Imagine you find yourself outside in the sunshine on a crisp autumn day on a family crop farm in Maryland. Huge machines harvest acre after acre of soybeans in a hypnotic show of American ingenuity and abundance. It’s a gorgeous day. You might think you are there to enjoy the weather and observe a great American tradition – harvest season on a large family farm. But family crop farms all over America are where one sees the latest exciting technological advancements powered by wireless connectivity.
While everyone has been looking at cities, public rights of ways, the skies – literally anywhere else for the latest smart technologies – John Deere has been making tremendous advancements by leveraging connectivity on the farm. Over the past several years, John Deere has developed a variety of tools, applications, and equipment allowing the American farmer to engage in smart agriculture, and it’s increasingly powered by wireless connectivity.
Smart agriculture enables the American farmer to be the most productive in the world. It helps her produce higher crop yields while using less water, fertilizer, seeds, and energy by capturing insightful data that allows her to understand what worked this year to make next year even more bountiful.
John Deere’s cutting-edge farm equipment allows farmers to collect more data than ever before and leverages wireless connectivity for real-time communication during planting and harvesting. Today, John Deere can partner with the family crop farmer at every step of her operation.
On this beautiful day, a combine harvests a 10-acre field of soybeans. The John Deere combine and grain truck bringing in the crop are outfitted with more than 30 antennas that are each wirelessly collecting data with John Deere’s 4G MTG technology. As the data comes in, each machine uploads the information using John Deere’s JD Link to its virtual Operations Center platform where the farmer can see real-time information.
When wireless connectivity is available on the field, this communication can happen in real-time to optimize performance. As they harvest, the combine and grain truck operators can see each machine’s location in the soybean field in relation to each other. They can also see their harvest rate, machine speeds, and more – all visible on John Deere’s Generation 4 tablet display inside their machine cabs wirelessly providing an updated view every 30 seconds. Using the virtual Operations Center platform, the farmer working on another field can view progress at the soybean field using her cell phone.
Today, John Deere’s machinery can use wireless technology for every stage of farming. Farmers use programs that map the land showing where to plant seeds and capture data to track the growth cycle, confirming the expected and actual harvest yields. The machines follow mapped routes and use this information to plant the crops evenly to optimize efficiency. After planting, John Deere machines can even identify individual plants to ensure only weeds are sprayed during weeding. And during harvesting, the machines can sync together wirelessly so that they use less fuel because there is less idling and the machines work together.
Farming is time sensitive, and farmers need to know they can depend on their machines. Using John Deere’s Connected Support application, machines can use wireless connectivity to alert the farmer and the John Deere dealer of a maintenance issue through JD Link, including a map of the equipment’s location. Alerts requiring the dealer to make an in-person visit allow the dealer to know what the issue is in advance and bring the necessary equipment. John Deere’s Machine Dashboard gives the farmer and dealer a comprehensive view of all wirelessly connected machines, allowing the dealer to diagnose machines remotely and push software updates, saving time and money during an extremely busy harvest season. The dealer can even schedule maintenance visits and anticipate part failures, empowering them to suggest adjustments to increase a machine’s efficiency.
These digital tools, where all the data is captured wirelessly, allow the farmer to collect, share, and analyze operation data. John Deere machines capture every detail of planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting information wirelessly so that the farmer can review this data and confirm what seeds, planting cycle, water schedule, fertilizer application, and weed control methods produced the best yield. All of this technology and digital tools, powered by wireless connectivity, give the American family crop farmer the most visibility and control over the aspects she can control in farming, with opportunities for increased automation in the future.
To enable these available technologies and move towards more efficiency, farms need strong, constant, reliable wireless connectivity to make smart agriculture work. Wireless technology is vital for American farmers. That is why the BEAD program and its focus on rural broadband – including wireless connectivity – is critical to continuing these advancements in smart agriculture on which family crop farms depend.