Ag Electronics Foundation Fights Farmer Frustration

Imagine the frustration of a farmer who buys a new implement, hitches it to his tractor and then finds that some of the implement’s features won’t work.

Is it a tractor issue? Or is it the implement? Who does he or she call for help?

This was a common problem not that many years ago as ag equipment manufacturers began introducing products with more sophisticated electronics and monitoring.

Then in 2001, approval of the ISOBUS standard (ISO 11783) marked a big step forward in fixing machine compatibility issues. Manufacturers now had a common direction they could look to for product design. Problem solved!

Well, not quite.

The sheer volume of the new standard (over 1,000 pages in length) left a lot of room for different interpretations by different manufacturers, so another approach was needed.

Enter the Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF).

Founded in 2008 by seven leading agricultural equipment companies and two industry associations (including AEM), the AEF rapidly developed guidelines that helped all industry players interpret the ISOBUS standard the same way.

Today, if a tractor or implement is ISOBUS-certified, farmers are assured the two are compatible, no matter what color or brand they may be.

And to provide a quick and easy way for farmers to identify compliant products, in 2013 the AEF introduced the ISOBUS Certification Label that indicates a product has been tested and checked for basic ISOBUS requirements as well as other functionalities.

In addition, detailed information about all certified products is stored in the AEF database, where the farmer (or the dealer) can easily configure a tractor/implement combination and immediately see whether the selected combination is compatible. Use of the database is free of charge for the agricultural public.

For even greater mobility, the AEF last year introduced a smartphone app that lets farmers and dealers working in the field quickly check to see if a tractor and implement are compatible. The app is available as a free download from the Apple Store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android).

So why should ag equipment manufacturers join the AEF?

“Farmers need to know if products are ISOBUS-certified and compatible with their other equipment,” said Peter van der Vlugt, AEF chairman. “When they are purchasing equipment, this plays a huge role.”

“The ISOBUS certification process assures the farmer that the products he buys are compatible and increases the desirability of those products for the customer,” he said.

Need more information about why your company should become a member of the AEF? Simply visit

Source: Association of Equipment Manufacturers news article