Luke Chandler the Managing Director of John Deere Australia and New Zealand has outlined unprecedented support of $100 billion in farm gate produce by 2030
In a time of record sales of Tractors and farm machinery, John Deere management has asserted its position as the number one retailer in the sector in our local market, by backing farmers in the push to achieve $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.
This commitment to the local farm sector was confirmed at the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) national conference in Canberra. Rather fitting as it was the NFF that originally outlined the ambitious goal of $100 billion in farm gate output by 2030.
John Deere’s global Senior Vice President of Agriculture and Turf Sales and Marketing, David Gilmore, and Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Luke Chandler, shared the stage on day one of the NFF event to discuss the company’s global vision of having the most productive, profitable and sustainable customers in the world.
Visiting from the United States, David Gilmore said unlocking value for customers was John Deere’s priority and the primary driver of the company’s strategy and operating model.
“In 2020, we re-organised our company and introduced our Smart Industrial Strategy – enabling us to better serve our customers and more closely align to what they do every day,” David Gilmore explained.
“Organising our company around three key pillars of production systems, technology stack and lifecycle solutions, has driven more focus on the challenges our customers face and delivered greater clarity into prioritising how we can provide optimal benefits to address these issues.”
Automation at forefront
David Gilmore said access to a skilled workforce was one of the challenges proving most demanding to farmers here and across the globe, a situation John Deere was prioritising through its industry leading work in automation.
“Last year John Deere launched its first driverless tractors in North America and we are now seeing them performing tillage in paddocks across the United States,” David Gilmore continued.
“We are planning to expand this capability to other steps within the production cycle such as planting, spraying, and harvest, which means machines can run non-stop for days at a time, enabling additional productivity opportunities.
“Autonomy frees up the time an operator would normally spend in the cab of a tractor, combine, or sprayer, allowing them to spend more time making strategic decisions that will benefit their operation.”
Connectivity is essential to the adoption of automation and David Gilmore said while he recognised the challenge this poses in some parts of Australia, he strongly encouraged farmers to seek alternative solutions if needed and not miss out on the enormous gains in productivity autonomy is poised to deliver.
“As a company, we are trying to solve this challenge globally. Late last year, we issued a request for proposal seeking a strategic partner to enhance the satellite communication connecting our fleet of intelligent machines,” David Gilmore added.
“Enhanced connectivity will unlock significant opportunities in agriculture and enable farmers to take advantage of these innovative technologies that rely on real-time information and communication.”
Local farmers set benchmark
Australia continues to be a strong region of focus for John Deere globally due to its unique operating conditions and the agriculture industry’s appetite for technology.
“Local farmers are key exporters, even though they don’t have the same safety nets farmers have in other countries and also have to contend with farming in harsh growing conditions,” David Gilmore continued.
“These are drivers for efficiency, and therefore faster adoption of technology, so farmers can remain competitive in export markets. We know if it works in Australia, it will work globally.
“Because of this, we have developed several prototypes here including, arguably our best known, the round bale Cotton Picker, which when released saw rapid adoption not only in Australia but around the world.
“It’s had a huge impact, increasing productivity for farmers by offering a solution that helps address the limited availability of labour.
“Several steps in the harvesting process have been incorporated into the cotton picker, which has also been designed to deliver harvest-time cost savings for wrap and hauling, fuel, and picking.”
Farming systems sustainability
David Gilmore said factors like water scarcity had also led local growers to be leaders of global sustainability in farming systems.
“Local growers demonstrate a best practice of production systems – growing more with less, focused on producing more per drop of water, which has led to global best practice on soil management techniques,” David Gilmore added.
“Sustainability is integral to John Deere’s operating model as we strive to develop technology that has real purpose and improvement, and we have several customer-focused-sustainability goals to target the reduction of chemical use and help our customers do more with less inputs and less fuel.
“These include improving nitrogen efficiency by 20%, increasing crop protection efficiency by 20%, and reducing customer CO2 emissions by 15%.
“Our See & SprayTM Select technology, for example, has an integrated camera technology that rapidly detects green plants within fallow ground and automatically triggers an application to those plants.
“In doing so, it achieves a similar hit rate to traditional broadcast spraying but uses on average 77% less herbicide.”
Dealerships and grower connection
David Gilmore’s weeklong visit also included a program of meetings with dealerships, customers and employees at the company’s Australian and New Zealand headquarters in Brisbane QLD.
“I feel very privileged to have travelled around the countryside this week, meet people on the ground at broadacre cropping and livestock farms, as well as talking with representatives from John Deere dealerships,” David Gilmore added.
“It’s always a pleasure to get boots on the ground and have genuine conversations with farmers about the sector and understand how we can continue to evolve our equipment to help them achieve the important role of feeding and clothing the growing global population.
“In Canberra ACT, I met with key people from across Australian dealerships to hear about their businesses and to discuss opportunities to further support the agriculture industry.
“Dealerships are the coal face of the John Deere brand and together, we are fully committed to helping local farmers do more with less to sustain this great planet and their business operations for years to come,” David Gilmore concluded.