NEWS RELEASE April 02, 2023
John Deere Encourages Farmers to Prepare for the Automation Revolution – Using Tech Already Available on Most Machines
Crestmead, Queensland (2 April, 2023) — John Deere Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Luke Chandler, has encouraged Australian agriculture to prepare now for the future of farming in an address to the Rabobank Farm2Fork Summit 2023.
Mr Chandler said farmers can act immediately, using technology they most likely already have on their machines, to harness the power of data insights and automation, and drive positive economic, agronomic, and sustainability outcomes.
"Everyone knows the important role farmers play in feeding and clothing the world and for decades this was about building bigger machines and using more land," Mr Chandler told the 1600 Farm2Fork delegates who travelled from across the globe to attend the event in Sydney last week.
"But our focus must now be on doing more with less. John Deere's 2030 strategy is about us helping our customers be more productive, profitable and sustainable and helping industry to be more prosperous right around the world."
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be integral to industry thriving into the future, and balancing production with ecological health.
John Deere Director of Aftermarket and Customer Support, Emma Ford, who co-presented with Mr Chandler, said the automotive industry had, for years, been preparing motorists for the use of these technologies in their motor vehicles.
"They've been doing this through the introduction of technology like lane control, automated parking and cruise control – technology that is now part of our everyday lives – and now that opportunity is here for agriculture," Ms Ford said.
Mr Chandler said automated farm vehicles were no longer just an ambition of the future and were operational on real farms in North America.
"Last year we saw John Deere launch its first driverless tractors that are now in the field in the United States," he said.
"We know one of the other great challenges for farmers is labour, particularly labour to drive sophisticated machinery, so we believe automation can help us overcome this challenge when we are feeding and clothing the world.
"This is not science fiction. This technology will be available in Australia in the next three to five years."
AI has also transformed the specificity of information that can be taken, processed and then practically applied back into production systems.
"We used to work at farm level, then we went to field level in terms of the data we could collect and the decisions we could make, and now we are quickly moving to a future where we will have plant-by-plant level management, in real time," Mr Chandler said.
"For example, we have trials in some crops showing that by using such future technology, we can reduce fertiliser use by as much as 60%.
"In Australia, fertiliser makes up a quarter of the variable cost of broadacre cropping. So, if we can use technology to create an environment where we can generate these savings locally we can achieve significant economic and environmental benefits for Australian and New Zealand farmers.
"Let's also think about what that means for the industry's carbon footprint."
In another example, John Deere's See & Spray™ technology has been shown in trials to reduce herbicide use by as much as 77%.
"This will also be completely transformational for farmers around the world in terms of both the agronomic and environmental outcomes that can be achieved," Ms Ford said.
She urged farmers to ask themselves, as a matter of priority, three key questions to ensure they can make the most of the technology available to them.
"Firstly, are you using the technology you have already paid for on your equipment to its best potential?"
"Secondly, how are you using data to generate insights and make better decisions in your business – are you using data to improve effectiveness and profitability?
"And thirdly, do you have connectivity set up on your farm so you can effectively collect that data and manage from anywhere in the world?"
Finally, Ms Ford reminded Farm2Fork delegates of a quote by Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who said: "The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again".
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About John Deere:
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.