When you hit the field this spring, why not add a data logger? You won’t just be planting seed but you will be logging data that will drive decisions on your farm during the rest of the crop cycle.
We have written about them before, but a data logger is a device that plugs into a tractor’s diagnostics port and collects all of the information that flows across your equipment’s controller area network. On planters they collect such information as seed population, variety planted, acres planted (also known as what’s called “as planted data”) and also, ultimately, soil properties such as soil moisture, organic matter, nutrient levels and ground hardness.
A number of companies make these devices, and we wrote about a sampling of them in the story “New tools logs data.” The data loggers record the machine data and then send it, wirelessly, to your iPad, where you can monitor the planting operation in real time.
So, why would you want this planter data, and what could you do with it?
Jeremy Leifker, manager of product strategy and marketing with John Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group, walked through several examples in the stories “Get ready for digitized farming,” and “Dashboard driving.” Their planter logging product, called SeedStar Mobile, collects and monitors up to nine layers of information on a planter including population, singulation, seed spacing, downforce, variety and ground speed on a row-by-row basis. The information appears on a high-definition map and can be used, for example, to fine-tune planter settings or diagnose problems with the planter.
Data loggers also can be used to drive management decisions. Specifically, data collected by the loggers can be fed into crop modeling software, and, when combined with types of field information, can be used to predict the yield response of different management practice, such as adding more nitrogen or spraying a crop with a certain pesticide.
Doug Sauder, Climate Corporation’s senior product director, walked through some of those examples during a demo of the company’s new data logger called FieldView Drive, which you can watch here.
The best thing you can do to find out more about this is to ask your farm implement dealer or precision farming provider. If they don’t have a way to do it now, you can bet they are working on it.