Name: Stephen Lacey
Farm Name: Lacey Ridge Farms Location: Wendell, Minnesota
Pain Point: Accuracy issues lead to fleet roll over that brought new tools to obtain field level profitability
The operation: Stephen farms alongside his father and brother with the help of four full-time employees. Together, the Lacey’s farm 8,500 acres, where they grow corn, soybeans, sugar beets, wheat, barley and alfalfa.
The matter he was looking to solve: After a history of frustration with the accuracy and dependability of the monitors they had been using, the family decided it was best to go with one brand, and in 2017, the family rolled their fleet to all John Deere equipment. During set-up, they learned their new equipment came with the John Deere Operations Center. The online farm management system had features they felt could take their operation to the next level.
Initial concerns: Stephen had concerns of whether the Operations Center would actually work and if it was the right fit for their operation. But, his biggest fear was data security. He wondered if his yield data would show up somewhere publicly. Initially, he worried if partners would use the operations data for them or against them.
The solution: Stephen has the John Deere Operations Center connected to John Deere’s JDLink as well as Granular. The Operations Center allows him to see agronomic data, like final yield data in the field in real-time, and share that with Granular tools to analyze the profitability of each field.
Were expectations met: Stephen’s expectations were exceeded. Utilizing the Operations Center along with Granular has impacted his marketing, seed selection, and tillage decisions. He’s able to better manage bin space or better than expected yields to make more informed marketing decisions or take advantage of opportunities on the fly since he knows instantly the yield of each field with the help of agronomy maps. That instantaneous yield data, along with year-over-yield trend maps, allows him to evaluate seed selection by field sooner, capitalizing on early seed purchasing. He’s also surprised to be better able to evaluate the effectiveness of his tillage decisions and tools.
Determining the return on investment: Stephen laughs that instead of three boxes of miscellaneous paperwork to reconcile to the correct field, he's only down to one. He previously kept every receipt and made sure it got attributed to the right field. Now, he takes a picture of the receipt or enter’s it directly into the Granular system, and it goes in as inventory. As he’s planting, it’s being pulled out of inventory and being applied to that field. Now, all he has to do is reconcile it.
What may be his favorite feature is utilizing his data with Granular’s Profit Maps. This has allowed him to take his data and turn it into information he can use. The profit maps show him field-level profitability. That allows him to see where he should or shouldn’t make investments.
Final thoughts: Stephen estimates he is using about 75% of the operation center’s capacity but likes that he still has room to grow with it. He’s pleased that John Deere has partnered with other companies, so growers can connect their data from the operations center to other software systems for items like crop insurance, topography maps, inspect pressure, etc. He thinks it’s important to note you don’t have to have all John Deere equipment or brand new equipment to take advantage of the John Deere Operations Center capabilities.
“Some say working behind a computer isn’t working. Sometimes, you’re actually doing more improvement to your farm by looking at the data and that time is well spent compared to spending it on other tasks,” said Lacey.