Progress Made On Precision Standards

AgGateway facilitates the development and implementation of agriculture industry data and terminology standards across virtually every input and transaction category. During the organization’s annual meeting this month in Albuquerque, the group will discuss precision agriculture and the industry standards initiative, referred to as the SPADE (Standardized Precision Ag Data Exchange) Project.

Jeff Keiser, Manger, Technology Integration at John Deere Financial, chairs AgGateway’s Precision Ag Council.  Keiser has been impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment from the ag industry cross-section working on the Council. While at the annual meeting, Keiser will provide updates on three projects the Precision Ag Council worked on this year, which he also shared in a recent interview with PrecisionAg.com.

Project 1: Yield Monitor Reporting.

The development of guidelines for yield monitor reporting goes back to the origins of the Precision Ag Council in 2010. “At that time the USDA published standards for the use of yield monitor data for crop insurance policy reporting and for when claims occur. At the time, none of the equipment or system manufacturers had a report that met the standards, and in some cases did not even have the ability to capture the required data,” says Keiser. As a result, AgGateway began defining guidelines in conjunction with the USDA to ensure the guideline was compliant, and in August 2012, they were published for use.

“Anybody in the marketplace can use AgGateway’s guideline to make sure farmers have the right information about their yield monitor calibrations,” says Keiser. “And, you can also use AgGateway’s Report template as a way to create a report. That way, no matter which company’s claims adjuster is reviewing the data, and no matter what technology company supplied the data, the required information is consistent and understandable.”

Project 2: Glossary of Terms.

The Precision Ag Council is in the initial stages of creating a glossary of terms commonly used in precision farming and, more generally, in agriculture. “We learned from stakeholders in precision agriculture, including the USDA, universities, and commercial companies, that it would be helpful to have an industry resource to validate what a certain precision ag concept is and how it can be used more uniformly,” says Keiser.

With nearly 3,500 terms currently defined, the work has been challenging. “When 20 or 30 individuals in a room are discussing a term as simple as ‘field’ or ‘application,’ it was clear that everyone understands each term from different contexts,” says Keiser. “And while it’s not the end all, the glossary has been a good resource for AgGateway participants as they create information exchange and uniformity standards between farm management information systems and machine control information systems.”

At the upcoming annual meeting, AgGateway members will discuss what must be done before opening the glossary to wider comment in the industry from outside the group. 

3. SPADE Project.

The SPADE Project is creating a method by which crop and farm information can be commonly understood, especially at the farm management information systems (FMIS) level. In particular, work is focused on identifying possible gaps in the current ag machinery standard, ISO 11783.

“Much of the standard ways of talking from a FMIS to machine control information systems (MCIS) that are in the combine or tractor cab have been covered by ISO 11783.” says Keiser. “But there are some gaps that must be filled to ensure robust support of the information that is being captured, analyzed and added within the FMIS.” AgGateway is working with AEF, the organization behind 11783, to help them understand how the SPADE project fills the gaps in the standard.

The SPADE project is focused on a use-case around seeding (or planting) and will determine what data elements a service provider uses, and what additional information needs to be accessed to define field operations.

The SPADE project is organized into three working groups.  The first is focused on developing and monitoring the use cases.  Another is focused on several data access and exchange tactics, such as API or some other methodology. The third is determining potential data resources for the information a farmer would need access to. “Some of it he is going to collect on his own, other pieces he may get from service providers, and some may come from a public source, such as USDA.” says Keiser.

The project team has concentrated on a US-centric model, but the team is also considering how their approach will apply in other parts of the world. The SPADE Project will conclude in late winter, next year.

For more information visit www.AgGateway.org.

 

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