Farms Deploy Tech to Boost Efficiency, More

Aiming to achieve better efficiency, workforce communications and equipment uptime, agricultural operations are deploying connectivity and management platforms.

With a new integration announced April 5 by connected operations specialist Samsara and agriculture and construction product manufacturer John Deere, managers of farming operations will be able to get greater visibility into the support vehicles that are used in performing such roles as taking fuel to equipment, transporting crops and servicing equipment.

“The agriculture industry has seen the value of technology innovation for several years,” Chris Mozzocchi, senior director of product management, product and ecosystem integrations at Samsara, said in a statement. “With this integration, we’re able to take another step forward in bringing these physical operations to the cloud.”

Undergoing a Significant Tech Transformation

Other companies in the agricultural equipment space are continuing to expand their efforts in technology as well.

CNH Industrial announced in March that it had opened a new engineering center in Scottsdale, Arizona, that is dedicated to the precision agriculture technology business. The facility’s focus includes developments in artificial intelligence (AI), autonomy, machine learning (ML) and data science.

“Our industries are undergoing a significant tech transformation and CNH Industrial wants to attract a growing talent pool of engineers and digitally-focused professionals that will shape this future,” said CNH Industrial Chief Human Resources Officer Kevin Barr in a statement announcing the new facility.

Another manufacturer of agricultural equipment, Kubota, announced in February its second investment in an AgTech startup that provides farm management, irrigation automation and yield management services.

The startup, FarmX, collects data on weather, soil, crops and other factors and uses AI technology to provide growers with a detailed analysis, optimized automated irrigation plans and proper harvesting time.

Bringing Physical Operations to the Cloud

With the new integration announced by Samsara and John Deere, managers can now monitor the location and status of the support vehicles they use in their farming operations in near real time, seeing on a John Deere online farm management system the vehicles’ location, heading, speed and fuel levels.

This data is displayed on the platform alongside that for other connected machinery and equipment. For those, the system features information about location, engine hours, fuel data and fault codes. It also enables geofencing as well as reports about equipment use.

With this data, the companies explain, managers can improve efficiency, uptime and communication workflows.

“Now, with the power of Samsara devices on farm support vehicles, customers have a way to stay on top of where everyone is to improve farm logistics,” said John Deere Product Marketing Manager Matt Daniels in a statement announcing the new integration.

Boosting Capabilities in Digitization

For John Deere, the new integration with Samsara is just the latest addition to its efforts to boost its capabilities in digitalization, autonomy, automation and electrification.

In its most recent quarterly earnings call, company executives announced the rollout of a metric that will measure growers’ progress in using technology to achieve better outcomes while using less resources.

Readmore: Tractors Are Becoming Smart, Connected to Boost Productivity, Sustainability

“As precision technologies continue to reduce the inputs used per unit of output, the environmental impact of generating that output improves, and this is increasingly of interest to our customer base for a variety of reasons,” Jill Kutzbach Sanchez, manager of sustainability and investor relations at Deere and Co., said during the Feb. 18 earnings call.

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