Wrapping Up SPADE3 To Boost Precision Ag

Precision Ag

Wrapping Up SPADE3 To Boost Precision Ag

By Ben Craker, AGCO, SPADE Project Chair, and Vice-Chair of the Precision Ag Council

It’s hard to believe the SPADE3 Project (focused on inter-operability for precision agriculture) is rapidly drawing to a close. It doesn't seem like much time has passed since we kicked off the project with high hopes for conquering some big inter-operability issues in the ag industry. The project had a very aggressive scope divided into seven “products,” each with its own set of deliverables. The teams are wrapping up their deliverables, using the Mid-Year Meeting next week as an opportunity to finalize plans for publishing. Deliverables will include documented product user stories and use cases, associated BPMN diagrams showing how data flows through each story example, and data buckets identifying the information needed by actors in each example.

As the SPADE3 teams wrap up, we're considering what comes next. The leadership team is working on a plan for a SPADE4 Project, with a new project structure that will make participation by more members and subject matter experts easier, and will shorten the time frame for deliverables. In addition to planning and scoping SPADE4, we'll review working groups that were absorbed by the SPADE Project. Once SPADE3 ends, these working groups will pick up the work using completed user stories, BMPN diagrams, and data buckets as a baseline for continued gap-check with standards bodies, evaluation and task execution based on changes or expansions in the group's area of focus.

Here are details on what each team has been working on. As with any good AgGateway effort, each product is filled with acronyms!

  • CART (Commodity Automation Rail and Truck) identified gaps between data captured in the field from machines like combines and grain carts, AgGateway's ADAPT data model (inter-operability toolkit), and the AgXML standard used by elevators and grain processors for grain transactions. The efforts of this group are laying the foundation for enabling traceability through the supply chain all the way back to the field where the crop was grown.
  • The Crop Nutrition team focused on the processes associated with applying nutrients to a field and the associated record keeping, whether it be manure or chemical fertilizer, including some great work deciphering nutrient management plans.
  • The Reference Data API team built on work done in previous SPADE projects focused on enabling an easier, standardized way for different actors to source reference data, whether that includes label information on chemicals, genetic information on seeds, or base specifications on equipment. Additionally, they have an operational proof of concept supporting the ContextItem system for ADAPT.
  • The Regulatory Reporting group navigated ever-changing government rules to identify core, common data elements and consider ways to simplify and further automate farmer and industry partner reporting of a variety of information required by regulatory agencies. They have established a regular call with chief information officers of several agencies to open the lines of communication.
  • Crop Scouting has closely aligned with the PAIL (precision ag irrigation) Project, working to standardize the way observations and measurements are made in the field. This covers weather data and in-field sensors for soil moisture and precipitation as well as how a crop scout might document a particular weed or insect.
  • WAVE (Web-based Asset and Vehicle data Exchange) has been watching industry efforts to standardize APIs used to share telemetry and other data between different “clouds.” Following the AgGateway strategy to avoid creating new standards where they already exist, the team focused on learning about efforts in this rapidly evolving space to see which existing options best fit the user stories, BPMN diagrams, and data buckets the team has developed.
  • One of the most critical teams is the Communications team. Originally, they focused on helping to promote SPADE efforts, publishing project results and outputs. However, the team realized it didn’t make sense to confine communications to the SPADE Project: to tell the story, they now consider all efforts of the Precision Ag Council, including PAIL and ADAPT communications.

SPADE3 has been a great project with a wealth of information collected and documented. We look forward to leveraging SPADE3 information to enable more automated, accurate and simple eConnectivity solutions for everyone within the agriculture industry. Stay tuned for SPADE4 details at the Mid-Year Meeting, in the SPADE Implementation Guidelines session!