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Tips for How to Use John Deere Operations Center to Get Maximum Value

10 Nov 2021  •  Jacob Maurer

One of the best ways to keep tabs on an entire farming operation in real-time is using the John Deere Operations Center.

In the last few years, Operations Center has become one of the most user-friendly solutions for managing equipment, sensors, and data. The experience is carried across both the web and mobile platforms, with the Operations Center mobile app (formerly MyOperations) allowing growers to see, track, and respond to what’s happening in the field, from anywhere, via smartphone or tablet.

Curious how to use the John Deere Operations Center to get the most value? Need help with Operations Center? The first recommendation is to begin with a fully-connected fleet, monitored by JDLink™ and supported by a trusted dealer partner, like RDO Equipment Co. 

Related article: JDLink is now offered at no cost. Here are 5 things to know about JDLink.

Read on for more tips on using the John Deere Operations Center.

Maximizing Data Starts with Connections
Although the name might imply otherwise, opportunities to use the John Deere Operations Center is not only for Deere customers. Growers with mixed fleets, and those who do not operate any green machines at all, can take advantage of the many benefits of managing farm business and agronomic data by using John Deere’s Operations Center.

Thanks to software connections and data interoperability via AgGateway, all equipment and agronomic data from popular brands such as CNH, AgLeader, Raven, and Precision Planting can be aggregated and analyzed right alongside one another, using the many applications found in Operations Center.

Additionally, Deere recognizes that no single application can combine every feature a farm needs to manage the entire the business. From irrigation monitoring systems and crop imagery to soil testing and fleet management, there are a lot of processes and tools that can be used to help make decisions out on the farm. That is why Deere chose to partner with more than 150 third-party software companies to provide access to the tools necessary to share data from – and with – an account.

Using a tool known as an “API” (Application Programming Interface) or “plug-in,” data can be easily – and in many cases, automatically – shared by Operations Center to move boundaries, geographic assets, and even agronomic data. The MyJohnDeere API establishes a new means of connecting growers with data by allowing it to be freely transported between favorite programs.

By using Connections in Operations Center for sharing data, growers can be notified when someone shares data with connected software tools, view how data is shared by teammates, and gain a better understanding of how the software tools interact with data prior to connections being made. It also puts the grower in control of the flow of data with tools that help designate who data is shared with and what gets shared.

Once good connections are established, Operations Center is designed to support four core functions. Here is how to maximize the potential of each and get help with Operations Center.  

1. Setup – How to Manage Geographic Assets of a Farming Operation
The first step in getting maximum value from Operations Center begins with smart set up. After an account is created, setting up the management tree is easy, with the ability to optimize all boundaries, machines, and permissions to maximize efficiencies with inputs, data, and workflow.

Quality data starts with consistency in naming products, fields, and operators. The Operations Center has three applications to help manage the basic field identification assets such as “Client/Farm/Field” and boundaries in Land, and product names and tank mixes are in Products. To enable easy and secure data sharing with trusted advisors and staff members, customizable levels of access are available through Teams.

A simple “connection” created in Operations Center can eliminate the need to duplicate processes such as boundary creation and data importing, while also consolidating many of the data layers, sensors, and farm assets so that all are viewable in one location.

A new version of the Land application was recently released with enhanced filtering tools, new map and table viewing options, and a completely redesigned user interface that will make managing farm assets much easier. The ultimate goal of the design update was functionality; to minimize the number of clicks and streamline the experience found throughout many applications of Operations Center.

Related resources: For help to set up Operations Center, RDO’s Precision Ag Answers – from RDO Equipment Co. YouTube channel offers several step-by-step tutorials and how-to videos for John Deere Operations Center.

 

2. Plan – How to Use Work Planner
With the January 2021 release, Operations Center introduced a new way to create setup files and interact with farm assets: Work Planner.  

Work Planner allows for the building of setup files custom-tailored to the work being completed. It combines the elements of crop planning with task creation using assets such as guidance lines, boundaries, products, and tank mixes assigned to specific pieces of equipment and implements for use in Gen4 displays.

The goal of Work Planner is to reduce the number of “batch” imports of all assets a task might need for a given season, and instead customize the tank mix, product list, and land attributes for the specified field work to be done.

Work Planner brings a streamlined approach to planning work than previously offered, thanks to better connection between the mobile application, the desktop platform, and the in-cab display. Work Planner also joined two separate applications that went largely unused by many growers – Jobs and Crop Planner.

