Farm equipment manufacturer John Deere on Thursday revealed two of its latest projects: a new fertilizer-saving technology called ExactShot and an electric excavator.
The two new technologies were announced at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, an event that Deere has used to showcase new products in recent years.
ExactShot uses both sensors and robotics to apply about 0.2 milliliters of fertilizer to seeds as they are being planted. The manufacturing giant said in a press release that the technology could reduce the amount of starter fertilizer applied annually across the U.S. corn crop by about 93 million gallons, saving U.S. farmers roughly $650 million, Chief Technology Officer Jahmy Hindman said.
The electric excavator uses a battery designed by Kreisel Electric, an electric battery company in which Deere owns a majority stake. The company said the excavator will require fewer moving parts, create less noise and emit fewer emissions than a gas-powered one.
"In the construction industry, electrification is going to have an enormous impact on both workers and communities around the world," Hindman said. "The lower noise of electrified construction equipment in urban areas allows the work to begin earlier and to end later."
Despite the move toward electrification, Hindman defended biofuels in his presentation at CES. While he admitted Deere "accelerated its focus on electrification" when it acquired its majority stake in Kreisel Electric, Hindman said biofuels support a "circular economy," allowing farmers to use the crops they grow to help power their machines.
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"Our excitement for the future of biofuels shouldn't take anything away from electrification," Hindman said.
John Deere Chief Executive Officer John May said in his speech at the convention that the products demonstrate the company's focus on "technology, intelligence and sustainability."
"Technology is the key to driving sustainability on the farm and construction sites and empowering our customers to be more efficient and profitable in the face of significant challenges," May said.
May also said farmers will need to produce 50% more food to continue feed world population in the future, pointing out that U.S. farmland acreage has been declining over the past 40 years.
"The technology and innovation that John Deere will bring to the market over the balance of this decade will rival the transformation that took place when John Deere first began making tractors more than a hundred years ago," he said.
The company did not say in its release or at CES when the products would be available to farmers.
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