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Brands look to break down the barriers that prevent farmers from integrating big data across lines

When telematics and digital data gathering technologies began appearing as options on major brand equipment a decade or so ago, it was a world full of boundaries — between those digital program offerings, that is.

Some brands decided early on to go down the path of proprietary systems. Buy a green tractor, pair it with a full line of green machines and they’ll all work together much more efficiently than a multi-coloured fleet. That concept wasn’t — and still isn’t — exclusive to John Deere, however. But Deere was perhaps more forthright than the others, with senior executives at the company articulating how this would become a major marketing strategy for the company.

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Then, of course, there was the issue of sharing field data with other users and other programs. That was far from a smooth procedure at the beginning, and many might argue there are still hurdles to overcome. But now there seems to be recognition throughout the industry that data compatibility is today’s must have.

I first heard a major brand executive admit this during a meeting with senior John Deere executives during Agritechnica in Germany last November. “John Deere was a technology island,” Klaus Braunhardt, Deere’s director of precision agriculture, said over lunch. “We recognized that.”

The plan going forward now, he explained, is to see Deere, and the industry overall, work toward greater digital integration. Not long ago, Case IH’s most senior manager made a similar commitment in a press release discussing that brand’s involvement in IoF2020.

On March 1, the IoF2020 (the Internet of Food and Farm — a European initiative) group met in Spain to offer “proof of concept” of the ADAPT digital framework that aims to improve compatibility between machines and make data sharing easier. That organization acknowledges that the current state of different machine technologies not being able to fully communicate is a problem, and it will limit the industry’s ability to move fully into precision agriculture.

“This project is another great step that will help farmers to increase efficiency by using their data without any boundaries,” says Andreas Klauser, Case IH brand president in a press release from the IoF2020 event.

ADAPT Framework focuses on “interoperability and compatibility” between farm machines, sensors and software. “It’s an open source software from AgGateway, based on a universal data compatibility model that uses plug-ins to enable translation between different proprietary data formats,” reads the official definition.

The Case IH statement says this concept will make it possible to use different types and brands of equipment with a wide variety of software or services, regardless of manufacturer.

“Our goal in this project is to continue to simplify how our customers share data between operators, machines and service providers like agronomists or contractors,” says Robert Zemenchik, global product marketing manager for Case IH Advanced Farming Systems.

“Today, industry standards have focused on machine standards for physical design and electronic compatibility. The ADAPT solution goes a step further using digital plug-ins to ensure the various data types generated by the group membership are compatible with farmer management information systems. Now that we have a working proof of concept, we will deliver data management solutions to our customers that will be much faster and easier to work with than in the past.”

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CG Machinery Editor

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