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Friday, June 26, 2020

Power of Data Features of Operations Center

When you're making decisions on how to seed or apply on your farm, what factors do you take into consideration?

Do you use the “gut feeling” approach, or do you try to make unbiased, evidence-based decisions?

How can you measure whether a change in your operation has made a definite difference to your bottom line?

There are many factors in a farming operation that are difficult to measure or out of your hands entirely, making it tough to justify your decision-making processes. For example, is it possible to lower input costs by cutting seeding rates or skipping an application while, still achieving the yield needed to maintain the same margin? To answer this question with certainty, you'd need to hold many things constant; fertility, environmental factors, weed and insect pressures, etc. It can be tough to tell - unless you're running well-designed trials with accurate yield data.

In our previous data blog we talked about JD Link, and the power of some of the diagnostic and raw sensor data that your machine may already record and send through its built-in Modular Telematics Gateway (MTG). In a similar way, your Greenstar or Gen4 display may already have the capabilities to record documentation data about each pass in your field, which can be used as a valuable record-keeping and analytical tool.

This is where many of the tools in John Deere Operations Center can be of use. As a cloud-based program, Operations Center can be accessed from many internet-connected devices and is great for storing and analyzing documentation data - whether it's agronomic maps, elevation data used for ditching, or yield and application totals. We'll take a quick look at how a few of these tools can find a role in your operation.

Agronomic Reports
As one of the free tools on Operations Center, Agronomic Reports is a great way to start collecting data to keep track of the inputs that you use in your fields. As seeding, application, and harvest documentation data rolls in from your machines, this tool will automatically keep track of field totals and give you an overview of farm-wide totals.

For example, Agronomic Report will keep records of how much Roundup you sprayed across your whole farm in 2016 by looking at your as-applied rate maps for each field. This has found a use on many farms for tracking chemical and seed inventories, while giving a quick overview of each year's operations for future reference.

Field Analyzer
One of the most popular tools in Operations Center is the Field Analyzer, which has two functions - a record keeping tool for your yield and application maps for each pass in the field, or a powerful analysis tool that we'll explore shortly.

Here, we'll take a quick look at some demo data that Martin Deerline collected in the 2019 crop year and a quick-and-dirty on-farm trial performed using Field Analyzer. Accurate data was collected for spraying and harvest of a quarter of canola, which we then used to assess the effectiveness of a foliar fertilizer at the end of the season.

Three different zones were considered: one sprayed at 12.5gal/ac, one sprayed at 15gal/ac, and another not sprayed at all as a control zone. Using the "compare" function, Field Analyzer will automatically break down the yield differences in each zone, which is given as follows:

Target Rate Avg. Dry Yield
15 gal/ac 48.97 bu/ac
12.5 gal/ac 48.03 bu/ac
Not Applied 48.48 bu/ac

You can see from the results of the trial that the foliar fertilizer caused no discernible yield bump, and that it ended up costing more than it returned in yield on this field. Armed with this knowledge, we have several options going into 2020; test these results more rigorously, make an effort to achieve better results under different circumstances, or potentially save money by skipping the foliar nutrients completely. Being able to quantify how our choices affect our final results can be a powerful tool in our decision-making process.

Third Party Tools
In addition to the tools designed by John Deere, Operations Center allows you to choose from many different third party tools. If you'd like to shop around for a company to partner with for NDVI imagery, profit mapping, or prescription design, John Deere has many different options that integrate seamlessly with Operations Center and give you the necessary data to help guide your decision-making process.

At Martin Deerline, we're big promoters of having a solid digital foundation. This means having practices in place that ensure data accuracy and organization to keep this information easily accessible for future use - examples of this would include building setup files, having a consistent naming convention for your fields, and having accurate boundaries.

Whether you're looking to start building your dataset with the future in mind, or you've been making data-backed decisions for years, we can offer packages to help you manage your data. We'll help with building your own solid digital foundation, or just give you a second set of eyes to ensure your data is collected consistently and accurately.

Send us an email at Crop.Intel@martindeerline.com or give your local Martin Deerline branch a call to get started!

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