Many farmers have doubtless experienced this scenario before: you buy an implement, at great expense, capable of achieving everything you need, only to realise that your tractor does not have the ability to control the implement or make use of all its functions.
You then contact your supplier and discover that neither the implement nor the tractor manufacturer wants to take responsibility, leaving you stuck with an insurmountable problem.
These incompatible proprietary solutions, or ‘island solutions’, can lead to a cluttered tractor operating station.
If you’d prefer to stick with just one terminal, you may not be able to use the tractor-implement combination to its full potential.
In short, individually, both tractor and implement may offer loads of electronic features, promising economic benefits as well as convenience.
But, in combination, these features may not be available at all or may only be with difficulty, because the implement and the tractor’s terminal do not speak the same language. You will then have to be content with less than you expected to get.
At the same time, the AEF wants to end confusion about compatibility between machinery from different brands by providing customers with the relevant information before they buy a tractor or implement.
How can you as farmer benefit from this AEF app? Firstly, cross-manufacturer compatibility is valuable information to have before going into a sales discussion.
Let’s say you’re looking for a new sprayer to use with the tractor you already own. With AEF’s database at your fingertips, you know you do not need to buy an additional terminal to use the sprayer. But the sales representative, not knowing your tractor’s capability, might say that you need another terminal!
Or when buying a tractor, you will know you can operate any implement you have with the control devices you buy, such as terminals or joysticks.
The AEF ISOBUS Conformance Test ensures operational reliability for users and products. The test is a guarantee to users that the certified functionalities can be used in field.
The test is carried out by five independent institutes: the ISOBUS Test Center in Osnabrück, Germany; Reggio Emilia Innovazione in Reggio Emilia, Italy; Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the US; DLG in Groß-Umstadt, Germany; and Kereval in Thorigné-Fouillard, France.
All too often, farmers’, dealers’ and manufacturers’ lack of knowledge is a source of frustration. It often takes considerable time to find answers to questions such as:
- Is the implement I already own ISOBUS-certified and compatible with the tractor I intend to buy? And if it is, which functionalities can I use with both of them?
- The AEF database is designed to answer these questions and benefit customers, dealers, sales and service personnel.
All AEF-certified products have a label and will also be included on the AEF’s database. This makes it far simpler and more transparent when deciding on the purchase of a new machine.
Make sure to verify the compatibility before committing to a transaction, or insist on a compatibility verification.
The AEF ISOBUS database is available for download from the Apple Store (iOS) and the Google Play Store (Android).
Stehan Cloete, a mechanical engineer, is the director of AgTech Africa.