Connecting different brands of farm machinery and precision technology can be as appealing as a root canal for many no-tillers. The process often prompts head scratching, hand wringing and hit-or-miss success achieving peak performance.
As ag engineers and manufacturers work toward plug-and-play functionality, No-Till Farmer surveyed farmers for this report, asking them to identify their biggest compatibility problems when hooking up equipment. Answers from nearly 50 growers revealed many different challenges to overcome — whether it’s monitor ‘cab clutter,’ costly additions to improve functionality or simply getting one brand of display in a tractor to properly relay another brand of implement’s performance.
Farmers are clearly frustrated by communication barricades that can limit efficiency and productivity.
“If companies are going to build equipment, it would make sense to produce products that will talk to each other,” says Coleharbor, N.D., no-tiller and strip-tiller Paul Anderson. “We all want plug-and-play to work, but I’m not optimistic it’s going to happen anytime soon.”
But manufacturers and engineers say they’re moving closer toward uniform compatibility standards and a searchable database that will simplify and improve functionality. Although the ISOBUS 11783 standard has been around for nearly 15 years, only recently have companies begun working together to solve problems that arise in the field.
“Because farmers are starting to understand the technology better, they’re putting more pressure on manufacturers to come up with solutions,” says Ryan Pilot, engineering manager with Agtron Enterprises in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. “There’s no sense having a high-end system if it all it…