Skip to main content



ISOBUS is a term widely used when referring to precision farming equipment. But what does it mean and why do you need to understand it? 

In its simplest terms, ISOBUS is a standard (ISO 11783), an agreed set of rules that equipment manufacturers will use when developing their tractors or implements. The purpose of the standard is to allow equipment from different manufacturers to communicate with each other. This allows the sharing of information or control signals, all using a common connector between tractor and implement. 

Precision farming tasks usually require a tractor equipped with technologies such as telemetry systems, guidance systems, display screens and buttons/joystick to control equipment and, an implement which needs to be controlled or positioned in the field whilst it collects data.  

It is quite common that the implement, such as a fertiliser spreader, sprayer or forage wagon, will have a different manufacturer to the tractor being used to operate it. Without ISOBUS the operator will need an implement specific screen or terminal to monitor the implement functions, buttons/switches to control the implement and a method to capture and store the data generated by the implement, whilst linking any implement data to data generated by the tractors telemetry systems. Changing between tractors and implements can result in lenghty setup times, extra in-cab accessories (Screens and controls/switches) and multiple sets of field data which can be difficult to manage. All of which undermines the benefits of precision farming tasks. 

How has ISOBUS solved this problem? 

The Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation (AEF) is an independent organisation working with many equipment manufacturers. The aim of the foundation is to improve cross-manufacturer compatibility. They do this by implementing the ISOBUS standards.  

ISOBUS compliant equipment will have 1 or more modules enabled. Each module has a specific function to aid the communication between tractor and implement. If you have an ISOBUS enabled tractor and implement, you will have access to a module if both the tractor and implement have the module enabled. All certified ISOBUS compliant equipment will state which modules are available.  

Universal Terminal (UT) 

If your tractor and implement have the UT (Universal Terminal) ISOBUS module enabled, you will be able to use your tractors terminal to monitor and manage your implement, thus removing the need for additional implement specific screens in the tractor cab. 

Basic Tractor ECU (TECU) 

The basic tractor ECU (TECU) module will give the ISOBUS system access to basic tractor information such as speed, Power take-off RPM etc.  

Auxiliary Control New/Old (AUX-N/AUX-O) 

The AUX-N or AUX-O feature will allow you to program specific tractor control switches, buttons or joystick to control the operation of the implement. Tasks such as raising or lowering a baler pickup, opening/closing a door or even switching on/off lights can all be assigned to programmable tractor buttons. 

The standard states that AUX-N tractors are only compatible with AUX-N implements and AUX-O tractors with AUX-O implements. 


Task Control Basic (BAS), Geo based (GEO) and Section Control (SC) are 3 modules which enable the tractor and implement to exchange data. The TC-BAS module allows job information to be shared and stored. The TC-GEO module enabled the use of location data, necessary for tasks such as application mapping. TC-SC enables the use of section control, for implements like sprayers, fertilisers and seed drills. 

Additional modules (TIM/LOG/ISB) 

AEF continue to develop additional ISOBUS modules to enable farmers use new precision technologies.  

Common Connector 

An ISOBUS ready tractor will be fitted with an ISOBUS connector, a simple 9 pin plug that is compatible will all ISOBUS ready implements. All data and control signal will be sent via this common connector. Any mechanical attachments such as 3 point linkage, P.T.O or Hydraulic are not affected by ISOBUS . 

ISOBUS is simplifying the deployment and configuration of precision farming technologies. It is important to understand which ISOBUS modules are need to complete fields tasks. When purchasing equipment, ensuring that the necessary modules are available on both tractor and implement will ensure that field work can be completed with greatest efficiency. 

At CAFRE we specify equipment with the necessary ISOBUS modules required to complete field tasks. In doing so, we have simplified the operation of implements and tractors, reduced the quantity of equipment in the tractor cab and reduced the workload on our operators. 

Universal Terminal (UT) screen in CAFRE tractor connected to ISOBUS compatible fertiliser spreader.