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Agriculture Technology Podcast Ep. 156: End of Season Data Do's and Don'ts

11 Nov 2021

As another harvest season draws to a close in parts of the United States, host Tony Kramer shares his knowledge and insight on data.

And more specifically - what growers could and should consider when it comes to their season's data.


You can find past podcast episodes by visiting our Podcast website

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


View the entire transcript here:

Hi, I'm Tony Kramer with RDO Equipment Company. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the Agriculture Technology podcast.

Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 156. Today we are going to be talking about some end-of-the-season to-dos when it comes to your data.

Now with that, let's dive into another episode of tips, tricks, and whatever you want to call it so you can get the most out of your technology and equipment. I wanted to do this episode because up here in the Red River Valley, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, we are nearing the end of harvest season, nearing the end of another crop season, if not some guys are already done. I know there's still some out there, other parts of the United States and around the world, again, you guys may not have an off-season. You may be just diving into getting some crops planted or what have you, but in the region that I'm at, we are just finishing up with another crop season.

One of the things I wanted to talk about is what to do with your data. A lot of guys record it, a lot of guys collect it, but once it's all said and done, they're not really sure what to do with it. Now, of course, you can compare yields. You can look at that type of stuff, but there's a lot of things along the line within the John Deere Operation Center that we can do to start making educated decisions for next year. The reason why I encourage guys to do that now is because everything is still fresh in their head. A lot of people when you get done farming for the season, you want to forget about it. You want to put it away. You're you just want to relax for a month or two whether you got vacation on your mind or what it is, but you need to go through your data and finalize everything for the next season right now to make the most out of that data.

The first thing, obviously, what we need to do is we need to transfer that data. Now there's multiple ways to do that. Whether you're still transferring it manually with a data card or a flash drive, you still need to make that happen. We need to plug it into the display, or if you've still got 2600s, pull that data card out and then we need to plug it into the computer. Now, if you are going to be doing the data transfer manually, you need to make sure that on your computer, in the operation center, you have downloaded the John Deere data manager. What that is is that is a tool that lives on the desktop of your computer. It's essentially a bridge to take that raw data and get it into the John Deere operation centers. That's the first thing you want to make sure if you are transferring data manually.

Now, the other version, of course, is wireless data transfer or the new version data sync. If you have active JD link machines, you have-- While there -it was a subscription, now it's not. If you'd listen to the JD link episode, we talked about there are no more JD link yearly subscriptions. You just need to make sure you go into your operation center and you activate or you accept the JD link connectivity terms. What that'll do is from here on out, you will have JD link connectivity for free on every machine. Anytime a new machine gets transferred into your operation center org, it will automatically give you that JD link connection.

Now, with that being said, you also, if you are running 2630 displays, now this is not compatible with the 2600, but if you're running 2630 displays, you still need that ethernet cable. That ethernet cable is that black round skinny cable that runs from the JD link MTG, which is most likely under your seat, and then it runs up into the back of the 2630. In order to utilize wireless data transfer you need that above and beyond just the JD link connectivity. Keep that in mind.

Now that we have the data transfer whether we did it manually or it's been done throughout the season with wireless data transfer or data sync, now what we need to do is we really need to go into the operation center and verify that data. Did all of our fields come in? The hybrids and varieties that we selected, are they correct? Do we have good, clean, usable data within our operation center? Now is the time to clean that up. Again, when things are fresh in your mind, you know what you did harvest, what you didn't harvest, if there were drowned outs, wet spots, whatever it may be, we need to correct those things now.

Maybe if you were not using a variety locator in your display, maybe you fat-fingered a variety when you're plugging it in and it's the wrong variety or hybrid for that specific field or for that location of that field, right now is the time to go in and change that, again, while it's still fresh in your mind. Once we've got all that in, we've got our fields, we know we're confident we have everything we need into the operation center, I will always recommend cleaning or deleting all of the data from those displays. Whether if it's a 2600, you wipe that data card clean. If it's the 2630, it's all internal memory, you go in and you delete all data. With the gen 4 displays, the 4640s, 4600s, it's not as needed because those have a lot larger internal memory but that being said, over time, the 4600s or the 4640s, the gen 4 displays, they will fill up with data. They just have a lot more internal memory than the 2630s did.

The reason I tell guys to do this is because what I have seen numerous times is they offload the data in the fall of the year, and what happens is they bring it in and they've got a bunch of, whether it's bad boundaries or just boundaries they didn't mean to record or bad guidance lines, or bad field names, all of that stuff, all that comes into the operation center. Now over the winter, we take the time to correct all of that and we do everything we need to do. Come the spring of the year, when we're getting ready to go out and plant, start doing some tillage, whatever it may be, they go, "Gosh, I'm not really sure if I unloaded that data or not." Then they go again and they offload all that data and we have all that bad data back in the operation center again, so we need to do all that cleanup work.

I always tell guys, 2600s, 2630s, as well as the gen 4 displays but, again, it's not as necessary because of the way that data transfers in the amount of internal memory. What you get away from is getting that bad data into the operation center if after you verify that it's all there, go and delete those displays, then you know, it's gone. You don't have to deal with that bad data ever again. After every, at least every season some guys will do it after spring's work and then they'll do it again after fall's work but once that data is in the operation center, wipe those displays clean. With the 2600 and 2630 specifically, there are times you will fill that display up with data if you do not do this. It just keeps piling and piling and piling because when you transfer that data off, all you're doing is taking a copy of it. It is not actually removing it from the display. Just some tricks there with transferring the data and then verifying and deleting the data.

