Use of Controller Area Network (CAN) data to determine field efficiencies of agricultural machinery

Santosh K. Pitla, Nannan Lin, Scott A. Shearer, Joe D. Luck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Controller Area Network (CAN) bus is used on current agricultural equipment for in-vehicle communication among multiple microcontrollers. In this study, CAN data was collected from the tractor diagnostic port during three field operations: anhydrous ammonia (NH3) application, field cultivation, and planting. Specifically, CAN messages corresponding to engine fuel use rate were filtered, decoded, and analyzed. High fuel use rates were recorded from the tractor when implements were engaged in the soil compared to when the implements were lifted out of the ground at the end of the passes or, when the tractor was turning and idling. Threshold fuel rates (TFR) in liter per hour per tool for each operation were established based on the draft force requirements of the implements to distinguish between working and dwell periods. Using the calculated TFRs of 2.58 to 2.64 Lh-1 tool-1, 0.41 to 0.50 Lh-1 tool-1 and 1.46 to 1.65 Lh-1 row-1, average field efficiencies (FE) of anhydrous NH3 application, field cultivation and planting were determined to be 71%, 71% and 68%, respectively. It was found that FE values for the planting operation were highly sensitive to variation in TFR when contrasted with anhydrous NH3 application and field cultivation operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-839
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Engineering in Agriculture
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • Automation
  • Communication
  • Controller
  • Draft power
  • Field efficiency
  • Implements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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