NYSE-Listed John Deere Plans Boost South African Precision Farming

"We would love to see more home-grown South African software makers engage with us on this opportunity as it really offers everyone in the agriculture value chain a chance to benefit by moving toward a more advanced, technologically enabled and precise method of farming," said Wayne Spaumer, Technology Specialist at John Deere.

iot smart industry robot 4.0 agriculture concept, MONOPOLY919 / Shutterstock.com

John Deere, a New York Stock Exchange-listed firm, is offering South African software firms the chance to help boost precision farming.

Precision farming or agriculture, satellite farming or site-specific crop management (SSCM) is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops.

The NYSE-listed firm announced on Friday it is offering South African software firms with a focus on the agriculture and logistics sectors the opportunity to link their applications with its online Operations Center solution, a centralized farm management platform that collects machine, logistic and agronomic data to help farmers and their advisors to make more informed decisions.

The company has added a new sub-menu called More Tools to the John Deere Operations Center online platform, which enables third-party software providers that already have existing relationships with farmers using John Deere equipment, to link their products to the centralised database. Enabling existing South African software applications to link to the John Deere Operations Centre allows local farmers to collaborate with their preferred local partners on a world-class platform that provides the added benefit of opening up an even wider array of globally-benchmarked software tools and farm management systems to the domestic market.

“We would love to see more home-grown South African software makers engage with us on this opportunity as it really offers everyone in the agriculture value chain a chance to benefit by moving toward a more advanced, technologically enabled and precise method of farming,” said Wayne Spaumer, Technology Specialist at John Deere.

“The advantage of the Operations Center platform is that it allows farmers to choose exactly who they want to transfer their data to and to do so seamlessly via a convenient, centralised online platform. This means they can take existing information and data that they have collected with their existing software providers and make it available to new application providers and farm management systems, should they wish to gain new insights into existing historical data.”

Once they have a shortlist of interested companies that want to move forward, John Deere will host a workshop at its head office in Johannesburg where members of its global team will provide further detail.

Precision farming. Shutterstock.com

Farmers can also access the John Deere Operations Center via mobile app, which enables access to farm information from anywhere at any time. Advanced tools allow farmers to see what is happening on their farms while also allowing them to share data with advisors and partners, which can then be used to gain valuable insights over time. Advanced software tools enable farmers and their partners to analyze and edit data, make more informed and collaborative decisions, and optimize their logistics and day-to-day operations to boost yields and increase profitability.

“Achieving optimal efficiencies and reducing waste can have a large impact on overall yields,” says Spaumer.

“Using advanced software and analytic tools allows farmers to reduce the chaotic and often inefficient process of having to coordinate and manage farm activities over the phone or via lengthy meetings, which can often cause delays in work and a drop in productivity.”

The Operations Centre equips users with tools that make data interpretation easier to understand by providing a bird’s-eye view of the farm in both real-time and via historical data. This allows farmers to be more agile when adapting to changing conditions and make quick decisions based on immediate insights provided by robust data.

“It’s essentially like having your farm in your pocket,” says Spaumer.

“The app is easy to use and it connects you to all your machines, your fields and your operators as well as external influences like live weather information.”

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