Stepping Forward On Standards

The lack of data standards in precision agriculture has hampered broader adoption of high-technology products and techniques for years. But the proliferation of new technology in the cab and at the office, combined with the development of wireless communication, is bringing to light the need for equipment to speak the same language.

One of the biggest challenges to creating standards is the highly competitive precision agriculture market. Manufacturers are understandably defensive of their own proprietary technology, but the result has been equipment that doesn’t move data seamlessly without a lot of additional development.

Last month, manufacturers took an initial step toward creating that universal data compatibility during the 5th Ag Gateway Annual Conference in St. Petersburg. The group of leading organizations — which include John Deere, Raven Industries, Trimble, Monsanto and SST Software — have formed a council within the Ag Gateway organization to identify the issues and put a roadmap in place that will lead to data compatibility in precision ag.

Founded in 2005, Ag Gateway is a consortium of agriculture companies and organizations that provide an international source for facilitating implementation and collaboration in the use of information and communication technologies for agriculture. It works with members to develop eBusiness standards and databases, helps to enable the members to implement the technologies. Ag Gateway initiatives in seed and crop protection connectivity have been completed, and several others are in process.

Getting Started

The idea to use Ag Gateway as the facilitator for the precision agriculture project came from Chip Donahue of John Deere, who had been involved in the group as a retailer representative when he worked at Brandt Consolidated in Pleasant Plains, IL.

It was spurred by Deere’s own internal commitment to make technology that eases data transfer. “On a global basis, Deere wants to go to an ISOBUS standard on machines and provide plug and play capability,” says Donahue. The capability would allow users to plug an implement into machine and have the machine instantly recognize it, similar to how peripherals install on a personal computer. Deere also identified seamless data movement as an important capability. “We started talking internally about how we could be doing a better job on that front, and how we could identify standards that allow more interoperability between systems.”

This led to the idea of bringing the industry together on standards evaluation and development, and use Ag Gateway as the format and forum to work collaboratively. Donahue found plenty of industry partners willing to work through Ag Gateway on a precision ag council. Heading the council are Kelby Kleinsasser of Raven Industries and Ian Harley of Trimble’s Farm Works Software Division.

The first step for the group will be to identify and evaluate current standards to determine where gaps exist and to decide whether what’s currently available could serve as a platform for the standard to be developed. Eval­uating ISO11783, the ISOBUS standard for ag equipment, will be a key early task.

Another important initiative is the data dictionary. For instance, a hybrid with a specific identifier ideally would be recognized the same way by all equipment and software from planting to harvest and post-harvest analysis, making data about the hybrid more easily analyzed. Identifiers would also include clear definitions of terms such as farm fields and field boundaries to ensure consistency and ease of data analysis.

Ag Gateway will also help with the implementation phase, getting all manufacturers large and small on board and using the standards. “Some of the smaller players without the resources of the larger companies will need help to implement the tools we create to ensure we achieve interoperability of equipment,” says Donahue.

The effort will take a significant effort in time and resources, but true compatibility will be worth the work . “We now have people around the table that are 100 percent committed to the process,” says Donahue. Kelby and Ian have a good perspective of the industry from both the hardware and software side, and they will help bring others to the table.”

For more information on this effort, visit www.aggateway.org.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories
Precision AgGoogle Glass: New Tool For Ag
October 8, 2014
New wearable smart technologies such as Google Glass show potential to greatly impact how we accomplish the business of feeding the world. Read More
Precision AgPrecision Agriculture: Finding The Payback
September 6, 2014
Profitability in precision ag is not about any one technology, but the result of employing technology in a total system approach that is agronomically sound. Read More
Precision AgUAS: The S Stands For Smart, Service And Sensors
May 1, 2014
The only thing occuring more rapidly than the technologies’ evolution is the clamoring to implement UAS into agriculture as soon as possible. Read More
Precision AgAg Retail: 3 Tech Trends To Watch In 2014
April 1, 2014
It's been a busy first quarter of technology developments in 2014. Here are some of the highlights, and things to watch in the months ahead. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
Nachurs Alpine Solutions, Liquid fertilizer, micronutrients, facility
MicronutrientsYara Launching YaraVita Procote Liquid Micronutrients
March 31, 2015
Yara North America, Inc. broadens its fertilizer coating offerings with the introduction of YaraVita Procote, oil-based micronutrient liquid suspensions that Read More
Industry NewsINCOTEC Board Member To Retire
March 31, 2015
JanWillem Breukink has decided to retire from his position on INCOTEC’s Board of Directors, effective April 1, 2015. This was Read More
MicronutrientsAgrium Deals Michigan Micronutrient Facility To Cameron…
March 31, 2015
Cameron Chemicals, Inc. has announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Agrium Inc. to purchase the Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Creates, Fills New Pacific Northwest Sales P…
March 30, 2015
H.J. Baker announced today that Gary Bingham has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division to further deepen its sales portfolio Read More
Algal blooms
StewardshipStudy: Algae From Clogged Waterways Could Be Used As Bi…
March 30, 2015
Water-borne algal blooms from farm fertilizer runoff can destroy aquatic life and clog rivers and lakes, but scientists are reporting Read More
Young corn plants
Stewardship4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit Coming To DC
March 30, 2015
The annual 4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit will be held on May 12 in Washington DC. The summit will include a full Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More
HerbicidesMARCH MADNESS: Industry Rallies Around Glyphosate Safet…
March 20, 2015
A newly published report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies the herbicide glyphosate as a "2A-rated possible carcinogen" and the ag industry responds by circling the wagons. Read More