Precision Agriculture: The Future of Farming

Food production, specifically agriculture, is a crucial component in the expansion of civilizations. As populations grow, the need for more food rises. The gathering of data is the new frontier in advancement for agriculture technology. The more known about the field the better it can be nurtured. Precision agriculture is defined as “the application of technologies and principles to manage spatial and temporal variability associated with all aspects of agricultural production for the purpose of improving crop performance and environmental quality.” [1].

A Look Back at FarmTrek 2015

FarmTrek and DISTek

Farming. It’s the center of our world in America’s heartland. Even in mid-sized cities around Iowa, Illinois, and other ag-based states, people at least have an idea of the importance of the farmer, and many even have an appreciation of what it takes to get food to the masses. Carthage is a small town in west-central Illinois, in prime corn and soybean farm country. It also is home to one of the nation’s premiere swine farm management companies. Cattle farmers dot the landscape, too. Oh, and it’s home to DISTek Integration, Inc. and the corporate office is still there. We know farmers, and we know farming.

DISTek and STW Technic Partner to Provide ISOBUS Controllers


For Immediate Release

Cedar Falls, IA – March 1, 2016 – DISTek Integration, Inc., an acknowledged world leader in ISOBUS technology, today announced a partnership with STW Technic, a premier manufacturer of mobile controllers and measurement technology, to provide a flexible and powerful ISOBUS-compliant electronic controller for the agriculture marketplace.

Sustainable Farming

Back in February, I attended the World of Ag Expo in Tulare California. While there, I noticed something was featured more prominently at this show as opposed to the shows I regularly attend in the Midwest.

Organic and sustainable farming booths and displays were everywhere, which, if you drove to the show from say Fresno, you saw multiple signs highlighting the prolonged drought they are in the midst of.

DISTek Supports AMC Engineering Conference

The 30th Annual AMC Engineering Conference, which is celebrating 30 Years of Innovation, is fast approaching. The event will be hosted in Waterloo, Iowa at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center May 5th through 7th. Many will think back and remember this conference as the Ag Machinery Conference but for the second year now, the committee and vendors are staying committed to expanding the scope to include the entire off-highway industry. A tremendous amount of overlap exists between the technologies used in each of these industries, as well as the many suppliers that support them. If we truly want to advance technology, we need to learn from each other. The AMC Engineering Conference provides that opportunity.

Spring has Sprung


Do not look now (or at least come back to finish reading this if you do), but something important started again this week for the new year. It is not something that was unexpected because it starts every year at about the same time. But it is always a little exciting to see it when it happens. I am not talking about my strawberry plants showing some green, my flowers blooming, or my trees budding – though those are all happening. No, instead I am talking about the USDA Crop Progress report starting again for the new crop season. The last one of 2014 was published on November 24th, 2014, so it has been a few cold months to get to this point.

ISOBUS Task Controller: Part 1

VIRTEC display.

A few months ago in this blog I gave a very broad overview of Task Controller (TC).  The Virtual Terminal is probably the best-known ISOBUS feature given its visual prominence, but TC is a popular topic to discuss in the ISOBUS world because it offers many intriguing possibilities … and seeks to fulfill many of the promises of precision agriculture across manufacturers.  I thought it would be useful to spell out some of the details of TC as it can be a quite confusing subject.  In this post, I will walk through the components and the steps of a typical TC session.

VIRTEC ISOBUS in Agricultural Engineering Education

Ag Engineering Students

For one specific set of students, a brand new school supply will be getting added to the mix. Students in the Ag Engineering program at Iowa State will be getting the opportunity to experiment with ISOBUS using DISTek’s recently released VIRTEC software libraries. There will be a couple different usage scenarios for VIRTEC at ISU. The first scenario will be for graduate research projects. The graduate students and the school work with a wide range of Ag equipment manufacturers developing cutting edge technologies, and connecting these technologies to ISOBUS is very beneficial. The second scenario will be for classroom lab exercises. These students will get a chance to do some real hands-on ISOBUS application development in a lab setting rather than simply learning about it in lectures and readings.

How well do you sleep at night?

What are the nightmares that cause software engineers to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat? Is it a bad dream about finding their prized toy collection with all of the action figures out of the box? Maybe it’s a mythical sink hole that swallows up the town of Riverside, IA (the future birthplace of Captain James Kirk)? Or, could it be something work related?

Industry Survey Results

DISTek recently surveyed engineers, engineering managers, and engineering executives from companies that manufacture off-highway equipment on the technical outlook for the industry. In the survey we asked respondents about their largest concerns with future on-vehicle technology. The largest concern, selected by 3 out of every 4 respondents, was reliability.