SpaceX to bring SATCOM service to farmers

18 January 2024

John Deere & Company has entered into an agreement with SpaceX to provide satellite communications (SATCOM) service to farmers.

Deere & Company has been working to bring more technology to farms, including developing autonomous tractors and expanding 5G networks.

In what the companies call an industry first, the partnership would use SpaceX’s Starlink network to help those in rural communities receive connectivity — something that remains a challenge in many areas.

The SATCOM offering will connect both new and existing machines through satellite internet service and through satellite terminals. John Deere dealers will install a ruggedized Starlink terminal on compatible machines and with a 4G LTE JDLink modem connecting the machine to the John Deere Operations Center.

The technology will help enable:

  • Autonomy
  • Real-time data sharing
  • Remote diagnostics
  • Enhanced self-repair solutions
  • Machine-to-machine communication

“The value of connectivity to farmers is broader than any single task or action,” said Aaron Wetzel, VP of production and precision Ag production systems at John Deere. “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 system will initially be available in the U.S. and Brazil starting later this year.

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