As combines rolled out of fields across the Midwest in 2014 there was a new practice that got started, and may become more common in the future. Those combines sent their yield data to a secure cloud where farmers could see the information quickly, and share as needed with agronomists or other trusted providers.
“We’re getting more people asking us about this every year,” says Justin Yepsen, North Illinois/Wisconsin Division precision ag manager, Crop Production Services, Janesville, Wis. “We’re expanding this with customers.”
Justin Blanchette, left, works with folks like Justin Yepsen, Crop Production Services, to help them make the connection between data collected in the field and information farmers can put to use on the farm.
Yepsen notes that he worked with a group of customers in 2014 to take in yield data over wireless data transfer, process the files and provide fertilizer prescription maps customers could use in the fall. He’s quick to note that the turnaround time for that information and the prescription is a few days, not “overnight” — yet it’s a lot faster than in the past.
“We can get the information in more efficiently, and the customer is more willing to work with those files when they don’t have to bring in a memory stick for us to download,” Yepsen says.
The convenience of the technology is what has more farmers looking at the use of data sharing as cloud-based services become more widespread. Yield data you don’t get to until late winter has less value, Yepsen says. “We can use the information for prescription planting, but we can help make better fall fertilizer recommendations if we can use their yield data,” he says.
Farmers have thought through the data-sharing issues for their operations, Yepsen says. “Those we work with like being able to share their files with us,” he notes. “Not everyone does, but those that do say it feels like they’re working closer with us than in the past.”
Precision mapping and analysis of what’s happening on the farm is easier with the data sharing. “More farmers are seeing the value of the cloud,” Yepsen says. He adds that he can pull farmer information — with their permission — into his proprietary system to create those maps and turn them back to farmers efficiently.
In fact, one challenge he’s seen is the fact that some farmers want to share data, but their onboard equipment isn’t ready. That’s where a trip to the local farm equipment dealer comes in.
“We’ve come up with a package a farmer can buy for their equipment,” says Justin Blanchette, integrated solutions manager, Arends Hogan Walker, Dwight, Ill. “With that, we can set up older equipment with wireless data transfer and other features.”
AHW is a John Deere dealer, and the technology it offers works with the My John Deere system. As the technology becomes more widely available, your local dealer will have options for upgrading older machines. As more farmers see the benefit of passing files using these systems, more farmers will want to upgrade, too.
Blanchette gave some perspective on technology adoption: “My 58-year-old father is a ‘poster child’ for older technology, and when he traded ... for a newer combine with a GS3 2630 monitor in late 2013, he found out how easy it was to use this technology.”
Sharing data with trusted partners can offer you faster information — from seed buying to fall fertilizing to precision planting — than ever before. Yepsen is seeing the practice grow in his part of the country.
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