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Infotronics Technology for Agricultural Equipment

Advances in precision agriculture technology are transforming agriculture in the United States. Although site-specific technology gives farmers the opportunity to improve their profitability and enhance sustainability in production, the large amount of information makes it difficult to manage and realize in field operations. This prevents farmers from fully benefiting from precision agriculture technology. Successful precision agriculture production relies on having sufficient precision production information and on displaying that information in such a way that farmers can use it directly or electronic control devices can implement it automatically.

Infotronics is an integrated technology of electronics, computing, and communication. Agricultural machinery is the platform for performing precision agriculture production. An agricultural infotronic system is capable of collecting, exchanging, analyzing, and displaying precision production information on agricultural machinery. This will provide farmers with a useful tool for utilizing precision production information, allowing them to realize benefits from precision agriculture technology. We believe this will transform U.S. agriculture into an era of "information agriculture."

In our research, we are developing an infotronic system for agricultural tractors. Specific research objectives are to develop a machinery-area-network (MAN) and an on-machinery information manager. Together, they will perform like an additional "MAN" to assist the human operator in updating, exchanging, and analyzing information, and in displaying the proper operating information to farmers or electronic control devices for implementation. The agricultural infotronic system will provide Illinois farmers with an effective means for handling intensive information in precision agricultural operations.

Qin Zhang, Assistant Professor
Department of Agricultural Engineering
(217) 333-9419; qinzhang@illinois.edu

John F. Reid, Professor
Department of Agricultural Engineering
(217) 333-2738; j-reid1@illinois.edu

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