When it comes to precision farming technology, farmers want products that work — and increasingly — different brands of products that work together, without sacrificing performance or efficiency.

For the last several years, the Agricultural Electronics Industry Foundation (AEF) has been working with farm equipment manufacturers to achieve plug-and-play capability for machinery through rigorous testing of technology.

The AEF recently launched a searchable database of ISOBUS-certified components for farm equipment dealers, accessible through manufacturers that have completed the certification process.

While the database is fully functional, it is still very much a work in progress, says Andrew Olliver, communications and marketing specialist with AEF. He told Precision Farming Dealer that one of the ongoing challenges for manufacturers seeking inclusion in the resource is to pass a conformance test for ISOBUS certification. This is a potentially tedious, but necessary step, says Olliver.

“Things are improving, but they are moving a bit slower than expected,” he says of the population of the dealer database. “Access is there, but a critical part is that what’s inside the database has to be useful for the dealers, and for manufacturers, the certification of components doesn’t happen overnight.”

As new software is developed, released and then tested with other components, the database will continue to be populated, Olliver says. So far, there are 23 companies with ISO-certified components in the database, including John Deere, AGCO, Case IH and New Holland.

Throughout the year, Olliver says manufacturers will be soliciting and reviewing feedback from a pool of 10-15 “test” dealers using  the database. The primary benefits are expected to be more automated compatibility checks of equipment components and quicker troubleshooting of compatibility problems for precision specialists.

“This is a tool that helps the dealer in terms of being able to sell more confidently,” Olliver says. “If they want to sell a new implement or tractor to a customer, they can can use the database as their point of reference on the ISOBUS functionality of whatever components are involved.”

Andrew Olliver with the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) discusses the launch of the organization's ISOBUS compatibility database to farm equipment dealers and farmers, and how this resource will allow for more efficient identification of compatible equipment at the point of purchase.

If it’s an ISOBUS issue in the field, precision farming specialists can connect their laptops to the implement or tractor and run the ISOBUS check tool, which creates a log file on the computer. The file can then be used to either fill out a compatibility ticket with the manufacturer, or perform an auto-compatibility check.

“The specialist then doesn’t have to drill down to find the specific model number of a tractor and compare it with the model number of a particular implement,” Olliver says. “The database will pick up the diagnostic file, evaluate it and display the search results on the screen. This will make problem-solving a lot easier for the specialist, which is the goal of this database.”

Farm customers and the general agricultural public also now have access to a compatibility database, which the AEF announced at the SIMA Agribusiness Show in France in February. Olliver says the expanded access and visibility could prompt more manufacturers to prioritize equipment compatibility in the coming months.

“In my opinion, we’re going to see more of a groundswell toward building this database as we get closer to Agritechnica in Germany this fall,” he says “While ISOBUS is still emerging in North America, there is going to be more of a spotlight on which companies are part of the database in Europe.”