Collect And Share Data Seamlessly

AGCO Agro Link gives growers a way to move and analyze data across all platforms.

By Laura Barrera | Photos By AGCO

The agronomic data producers collect and generate on their farms is a valuable commodity. Yet, it’s not unusual—perhaps it’s the norm—to hit some snags when it comes to transferring the data between people and machines in a timely fashion.

Take the example of a farmer who wants to apply fertilizer at variable rates after harvest, says Darren Goebel, AGCO® Global Agronomy and Farm Solutions director. In order to write the prescription, the farmer’s agronomist needs recent soil and yield data. Yet, due to the complications of trying to access and pair up that data across different farm-management information systems (FMIS) and file formats, it may take weeks before that information is received, assessed and the fertilizer is applied.

“If we can enable that data stream to work more seamlessly, now all of a sudden the consultant can automatically access the yield data as it’s coming off the combine and pull in the sampling data to create the prescription,” says Goebel. This allows critical fertilizer and subsequent tillage operations to be completed within hours of the combine pass, reducing risk and improving yield for the following crop.

To resolve common data challenges, AGCO has partnered with AgIntegrated (AGI) to develop AGCO Agro Link, a centralized data-exchange platform that securely streamlines the collection of as-applied, as-planted and yield files; facilitates the transfer of prescription files to equipment in the field; moves data between cloud storage, equipment telematic systems and most FMIS; and allows users to share information with their trusted advisers more efficiently.

Access Data Anytime, Anywhere

One of the barriers to transferring data between people and machines is that every manufacturer has a slightly different way of accepting and exporting files, Goebel says. Some use the cloud, some require a USB stick, and others rely on older data storage devices.

With AGCO Agro Link, files can be moved from a desktop or FMIS over to a machine and vice versa, simply by dragging and dropping files within the web-based Agro Link desktop or mobile app to devices connected to it. When users are away from their desktop, they can still remotely access Agro Link via an Internet connection on their iOS device by using the web-based mobile app. “As an agronomist, if I’m out in my pickup scouting crops and I get a call from a farmer saying, ‘I forgot my file; I don’t have it on my machine,’ I can just push it to him, right there from the field,” Goebel says. Keeping growers in the field planting or applying when it is go time is critical to get the yield benefits from precision agriculture.

That capability makes AGCO Agro Link an ideal solution for anyone who wants to add data-transfer capabilities to their machine without the high expense of an aftermarket modem or subscription plan, says Jonathan Riley, AGCO North America Fuse product marketing manager. “They can easily use Agro Link with the app and be able to send and receive data without having to put $1,000 to $1,500 in additional hardware, just to have that capability,” he explains.

Users who have monitors that require USB devices to remotely access and upload or download data can use Agro Link and the mobile app simply by adding an iXpand flash drive—a USB stick that will plug into their iPhone or iPad via the charging port—to move data from the app to their monitor and vice versa. An iXpand flash drive costs about $30 to $60, depending on memory capacity.

Another typical challenge of transferring and accessing data is when an FMIS can’t read the file format in which the data is stored, as many manufacturers have their own proprietary file types. Riley says that a customer can zip their agronomic information, move it to the AGCO Agro Link platform and convert it to the proper file format. This allows ISO XML files to be converted into shapefiles and vice versa.

“Data privacy is always a concern,” Riley says, “and there’s a feature set in Agro Link that we can use to access an existing storage cloud through Amazon Web Services that a customer already has set up.” Additional features of AGCO Agro Link include managing field boundaries, post-calibration of data and the companion tool Go-Work for logistics management.

How to Get Started

For anyone interested in trying AGCO Agro Link, AGCO is offering a free trial of the program through May 2019. Once registered, users will receive a welcome email with their login information, as well as links to videos that will walk them through how to connect their machines, complete data transfers and set up other users if desired. Help support is also available to users via email.