The November issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer featured comparisons of four computer-based services devoted to collecting and storing yield information for farmers, among other things. Some of these services also provide weather information during the year, some allow you to use the yield map data in various ways, and some allow you to make tons of comparisons, sometimes either to other data bases of farmers.
An interesting conversation with a farmer – who farms more than 2,500 acres, relies on auto-steer and other precision tools, makes maps and has yield monitors with GPS – went like this:
"Are you using any of the services talked about in that article?" I asked.
"Oh, I've used the free site from one to follow weather data, and sometimes it's been accurate, and sometimes it hasn't been close," he says. "Otherwise I'm not using them. I hadn't even heard of one of them you talked about in that story."
That was FarmLogs. Company spokesmen say they have one-fourth of all crop acres enrolled on their site. Until now, however, most of the services have been free as they have been developing their capabilities. Some services will now carry a price tag for 2016.
"You surely print out yield maps, right?" I asked.
"No, we don't. We look at the yield monitor going through the field, and we've printed maps in the past, but we're not printing out maps now."
"Why not?" I asked.
"There is just so much data and services out there that I feel overwhelmed. I wouldn't know what to do with the maps if we did print them out and collected them. I'm just not interested in storing all that information, or in using services that involve a lot of computer-based information."
It looks like companies offering these services still have some work to do. Obviously not everyone yet sees the value of collecting information and storing it for future use.