The next thing is when we are verifying that data if we find things that need to be corrected, now is the time to correct that, again, while it's still fresh in our minds, things like area harvested. If you know that you-- Maybe we didn't have overlap control turned on for our header ane we were recording half of the head when we were only combining half of the head or whatever it may be, if your area harvested is more than what the actual field is, you can correct that right in the operation center.

The other thing we can do is we can post-calibrate our yield. If we did not calibrate our yield monitor or we just don't think it's correct, we can utilize green cart scale tickets, or elevator scale tickets, and we can post-calibrate within the operation center. The other thing that we talked about is varieties and hybrids. If you fat-fingered something, you were not using variety locator, go in there now because this is what we can utilize to make educated decisions for buying varieties and hybrids next year.

The other thing I tell guys to do is add field notes. There is a place in the operation center on every map or field, I should say that you can add field notes. If there's something that you want to come back to in the spring of the year or next summer, or whatever it may be, you can drop a flag, you can add field notes, you can do whatever you need to do. Again, you've just gone over all that acreage, do that now.

You could also, if you utilize the John Deere Operation Center mobile app, you can do that in the field if you are still harvesting or maybe you're out there to do tillage and you located a big rock or whatever it may be, throw a flag down with your operation center mobile app. Throw a flag down, you know right where to come, right where to get it. If there's other things you want to mark, do that with the operation center mobile app, add it to your field notes in the operation center desktop or website. Do it now while you remember these things.

Now that we've transferred that data, we've verified that we have it all there, we've made any corrections that we see necessary, now we take that and we start to analyze. We can start printing out reports, whether it's a variety and hybrid report, it's just a basic harvest report, or an application report. Going back to application season, you can look and see the amount of each product you put down and on which fields. There are many, many different ways to view and analyze all of the data you've collected over the season.

Now that is another reason why we want to make sure we are documenting every pass through the field. We want to document our tillage, our planting, and seeding, our application, our harvest to make sure we can make the most educated decisions off of this data as possible. Now there's a lot of different ways to view these reports. Once you are in analyze, you can print PDFs. For all of your spreadsheet lovers out there, you can export to Excel and you can manipulate it, do your pivot tables, or your graphs, or charts, whatever you want to do in Excel, you can export it to there.

Utilizing these reports in whatever format you want, we can then take this to select quality hybrids and varieties for next year. Now, if your seed salesman has already stopped by, or I would assume they're going to be stopped by as harvest wraps up here, you're able to use this data to make educated decisions from your farm, from your combine, the crop that you grew to be able to select quality seed for next year. We're not just looking at pretty maps here. We're not just doing it to do it. There is a lot of information that can come from this data that we collect throughout the entire season.

The last thing I wanted to touch on, not a lot of people know about or know is there and it's something, it's fairly new, it's been around for a little while, but machine analyzer within the John Deere Operation Center. Whether you have just a couple machines or you have an entire fleet of machines, machine analyzer can be very beneficial to growers of all sizes. What you can do in machine analyzer is you can analyze each type of machine. You can benchmark all of the machines, you can look at how your entire fleet did, whether it's a fleet of combines or it's just your tractors, and combines, and sprayers, and whatever it may be you are able to do many different things.

When we talk sprayers, is your section control being utilized or not? When we talk tractors, are you utilizing auto-track to the fullest? There's a lot of different ways to analyze what's being used and there's a lot of different filters within machine analyzer to key in on the information that you want to see. The other thing you can do is check the efficiency or you can benchmark the efficiency of your machines. Maybe you have a couple of combines that run, or maybe you have a couple tillage tractors, or a couple planters, you can benchmark not only the machines, but also you can benchmark the operators. Are the operators running in similar fashion? Is one being more efficient than the other? Is one tractor or combine being more efficient than the other? You can look at a lot of different things within that machine analyzer tool.

Those are just a few things I wanted to touch on here on this episode. It's still fresh in your mind. It's the end of the season or nearing the end of the season for those of you that are- you just keep hammering on one crop season after another. Always remember that once harvest is done, that concludes a crop season so take the time to transfer, clean up, and analyze the data to make educated decisions for that next cropping season.

Up here in the north country, we have the opportunity. We have downtime over the winter. That's when we talk to a lot of guys about doing stuff in the operation center, cleaning up their data for next year, analyzing the data for next year, doing everything we need to do. We have that downtime during the winter months. I know not everybody has that nice benefit of, "Hey, the ground is frozen and it has a bunch of white stuff on it so we can't do anything anyway," but do what you can. Take the time to make sure your data is being collected, make sure it's clean, make sure it is usable, and then with that, use the data. That's the reason we're collecting it.

Use it to make decisions. Use it to change practices. Use it to do what you see fit for your operation. Just because the neighbor down the street is doing one thing does not mean it's going to fit your operation. Use this data to your advantage, make it work for you, and make sure you are collecting that data in a good, clean fashion.

Hopefully, this episode was helpful for you. Hopefully, it gave you some things to think about a couple to dos to add to your list. Not that we need any more when the end of the season comes, but hopefully you were able to take something away from this that you can then implement on your farm. Thanks again, and we'll see on the next one.


Thanks again for tuning into another episode. If you have questions about the technology and products discussed or have ideas about future episodes, please leave them in the comments below. You can also subscribe to RDO's YouTube channel and be in the know about each episode or tune in on any streaming service. Thanks again for listening.


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