September 5, 2013
One thing became clear scouting out products at the Farm Progress Show this year. More companies, many short-line companies, are offering products for precision farming. One reason given by many is that more of the major manufacturers are using the standard Isobus system which allows products of different colors to "talk" to each other.
In other words, if you have a newer John Deere tractor or combine, for example, it will communicate with a planter of a different color.
More versatile: Many of the new Precision ag products are being designed so that they work with a wide range of equipment.
Isobus refers to a common operating system so that wireless precision equipment made by different companies will talk to each other. Think of it as standardization. When the industry first started, some companies made products that would only talk to other products made by the same company. With new developments coming on line, and some of the newer products developed by short-line companies, the standardization will allow more farmers to make use of these inventions or upgrades, even if the company that made the tractor or combine isn't offering that technology yet.
It's not unlike the early days of tractors. Allis-Chalmers started out with a snap-coupler system to hook to Allis-Chalmers implements only. Case-IH used a two-point hook-up that was designed for Case-IH implements. If you were a farmer that wanted to mix and match implements and tractors, you had to find an adapter, or else stick to the same color for implements and tractors. The three-point hitch became the great equalizer since it allowed farmers to have one brand of tractor but another brand of implement, and still hook to the implement.
The same is happening here. You may have brand X, but if the implement you're pulling is brand Y and both companies have adapted the Isobus system for precision farming, then the tractor and implement can still talk to each other. Look for this trend to continue.
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