Tag Archives: Precision Data Services

Farmobile: Making Precision Just Happen

Successfully getting data from the field, out of the monitor and onto the computer has had a less than stellar track record.

Making Precision Just HappenUp until now most precision data has seemingly suffered the same fate as all those socks that get lost in the dryer.  Over the years millions and millions of acres of incredibly valuable yield monitor data never made it that short distance from the machine shed to the farm office. And the problem has grown exponentially as more and more field operations began to be recorded. Most of that data didn’t make it either.

You would have thought that there were mountains as tall as Mount Everest or rivers as wide as the Amazon in that short but “long” journey.  For whatever reason, important digital data is not making the successful trek to the place it can actually have some value and do some good.

Thankfully there is hope on the horizon.  One company called Farmoblie is seeking to drastically change how all this data from combines, sprayers and tractors gets from point A to point B. Not only is Farmobile seeking to change the way that data is transferred but they are intent on altering the way it is visualized, utilized and ultimately who’s in charge of the data at the end of the day.

Farmobile solves the original problem of transferring data by making it just happen – wirelessly. Although wireless data transfer is no longer new, what makes Farmobile different is the fact that the company’s wireless solution is practically colorblind when it comes to what it can connect to. Companies like Raven, Ag Leader, Trimble and now even John Deere all have brand centric solutions that only play nice with their hardware.

Farmobile Device

Farmobile Device

The way Farmobile works to gather and display data is what sets it apart from the competing pack of wireless solutions that have appeared so far. Instead of just transferring a single file of yield data from the combine monitor at the end of the day, Farmobile’s device plugs into a machine’s information nerve center called the CAN (short for Controller Area Network). By plugging directly into the CAN, Farmobile can record and decipher any information from any sensor on the machine itself.  That means access to much more data regarding what’s going on in the field. Plus, it can be viewed anywhere in the world in real-time on your mobile device.

So now instead of just recording and transferring a layer of yield data, the Farmobile user can see all the performance points of the machine while it is still in the field.  You will see things like yield and moisture, but in addition you will now see ground speed, engine rpm and other critical information. With such features Farmobile has become more than just a way to transfer data. It has become a logistics command center for your operation, tracking vehicles and employee efficiency.

Farmobile also addresses head-on one of big questions on the minds of many producers these days – where does all this data go and who’s in charge of it? That’s an area where Farmobile is getting two thumbs up from producers and the agriculture community.  All the data streaming from the field goes directly into your secure cloud account to do what you want to with it. Farmobile calls it your Electronic Farm Record (EFR) Vault and the data is yours and only yours to direct and dissect as you choose.

The current capabilities of the Farmobile device are likely only the tip of the iceberg.  Coming soon will be the ability to push and pull critical files to and from the cab of the Farmobile equipped machine. This means that the device can literally act as a wireless USB storage device and things like variable-rate prescription files can simply be delivered with a tap on the app.

Will Farmobile be the Apple iPhone of the precision ag world? That’s a tall order but it certainly has a robust feature set that makes it worth taking a look even today. Technology aside, Farmobile seeks to be the solution to centralize the “grower’s” data from multiple sources in one place. If it can do that plus solve the age old precision problem of getting yield data out of the combine and onto your computer – then we finally have our precision game changer we’ve anxiously been waiting for.

To find out more about Farmobile or even request a free on-farm trial, contact Steve Cubbage at Prime Meridian at 417-667-4471 or via email: steve@primemeridiandata.com.  Also visit Farmobile’s website for technical details and current pricing – www.farmobile.com.

Moving Beyond the Iron to Precision Data Services

AgLeaderYieldMonitorIron dealers were there at the beginning of precision agriculture. For many, the piece of precision hardware called the yield monitor started this whole technological revolution in agriculture. Today, it has become integrated into machine as just one of the hundreds of sensors that make up a modern combine.

Yield monitors, planter monitors, sprayer monitors all should be the “domain” of the iron dealer. Because of that fact, machinery dealers are now being faced with whether or not to be more than just a “seller of iron” when it comes to precision agriculture. A recent forum by Farm Machinery magazine at the Ag Connect conference in Kansas City took a look at where and how machinery dealers should position their businesses when it comes to the business of precision data services.

