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Agriculture Technology Podcast 172: Variety Locator Files

25 Jul 2022
Get prepared for this year's harvest with the latest episode from our team of experts.

Tony breaks down the ins and outs of Variety Locator Files, and what you can do now to ensure success for #harvest22.

Episode 171 takes us through the John Deere Data Manager tool. From downloading the program off the John Deere Operations Center to transferring files from a local drive, Tony takes us through the functionality of the John Deere Data Manager tool and the first steps to traditional data transfer.

You can find past podcast episodes by visiting our Podcast website

Watch related: How to Operate AutoTrac Vision on a Gen4 Display 

Have precision ag questions? We have the answers. Find a specific channel dedicated to answering your precision technology questions: Precision Ag Answers. 

Read the entire transcript from the latest episode.

Speaker 1: Hello, welcome back to the show. This is episode number 172. In this episode, we are going to be talking about Variety Locator Files for your combine.

Speaker 1: With that, let's dive into the show. As I said back in episode 171, in this episode, we're going to talk about Variety Locator Files. This time of year we get a lot of questions on them, how do I get them on my combine? Where do they come from? I thought I loaded them but nothing showed up in my display. We're going to try to stay ahead of all those questions and hopefully, those of you that are already harvesting and listening to this, I apologize. Up here in Minnesota and the Dakotas, we have not started harvest yet, we're hoping to get on the front side of this with wheat harvest right around the corner.

Those of you if you are already harvesting maybe you can take this into next season or your next crop. Those of you that get the opportunity to farm year-round, may have numerous crops throughout the years. With Variety Locator Files, just to explain what they are and how they are created, the first thing that we need to do in order to get Variety Locator Files is it's going to go back to planting.

We need to properly document what variety or hybrid we are planting with that planter. From there, we take that planting data out of the planter tractor, that display you're utilizing in the planter tractor and get that into the John Deere Operation Center. That's step one. If we don't do that on the front side or we don't do that during planting season, you are not going to be able to create Variety Locator Files for fall harvest. One of the things to keep in mind, we always have to make sure that we properly document our varieties and hybrids during planting.

When you're out there in the planter, you're loading the planter, you're changing varieties halfway through the field, we need to make sure we make that change in the display. The display does not know what seed we're loading into the planter or the air cedar or whatever you're using for a seeding tool, the display does not know that. That is why we have to input that information.

Fast forward, we get that done during spring planting, we take the spring planting files off of that display, get them into the Operation Center. Now we have what we need in order to create Variety Locator Files for the combine to automatically change varieties as we're going through the field. Now the next question you might ask is, well, what is the benefit? What's the value of a Variety Locator? What it's going to do is it's going to give you your measured yield based on that variety.

You're going to be able to see a variety differences in your yield versus just the whole field being one variety. You might be able to look at one variety or one hybrid and say, "Okay, this one outperformed the other one" or whatever it may be and in the next episode, we're actually going to talk about some data analysis on how to take a deep dive-not necessarily deep dive but a very easy way to view your variety differences or soil types or elevation or whatever that may be. We'll save that for episode 173.

Right now, we're just going to talk about how we create those Variety Locator Files, how we get them into the display, and how we make sure they are actually active in the display whether you're using 2600, 2630 or one of the Gen 4 platform displays being a 4600 command center or the 4640 Universal. We've got the files, they're in the Operation Center, we are now ready to create our setup file or work plan for Fall Harvest.

Now, I want to preface this by saying those of you that are utilizing work planner on the Gen 4 platform, Variety Locator Files are actually automatically being created in the background. All you need to do when you set up the work plan for that field, you select the crop type and if Variety Locator Files are, I guess, present for that field when you get into the display and you do your display setup and we will talk about that when we get to that point as well, you'll just utilize the Variety Locator Map.

There are no extra steps that need to be taken if you're using work planner or the Gen 4 platform of displays. Now, there's a little bit more work when it comes to the GS2 or GS3 platform of displays because we're utilizing setup files. The first thing we're going to do and I always recommend you do this, creating new setup files for spring planting in season application and for fall harvest. It just keeps our displays clean, there's not unnecessary data filling up those displays, anything like that.

I always recommend creating setup files for each portion of the season being-well, you could do four of them, I guess, you could do tillage planting, application, and harvest. From there, we go into the Operation Center and we go under Setup. We're going to go down to Setup File Creator. Now, once we're in Setup File Creator, you have a couple of different options. First, you pick your display type, you will notice that the GS3 2630 and the Gen 4 command center, they're on the same display platform. They're two different generations of displays but they read the setup file the same way.

Now if you have a 2600, GS2 2600, that's going to be a different type of file. You would have to create separate setup files for those different displays. Say you've got a 2600 in one combine and you've got a 2630 in the other combine, you're going to have to create two different setup files. In this case, we're just going to pick GS3 or Gen 4 command center, you give it a name. For this one here, I would call it Harvest 22.

We can give it that name, then you have the ability to either create new or create from existing. Create from existing would just be taking a setup file you've already created in the past and just building upon that. We're just going to create new. Then if you go down to the bottom right-hand corner, you'll see Start. That's going to get us to the next page where we are going to start creating this setup file. Now, the first thing you're going to come across is land. This is the important piece for Variety Locator File creation.

The equipment portion, equipment, products, operators, all of that stuff is the same as every other setup file you ever created, it's just in land we need to make sure we are doing this step. If you look in the middle top of the screen, you will see Variety Locator select a crop and there'll be a drop-down menu. What you're going to do, you're going to select the fields that you want to put in this setup file, likely, you're going to select all of them. In that little top-left corner of the field selection window, you can just select that and it'll select all items. Then what you're going to do is you're going to go to Select a Crop.

