John Deere took its technology story to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to show a non-agricultural audience that the future of food production is relying on the adoption of smart technology. That future is, in fact, here today, and it’s the next big tech boom.
Why Tech Matters
The global population is growing, and farmers are under more pressure than ever to be efficient. They need to produce 50 percent more food during the first half of this century. And they must accomplish this task using less land and limited resources.
Farmers must adopt more sustainable farming practices to feed that population with a smaller impact on the environment.
This can feel like a race against time. While it’s easy to see intractable problems, it’s also a wonderful opportunity for innovation.
By integrating smart technology into the latest “iron” solutions, John Deere is developing machines for farmers to address this food-boosting challenge.
Take, for example, the R4038 sprayer Deere displayed at CES. With 97 robots running at 30 cycles per second, the sprayer helps farmers accurately apply treatments to their crops with sub-inch precision. The sprayer is informed by more than 400 sensors with geospatial connectivity. This allows the farmer to manage each portion of the field differently—based on soil type, moisture conditions, and weed pressure—to maximize crop yields in a sustainable way.
Jeremy Jack of Silent Shade Planting Company runs a 12,000-acre corn, soybean, rice, cotton, peanut, and wheat farm in Mississippi. He was with Deere at CES to share how he’s using precision technology to maximize his efforts.
“Across our farm, there’s a lot of variability,” Jack said. “The technology we have today with the John Deere equipment allows us to manage those variabilities tightly.”
Like Jack’s experience, smart machines like Deere’s R4038 sprayer are helping growers maximize each plant’s potential through precise robotic execution, execution that is fueled by artificial intelligence.
It’s the type of technology needed for tending crops on a large scale. To put it in perspective, many U.S. farms are about 5,000 acres, or twice the size of the entire Las Vegas Strip. This is why we’re producing the technology that farmers demand—and that the world needs. Or, as Julian Sanchez, Deere’s head of precision agriculture strategy, puts it: “It always amazes me how every line of software we write helps farmers do more with less.”