NEWS RELEASE June 08, 2022
Battery-powered autonomous tractor to reach Australian farms by 2026
Crestmead, Queensland (8 June, 2022) – John Deere has announced a 'monumental shift' in primary production with an autonomous battery-powered electric tractor to be launched in Australia in 2026.
John Deere Australia and New Zealand Production System Manager, Steph Gersekowski, talked through the technological 'leap' and its benefits to Australia's primary producers at Hort Connections 2022 in Brisbane, earlier today.
"Machinery of this kind will create a monumental shift, not only for John Deere as a manufacturer, but also for Australian agriculture," Ms Gersekowski said.
"In less than four years, horticulture farmers will be able to leverage this intelligent and efficient equipment across their farms, creating what can genuinely be described as a significant step-change for high-value crop production.
"Electrification and autonomous equipment helps businesses reduce CO2e emissions, improve safety and bolster productivity, all outcomes which strongly align with John Deere's overarching goal to deliver a fleet of intelligent and connected machines to help the industry become more sustainable, productive and efficient."
Ms Gersekowski said John Deere had priortised electric and autonomous research and development, working with both innovators and industry, to deliver transformational advancements in hard iron.
"A trial with a prototype of the battery electric utility tractor will soon commence on Australian farms to extensively test the equipment under our nation's unique farming conditions," Ms Gersekowski said.
"Alongside the tractor, John Deere will also bring electric batteries and chargers to market to facilitate the new technology. We believe this move will create a mindset shift towards power and will prioritise the use of green energy on farms."
John Deere's electrification journey was accelerated in February, when the company acquired the majority ownership in Kreisel Electric, a global leader in high-density, high-durability battery modules and packs.
"Kreisel Electric's proprietary technology is cutting-edge. It delivers differentiated battery technology and currently services a global customer base across multiple markets.
"The majority investment in Kreisel Electric will allow Deere to optimally integrate vehicle and powertrain designs around high-density battery packs, while leveraging Kreisel's charging technology to build out infrastructure required for farming adoption."
Autonomous tractors have the power to not only improve job quality and consistency, reduce noise pollution and drive productivity, they can also help meet the horticulture industry's immense challenge of sourcing labour.
"Automation is also perfectly scalable, meaning farmers can rapidly scale up automation during pinch-point moments, like harvest or spraying, where labour may be scarce, and then just as easily scale down when they have less time constraints or greater access to skilled workers," she said.
"The horticulture industry is primed to leap forward with this technology, as many farmers are already leveraging John Deere's Digital Ecosystem to direct and monitor the flow of machinery across their farms."
Ms Gersekowski said John Deere customer research indicated high-value crop producers were eager to adopt electric machinery, with up to 70% of horticulture farmers indicating they would like to purchase an electric option.
"Rather than a futuristic ideal, electrification has become today's expectation. Australian agriculture, and in particular the horticulture sector, is facing immense challenges and opportunities in providing a growing worldwide population with food," she said.
"Delivering autonomous and electrically powered tractors is among the solutions John Deere is providing farmers to harness Australian agriculture's immense opportunities of meeting this increased global food demand."
About Deere & Company:
Deere & Company is a global leader in the delivery of agricultural, golf & turf, construction, and forestry equipment. We help our customers push the boundaries of what's possible in ways that are more productive and sustainable to help life leap forward. Our technology-enabled products including the John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray™ are just two of the ways we help meet the world's increasing need for food, shelter, and infrastructure. Deere & Company also provides financial services through John Deere Financial. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at JohnDeere.com or in Australia at JohnDeere.com.au.