My most recent blog entries dealt with the issue of standardization of equipment and software in precision agriculture, and the need for greater compatibility that serves to simplify ag technology both for seasoned and new practitioners.
Well, a release just came across my inbox from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, a standards developing organization for food, agricultural, and biological systems. One of the many new standardization projects now in play, according to the release, is the development of “a standard for geospatial mapping of crop yield, moisture content, and quality data, including defined data formats and uniform map presentation methods.”
Some more background on ASABE: Their standards are voluntary except where required by governmental authorities, and the documents are developed by consensus in accordance with procedures approved by the American National Standards Institute. They currently have more than 225 standards in publication.
Well, standards are only recommendations, and it then becomes incumbent on the manufacturers to take the standards and “make them standard,” something that our highly competitive industry has had trouble embracing over the years (but give credit where it’s due for the recent momentum toward ISOBUS standard adoption). But I think it’s positive that ASABE has recognized that data standards as described above would be a positive development. To read the full release from ASABE, click here.
I did give a shout out to our manufacturer friends, and two were able to share their thoughts on the announcement.
From Dr. Michael O’Connor, chief technology officer at Novariant-AutoFarm:
“Standards such as these are very important in the precision agriculture industry. As the industry moves toward more integrated product platforms, customers are demanding solutions that integrate the “best in class” of yield monitoring, application control, precision steering, and data management.”
“In the 1980’s, computing platforms experienced a similar phase of standardization in which consumers also chose a “best in class” approach, and the PC architecture emerged over the Macintosh as the clear winner.”
From John Pointon, marketing manager for OmniSTAR:
“It is a welcome step though in terms of tightening up and standardizing methods of handling, presenting and measuring the quality of data.”
I’m going to stay on this topic next week and see what I hear from some of the other manufacturers about this particular development, and compatibility in general.