5 Tips for Collecting Quality Planting Data during #Plant2020

May 04, 2020

The hustle and bustle of planting season is upon us, and while these are busy times for many it’s a great chance to collect actionable data for your farm. As-planted data can provide insights towards equipment performance, be used during the season for while scouting, and at the end of the year during yield analysis. Current model planters can provide instant feedback on singulation quality, seed spacing, applied downforce, and many other metrics. It’s important to, at a bare minimum, collect and store geo-referenced planting data organized by year.
Here’s a few key tips for quality data collection during #Plant2020:

1. Make a Plan for Data Collection.

There are a few ways you can collect and export planting data.
  • OEM Displays - Traditionally, planting maps are recorded on a display and then uploaded to a farm management software. AccuField can take in this data seamlessly for use in our record keeping and cost analysis tools.
  • Telematic Devices - Today, many telematics offerings allow for real-time data collection and transfer. Climate FieldView and MyJohnDeere are two systems that link directly to AccuField to automatically save planting maps with minimal headache.
Take time before planting to make sure your display and planter rate controllers are compatible for mapping. Also check that software and firmware versions are current on all displays.
  1. AB Line Management
If you use the same planting lines year-to-year, review current AB lines in the display prior to planting to make sure they’re there when you need it.
  • Your local Agri-AFC Ag Technologies Specialist can store a backup copy of these lines. We can also convert lines between different software formats (i.e. Deere to Trimble) if needed.
  1. Calibration
Calibration = Accuracy…don’t let there be any surprises when you get to the field.
  • Seed meters – Many planting systems have a calibration mode allowing you to easily check seed meters for accuracy at multiple speed settings.
  • AutoSteer and Wheel Sensor calibration – Calibrate your AutoTrac controller and wheel sensor at least once per year. This will make sure that your autosteer system will be functioning properly throughout planting season.
  • Terrain Compensation Module – calibration of the TCM is different for every type of display but important because it ensures that the GPS positioning of the system is accurate. This can affect guidance functionality and data quality while mapping.
  1. As-Planted Data Quality
It’s important to take certain data quality measures to save headaches in the field.
  • GPS offsets – Proper GPS offsets can make or break planting data. Improper settings will either create overlaps or leave gaps from pass to pass. This will cause errors in field totals both for total seeds applied and planting acreage. Offsets should be properly entered into the display and/or on the iPad that is being used for data collection.
  • Section Control Setup – If using section control on your planter, double check the widths of each section in the controller to make sure that it will function properly. Also, ensure that section control activations are current and unlocked on your display. Accurate GPS field boundaries should be stored on the display so the planter will shut off when crossing waterways or field roads.
  1. VRT Planting Rx’s
If you will be using any variable-rate planting prescriptions, take time to get them loaded going to the field.
  • Proper format – Make sure that Rxs are stored in a format that is compatible with the display used to control your planter. Also, use consistent naming practices for ease of finding the correct prescription in the display.
  • Seeding rates – use 3 to 4 planting rates per Rx to reduce drastic swings in the planter target rate. Be sure to consult with your agronomist and make sure rates are correct for the soil types, field slopes, and irrigation zones in each field.
  • Check blocks – Talk to your local technology specialist about placing a check block in your planting Rxs. These can be used to evaluate crop performance during the season and make for easy yield analysis during the off-season.
If you follow these tips, you should be off to a great planting season for #Plant2020! Be sure to give your local Agri-AFC Ag Technologies support specialist a call with any questions.

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