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Isobus Plug and Play Technology Changing Precision FarmingIsobus Plug and Play Technology Changing Precision Farming

More players, more products since more units will talk to each other.

Tom Bechman 1

September 5, 2013

2 Min Read

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.


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.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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