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Going digital? Here’s how to choose the right platform for your farm

November 28, 2022

As digital farming technology advances, more and more farmers are adopting a digital platform into their operations. If you’ve decided it’s time to enter the digital farming world and feel a bit daunted by the array of choices, you’re not alone. Taking on a new piece of tech can be daunting: What do I look for? What do I actually need? Can I integrate this with the technology I already have? What can I do with all that data? And who owns my data?

Every farm is different so it’s important to have a clear idea of what your farm needs when it comes to using a digital platform. Here are some key considerations as you evaluate digital platforms and their fit for your operation.

Think about what you want to learn from your data

Collecting data, organizing data, analyzing data – data is the powerhouse behind digital farming platforms but the sheer volume of it can be overwhelming. The key is to clearly understand what you want to do with your data so that you can direct its power more effectively.

“You have to identify what pain point you’re trying to solve,” says Marvin Talsma, Global Scripting Manager with FieldView™. “If you don’t know that, it’s hard to go through all of that data meaningfully. But if you understand what objective you’re trying to solve, you can use FieldView to help query data and come up with a solution.”

For example, you may want to understand which varieties perform better on your farm to help you make crop decisions. Or perhaps you want to better understand if in-crop applications are giving you a return. Or maybe you would like to simply spend less time gathering information from multiple sources to make your cropping and application decisions. Whether you want to save time, save money, or just waste less time in making decisions, you want to make sure your digital farming platform can deliver.

The more robust your data set, the more precise the answers will be, which means you want a platform, like FieldView, that will bring all your data (real-time and historical) into one place where it can be easily managed to help identify solutions to the specific problems you’re trying to solve. It’s about making better, data-driven decisions for your farm.

Find a platform that will give you deeper insights into your agronomic practices

Ultimately, you want a platform that will help you to accurately identify what practices are working and what practices may need some adjustment.

“When I think of where to start, you need a base layer and you build from there,” says Talsma. He suggests one good place to start is getting your past seasons’ data into the system. Uploading historical data is a great way to establish your baseline and start the planning process with the data you already have. You can easily upload planting, as applied or harvest data from equipment monitors in to FieldView through the platform’s data inbox. You can also upload other data you have, including historical field boundaries, soil data and more.

Choose a system that will grow with you

Digital platforms can do so much it may feel overwhelming when you first take them out of the box. But you don’t have to use every single feature when you start. Look for a platform that is simple enough to get you started easily, and robust enough to grow with you.

For example, with FieldView you may start out using historical harvest data to analyze yields – it’s easy do to, easy to understand and helps you get comfortable using the technology. But when you want to start incorporating planting data, running variety trials, or taking full advantage of modern variable-rate-capable equipment, you need a platform – like FieldView - that can handle that too.

Work with the technology you already have

Two important considerations when choosing a digital farming platform are how well will it integrate with your existing technology, like yield monitors or farm management software, and how easily you can access and utilize your data.

Talsma says that FieldView is a leader in both access and integration. “We are always looking to expand our partnerships,” he says, adding that FieldView is already partnered with equipment manufacturers, farm software companies, soil test labs, mapping providers and more. It means seamless data integration for better actionable insights across the farm, from field to office.

And FieldView’s commitment to data privacy is paramount. You own your data, FieldView does not sell it, and you alone determine who you wish to share your data with and when – your agronomist, retailer, farm partners, it’s up to you. Read about our full privacy commitment here.

Start putting your data work for you

You have a lot of farm data already – in spreadsheets, notebooks, equipment monitors and more. Now you can start putting that data to work for you. With FieldView, you can gather all your data into one place and analyze it to make even better decisions going forward. Whether it’s scripting tools, weather and scouting tools, Field Health Imagery or Crop Performance Analysis, FieldView helps farmers continuously improve input optimization, save time, and improve productivity across the farm.