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run a Morris Industries Ltd. 2012 C2 Contour Air Drill with a Deere tractor. The dealership began selling Morris air drills in 2011, but in order to get them to effectively communicate with the Deere GreenStar 3 2630 displays, cus- tomers needed to purchase an additional monitor for the tractor cab. “We wanted to bring a commonal-

ity for customers and let them use what they’re used to,” Carlson says. “The goal is to offer one display in the tractor cab rather than a cockpit full of monitors.” Agtron representatives did the initial installation — essentially a plug-and- play system into the back of the Deere tractor — and then Carlson monitored the Morris air drill’s functions through the GreenStar 3 2630 in the tractor cab. But the real accuracy test came when

Western Sales’ agronomists uploaded planting prescriptions through the Deere software to see if the Morris ma- chine would respond to the variable- rate seeding plan. “We could see the application was accurate and mapped out accordingly,” Carlson says. “I think that is where cus- tomers are going to see a lot of value.” After the successful demonstration,

Western Sales began to offer the Morris air drills installed with the Agtron ISO system, or as an aftermarket purchase.

While it’s too early to gauge the im- pact that the ISO product has had on sales, Carlson says the option will be a money-saver for customers and open the door for Western Sales to more success- fully partner the Morris air drills with

If it’s an ISO compatibility issue, my hands

are kind of tied on what I can do…

Deere tractors, without having to worry about compatibility problems. “It’s just a more fl uid sales procedure to be able to offer one product and say, ‘Mr. Customer, you don’t have to spend another $20,000 on another display and get it hooked up,’” Carlson explains. “This is big for us and certainly going to help sales, because farmers can pop that GreenStar into the tractor to run with the Morris and away they go. It’s simple.” Djamel Khali, vice president of opera-

” Dealer Takeaways

• Be honest with customers about the compatibility solutions you can provide to avoid promising a solution you can’t deliver.

• Get educated on the benefi ts and limitations of ISOBUS products on the market today, and then educate customers.

• Explore ISO solutions for customers as a way to provide a simpler, cost-effective solution.

tions for Ally Precision Industries (API), in Sioux Falls, S.D., agrees that the fl ex- ibility ISO provides can be a signifi cant money saver for farm customers. API is one of several third-party man- ufacturers producing ISO-components designed to connect different colors of farm equipment. Khali recently installed an API ISOLynx system on a customer’s Versatile tractor to run his Deere planter. “We put the whole system on there for under $15,000,” he says. “He saved the cost of having to buy a John Deere tractor to run the planter, and he could run it the same way with the tractor he already owned.”

But he and others acknowledge that the concept is far from perfect and hasn’t gained the same traction in North Amer- ica as it has in Europe, where the ISO got its start.

Guarding Expectations

Part of the problem is a lack of knowl- edge and awareness about what ISO- BUS is and how it works.

“I think part of the hesitation is that people just don’t understand the ISO


concept,” says Bill Baker, president of Agtron Enterprises. “It’s going to be a pull-through market for dealers once farmers fully understand it.” In it’s simplest form, ISO — which stands for International Standards Orga- nization — allows farmers using preci- sion technology to connect any brand of tractor with any implement without los- ing functionality.

Precision dealers and their custom- ers wouldn’t have to switch monitors, displays, wiring harnesses or electrical connectors when they move from one implement to another.

“Farmers tell me all the time that they spend a day each spring putting all the monitors in the cab and mounting and running harnesses in and out,” Baker says. “ISO lessens that learning curve because they know that same tractor ter- minal will be in there 365 days a year.” But ISOBUS is still only a buzzword

in North America, since the ISO 11783 standard was introduced in tractors and implements in 2001, says Khali. He notes that not every North Ameri- can farm equipment manufacturer is on the same page when it comes to ISO. Historically, if farmers had an ISO-

certifi ed tractor from the factory and an ISO-certifi ed implement — but they weren’t the same color — certain fea- tures would be locked out because of compatibility issues.

“If we’re going back to the core goal of ISO — to be color agnostic — we need to make sure farmers are getting what they’re expecting,” Khali says. “Farmers might be losing row-shutoff or variable- rate planting capabilities. That’s where a lot of the frustration comes from today.” The potential that farm customers

won’t be able to visualize and manage their precision operations with ease is one sticking point precision farming dealers have with ISOBUS.

“The biggest thing is you are limiting what you can view when you are using the ISO and what you can view outside of the ISO structure at the same time,” says Aaron Hacker, precision ag special- ist at Elite Ag Solutions in Warren, Ind. “For some customers, it’s not a big deal, but for others, it’s a non-starter. They aren’t even going to touch it if they can’t easily view everything at once.”

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