Cyndi Pitzner, who farms with her father, Ron, near Jefferson, Wis., embraces analyses of farm data collected by their Precision Planting 20/20 SeedSense monitor and through the FieldView iPad platform.
Using a variety of tillage practices on their 1,500 acre corn, soybean and wheat operation, the Pitzner’s John Deere 1770 NT planter is equipped to variable-rate seed and is equipped with row clutches and down pressure units. They sidedress nitrogen (N) with a DMI unit.
The local cooperative, Frontier FS, is also their precision equipment dealer and variable-rate custom-applies fertilizer in the fall. In the fall, the Pitzners move their display system to a Case IH 7120 combine to capture yield data.
The Pitzners have been using their precision setup since 2011 with success, but Pitzner is wary of data integrity and accuracy.
“Last year, we had a bare wire in one wiring harness that controlled four rows,” she says. “Fortunately, it didn’t fail, but we kept an eye on it to make sure it was capturing data correctly.
“That’s the part that is most concerning. If it is not capturing data correctly, it will reflect in bad information that we’ll be using to make future precision farming decisions.”
Pitzner appreciatesthe flexibility their current precision system offers. In the past, she says they’d give their collected data to the co-op and they would print out maps using the scale they chose.
“With our current setup, we can adjust the scale ourselves,” she says. “It’s easier to see contrasts and variations across a field.”
Point of Pain: Need for Data Training
Pitzner alleviates some of her apprehension about data by taking advantage of training classes offered by the local co-op.
What Farmers Want From You is a series of farmer profiles that examine the scope of precision farming tools individual farmers are using on their operation, along with the frustrations that can occur with adopting new technology and how dealers can alleviate those "points of pain" for farm customers. For the latest additions to the series, visit our What Farmers Want From You feed.
“I look forward to their annual training program where we bring in our monitors and plug them in and go over updates as well as ways to do more things with it,” she says. “It’s very helpful when we only use the system at planting and harvest.
However, she says she’d like to have another session after planting season to go over their collected data and discuss any issues they had during the planting season. One before or after harvest would be helpful, too, she adds.
The first year they brought the 20/20 monitor into the combine to capture yield data, Pitzner was a little disappointed in the transitions between yields within a field map and believes that a better explanation prior to taking it in the field would have been helpful.
“Some people can look at a video and get it, but I learn best in a classroom-style situation,” she says. “I’d like to know how to make sure it’s working correctly so it is giving me the best data possible.”
Pitzner is also interested in getting a better understanding of how or if she can utilize the Climate Corp.’s precision tools to dial in more data from local weather conditions.
“Having that extra information will help us make better decisions,” she says. “If it’s a wet year, how did that excess moisture affect yields? Would it make sense to tile that field? Or, if we tiled a field, what difference did it make on yield?
“I’d like to be taking more advantage of information like this, and I’m hoping that my dealers and company representatives will work with me on this.”