The promise of seamless communication between different precision agriculture systems regardless of the system manufacturer has moved into an exciting new stage with public availability of the ADAPT software toolkit. ADAPT, which stands for Agricultural Data Application Programming Toolkit, will eliminate the major pain points to broad use of precision agriculture data by easily enabling interoperability between different software and hardware applications. AgGateway's ADAPT Committee is now coordinating with software companies on plug-ins needed for ADAPT's adoption.

"This is the year we will finally have a solution to interoperability, which has been a formidable hurdle to the use of precision ag technologies," said ADAPT Committee Chairman Mark Stelford, General Manager of Premier Crop Systems. "ADAPT represents a monumental amount of work over several years, by a lot of people. Now we're alerting software companies that it's time for them to develop the 'plug-in' technology on their ends to facilitate broad industry adoption."

"Widespread acceptance and use of the new ADAPT framework will reduce our effort and frustration greatly," said Luke Lightfoot, Ag Technology Manager at Co-Alliance, LLP, an ag cooperative in central Indiana. "The as-is state of precision ag data management is frustrating to say the least. It's gotten to where we will only buy and recommend a couple of machinery brands to our growers, because we know how to deal with the data from those machines. Firmware upgrades in the equipment change data formats so they no longer import into our software and we end up waiting on the equipment company and software company to get together and fix it."

ADAPT is an open source project, allowing precision ag software providers globally to use the software and to contribute to its continued development, all with the goal of ensuring broad adoption. The toolkit has been developed over several years by a large, collaborative group of AgGateway members from a variety of manufacturer and agricultural software companies, who all recognized that the farmer and other agricultural users have a critical need to use data from multiple sources to improve decision processes. Once adopted, ADAPT will allow the user to move precision ag data between different software systems easily and simply. For example, ADAPT will enable farm information management applications to easily use precision ag data collected on vehicle displays (field computers).

Stelford noted that several hardware and software companies are already in the process of developing plug-ins for their proprietary formats that allow the conversion from one format to another.

For example, Chip Donahue, Manager of Business Segment Strategy at John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, said, "Any software that implements ADAPT can easily convert from a Deere file to an AgLeader file format without any more input from the user. All a user needs to know is what kind of display the prescriptions are being sent to... Just like you might do with a digital photo that comes into your computer as a jpeg and can be converted to a bitmap."

At the same time, ADAPT participants Topcon and AGCO have volunteered to create the ADAPT-ISO plug-in, an effort that underlines the continuing cooperation between AgGateway and relevant standards organizations such as the Agricultural Industry Electronic Foundation (AEF), which is currently implementing the ISO 11783 standard.

"This plug-in will greatly simplify the task of supporting the ISO standards for both farm management software and terminal companies," said Joe Tevis, a Senior Advisor to Topcon Precision Agriculture who is also active in AgGateway precision ag initiatives. "While Topcon and AGCO have provided the initial coding, it is officially an open source project and we welcome all interested companies to contribute to this effort."

Companies currently participating in the ADAPT Oversight Committee include Ag Connections, Ag Leader Technology, AGCO Corp, Agrian, CNH Industrial, Central Valley Ag Coop, CLAAS, Independent Data Management, John Deere, Land 'O Lakes, Inc., Monsanto, Premier Crop Systems, ProAg Management, Raven Industries, Software Solutions Integrated, SST Software, Syngenta, Topcon Precision Agriculture, Trimble Navigation and ZedX. Additional companies involved with ADAPT through their work in AgGateway's SPADE Project include AgIntegrated, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Texas A&M, Crop IMS, Digi-Star, DTN, F4F Agriculture, Farmobile, GROWMARK, Heartland Co-op, Insero, MapShots, OAGi, Praxidyn, Vita Plus, XS Inc, and Wysocki.

For more information go to www.ADAPTFramework.org to find a growing set of resources to help with implementation.