John Deere has put itself front and center at CES the world’s largest Consumer Electronics Show to showcase and launch its latest tech and to make the case for why an agriculture and construction business is a good fit for an event that’s generally reserved for the computer tech world.
At the event last week, John Deere announced “ExactShot”, a new sensor and robotics-based system for applying fertilizer, and a new electric excavator. The idea with both is to speed up repetitive processes while making them more efficient and less wasteful. In other words, as we discussed several times at FARMCON23, trying to do more with less!
“Why should you care about farmers when they represent less than 2% of the U.S. population?” asked John May, the CEO of John Deere, speaking at a keynote. His answer: because food production is exactly where tech is actually proving its relevance and making a difference. “You will not find two industries that have a larger impact on our world, and all of us, than agriculture and construction.”
I couldn’t agree more! I think agriculture is moving in an exciting new direction where “food is health” and energy is becoming a much larger part of our world. This transition is attracting new, sharp, young engineers and some of the world’s brightest minds. With this being the case, I’m expecting some big changes and large technological gains in agriculture during the next decade. The key to success is going to be our “intellectual flexibility” and how open and willing we are going to be in accepting and implementing change.
ExactShot is working to help farmers become more economically and environmentally sustainable by using sensors to identify where seeds are planted and sprays fertilizer only in those precise locations. “ExactShot uses a sensor to register when each individual seed is in the process of going into the soil,” the company wrote in a press release. “As this occurs, a robot will spray only the amount of fertilizer needed, about 0.2 milliliters, directly onto the seed at the exact moment as it goes into the ground.” Deere believes that this could reduce fertilizer use on the farm by -60% or by 93 million gallons annually, which in turn will mean weed growth will also go down (thus needing less chemicals to control those) and less water to grow.
Another innovation from the tractor company is its “see and spray” technology, which uses 36 cameras on a massive 120-foot-long machine to pinpoint the difference between weeds and plants — and kill the former without hurting the latter. That reduces the amount of herbicide farmers need by up to 66 percent, and it looks very cool. (Source: John Deere, TechCrunch, Mashable)
To see a quick 30-second video on the new ExactShot technology Click HERE. Rather than laying down a constant steady stream of fertilizer the new tech allows for more of a pulsing application that only fires the fertilizer out when it senses or locates the seed. Good stuff! Also, check it out in slow motion to get a better idea HERE