Farm equipment manufacturers and software specialists are working together to crack the problem of data interchange between machines and information systems of different brands.
Partners in the Internet of Food and Farm 2020 consortium have used ADAPT open source software from the AgGateway digital agriculture collaboration initiative to demonstrate how data can be exchanged in a standardised format between different equipment and software platforms. They consider this an important enabler for the flow of data required for improved decision-making and more productive farming – in other words, to make digital farming a success.
The project involves equipment companies Agco, CNH Industrial, Grimme and Kverneland; farm software specialists 365FarmNet and AgroIntelli; and the universities of Aarhus in Denmark and Wageningen in the Netherlands. The goal is a simple plug-in enabling software to read data from different sources. This would significantly reduce development time for new features and products, while also increasing available data streams to farmers.
In future, goes the plan, farmers will have the opportunity to use different types and brands of equipment with a wide variety of software or services, regardless of manufacturer. The next step in the project will be to devise real-time and bi-directional communication between vehicles and Cloud-based platforms. The IoF 2020 team will work with the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) to build on existing standards devised by this organisation.
In a parallel development, AgGateway is pursuing a common data exchange standard for irrigation equipment that would allow data to be sent and received in an efficient and user-friendly manner to help growers manage data from their irrigation management systems. A proposed standard has been submitted to the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE) so that data formats can be finalised for systems such as weather stations, soil moisture sensors and irrigation control systems, as well as related information such as soil types and GIS data.