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Participating in precision crop-management services often requires sharing a broad range of data, including yields, with key suppliers. That’s something that not all farmers are comfortable with.
Jeff Heepke, who worked with Monsanto’s FieldScripts program in 2013, thinks sharing crop-production data is a fair tradeoff for the possibility of improving his farm.
“There are a lot of things in life you can be afraid of,” says Heepke. “I am not sure that sharing information with suppliers is one of them. I want to increase my farm’s productivity. If someone offers to help me, why should I turn them down and run scared?
“If I am going to get ahead in this world, I need help from many sources,” he adds. “If I need to share my data to better my farming operation, that is what I am going to do.”
Field360 program details
After using Pioneer’s Field360 tablet computer and web-based field-management tools during the 2013 growing season, Paul Twombly gives the tools high marks for helping manage his far-flung farming operation.
Twombly, who farms near Hiawatha, Kan., began using the free Field360 Notes application on an iPad tablet early in the growing season to document crop-management decisions. Later, he used the Field360 Tools app to monitor rainfall by field, as well as field-by-field crop development using growing-degree-day and crop growth stage estimation tools. Those tools also are included in the Field360 Select web-based subscription service, introduced mid-season, which Twombly also uses. Field360 Select, priced at $500 annually, also provides interactive field maps that document variable rate seeding prescriptions, soil types, as-planted and yield maps and more.
Twombly’s farm stretches 45 miles East to West, and 10 miles North to South. So tracking rainfall and crop progress over such a broad area can be time-consuming. “When you are spread out, it is hard to scout everything,” he says. “These tools have been amazingly accurate as far as rainfall and crop-development stage. Typically, rainfall was off no more than 0.1 inch.”
The tablet-based Field360 Notes and Field360 Select web applications also help him communicate with his agronomist and suppliers, who he’s permitted to access his online notes and field management and performance data.
“I can take a note and share it with whomever I want,” he says. “I can put a GPS marker right on the spot where I want my agronomist to look.”
Twombly looks forward to efficiencies he thinks he’ll see using Field360 Select, which will provide a field-by-field repository of as-applied and yield maps. “I will have all my prescriptions at my fingertips,” he says. “It will be easier to evaluate what we have done in the past and determine what we can improve in the future.”
Pioneer recently announced new capabilities for Field360 services, including tools to help growers analyze yields based on different field environments. It also announced a collaboration with John Deere to enable wireless data transfer directly between Field360 Select and John Deere GreenStar 3 2630 displays using Deere’s JDLink and MyJohnDeere.com.
In a 2013, Pioneer also kicked off a pilot program to provide in-season remote-sensing imagery through Field360 Select. The service is offered through BlackBridge, formerly known as RapidEye.