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

Topcon AGI-4 on MF Planter
EquipmentAutosteer: Compatibility, Accuracy Remain Top Of Mind
July 3, 2015
The world of automatic steering solutions in agriculture has evolved rapidly in the last few years. From after-market add-ons that Read More
Raven Viper 4
Precision AgPrecision Agriculture: In-Cab Computing Adds More Customization, Functionality
June 3, 2015
In terms of in-cab computing solutions for the agriculture market, companies like Case IH, Topcon, Trimble, John Deere and Raven Read More
AgEagle UAV
Precision Ag2015 Precision Agriculture Dealer Survey: Top Four Trends To Watch
June 1, 2015
Editor’s note: The 17th Precision Agriculture Survey was completed with partnerships among the departments of Agricultural Economics and Agronomy at Read More
Retailers
Precision AgThe Human Element Of Precision Agriculture
June 1, 2015
Editor’s note: The 17th Precision Agriculture Survey was completed with partnerships among the departments of Agricultural Economics and Agronomy at Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases California-Based Specialty Crops Retailer
July 20, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has successfully acquired California-based NH3 Service Co.  Operating as part of Pinnacle’s Performance Agriculture brand, the new locations Read More
Asmus Farm Supply liquid fertilizer facility features 20,000 square feet
CropLife 100Slideshow: Asmus Farm Supply Shows Off Its New Liquid Fertilizer Facility
July 15, 2015
Asmus Farm Supply, Rake, IA, recently added a new liquid fertilizer facility to its company operations. The new liquid fertilizer Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Feed Division Facilities Receive Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification
July 13, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Feed Division, a marketer and distributor of value-added feed ingredients for the aquaculture, livestock and pet food industries Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Expands To Brazil With Acquisition
July 8, 2015
BRANDT has acquired a majority interest in Target Brasil Fertilizantes Ltda. through its Brazilian subsidiary. Target Brasil manufactures, distributes and Read More
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Latest News
CropLife 100Allied Ag Distributors Adds Four New Owners
July 30, 2015
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC has announced the addition of four new customer/owners to Franklin Holding Co. LLC. They are: The Read More
FungicidesReport: Sudden Death Syndrome Symptoms Appearing In Soy…
July 30, 2015
Last week, symptoms of sudden death syndrome (SDS) began to appear in April 15-planted soybeans at the University of Illinois’s Read More
Seed/BiotechAdvanta Seeds Adds New Phoenix Corn Hybrids
July 30, 2015
Corn growers in the High Plains and Western states have new options available for the 2016 growing season from Advanta Read More
ManagementTechnology and agriculture: a Futurist’s Perspective
July 30, 2015
Futurist David Zach, speaking at this week’s InfoAg Conference in St. Louis, shared thoughts on the benefits and limitations of Read More
Biofuels Plant in Lousiana
Industry NewsIdle Biofuels Plant In Louisiana To Reopen As Ammonia F…
July 30, 2015
A Lithuania-based company plans to spend $265 million to reopen an idle biofuels refinery in Grant Parish as an ammonia Read More
FFA at Monsanto Booth at the 2015 National Farm Machinery Show
Industry NewsFive Students Receive The 2015 Monty’s Plant Food Compa…
July 29, 2015
This fall, five college-bound students will have financial support through the Monty’s Plant Food Company FFA Scholarship. All five scholarship Read More
GYPSOIL Blendable Pellets
Crop InputsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches Pelletized Gypsum …
July 29, 2015
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) announced this week at Ag Media Summit that its GYPSOIL Pelletized Products Division will open a Read More
StewardshipOhio Water Quality Project To Determine How Much Phosph…
July 27, 2015
Researchers with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University are looking for farmers in Read More
FertilizerKoch Agronomic Services Launches N-TEGRATION Technology
July 27, 2015
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC (KAS) has launched  N-TEGRATION Technology, a process technology platform designed to enable production of enhanced efficiency fertilizers at Read More
HerbicidesExpert: IARC Herbicide Classifications Leading To Confu…
July 24, 2015
Few people in the crop protection industry had heard of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) before this Read More
ManagementFCI Trade Summit Update & Precision Tank Turns 50
July 23, 2015
Editors Dave Frabotta and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the upcoming FCI Trade Summit in Las Vegas, NV, and how Precision Tank Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesUSDA Deregulates Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Cotton Trait
July 23, 2015
The USDA today issued its decision deregulating Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist cotton trait in the U.S. The USDA has now completed its Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Showcases Versatile Product Por…
July 23, 2015
Technology has revolutionized agriculture by bringing farmers, retailers and distributors to the forefront of the digital age. To meet the Read More
FertilizerWSJ: Cf Industries Exploring Merger With Dutch Chemical…
July 23, 2015
U.S. fertilizer maker CF Industries is in advanced merger talks with Amsterdam-listed chemical company OCI NV, the Wall Street Journal Read More
HerbicidesNufarm Releases New Panther SC Herbicide
July 23, 2015
Nufarm has announced the availability of new Panther SC herbicide. Panther SC is the first liquid formulation of flumioxazin available Read More
EquipmentFarmLink Launches Farm Equipment Sharing Program
July 23, 2015
FarmLink has introduced a new online farm equipment sharing community – MachineryLink Sharing – leveraging this new economy business model Read More
HerbicidesCould The South’s Most Troublesome Weed Represent A Thr…
July 22, 2015
Palmer amaranth is undoubtedly the most troublesome weed in the southern United States, taking a devastating toll on both cotton Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Hires New Director Of International Sales
July 22, 2015
Global Agriculture firm H.J. Baker announced today that Steve Langley has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division and Animal Health Read More