View the full article, “Data Management: Waking the ‘Sleeping Giant’ in Precision Farming,” which features an interview with Steve Cubbage of Prime Meridian, by clicking here.

Looking for a Data Oasis in the Precision Desert

For much of the past decade agricultural producers have been left wandering in the precision desert.  The industry has sold them multiple mirages promising them oasis after oasis of economic prosperity if only they chose their precision path.  What have growers gotten in return? In many cases – a precision canteen full of sand and nowhere closer to the precision promised land.

It is time to put the producers in charge of their data and their precision destiny.  It is time for them to lead instead of being led.  To do that they must take back “ownership” and “manage” the information that will determine their future fate.  This will require an independent place, a home, an exchange, a robust platform where growers can store, share and add value to all the data that matters to their agricultural business.

Until recently (the last 3 to 5 years), most precision data fell into two categories or silos – fertility data usually captured and controlled by input suppliers and yield data from which farmers created maps from their own personal PC or more recently handed off to their seed dealer that gave them colorful paper maps in exchange for the valuable golden nuggets of raw data.

Today the industry is on the verge of monumental shift when it comes to precision data and precision services.  Growers, and frankly the people that serve growers on the local level, expect more than what the status quo is delivering.  Second, there is simply more data from all sorts of devices and sources.  Third, wireless and cloud technology has the potential to converge all this data for a greater good.  Fourth, growers are desperately seeking a new precision messiah – a trusted precision advisor, data traffic cop or precision accountant – that can direct the flow of data, ensure the integrity of the data and ultimately add maximum value to the information collected.  And finally, growers and the industry cannot afford to ignore the cumulative good or management potential that can occur when multiple years of multiple layers of data intersect.  Consider this to be the agronomic equivalent of the movie Moneyball.

Even with corn prices over $8 and soybeans over $17 – growers still need to realize that their most valuable crop is the precision data that is produced from their farm.  Make sureyou – the grower – puts your data in a safe BANK – and that YOU – not someone else has the key to YOUR Data Safe Deposit Box.  At Prime we believe we’ve created that Bank and its called AgriMAX.  For more details, click here.

Is Automated Crop Reporting Ready for Prime Time?

The subject of Automated Crop Reporting (ACR) to report planted acres and yields to your crop insurance company using precision technology has a utopian sound to it.

John Deere and its affiliated crop insurance company are attempting to make this utopian dream a reality.  Other insurance companies are following suit.  One thing is for sure, there is plenty of buzz in the agricultural forums over the subject of Automated Crop Reporting (ACR).

There are plenty of questions surrounding this subject – the biggest of which may be whether or not ACR is ready for prime time.  For all the promises that the technology holds in this arena there are real obstacles to whether it can be successfully deployed on a mass scale.

The biggest mountain to overcome may at first glance seem to be the smallest – preparing precision hardware to collect the RIGHT data, in the RIGHT format, in the RIGHT way.  The honest truth is that most growers don’t know the RIGHT way to collect  data or simply where to start.  That is why the cornerstone of Prime Meridian’s data services is an inexpensive service called ‘Precision Prep‘ that prepares grower’s monitors before they go to the field with the correct grower, farm, field information along with GPS field boundaries and standardized variety and product names.

If ACR is to work It will require more rigid data collection standards within the industry and basic data setup programs like ‘Precision Prep‘ from precision service providers.  The other obvious mountain in the way is the issue of calibration.  The painful, unspoken truth is that most precision yield monitors are never calibrated properly if at all. If such precision records are to be accepted by crop insurance companies for proving baseline yields and ultimately for crop loss claims then monitor calibration will have to clearly documented and accuracies will have to be in the 97 percent accurate or better range.  We have a long way to go before that becomes the norm.

Working with your crop insurance company to implement ACR on your farm will mean you have some of your own mountains to climb in order for such adoption to be successful.  It is our view at Prime Meridian that professional precision agriculture services providers will be invaluable guides in order for ACR to become mainstream within the industry.

What do you think?