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 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
Valley Variable Rate Irrigation
Precision AgMaximizing Returns From Water Inputs
March 3, 2014
Irrigation manufacturers have developed some vital new technologies to fine-tune irrigation and save growers money, water, energy and labor. Read More

Trending Articles

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

FertilizerFertilizer Outlook And Technology Conference Set For No…
September 30, 2014
Conference participants can expect to gain perspective on the outlook for agriculture and major fertilizer materials and inputs from industry experts. Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Acquires Micronutrient Supplier
September 30, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has acquired QC Corp., a producer and supplier of granular and dry micronutrients and ferrous sulfate products. Read More
Eric SfiligojHearing From Young Ag Voices
September 30, 2014
Potential future leaders in ag retail had the chance to shine at the recent Mid America CropLife Association meeting. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
September 30, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Appoints New Chief Operating Officer
September 29, 2014
Jon Parr will succeed retiring COO John Atkin at the end of the year. Read More
CropLife 100South Dakota Wheat Growers To Add Grain-Agronomy Facili…
September 26, 2014
Planned to be constructed in Kennebec, the facility will be located along the soon-to-be rehabilitated line of heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Vice President Appointments
September 25, 2014
Two individuals have been appointed Vice President positions on the GROWMARK executive team. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Industry Organizations Join Global Alliance …
September 25, 2014
The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association are encouraging the industry to promote the proper use of fertilizer products to minimize their environmental impact. Read More
Precision AgARA Organized Precision Forum Hits Capitol Hill
September 24, 2014
The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. Read More
FertilizerFactors To Consider When Placing Fertilizer With Seed
September 24, 2014
The type of crop, fertilizer source, row spacing and soil environment all affect how much fertilizer can be safely applied with seed. Read More
FertilizerSidedressing Manure Into Corn Has Promising Results
September 24, 2014
Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses and give livestock producers another window of time to apply manure to farm fields. Read More
FertilizerWhen To Sample Manure For Analysis
September 24, 2014
Because the goal is to collect a sample that represents the manure actually being applied, the best time to sample is during loading or field application. Here's why. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Confirms Merger Of Equals Discussions Wit…
September 23, 2014
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Yara International regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipProgram To Examine Ag-Related Practices, Policies To Pr…
September 22, 2014
A panel discussion on October 14 will include a significant discussion on key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms. Read More
Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More