Machine Data FarmerBy Mark Benishek, AEF Technical Director, Technical and Safety Services

In this age of technology, every day new areas of development are becoming a part of our lives. Recently, the AEM Ag Sector Board asked that a task force look into the subject of machine data. This general topic is discussed every day, but what does it mean?

To start with, we need to understand what’s taking place in the marketplace. Groups like Ag Gateway, AEF, CEMA in Europe and others are already working in this space. Having a better understanding of current activities can then lead to determining possible gaps that can be filled with AEM support.

The Data Task Force held its first meeting on February 20, 2017. The goal of the meeting was to determine AEM’s role relative to machine data and recommend approaches to the Ag Sector board. Proposals included:

Defining machine data – Everyone has an idea of what it is, but we need to drill down and be more precise. By providing definitions, we can determine the differences between types of information. Examples include machine data, farm management data and control data. Definitions will provide everyone with a clearer understanding of the topic.

AEM member participation in work activities – It is important that the right people are contributing in committees and organizations such as AEF, AgGateway and CEMA, as decisions are being made that will affect the industry.

Consider the use of current standards – Currently, there is a construction standard for telematics, and work is being done on an Ag version. AEM can provide direction for the industry to harmonize efforts.

Drive implementation and adoption – There may be a need for better communication between groups working on data initiatives. AEM can help improve this communication by providing current information on direction and implementation timelines. This sharing of information with member companies will provide for better planning and coordinate timelines as an industry for delivery of future functionalities.

Data security – This is becoming a very important issue due to a common concern over data misuse. AEM could drive to deliver more information on the efforts taking place to provide security and privacy to our customers. A better understanding of the security efforts being developed may help reduce user concerns.

Statistics – AEM may be able to provide more information to our members on connected machines. Information like: Does the equipment in the field today use all of the functionality between tractors and implement? Also, another example is information regarding how many customers actually use certain types of farm management systems.

The task force is reviewing the suggestions above and determining a priority list and possible timeline for next activities. The final recommendations will be submitted to the Ag Sector Board for review.

For more information on the Data Task Force, please contact Mark Benishek, AEF technical director, technical and safety services (, tel: 414-298-4118).