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A Note from JoeDo you have scale tickets stuffed into an envelope that you will get to . . . some day? Does the farm have soil maps, scouting records, or planting and yield data from the past few years?  It seems there’s no shortage of the amount of data collected.  Farmers are inundated with data, and for many of you it’s the elephant in the room, too overwhelming for it’s own good. 

After all, the benefits that data can provide will go unused if you are unsure what to do with it.  

There are lots of systems available on the market that promise to revolutionize your farm in one season. Some promise to manage your nitrogen with no input from you. Others tell you what variety to plant based on the soil type and weather history. Still others offer you a rebate from the chemical/seed/fertilizer company for using it, but you’re not sure why you are using it. Your smart phone home screen is filled with apps for your farm, but you can’t remember the last time you opened many of them or even what they might be for. Sound familiar to anyone? 

As the old saying goes – “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” You aren’t going to revolutionize your entire farming operation in one day or even one growing season. It’s not going to happen by purchasing software and never accessing it. It will be a bit of trial and error, but you need to take the first bite. 

Depending on your farm, what that small bite is, may be different. It might be looking at your yield maps one by one.  Think about which parts of the field can be improved, what can you do to improve it? Which fields are not covering the cost of production, should that field be culled altogether? Maybe the first bite is taking the time to go into JDLink and run reports on your machines. Do you know how much fuel you spent on idle time last year? 

While I don’t know if a perfect solution exists, I would suggest this offseason, focus on getting as much of your data into one system as possible. Make sure it is easily accessible – in the office and the field. Take the time to learn how it works. Many farm management systems offer online or classroom training.  I have seen that if it is inconvenient to find, look at or use, you probably aren’t going to take the time to use it. 

I challenge you this offseason to start that first bite! If you need help, feel free to reach out to us at: pfsupport@rands.com or our Precision Farming Hotline at (920) 264-0332.

Talk to your R&S Precision Ag Consultant about tools we have available. If one doesn’t work for you, the John Deere Operations center works with over 80 partners – one of those partners may have your solution. Farms using the Operations Center and JDLink – try to attend one of our Data Management clinics this December or we can set up a one on one meeting to show you how to better leverage your investment in technology in 2019. 

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