Managing & Organizing Data
Well it’s that time of year again. The weather is colder, the days shorter and growers are finishing up fall tillage and fertilizer applications. It’s a great time to stay indoors and reflect on the crop year and analyze management practices in preparation for next year’s growing season. Keeping an organized data collection allows for a streamlined way to manage your data and get the most useful information out of it. Below I have outlined a few tips that will take your data collection to a higher level of organization.
Data management starts at the field level with your Ag Leader display. There are a couple options available for you to copy logged data: (1) Enable the display to copy log files upon every shutdown, or (2) manually copy the files at a time of your choosing. (For more information on how to do this consult your display manual). In either case, your Ag Leader display structures data files in a way that is easy to keep information organized. A folder named the serial number of the display (2010120937 in this case) is created on your USB and any information transferred from the display is placed inside that folder. The Ag Leader® Integra display also has a “display nickname” function, which allows you to assign a label to your Ag Leader Integra display. In the screenshot below I have named my INTEGRA “Planter INTEGRA.” This structure makes it easy to keep data from multiple displays separate.
The log files themselves also follow a specific naming structure. The figure below illustrates the different elements that make up a log file.
PC level Now that you’ve got your data from display to PC, it’s a good idea to create an archive where you can store your data from all years in one location. I’ve found that organizing data by crop season is the simplest and most effective way to navigate through “archived” data. An externally-mounted hard drive is the best place to create your archive, that way you won’t lose any data if something were to happen to your PC. It takes a little extra time, but after a few years worth of data comes rolling in, you’ll be glad to have a permanent home for your information. Now that everything is nicely organized and stowed away safely in your computer’s memory, its time to bring that data into SMS and start getting value from it.