Getting Ready for ISOBUS Plugfest

Participants at Plugfest 2013 in Lincoln, NE

On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha

Spring Plugfest is next Tuesday-Thursday … 06-08 May. It is moving this year from the east campus at UNL to a downtown hotel; the Plugfest got so big that it needed a different location. Due to the move and resultant availability, Plugfest is also later in the year than in most prior years. Unlike Bob Seger, we do not travel quite as much as a rock band so we generally look forward to travelling to the ISOBUS Plugfests. Since Spring Plugfest is in Lincoln – and has been for several years – we do spend quite a bit of time on highways east (and northeast) of Omaha, and other than Ames and Des Moines they are rather long and lonesome. But a 5-hour drive, or 7-hour drive for our Fargo office, is a rather small price to pay for the benefits provided at the event.

2014 Corn and Soybean Planting Season

A tractor prepares a farm field for planting

The USDA released its 2014 report on prospective planting for the upcoming farming season a little over a week ago. Being a numbers person, I like to dig through these types of reports to see what interesting facts I can find. I will focus on corn and soybeans since I am in Iowa and that is about all we grow around here so those are the crops with which I am most familiar. Plus, those two crops comprise 40% of the total farmed acres in the United States.

What is the difference between ISOBUS VT Version 3 and Version 4?

VIRTEC display.

The ISO 11783-6 standard was most recently released in 2010. As of this release, three common versions of the Virtual Terminal (VT) are specified. These versions are referenced in the standard as “Version 2”, “Version 3”, and “Version 4”. Based on recent ISOBUS Plugfest attendance, a survey of the industry shows a few Version 2 devices still in common use, a small number of Version 4 devices in use, and a large majority of devices using Version 3. The standard requires that an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) and a VT communicating via the VT standard should use the standard according to the lowest VT version of the pair, e.g. a VT at Version 4 and an ECU at Version 3 should use Version 3 communications.