As you decide what you want to take on in 2018 for precision agriculture, there are a few "wish I would have known that" tips we had based on what we tried last year. They are all super simple, but would have been big time savers in crunch time. Hopefully they save you a little time and a few headaches when you start rolling into the fields this spring. We'll consider this our modern version of "coffee shop talk".
1. Set up your accounts (and then use a password manager to remember your passwords)
- I always forget passwords - all of my accounts are secure, even from myself! While Chrome and Apple can save your passwords for you and do auto-complete, I've found using an online password manager is easier so if I want to get into the accounts on my phone or on a different computer I can without having to do a bunch of password resets.
2. Give all of your fields a name.
- Bonus points if you print out and laminate a map with them that you can have in each of your pieces of equipment. That way, every operator is consistent in entering the field on the display.
3. Upload your data after your first field.
- Make sure it's capturing the data the way you want it to after your first field, don't wait until you've done all of your tillage or seeding applications for the spring before you upload. Catch your errors early so you don't lose an entire years worth of data.
4. Spend 20 minutes a day on YouTube
- I learned everything I used last year about the cloud platforms and satellite options on YouTube. If you spend 20 minutes a day on YouTube looking specifically at precision ag data provider platforms you will either be able to choose a platform you want to try this year, if this is your first year, or learn a new feature that you can use. Honestly, 20 minutes a day for 5 days - that's all it took to get started last year.
5. Talk to your partners
- Your agronomist, your equipment and your custom applicators are all likely using one precision agriculture platform or another. Find out which one, and tell them which one you are using. For a lot of platforms now there are built in "connectors" where you can securely share your data. They usually don't take much time to set up, but you first have to know what they are using and it's easier to have that conversation now over coffee than in the middle of the season.
If you have more tips you'd like to share we'll post them in upcoming blogs. We all get better when we learn from each other. Comment below, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.