Standardization is the Future of Farming

Here at Agtron we are often involved with ISOBUS, a communication “standard” which allows equipment from different manufacturers to easily interact with one another. Since ISOBUS has standardized the connection between tractor and implement, it got me thinking about other areas of agriculture that could use a more standardized structure.

Radar Connectors/Adapters

Third-party monitors that get installed into your tractor need a speed input in order to operate to their fullest capabilities. (Eg. The Agtron ART260, our dual loop rate and blockage monitor.) In order for the rate feature to work on the monitor, it needs a speed input. Herein lies the problem: there are more ways to get a speed input into this monitor than I can count.

  • Your tractor can output a radar speed signal (depending on the model of tractor).
  • If you have a GPS unit installed on your tractor, that can output a radar speed.
  • Wheel speed sensors installed on implement can also be used.

Now you must be thinking to yourself, “That doesn’t look like a very big list.” Let me highlight each point separately.

Radar Speed Signal

Depending on your tractor (John Deere, CASE IH, etc) it is likely it can output radar speed from a connector somewhere in the instrument panel. All of these connectors are different! And in doing some research I found out that it isn’t as simple as saying “I have a John Deere tractor;” the connector is different based on which John Deere tractor you have.

GPS installation

Now if you want to get your radar speed from your GPS unit, you first have to make sure that your specific unit has the ability to output a pulsed radar signal. If it can do that, great. Now you need to know where to plug into the system. Some are located on a wiring harness, others you need to go from a pin on the back of the display.

Wheel speed sensors

Wheel speed sensors are probably the simplest way to get a speed signal. But it involves installing another sensor on your implement that is subject to wear and tear, and could easily fall off, leaving you in a jam.

Now, when embarking on this journey to get a radar speed input into your monitor, most farmers will need to purchase two separate cables: one from your tractor or GPS dealer, the other from Agtron or some other third-party monitor manufacturer.

Standardization means simplification

If the tractor companies could standardize the radar output connector on all their tractors, like in ISOBUS, that would make this process half as complicated. And in the changing world of precision agriculture, isn’t that a good thing?

What are some of your experiences with this or other areas of your farming operation that could use more standardization?

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