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Getting into deep analysis

Yield maps are great, prescriptions are helpful — but what about boosting machinery efficiency?

It’s winter. For many readers the time is coming when machinery will be rolling again, and chances are you’ve been spending quality time looking at those colorful yield maps. Those maps are great for evaluating hybrids and varieties, improving crop performance, and developing planting or spraying prescriptions. But are you leaving money on the table?

With the telematics information new systems are gathering today, it’s time to look at some other charts: the use charts for individual machines. Exploring these data can offer you insight not only into how employees are using machines, but can also make you a better operator. Here are some top areas to review for that machine data.

Work time. Every second a machine is powered up, there’s a bit of data collected. This is deeper information that can offer insight on machine use. Work time is a critical measure, and telematics information is point blank just going to surprise you. Machines aren’t fully at work 100% of the time, but the information provided can help you better understand what is going on.

For example, if you have a machine at work for 40% of the time, but 20% of the time it’s roading from farm to farm, it may require determining a little logistics. The answer is a personal choice; perhaps all that road time is no problem.

Evaluating working machine performance. At what rpm is that machine running? This can be both fun, and perhaps frustrating. If you have two identical tractors, but one uses more fuel, this telematics information can help you determine the cause of the discrepancy. It might be that one operator is unaware of the ability to get the same work out of a machine at a lower rpm thanks to transmission and engine interfaces; that’s an issue. With machine data, small changes can sometimes make a big difference.

Idle time. This is related to work time, but how long is that engine running with no work being done? Is the cart-tractor driver idling and listening to tunes? Remember, every operating hour for that machine has a cost. It’s just something to consider. Idle time can be a big cost.

Coverage map analysis. This isn’t so much machine data as tracking information. One thing many users of this tech are finding is that they’re making too many passes over the same area, which can lead to compaction issues. You have a sense of where you’ve been, but with this tech you can “know” where you’ve been.

Improving machinery management on a day-to-day basis can make your farm more efficient, and even lower the operating hours on equipment — and that’s savings you can bank on.

Decision Time: Technology is independently produced by Penton Agriculture and brought to you through the support of Case IH.

TAGS: Technology
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