Configure and Calibrate: Essentials of Collecting Accurate Farm Data

Data-driven no-tillers and manufacturers share their insights on what it takes to pull clean, useable, high-quality data from farms.

Whether it’s at a conference booth, a nearby dealership or even the local coffee shop, talk about farm data is everywhere.

But when there’s talk of farm data, it’s usually about the many collection methods, type of collection equipment, valuable uses for and safety of that data. Little is said about making sure the data being vacuumed up from fields all over the country is accurate.

The precision farming equipment responsible for pulling planting, yield, input application and many other types of farm data are highly advanced, but they aren’t infallible.

To get the biggest benefit out of farm data it must be as precise as possible. But to ensure that level of quality, farmers have to configure, calibrate and validate it in the field.

Configuring Equipment

Collecting accurate data and using it to make farm management decisions is something Jeremy Wilson contends with professionally as the technology specialist at Crop IMS, a precision consulting company. But amassing fine-tuned data is also something he does personally on his 1,200-acre farm in Olney, Ill., where he no-tills corn, wheat and soybeans with his father, Wade. Wilson says that ideal data collection starts at the configuration stage.

“Whether it’s with planting, chemical application or harvest, one of the biggest issues we keep seeing is with missing or incorrect client, farm and field structure,” says Wilson. “During planting you have to make sure your hybrid and variety are selected, populated correctly and any other specifications like dual drive or split planting are punched…

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Ian Gronau

Ian Gronau is a Contributing Editor for Lessiter Publications, with primary support responsibilities for Precision Farming Dealer, Strip-Till Strategies and the Strip-Till Farmer Website. He is a graduate of Chicago’s Columbia College and has been preparing content for magazines, websites and newspapers since 2009, and has been recognized with several awards.

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