Prior to the release of Work Planner, Jobs was a stand-alone product that helped (primarily ag service providers and large fleets) manage tasks and logistics. The content created within the application lived there alone, and for the most part, served as nothing more than a scheduling tool. While reports could be generated based on tasks lists and completed projects, for the most part, it was a very labor-intensive and tedious process for very little in terms of output.

For commercial operations, AgLogic provided a greater value proposition because it would do most of the same things as Jobs, but also pushed completed projects directly to a back-office system for easier accounting and billing. It also allowed for communication across a variety of non-John Deere displays that Jobs did not. The solution was terrific once it got set up, but, in many cases, it still required a lot of repetition to be completed inside the cab. It also required the purchase of compatible devices.

Likewise, Crop Planner was a release from early 2018 that allowed a grower to (just as the name implies) plan a year’s worth of crops. Tasks, operators, products, and even machinery could be allocated to task lists, and provided a calendar view of the work to be completed within a given year. The application left a lot to be desired, however, due to a lack of reporting tools and no means of tying back to the equipment.

By merging the many desirable features of those two applications and creating an output in the form of a Generation 4 setup file, Work Planner brings the planning process full-circle by exporting the projects directly to the machine (and the operator) completing the tasks out in the field.

While the amount of work to be completed on the front end of the season to fully-utilize Work Planner can seem quite daunting, RDO offers Fleet Shield Services with data management solutions to help.

Related resources: To get help with Work Planner, check out the Precision Ag Answers Work Planner playlist on YouTube.

 

3. Monitor – How to Track Equipment and Activities 
Whether running a large operation or one that is only a handful of acres, nobody can be in multiple locations or work with multiple machines at once. Yet, growers need full awareness of what is happening across the entire farm footprint. Enter JDLink and the telematics opportunities within the Machine Analyzer dashboard.

When machines are connected to JDLink, everyone can view and sort all the equipment in the fleet and see everything from location. Machine data like engine hours, fuel usage, and diagnostic codes is viewable in one place. This connection gives invaluable insights to help maximize efficiency and uptime. In 2021, Deere made JDLink available at no cost on relevant machines, removing that barrier to entry and opening opportunities to all growers.

JDLink offers the ability to securely connect equipment and data with staff members and trusted advisors. Aside from the advantages of monitoring machine data and health, JDLink Connectivity can prevent excessive downtime and get equipment back up and running faster.

For example, imagine a machine needs a repair or update, but it is out in the field. With proper permissions, a field service technician from the dealership or teammate back at the shop can see the machine’s precise location. He or she can easily get directions the machine or remote log in to view a live stream of the display. In many cases, the technician can save time and a trip, simply by pushing a required software update directly to a machine.

 

4. Analyze – How to Analyze Agronomic Data and Machine Performance
Farm data is nothing more than dots and numbers without the ability to transform them into actionable information. Operations Center offers reporting tools such as Analyze and Field Analyzer to help tabulate and visualize agronomic data. 

Enhanced tools such as the ability to overlay multiple data layers or conduct sub-field analysis can help to spatially sort data for viewing side-by-side test plots or identifying the breakdown of yield by multiple varieties.

For those seeking to get to know their fleet better, or to measure how much they are using specific features or technologies on their JDLink connected fleet, Machine Analyzer, mentioned earlier, offers a very user-friendly means of making comparisons and drawing insights on a wide variety of machine ultimate data. Meant to be a farm-centric reporting tool for JDLink data, Machine Analyzer removes many of the barriers to engaging with equipment ultimate data. It allows the grower to break down machine data by specific task type and showcases the result in straightforward tables and charts that quickly allow for benchmarking.

No matter skill level or color of equipment on a farm, these four areas can help every grower discover how to use John Deere Operations Center and get maximum value.

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Interested in more about precision agriculture? Check out the RDO Equipment Co. Agriculture Technology Podcast, browse past episodes, and find out more about everything from equipment to drones to specialty crop care. Watch the video series Precision Ag Answers – from RDO Equipment Co. on YouTube for a mix of quick tips and deep dives into the biggest precision agriculture questions.

To learn more about the John Deere Operations Center or precision agriculture offerings from RDO Equipment Co., contact your local RDO Equipment Co. store.  

Jacob Maurer

Jacob Maurer is Agriculture Data Analyst for R.D. Offutt Company based in Fargo, ND. He has a master’s degree in Agribusiness from Kansas State University, is a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA-MN), and works with several teams at RDO Equipment Co.

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