fill you in as soon as we learn more at Intro. While we were out at Urbandale, we also picked up a ProTrakker hitch to demo Active Implement Guidance to a customer after wheat. Active Implement Guidance places a second GPS receiver on the planter and the Protrakker’s hydraulic hitch steers the planter over a previous strip till pass and for higher accuracy with guess rows. If you are interested in Active Implement Guidance, give us a call and we may be able to get you in the field to see it in action yet this summer.

I also worked with some growers and researchers in Italy set-up their 7750 SPFH to map their corn yield. The time zone change and language barrier was challenging for both sides at times,  but they are up and mapping now.

 

 

Farms (Kevin and Erika Klahn) waiting for the sun to come back out near Brooklyn, WI

Klondike Farms (Kevin and Erika Klahn) waiting for the sun to come back out near Brooklyn, WI


 

 

John Deere Field Connect

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI

We finally started drying out in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois after a VERY wet June. Leaching of nitrogen is a concern in many areas. Now’s the time to get out and scout the interior of your fields. Our new Horizon Drones will be great for this. Contact us for more information. This weather has also been perfect conditions for white mold (Sclerotinia Stem Rot) in soybeans. Early fungicide application is your best bet to combat this. It maybe something to consider if you already plan to make another herbicide pass on any late planted beans.

We installed another John Deere Field Connect a couple weeks ago now. The field connect gateway includes both cellular and satellite communication. It is powered by a battery that is recharged with a solar panel. The gateway is paired with a 1 meter probe for row crops. This probe has 5 moisture sensors built in to it at the following depths to read soil moisture: 4”, 8”, 12”, 20” and 40”.

Field Connect 1 Field Connect 2

This system gives growers with irrigation pivots information to make better informed decisions about when or when not to water. The system also comes with some additional add-on options like a rain gauge, temperature probe, leaf wetness senor, pyranometer (solar radiation information) and weather station (air temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity data and growing degree days). All of this information is then available to be viewed remotely through easy-to-use graphical interface at myjohndeere.com (see picture of Deere’s sample data).

field connect 3