A call for standards and compatibility

August 13, 2013

During the last IDEAg Interconnectivity conference we were talking that economic practices operated more with a notion of “risk” rather than “probabilities.”  There is risk in our future – higher yield in Brazil, more efficient use of equipment in Europe.

These are risks that make improving yields and decreasing costs a priority. Here is some more evidence of this.

I just a week ago returned from the Ukraine, where I consulted with a customer growing wheat, corn and soybeans on 200,000 acres. The spread among fields is 200 miles. They read my blogs and want to create comprehensive crop production management systems like I have described during our previous conferences.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club Association and AgriEvent Agency has organized on September 19, 2013 the 4th International conference, “Large Farm Management: Organization and Strategy.”

At this conference speakers of top agricultural companies from Brazil, Canada, USA, Russia, Kazakhstan, EU countries and Ukraine will take part. As you can see the competition is growing.

My Ukraine customer, for instance, has John Deere, Case IH, Massey, Fendt, and Deutz-Fahr tractors; four different brands of harvesters, and even more brands of implements. This is why they want to implement a better fleet management system. The key element here will be the development of mission planning software.

In order to implement the necessary solutions they need some kind of universal board computer to control tractor and its speed (and other parameters) , as well as to obtain seeding/fertilizer spreading/tillage prescriptions or tasks over the Internet. This computer should be able to obtain task and prescription changes over the Internet too. It also should be able to report the performance to a centralized database over the Internet.

Right now this is very difficult because of different interfaces for implements, cables and cab interface compatibilities, and other issues. But we are looking for a suitable kit.

For all field operations to support maximum productivity without compromising the operation quality, it is necessary to manage speed with simultaneous assessment of its quality. This would be very beneficial for American farmers as well. I know how to do it.

The automation of these functions requires access to CANBUS software for the tractor and other vehicle Electronic Control Units (ECU). Right now this is a major stumbling block – all OEM keep this information proprietary. Some companies name a safety concern as a reason for it. I think this problem should be resolved and it would be a good topic for our discussion at the next conference.

Another request is to support the required depth of cultivation or even vary it in VRT. Right now there are no systems to support the depth relative to a field surface. All  existing equipment control a depth relative to supporting wheels, which in turn do not keep consistent distance relative to the field surface in most fields.

I know several solutions to improve the precision of cultivation depth, but we need a standardized depth control interface. Last conference we talked about equipment ISOBUS and interoperability across ECU, across manufacturers with a single input/output terminal, or virtual terminal for all implements. But in reality it’s not here yet.


Posted by Andrey Skotnikov at 1:28am

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