Now you can click Select All Crops and it's going to give you the ability to create the Variety Locator Files for all of them or if you're just going to do corn or soybeans or wheat or whatever it may be, you can select those per that drop down as a filter. Now a couple of things you'll notice, I see it right here on my screen too, any field that has not been planted or seeded in the last 12 months or if we did not get that seeding data off of the display, you will notice it will say, "No data for last 12 months."

What that tells me is we do not have planting or seeding data for that field for this season. Either, one, we didn't plant the field, or two, we did not upload that planting or seeding data into the operation center. That is one red flag. If it says that if there should be planting data but there isn't, that's the first red flag. If you go down and you see the files where it gives you an option to select a crop type, most fields I would imagine are just going to be one crop type but if you do split a field. Say it's one quarter but you farmed-- 80 acres of it was corn and the other 80 acres of it was soybeans but it's still one field within your operation center, you're going to have to choose corn or soybeans.

The kicker is, you cannot create Variety Locator Files for both crops in that one field. You're going to have to pick corn or soybeans. Just keep that in mind if you do do that type of an operation where you split larger fields. Maybe think about running those fields as two separate fields for that season. That way you're able to use Variety Locator Files a little bit better. You would select that crop type and then that's really all there is to it.

We just have to make sure. For all of the fields, you just have to go through and select what crop it is. If it is one crop within that field, you're not going to have any other options. Most of it should be auto-populated. If it's not, that would be when you would have to go in that drop-down on the right-hand side and select which crop type. From there, just like any other setup file, you're going to go through select your equipment, select your products. In products, you have to have at least one hybrid or variety. You do not have to have all of them that you planted. That information is in the Variety Locator Files.

For the setup file, you have to select at a minimum one hybrid or variety. Then you would go through, you'd select your equipment, your products, your operators, you'd get your summary, you'd hit save, and your setup file would be created. From there, whether you're transferring these setup files traditionally or wirelessly, you would go through that process no different than any other setup file. Traditionally, you would go to the files page. You would select that setup file. You would download to John Deere data manager, get it on a flash drive, get it to the computer.

If you are doing it wirelessly, when you create that setup file at the end, you will have the ability to send it directly to the machine if you have connected machines and you select which machines you want it to go to. Both of those ways they work the same. We're just getting that setup file into the display. Once we have that setup file in the display, there is one more step that is crucial to making sure we have Variety Locator turned on or properly functioning in the display. This one is a very commonly overlooked step in the process.

First I'm going to walk through how we make sure that's done in the GS3 2600 or 2630 displays, I guess GS2 2600 GS3 2630. You set up your display as usual but in your documentation tab, and when I say documentation, I'm talking main menu GS3 or GS2, and then you have the document tab. You'll see this is all of your information. Your crop type, your variety, all of that information is right there.

When you select change harvest settings, you will notice about in the middle of the page, you have Variety Locator as a check box. We need to make sure that the check mark is in that box. You'll notice to the right-hand side, if there is no Variety Locator File for that field, it will tell you that. It'll say Variety Locator File is not found for this field. That's another red flag. "Hey, if we should have a Variety Locator File but it's giving us that warning, did we not get the setup file loaded in? Was this one of those goofy fields that didn't have data for the last 12 months?"

That tells me that we're not going to have that Variety Locator for this specific field. That's another red flag. Variety change, audible tone, that's totally personal preference if you want it or not. Every time the variety changes throughout the field. The display will give you an audible tone. If you're just changing variety once or twice throughout the field, just fine.

If you put in a multi-replication variety trial and every pass you're changing varieties, you might get sick of hearing that audible tone but it's also a reminder that your variety is changing. We need to make sure this is checked in order for Variety Locator Files to be functioning in the GS3. Moving to Gen 4 Command Center or 4640 Universal Display, we need to do something similar.

What you do on the Gen 4 platform, in your setup, so the bottom left corner should be the bottom left corner unless you change that menu, you select that. This is where you have your field, your location. You also have your equipment and then you have your work summary. Work summary is where we take care of the variety selection or Variety Locator Files. In the combine, obviously, you'll have harvesting, you'll pick your crop type. Then in the box for variety, we'll check that and you have the option for single variety or Variety Locator map.

Obviously, you want to select Variety Locator Map. Then what you would do, is you would select that box that is probably going to have dash dash dash in it. You would select that and then variety Map. You would select that. From there, you should be able to select the Variety Map for that field. Again, red flag would be if you do not have a variety map to select, you will not be able to utilize variety locator.

There again, red flag. Did we not get the file uploaded properly, or is this one of those fields that doesn't have the varieties for the last 12 months, or whatever it may be? That's a red flag that Variety Locator is not going to work. There again, on the right-hand side, you'll see variety change. We can get an audible tone. We can get a visible notification on the Gen 4 platform. Then down on the bottom, you'll see a preview of that variety map. Then on the right-hand side, it'll be the varieties that are utilized.

That is what it takes to make sure we have Variety Locator Files first created, then uploaded, then actually implemented, and turned on in the display. All of those steps going all the way back to spring planting when we are inputting those varieties and hybrids, we need to make sure all of that is done along the line. Hopefully, this will answer all of the questions you have this season about making sure Variety Locator Files are loaded. Making sure they're working properly. Making sure you're able to utilize and collect that variety data the way that you want to. That is all I have. Thank you very much for listening to the show and we'll catch you on the next one.

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