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Podcast Ep. 117: John Deere Connect Mobile

9 May 2020

Aaron Neitzel joins host Tony Kramer for the latest podcast episode covering John Deere's Connect Mobile.

Connect Mobile allows a grower to monitor the performance of a combine, planter, or sprayer; understand what adjustments can improve the job performance; and even analyze detailed machine information to maximize results for better decisions in the future.

By leveraging this application, growers will ultimately have a better understanding of why their operations are performing the way that they are – whether positive or negative. Having an understanding of the causes will help guide more informed business decisions and improve performance in the long run.

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Each month, we share the latest in agriculture technology. Don’t miss an episode by subscribing to our podcast on iTunesSoundCloud, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Have a story idea or a precision ag topic we should highlight? Connect with us on social media:  Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter and connect with podcast host, Tony Kramer on Twitter at: @RDOTonyK.

Catch this episode’s complete transcript here:

Tony Kramer: Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 117, and today we are going to be talking about John Deere Connect Mobile.

I am very excited to welcome Aaron Neitzel, who is an ag product specialist with RDO Equipment Co. He covers two of our South Dakota locations. Thanks for joining us on the show today, Aaron. To get started, I'd like to hear a little bit more about you and your background, and how you got involved in the industry.

Aaron Neitzel: Thanks, Tony. My family, a little bit of background on me, my family's been involved in farming for a few generations. I've been with RDO Equipment for eight years. I started out in our Redfield location as a service advisor, service manager, and then, switched over to product specialist role here in the past couple of years.

Tony: You got a little bit of ag in your background, come from a farming family, and born and raised in South Dakota. Is that correct?

Aaron: Yes.

Tony: Awesome. Well, tell you what, Aaron, let's dive into the show here. We're going to talk, like I said, a little bit about John Deere Connect Mobile. It's a very neat mobile application that John Deere offers for insight on a bunch of different levels. To start out, Aaron, just tell our listeners what is Connect Mobile.

Aaron: Connect Mobile is John Deere's mobile app, uses an Apple iPad to see different, more in-depth layers of your harvest or spraying or planting applications in real-time as they're happening in the field.

Tony: Yes, you mentioned there, Aaron, what different levels or different types of metrics we can see. My next question was going to be, where can we use Connect Mobile? Can it be across the entire John Deere platform or is it just certain applications that we're utilizing this mobile app with?

Aaron: The applications that we're currently using it on our planting, we can also use it in sprayers and in combines. It's standard in new electric drive planters, R series sprayers and S 700 series combines. We also have the ability to retrofit it back to a few select older models.

Tony: That retrofit capability comes with planters, sprayers, and combines?

Aaron: Yes.

Tony: Awesome. Now that we know what we can utilize it on with the planting applications, spring application, and then our fall harvest in the combine. What exactly are we seeing? Let's just talk planters real quick. If you are running a Connect Mobile that's connected to your planter, what are you going to see on that iPad?

Aaron: You have the ability to see lots of different layers that aren't visible on your 2630 or Gen 4 display, whichever display you're using. Some of the things that you can see on a planter, you can see actual population, your target population, seed simulation, and also the coefficient of variation, can look a little bit farther. You can see applied down force, your gauge wheel margin, ride quality, ground speed, and also your seeding variety.

You have the ability to overlay or compare two any of those side-by-side. You can look at a split-screen on the iPad and be comparing two things along with what's on your armrest display.

Tony: That's a great thing you bring up there. I was actually going to ask the question, is it just one single layer or do you have the ability to view side-by-side images. You answered that question there. Now that we know how it can be used in a planter, what exactly are we going to be able to see if we run Connect Mobile in our sprayer?

Aaron: Some of the things we can see on the sprayer, we'll be able to see our rate, our rate deviation, pressure. We'll also be able to see droplet size, our tank volume, productivity, and fuel consumption.

Tony: That's a much higher level of insight than we would get just using the 2630 or Gen 4 display, productivity, droplet size, things like that, definitely benefits to running Connect Mobile. Talked about the planter, talked a little bit about the sprayer. Where exactly are we going to see the benefit in running Connect Mobile when it comes to harvest in our combine?

Aaron: Well, harvest, we're already able to see a lot on our display our planned arm display. We're able to split the screen and overlay layers. We can look at our ground speed versus relative grain loss. We can look at the moisture map of the grain and we can also see real-time data of wet and dry yield.

Tony: That's one thing that's really interesting is getting that relative grain loss and then having a side by side with, say like you were mentioning, the speed or maybe it's a side by side with hybrid variety or whatever it may be. There's definitely some added benefits to running Connect Mobile in the combine as well.

Aaron: We're also able to see our main combine settings and how it's affecting grain loss. For example, fan speed, rotor speed, threshing clearance, and our seven chamfer settings. We're able to look at those in a combine also, and get real-time data on how it's affecting our yield performance, and machine performance.

Tony: It definitely sounds like no matter what application we're running this on, whether it's our planter our sprayer, our combine, Connect Mobile can be utilized as a diagnostic tool or give us a level of insight that we haven't been able to see in the past when it comes to our 2630 map layers or even moving into Gen 4 and the additional information that we get out of Gen 4. Connect Mobile, it really sounds like, is giving us even more information, and giving us the ability to make more educated decisions as we're out there.

Some of the applications that you've used this on, Aaron, or some of the customers that you've worked with Connect Mobile, do you have any success story or something you can share with us that really showed the value of Connect Mobile?

Aaron: Yes, like you mentioned, it can be used somewhat as a diagnostic tool. I had an instance where we had a plan for going and we had a population discrepancy or a problem on one row. Traditionally, you wouldn't see that until the field is planted and you're looking at your crop stand. Well, with Connect Mobile we were able to pick it up within a few feet that we had a population discrepancy and go back to that row unit open up and find out what the problem was. It happened to be that there was just a setting on the double eliminator that was incorrect or inconsistent with the rest of the rows.

Tony: I think that's one of the biggest benefits to running Connect Mobile, especially on a planter above and beyond those additional map layers of applied down force and things like that. I too have a similar situation or a similar story where we were out working with a customer and it was the same thing. We had one row that just wasn't performing properly, and we were able to see that, it was giving us the red line right there on the Connect Mobile on the iPad.

We went in, went back to that row on the planter, opened it up, looked and saw what was the issue. There was actually almost a business card size of paper that was stuck in the row-unit and it was affecting the performance of that row-unit. Along with your story and the experience that I've had as well, Connect Mobile, especially on planters, is a great diagnostic tool to be able to see that row by row information.

One final question I have for you, Aaron, is the tablet. You mentioned it's an iPad. Is it iPad only or can we utilize other platforms or what do we need there in order to get Connect Mobile on a tablet?

Aaron: Currently, Connect Mobile is only compatible with Apple. Requirements are that we have an Apple iPad, Air 2 or newer iPad, and a little bit about the way it works, is it establishes a WiFi connection with whichever machine you're using. Some competitors will use a data plan to connect and share the data, the stream of data. Important to know that this uses the WiFi connection, so it's not using a data plan.

Tony: If someone wants to learn more about Connect Mobile or any of these three platforms, where can they go? Who can they talk to?

Aaron: I encourage anybody to talk to their local RDO Equipment product specialist or account manager or any John Deere dealer.

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