As more farmers use software to manage their farms, they’re finding they need new features — or in some cases, better ways to perform specific tasks. When farmers share those ideas, it helps guide the development of products as they evolve. And at The Climate Corporation, evolution happens a little faster.
When Brent Craig came to Climate Corp. nine months ago as the U.S. commercial director, ease of use was a big issue. “That was one of the first things I looked at when I came into the role,” he says. “When I’m thinking about digital tools, [ease of use] makes sense.”
In May, Climate Corp. got validation that farmers want software that’s easier to use. Sounds like common sense, but how do you define that? A farmer survey helped developers focus on key areas of development.
“We’re excited to bring new products to market. But it’s not just the product that you launch; it’s the experience the farmer has with the base functionality,” Craig says.
And Climate Corp. is moving forward with some improvements for its Web-based FieldView system, the mobile apps and the FieldView Cab app.
Making analysis easier
When it’s time to pore over data evaluating what works and what doesn’t for a particular field, finding the information should be easier. An upgrade for the Web-based version of FieldView — Field Filtering — does just that.
“One of the key pieces of feedback we’ve received over the last year is that farmers wanted an easier way to cut, for lack of a better term, their data in different ways,” Craig says.
Looking back on 10 years of data in your system is of little value if you can’t separate information for specific decisions. For example, if the field rotates between corn and soybeans, and it’s going to corn in 2022, you may only want to look at fields for corn years to help with decisions.
Also, Field Filtering makes it easier to find individual field records in your system. That’s great for farmers with a lot of different fields. And it can help the trusted adviser who is working with several farmers, too.
“We designed Field Filtering so [farmers] can very quickly make these data cuts in a way that’s going to be meaningful for them and can help them when they come to the decision-making process,” Craig explains.
Working with more equipment
The FieldView Cab app, which uses the FieldView Drive interface device that plugs into a machines ISO connection, has been updated with new compatibilities.
The system added John Deere and Case IH planters in the spring, and Climate Corp. is rolling out FieldView Drive compatibility with the Agco Rogator, Apache, Miller and New Holland sprayer models.
“I think that one of the things we’re going to always be in place to do and to focus on is driving compatibility, whether that’s with planters, sprayers, with combines,” Craig says.
The key is having the ability to stream data from the machine and put it into the FieldView system easily, and Craig says the company continues to evolve in that space.
This FieldView Drive connection is also a two-way device, allowing a farmer to build a prescription for spraying, planting or application in the FieldView system, and then push that back to the machine for use.
Craig adds that while sprayers and planters have seen greater compatibility and upgrades, the company is linking with more yield monitors. “So as we go through the rest of the summer and we get into harvest, there’s going to be even more equipment that our growers can quickly connect and stream their data into the cloud with,” he says.
The FieldView Cab app 10.3 also offers easier seed and crop protection product entry, and prescription setup. Craig says all Bayer brand seed and product information is in the system, as well as some competitive products. The aim is to make it easier for users to enter the right information before taking action on a field. Making it easier to enter can help avoid mistakes.
Better mobile apps
Farmers like being mobile, and they want apps that help them maximize their time, but Craig is quick to point out that farmers also like that desktop software for deeper analysis. However, the app side of the Climate Corp. offering continues to evolve, too.
And a key area for that is scouting. The iOS and Android FieldView apps have some upgrades, too.
On the iOS side, farmers get access to enhanced scouting maps showing percentages of high and low biomass within a field. The user can track field health, adding the percentage of field by each color or zone, in the user’s scouting maps to see where there may be issues. This brings this app closer in parity to the Android version.
The Android app gets new planting functionality to create a manual planting layer with the weight or area population metric — pounds per acre. This brings the app closer in parity to the iOS version.
Craig adds that development of mobile apps has another key feature as designers keep sending out updates: greater linkage to the desktop, or cloud-based system.
“We want to be sure what the farmer does in a field with an app — and they see something they punch onto a field map — when they go back to the website, it’s going to show up,” he adds.
That goal is to make the in-field mobile system more like the web-based desktop system and ensure solid data sharing. Craig acknowledges the importance of not overbuilding because some features may not make sense within a mobile environment, and the same is true for the desktop program. However, keeping those data-sharing capabilities consistent so a farmer can see his or her information no matter where makes sense.
For more information, visit climate.com.