John Deere has announced the first battery-powered electric tractor will be launched in Australia in 2026, labelling the announcement a ‘monumental shift’ in primary production.
The announcement was made by John Deere Australia & New Zealand production system manager Steph Gersekowski at Hort Connections 2022 in Brisbane last month. “Machinery of this kind will create a monumental shift, not only for John Deere as a manufacturer, but also for Australian agriculture,” Gersekowski said. “In less than four years, horticulture farmers will be able to leverage this intelligent and efficient equipment across their farms, creating what can genuinely be described as a significant step-change for high-value crop production. “Electrification and autonomous equipment help businesses reduce CO2e emissions, improve safety and bolster productivity, all outcomes which strongly align with John Deere’s overarching goal to deliver a fleet of intelligent and connected machines to help the industry become more sustainable, productive and efficient.” Deere acquired majority ownership of high-density and high-durability manufacturer Kreisel Electric earlier this year, a move that looks to have accelerated Deere’s adaption of the technology. Gersekowski said the next step will be testing the prototype tractor on local farms in Australia. “A trial with a prototype of the battery electric utility tractor will soon commence on Australian farms to extensively test the equipment under our nation’s unique farming conditions,” she said. “Alongside the tractor, John Deere will also bring electric batteries and chargers to market to facilitate the new technology. “We believe the move will create a mindset shift towards power and will prioritise the use of green energy on farms.” Gersekowski said Deere’s customer research indicated up to 70% of horticulture farmers would like to purchase an electric machine and hopes the announcement will be a step forward for the industry. “Australian agriculture, and in particular the horticulture sector, is facing immense challenges and opportunities in providing a growing worldwide population with food,” she said. “Delivering autonomous and electrically-powered tractors is among the solutions John Deere is providing farmers to harness Australian agriculture’s immense opportunities of meeting this increased global food demand.”