Machinery for agriculture: a successful partnership between CEN/TC 144 and ISO/TC 23 

Machinery for agriculture

CEN has a strong relationship with the ‘International Organization for Standardization’ (ISO). The ongoing technical cooperation with them is officialised with the Vienna Agreement, allowing new standards projects to be jointly planned.

In the area of machinery for agriculture, CEN Technical Committee CEN/TC144 ‘Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry’ mirroring ISO/TC 23 ‘Tractors and machinery for agriculture and forestry’, has as  main activity  the standardization of tractors and machines used in agriculture and forestry as well as in gardening, landscaping, irrigation and other related areas where  such equipment is used.


About 50% of the standards published by CEN/TC 144 (a total of 86 European Standards until now) were developed in cooperation with the corresponding ISO/TC 23. This cooperation can work in two ways: either standards are produced by the two standardization organizations in parallel or CEN can adopt already existing ISO standards. Most of these standards are listed in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), in support of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and Directive 2009/128/EC on sustainable use of pesticide, and therefore are a good example of bringing together European requirements with an internationally accepted approach.

Protecting the environment in agricultural work

Most of these existing European Standards, or which are being developed, , are related to machinery-safety for agriculture. However, some also address environmental aspects such as the application of pesticides. As an example, CEN and ISO are currently developing a Standard (EN ISO 16119-5) on environmental requirements for aerial spray systems. The standard will specify requirements and the means for their verification for design and performance of aerial-fixed wing and rotary aircraft platforms for agriculture, forestry and human health. Aerial application is used in difficult terrains or crops (forests) as well as for timely application to large areas. The main aim of the new standard is to maximize efficient use of crop protection products and minimize the risk of environmental contamination.

Smart farming on the way

As regards to smart farming, CEN and ISO are working on a Standard, EN ISO 18497, for the safety of highly automated agricultural machines, i.e. machines that function without an on-board operator.

Guillaume Bocquet, the Chair of CEN/TC 144, explains that “the challenges of future farming, which are productivity and environmental preservation, will only be met by development of more and more smart means of production. The stakes lie in the ability of machines to exploit tomorrow a considerable amount of data (climatic, agronomic, etc.) in real time, in order to be able to take autonomous decisions to optimize production: seed, fertilization, processing, water management ... etc.
The machines are being designed with more and more automatic functions, hence allowing the farmer to confidently devote himself/herself to other tasks of higher benefit. The design of these machines requires a perfect management of reliability and safety in the interest of cultures, goods and people. The ongoing development of the prEN ISO 18497 standard on safety requirements for highly automated machinery at the ISO international level reflects not only this reality and this need, but also provides manufacturers with a framework for designing safe and viable machines, while at the same time allowing a strong innovation, useful to the farmer.”