John Deere Technology Enables Sustainable Farming

Dec 12, 2022

By Jon Ebert, Manager, Public and Industry Relations for John Deere

John Deere See and Spray technology works by having cameras on the machine scan the field, while a computer processor identifies the crop, like soy, and sends a signal to the nozzle to spray all unwanted plants, such as weeds.

The global population is expected to grow rapidly, increasing the food demand by 50% by 2050. With less available land and skilled labor, and the other unpredictable variables inherent in farming, this is no easy task for the world’s farmers. Among their other challenges, farmers everywhere are in a constant battle to keep their fields clean from weeds. Weeds steal nutrients and moisture that crops require to grow. Further, some weeds are developing a tolerance to herbicide and cannot be killed with traditional doses, so growers are investing more money to effectively control weeds.

As if farming couldn’t get any more challenging, the current supply chain constraints that are impacting everything from furniture to automobiles have created chemical prices that are double or triple the cost as the same chemical last year. More efficient and cost-effective farming practices are something growers strive to achieve every day. To support this effort, John Deere launched See & Spray™ Ultimate in March of 2022. Farmers can use a John Deere sprayer equipped with See & Spray Ultimate to minimize input costs and only spray weeds in corn, soy and cotton fields when they are detected. This technology works by having cameras on the machine scan the field, while a computer processor identifies the crop, like soy or corn, and sends a signal to the nozzle to spray all unwanted plants, such as weeds.

See & Spray Ultimate can save farmers up to more than two thirds on their non-residual herbicide costs when spraying in corn, soy and cotton. John Deere has also integrated a dual product solution system that enables farmers to spray two different tank mixes at the same time using the ExactApplyTM nozzle body. A common use case would be broadcasting a residual herbicide while target spraying non-residual herbicide. John Deere is excited to merge the revolutionary See & Spray Ultimate technology and dual product system into one fully integrated sprayer that John Deere dealers can sell and support.

In addition to innovating at the intersection of agronomy and computer vision, John Deere is creating advancements in machine learning and computing to address the labor challenges in agriculture. To provide a solution for this problem, earlier this year, John Deere revealed a fully autonomous tractor. The machine combines the 8R tractor, TruSet™-enabled chisel plow, GPS guidance system and advanced computer vision technologies. Designed to allow farmers to till their land autonomously and remotely, the technology will allow them to focus on their most important tasks.

To continue innovating and solving those challenges, John Deere has recently expanded its U.S. footprint and technology operations with new offices in Chicago, Illinois and Austin, Texas. The new locations enable Deere to further strengthen its technology capabilities and attract talent interested in solving some of the world’s most pressing challenges—including feeding a growing population. The offices will serve as a collaboration hub for new hires, allowing Deere to connect and collaborate with regional universities, startups and the technology community.

John Deere is proud to support its customers, and John Deere dealers aim to do more with less in ways that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. Technology-enabled products including John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor and See & Spray Ultimate are just some of the ways John Deere helps its customers meet the world's increasing need for food and fiber.

Editor’s Note: We are pleased to have John Deere guest write for our magazine this quarter—our ag technology issue—and look forward to sharing the many innovative ways that not only Deere but so many ag companies and organizations are developing and advancing technology today—and for tomorrow! Check out our ASA social for other examples of nifty innovations.