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A new agreement between John Deere and SpaceX will allow farmers facing rural connectivity challenges to fully utilize their precision agriculture technologies.

Mike Kool, John Deere’s senior product manager for connected fleet, says farmers will soon be able to get the Starlink network equipped to their machines. “This is going to be game changing for our customers that are in those areas,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of extensive research over the past few years and realize 30% of crop land within the U.S. is just not covered to a level that they need to be.”

He tells Brownfield Starlink will connect both new and existing machines through satellite internet service. John Deere dealers will activate the solution by installing a ruggedized Starlink terminal on compatible machines, along with a 4G LTE JDLink modem to connect the machine to the John Deere Operations Center.

“We understand the challenges that our customers are up against,” he said. “Tighter and tighter windows of getting planted into the ground, spraying, harvesting, ever changing weather. We want to enable them to do more with less.”

According to John Deere, the agreement will help enable autonomy, real-time data sharing, remote diagnostics, enhanced self-repair solutions, and machine-to-machine communication.

Kool says the new satellite communications service will initially be available through a limited release in the U.S. and Brazil starting in the second half of 2024.

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