John Deere, SpaceX Partner, Give Farmers Satellite Connection

Under the partnership, John Deere’s tractors will be fitted with Starlink terminals to connect them to the satellite network

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

January 16, 2024

2 Min Read
Under the partnership, John Deere’s tractors will be fitted with Starlink terminals

John Deere and SpaceX have announced a new partnership to bring satellite communication technology to farmers, in what the companies say is an industry-first.

Under the partnership, John Deere customers will be able to access SpaceX’s satellite network, Starlink, to allow farmers facing rural connectivity challenges to “fully leverage” precision agriculture technologies. 

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Elon Musk said the deal “will be great for farmers.”

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“The value of connectivity to farmers is broader than any single task or action,” said Aaron Wetzel, John Deere’s vice president of production. “Connectivity unlocks vast opportunities that were previously limited or unavailable.”

“For example, throughout the year, farmers must complete tasks within extremely short windows of time. This requires executing incredibly precise production steps while coordinating between machines and managing machine performance. Each of these areas are enhanced through connectivity, making the entire operation more efficient, effective and profitable.”

The new service, dubbed SATCOM, will connect both new and existing John Deere farming equipment through satellite internet service and ruggedized satellite terminals, with these integrated into equipment such as tractors. 

Related:John Deere Features Automated Cotton Picking at CES 2024

The new connectivity service will enable capabilities such as real-time data sharing, remote diagnostics and machine-to-machine communication. 

“John Deere has led the agriculture equipment industry for more than two decades with satellite-based precision guidance technology,” said Jahmy Hindman, John Deere’s chief technology officer. “Now, we are bringing satellite communications service to the farm at scale so farmers with cellular coverage challenges can maximize the value of connectivity to their operations.”

“The SATCOM solution unlocks the John Deere tech stack so every farmer can fully utilize their current precision agriculture technology in addition to the new innovative solutions they will deploy in the future.”

SATCOM will be initially launched in the U.S. and Brazil, starting in the second half of this year.

At CES, Deere showed how it is helping in cotton picking and road work, two unrelated fields but both requiring sophisticated technology to get the job done better.

Deere brought its cotton-picking mechanism, a series of connected cotton-picking machines that sit in front of a large Deere cotton-picking machine.

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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