Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ASABE Standard

Today, after I had a class on Site Specific Crop Management (SSCM) mainly for Precision Farming, I attended the close program that mainly for the agricultural sensors producers. This program was held close to my department; at Union Hall. What they do right here?

They are from various big companies from over United States in agriculture and they are also among the top engineers right there. Uh, really good chance right here! They sit together to develop a program and the standard for communication of the application virtual program for each of particular sensor. I got chances to talk with them and asked a few questions.

Why do they need to do that? Currently, the main players in agriculture technology in US are agriculture engineers especially in agriculture tractor applications and advancement of latest technology. They are working with well known big company such as John Deere, Case, New Holland and etc which is famous company in agriculture machinery. For each of the tractor, they come together with their own interface for the special sensors. That sensor is the instruments to measure the agriculture parameter e.g. yield moisture, soil moisture, seedling rate, fertilizer rate and etc.

[This is my second office. Cool right? Price about half million (RM) = a BMW car! This tractor no need to touch the steering! called autonomous and they will guide us where we want to go!But only on the farm. Not allowed to drive on the road]

Normally the farmer here facing a problem when have different kind of sensors with different tractor as well as different interface. Let makes it easy to understand! For the example, the combine harvesters (jentera menuai) have a sensor from John Deere cannot be used in the Case tractors’ interface. The farmer may lose their profit! Each tractor has own interface for the particular sensor.

Therefore, they decide to solve the solution to help the farmers as well as to promote the agriculture technology in Precision Agriculture by having a virtual program for each sensor from different company. That will be a standard for American Society of Agriculture Engineers (ASABE). So that the farmer can use any kind of sensor and at the same time they can promote their product.

How they protect company’s patent? At early stage they already agree to preserve their own company’s secret of technology. Dr. Hoy (my lecturer and the director for Nebraska Tractor Test) told me that this is very important step in order to fill the gap to promote the Precision Agriculture. Here in US, I have seen how they work hard to keep promoting their idea by support each other! They did a great job. How about we, as Malaysian out there?