Digital Tools and Services for Farmers: How to Harvest Your Crops and Transfer Data Successfully

After hours going through your combine and carts making sure they’re ready for harvest, you’re ready to calibrate and get your crop safely in the bin. Besides combining bushels, you’ll be combining gigabytes of data this fall. When it comes time to make seed and input decisions for next year, those gigabytes will be your best clues as to what to change next growing season and what to keep the same.

“Calibration of your combine’s yield monitor will ensure the data you collect is accurate. The up-front investment in calibration also helps minimize the time spent on future post-processing of data,” said Brian Luck, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Luck added that measuring and analyzing farm data can also help farmers improve their management decisions.

photo of Brian D. Luck

“While the notion of managing and analyzing big data sets is still in its infancy, farmers should be cognizant of its current and future importance…this analysis of data will help growers start to see the response of inputs more clearly. ”

Brian D. Luck,  University of Wisconsin-Extension

Here’s a Quick List of Tips to Help You, Your Equipment and Your Data this Fall:

  • Calibrate your yield monitor early and often. For each crop at minimum, and every couple of weeks as moisture levels change. This takes time, but that time pays off when you have clean data to work with this winter to evaluate performance
  • Start your equipment and make sure there are no errors or warnings that you need to address prior to hitting the field
  • If you are using multiple combines, calibration is especially important to ensure accurate yield data
  • Make sure your field boundaries are accurate and up-to-date. Modify existing, or if needed, claim, draw or upload new ones. 
  • Check your combine settings and make sure your lag time, header position, and header cut width are all accurate
  • Make sure to select the correct hybrid or variety in the monitor before you begin combining a field

Tips for Using a Data Connection to Transfer Harvest Data:

  • Update your firmware. Sounds simple, but get every update done so you can go hard when it’s fit to go
  • Remember that syncing is not instantaneous (most connections take up to 24 hours to update)
  • Perform maintenance on your hardware: while checking that all cables are fully connected, look for damage to cords and monitors. If you need help setting up a wireless data connection with John Deere, see here.

Tips for File-Uploading Harvest Data:

  • Start harvest with a clean data card. Save yourself the time and misery of sorting through old data
  • Before you upload, make sure the file structure has not been altered from the original export out of the monitor
  • Zip the raw file for upload, and don’t place the data within additional folders
  • Only put one export in your zipped folder, do not upload multiple exports in one zipped file
  • The smaller the file size, the better. If you have a rain day, take time to upload data so that you’re not faced with a gargantuan task at the end of harvest
  • Make sure you know what data is your source of truth if you use a combination of wireless data and file upload. You can lose hours to cleanup and calibration if redundant and conflicting data are uploaded.

Taking time to prep for harvest data-in will pay dividends when it comes time to look at your results this fall. If you’re looking for a free tool to help you analyze your 2021 performance within minutes, check out Granular Insights to better understand which acres were most profitable, and begin to plan for next year.

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