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,, 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


9R Tractor Communication Problems

by Jared Wheeler, Assumption, IL

We have been getting calls recently on 9R tractors having communication problems.  One of the most common complaints that customers are noticing is that their AutoTrac isn’t working or other controllers are missing from the CAN.  This is often caused by moisture getting into the connectors at the back of the tractor.  This has been a big problem this year due to the amount of rain we have received.  If you are noticing something similar to this happening to your tractor then go to the back of the machine and check the ISO connector and the 2 connectors that plug into the back of it.  If you see moisture in the connections then spray it with contact cleaner or it might also need replaced.  If you follow the 2 connectors out of the back of the ISO connector you will find 2 more connectors that also need to be checked.  You can see these connectors circled in red.9R Communication

JD W235 Windrower and 569 Premium Baler

by Joe Brunker, Monroe, WI.

We ran the new John Deere W235 windrower in some contour fields near Montfort, WI last week. If you’ve ever driven a windrower before, you know how squirrelly they can be with the two separate wheel motors driving the machine similar to a skid steer. We’ve been requesting an integrated steering system in windrowers since the ATU left a lot to be desired in our hills and contours at higher cutting speeds. I was VERY impressed with the new integrated steering system in this machine. As you will see in the picture, I had my demo receiver on the machine which was set-up for RTK, but we ran the machine on SF1 since that’s the system most customers would use for cutting hay. We cut up to 15 mph in these small contours and the system was very smooth. Whether you have an ATU in your windrower today or not, you will want to run this new machine. Give us a call if you want to set-up a demo.


W235 Windrower


This week, I got the chance to start out a customer with his new 569 Premium round baler. The premium round baler includes: new cam style pto slip clutch for less wear and maintenance, ISO monitor with 3 bale shape sensors instead of 2, a grease bank for easier service, 2 year or 12,000 bale warranty, improved mega wide pick-up (larger cams, larger bearings and larger spider gears, but same low profile) and two options for tractor/baler automation. This baler had both of these automations activated. With a level 1 baler activation the baler gate opens and closes automatically. With Level 2 the baler tells the tractor when to stop. The baler wraps the bale, kicks the bale out and closes the gate without operator involvement besides pressing the brakes after the tractor begins to slow down on its own. In hilly fields, there is also a pause button, so you can kick the bale out where it will not roll away. This is pretty neat technology that will save a lot of operator fatigue if you bale a lot of hay or corn stalks. Once again, give us a call if you are interested in a demo.

569 Premium Baler

569 Premium Baler

569 Permium Monitor

AMS Report 2.22.2014

by Lucas Veale

We recently added a new MeterMax Ultra test stand at the Assumption location.  After going through several meters we have found some items to check on your own planters.  Double eliminators will develop a slight groove over time and will cause inconsistent behavior on the stand.  The hub setting also seemed to be very critical to get set correctly in order to maintain consistency.  We found that the hub needed to be run rather snug against the housing for best performance, especially with a non-Pro-Series.  We found that a vac setting of around 16 worked well for small and medium seed and 17-17.5 for larger seed (57 lbs).  These were all equipped with the John Deere ProMax 40 seed disks.  We require at least 3 consecutive runs or 99.7% or better in order to pass a meter.  We are have also tested Precision E-sets and Kinze finger pickup meters and we look forward to learning more about these meters as well.

Our customer and internal training is wrapping up for the winter season.  We still have our Technology Expo on March 11th.  We will turn our attention to on farm, individual training with customers who made recent purchases.

We have several acres of boundaries and A/B lines to run for customers with the gator mapping service before planting arrives.  Looks like next week should have some weather that will cooperate with us so we can get a good start on this task.

We are receiving a lot of questions on the new planter Deere just introduced at Louisville Farm Show.  It will be at our winter Expo for all to see and touch.  We also included it as part of our salesman class.  It will require 5 hyd hookups and 60gpm to operate.  It is electric drive and is capable of planting speeds up to 10 mph without sacrificing seed placement.

We continue to have success talking with customers about converting their Kinze planters to ISO so they can run through a GS2 or Gs3.  This cleans up the cab and allows them to document automatically without other harnesses.

Vandalia recently installed a direct injection kit on a 4940 sprayer.  They found a few tricks and tips for installation.  If anyone gets the opportunity to install a kit on a 4940, they would be a good resource to consult for advice on the installation.

Atwood installed a Surefire Fertilizer system on a 1770NT.  It is available in either as a hydraulic or electric drive depending on the size of the planter and the flow needs.  They commented that the installation was a smooth process and it hooked right into the rate controller.

Wireless Data Transfer will be free to those customers this year that have JDLINK Ultimate and RDA.  Most customers do not have RDA but will only run about $100 or less to upgrade to this if they already have JDLINK Ultimate subscription.

Used AMS equipment continues to be in high demand.  Used receivers and ATUs are especially hard to find.

AMS Report 1.13.2014

by Josh Zuck

Planters are starting to come in for service and setup. If you are reconditioning for resale, make sure to get the acres added to the list. Just hook it to an 8R or Greenstar ready with a display.

Still having issues with the ISO connectors on 8R’s failing. Been getting water in them with the snow and thawing. A good way to diagnose is to hook a display and receiver to it, and if the receiver doesn’t show up on the Can-Bus then you have a bad connector. Also check the Can-bus voltages and if the can-lo is around 8 volts, go back and unplug the 4 pin on the ISO connector. Voltage should go back to normal. Basically water is getting into the connector and shorting out.

Been seeing issues with the cold temps and D – series skid loaders de-rating. Check DTAC solution 94012 to make sure you don’t have any debris in the fuel tank.