For farmers, the future is data-driven.
Deere and Co. is using its equipment to harvest up to 100 megabytes of data every second, which farmers can use to better their business and in turn share with dealers and agronomists.
Members of Deere’s Intelligent Solutions Group spoke on Thursday about the technology advancing agriculture as part of EntreFEST 2020, a two-day conference held virtually this year for social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Gazette is a media sponsor of EntreFEST this year.
In one of two sessions focused on agriculture and technology, Deere digital strategist Sona Raziabeegum spoke about how the company is creating advanced equipment to maximize farmers’ profits and sustainability.
Raziabeegum said farmers in the future will need to produce 70 percent more output, with the world’s population predicted to reach 10 billion people by 2050 and farmland becoming more scarce.
“The outcome that we’re really driving at is to ensure that, through precise execution, we make sure that every single seed that a farmer plants counts, every single drop of fertilizer or herbicide counts, and every grain that is harvested counts, in that we get it in the grain bin,” Raziabeegum said.
One machine she mentioned, the Combine Adviser, uses cameras to analyze the quality of grain as it’s harvested, then adjusts the combine automatically depending on what it finds. This simplifies the farmer’s job in real-time, she said.
One machine currently being tested is a herbicide sprayer that uses 36 cameras to take pictures every 50 milliseconds — distinguishing between weeds and crops to know where to spray.
This technology would allow farmers to reduce their herbicide use by 90 percent.
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In response to an audience question about how farmers can get informed about the technology, Raziabeegum said Deere dealers communicate with farmers about the equipment and resources can also be found online.
A later session focused on how Moline, Ill.-based Deere collects the data and what it is used for.
Ryan Bergman, a software engineer, said satellite receivers allow farmers, dealers and machinery to collect data on the land and triangulate locations.
These satellites also allow the equipment to connect to each other and the cloud, where the data is collected in raw form.
The data then is formed into base models, where it can be enhanced with other data to extrapolate information. Finally, the data is transformed into maps and such to be usable for farmers and those they wish to share it with.
Developers also can use this data to create applications that farmers can use in the field.
“As far as pure, raw amounts of data, when we’re at our peak in the spring or fall, we’re actually processing similar amounts of data, or more data, than Twitter,” Bergman said.
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