Deere goes high tech for high value crops
John Deere’s latest equipment for high-value crops varies widely in size, from compact tractors that slide easily through rows of vines to huge bed crop planters that are as tall as buildings.
But the one feature that ties all the machines together, other than the signature green paintwork, is the technology. The 184-year-old company has banked on precision farming – a necessity for growing seeds that can cost up to $ 875 an acre.
High-tech and precision features are paramount in the Deere line of tractors, loaders and sprayers designed to meet the diverse labor needs of high-value crop growers. Among the company’s offerings are cloud-based services such as JDLink, which allows a producer to track the work of their machines in the field, and AutoTrac, which allows hands-free steering of tractors using GPS coordinates. .
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âJDLink is free for customers,â said Greg Christensen, chief marketing officer for John Deere. “Almost any tractor you see can be equipped with JDLink.”
Christensen and other Deere marketing professionals recently hosted a Field Day for Media in Bakersfield, Calif. To highlight some of the new features in the company’s line of high-value crop equipment. , which include not only vineyards and orchards, but also a myriad of field crops. including carrots, melons, onions, pumpkins, lettuce, peanuts and pine trees.
âTo a stranger, when they think of John Deere, they might think of a cornfield or a wheat field,â Christensen told Farm Progress. âBut we have a ton of products specifically designed for high value crops – California, Oregon, Washington or the Northeast, or citrus in Florida. They are designed for very different crops than the steel plow. invented for. “
Push for efficiency
Deere has long touted the versatility and durability of its machines, but the company’s effort in recent years has focused on efficiency. Its web-based John Deere operations center includes features like a work scheduler, which allows customers to set up tasks for their employees during the day and send data to machines, Christensen said.
Last year, Deere entered into an agreement with Smart Guided Systems to sell its Smart-Apply intelligent spray control system for use with its tractors in high-value crop applications. The system is an add-on kit for towed airblast sprayers, and company officials say the product can significantly reduce the potential for chemical drift and help decrease the amount of product applied.
âThe Smart-Apply system will help ensure that only the canopy will be sprayed, and it automatically adjusts the spray volume based on plant density per nozzle area,â Christensen said. This feature saves input costs while contributing to environmental sustainability, he said.
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Deere continued earlier this year by acquiring Silicon Valley-based Bear Flag Robotics to accelerate autonomous technology on the farm. The Bear Flag team is made up of agricultural professionals, engineers and technologists focused on autonomy, sensor fusion, vision, data, software and hardware, according to Deere.
The purchase of Bear Flag was one of Deere’s many recent acquisitions that have allowed the company to expand its product line for high-value crops. The company acquired Monosem, a European precision planter manufacturer in 2016, and then in 2017 purchased Mazzoti, an Italy-based sprayer manufacturer. Monosem and Mazzoti have kept their names, brands and trade agreements.
Here’s a look at some of the new and updated John Deere tractors and other equipment featured during the Media Field Day. For details on all Deere products, visit deere.com.