Thursday, March 8, 2018

There are snow flurries in the air, and here I am, writing planting prescriptions for the soybean air drill.  The creation of these maps is going better this year, for we are doing them in JD Operations Center (OpCtr) rather than in JD Apex as in the past.  We have encountered some difficulty in getting the Gen 4 screen in the new 9520R tractor to communicate with the air cart…but we have a team of Greenstar specialists from Hutson’s on the case.  They have been in contact with corporate John Deere, and are developing a strategy to get the two machines able to ‘connect’ properly.  It was balking at accepting the prescriptions, too, and now that Ray the technician is here rebooting the Gen 4 screen, we are hopeful that things will work out A-OK.  Of course, there will be some recapture needed of the set-up information.  It may still take a few days to iron out the wrinkles.

This technology of using prescriptions for soybean planting populations goes back many years with us.  We have grown dependent on this technology.  Using variable-rate planting has saved us 10% in seed costs, compared to planting a single rate across our fields.  So, we have a great incentive to make this work right!   It was a little discouraging yesterday, but the folks from Hutson’s are zeroing in on the problem.  I’m more confident today, that we will be able to plant the 2018 soybean crop in the manner in which we prefer.

We will also use this new tractor to apply much of our preplant nitrogen.  The prescriptions for that will be written in Climate Corp’s FieldView software.  That will get uploaded to JD OpCtr, and from there, we will send the information wirelessly to the tractor.

The technology is terrific when it works as designed.

We have almost finished making the transition to a new office computer.  The last component of the transfer was the email.  We are moving with this change to a more integrated information system, utilizing Microsoft Office 365.  There will now be a seamless connection among the email, contact information, calendars, and documents.   Another learning curve involved, but it’s really neat to see what this will do.

This week, technology wise,  has been like drinking from a fire hose.

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