April 27, 2023

John Deere US cotton leaders visit ‘amazing’ Australian cotton farms

Crestmead, Queensland (27 April, 2023) — Senior John Deere United States-based leaders Travis Becton and Roger Zey traded the company's Moline, Illinois headquarters for the cabs of Australian cotton harvesters when they visited growers and dealers across the country's key cotton regions last week.

Speaking from Goondiwindi, John Deere Global Cotton Business Manager, Mr Zey, said he was excited to experience first-hand the harvest of some of the world's most high-yielding and high-quality cotton crops.

"This field trip is about engaging with growers on how we can work together to 'move the needle' to add more value and increase returns, not just for today, but for the long term. John Deere's role is to provide industry with the technology it needs to be able to make decisions for the future," Mr Zey, who has spent 13 of his 34-year John Deere career focusing on cotton harvesting in the US, Australia and Brazil, said. 

"Australia already has very progressive operators and we're here to listen to what they need and help them become fully optimised on the models they're buying."

Module traceability gains traction in retail sector

While global cotton consumption is tied closely to the health of the global economy, Mr Zey said cotton's position as a sustainable fibre rather than an artificial product would help boost its share of the world market.

"One thing we've really brought to the industry is traceability, which is gaining traction on the retail side as a new generation of shoppers seeks the information they need to enable them to say, 'I trust Australian cotton'," he said.

"John Deere's Harvest Identification, Cotton Pro, provides tracking and tracing of a harvested cotton module back to the section of the field it came from, so that companies that process cotton into products can prove that it's an industry committed to sustainable practices.

"Field trips like this validate what we're doing by seeking the advice of our customers and dealers about where they see the most value for the next five to 10 years, or the next generation, to ensure we stay ahead of the market and prevent complacency."

Australian trends common to global cotton production

John Deere Global Director, Cotton and Sugar Production, Travis Becton, said he had gained important local insights touring dryland production systems and irrigated farms such as Cubbie Station at Dirranbandi and Sundown Pastoral at Moree, to 'ground truth' conditions in the Australian industry.

"You can read and hear about it from a distance but it's really good to see for yourself what's going on, and the trends in Australia around labour, input costs and sustainability are all themes common to global producers," Mr Becton said.

"From a production system perspective, the question is how do we work with customers to reduce costs, do more with less, and improve yields and fibre quality? A weather event anywhere in the world could quickly change conditions for cotton, so we focus on what we can control.

"From a product perspective that's about creating more value and increasingly looking at areas we can automate to make everything easier. How does one piece of equipment talk to the next piece of equipment, and how do we make it easy to utilise technology?

"The cotton outlook in Australia is optimistic — we haven't heard many negatives. It's great to be back to hear it straight, especially when we didn't get out for so long during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As a company, John Deere takes working side-by-side with our customers to create the technology and tools they need to thrive extremely seriously, and this trip has been invaluable in having those critical conversations."

Roger Zey said he had enjoyed himself so much he'd happily move to Australia.

"The people are awesome, even something as simple as stopping for breakfast at a country bakery is a pleasure. Australians are great to be around, we love their passion and see them at the cutting edge of cotton production."


About Deere & Company

Deere & Company (www.JohnDeere.com.au) 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 John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor, See & Spray™, and E-Power Backhoe are just some 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 on Deere & Company, visit us at www.deere.com.au/en/news/.

Media Contacts:

Stacey Wordsworth
0438 394 371