John Deere’s new planting technology saves on fertilizer use

January 6, 2023

John Deere has revealed new technology that allows farmers to reduce the amount of starter fertilizer needed during planting by more than 60 percent.

The technology uses sensors and robotics to place starter fertilizer precisely onto seeds as they are planted in the soil, rather than applying a continuous flow of fertilizer to the entire row of seeds.

The technology is designed to work at planting speeds of up to 10 miles per hour, notes Deanna Kovar, John Deere’s vice president, production and precision ag production systems.

“The speed, synchronization, and precision at which this is happening in the field was previously unthinkable,” she said, highlighting the financial and environmental benefits of applying less fertilizer at a large scale.

The technology, called ExactShot, uses a sensor to register when each individual seed is in the process of going into the soil. As this occurs, a robot will spray only the amount of fertilizer needed, about 0.2 ml, directly onto the seed at the exact moment as it goes into the ground.

“Across the U.S. corn crop, ExactShot could save over 93 million gallons of starter fertilizer annually and prevent wasted fertilizer from encouraging weed growth or increasing the risk of running off the field into a waterway,” the company added in a news release.

The ExactShot system will be available to farmers in time for this year’s spring planting.

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