Another Solar Storm; New Holland, Bluewhite Partnership on Autonomous Tech; AGCO Layoffs; Deere's New Chief Tractor Officer

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
This is a nighttime image of the Aurora Australis and parts of the southeastern Indian Ocean as seen from the International Space Station. Geomagnetic storms, the aurora being one result, can impact earthbound positioning signals, as Deere explains. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

In this Equipment Roundup, DTN/Progressive Farmer looks at a John Deere report on the impact of solar storms on its GPS guidance systems; AGCO announcing a 6% reduction to its salaried workforce; New Holland and Bluewhite partnering to integrate Bluewhite's autonomous solutions for New Holland tractors; and John Deere announcing its new chief tractor officer.



The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) is predicting a G1, or minor, geomagnetic storm on Friday. A filament, or suspended solar material, erupted from the sun early on Tuesday, June 25, and "has a chance to clip the Earth on (Friday) June 28," the SWPC said.

The impact on earth will not be large. A G1 solar storm may cause weak power grid fluctuations and have minor impacts on satellite operations. A resulting aurora is commonly visible at high latitudes from a G1 storm (northern Michigan and Maine).

Recall the more intense solar storms in mid-May when historically "extreme" level geomagnetic storms affected guidance systems all over North America. John Deere has published a short after-action report on the impact of the storms on its GPS guidance systems.

According to Tim Marquis, a senior product manager at John Deere, "The biggest impact to the agriculture industry centered on GPS guidance systems. GPS receivers work when a signal is received at regular intervals, much like a beat from a metronome, from a satellite in orbit. During solar storms, that signal hits a 'fog' of charged particles and can be lost. And machines can't know precisely where they are thanks to this interference."

The event affected Deere's customers, many of whom were in the fields for spring planting at the time. But not all signals were lost.

"Our older StarFire receivers such as the SF3000 and SF6000 models seemed to be most affected," said Al Savage, manager, StarFire Network at John Deere. "Those receivers don't possess the same capability as the newer SF7000 Series."

Deere's SF7000 Series receiver is designed to continuously receive correction signals from multiple satellite groups and switch to the strongest signal if one is blocked, he said.

"The latest StarFire receivers normally track about 40 satellites at one time, and with improved antenna technology, can determine which satellite signals are being impacted by the solar storm and discard those signals when it develops its position solution," said Jason Blanchette, product manager, John Deere.



Due to weakening demand in the agriculture industry, AGCO Corporation has announced a program to reduce the company's salaried workforce by about 6%. AGCO estimates it will incur charges for one-time termination benefits of approximately $150 million to $200 million, including charges such as severance payments and employees' benefits.

AGCO expects most of these cash charges will be incurred in 2024 and the first half of 2025.



The FM9380-F75 is a brand-new design of flow meter from TeeJet Technologies. It contains no moving parts, which means no service or maintenance requirements and has no risk of clogging. It has been optimized for agricultural application equipment and works with any conducting fluid.

The FM9380 comes with lifetime factory calibration and will never require any field calibration.

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CNH brand New Holland and Bluewhite, an autonomous technology company, have announced a collaboration to integrate Bluewhite's autonomous solutions for New Holland tractors operating in orchards, vineyards and other specialty crop operations.

"Bluewhite has proven to be the leader in terms of implementing autonomy in the specialty crops space, a market in great demand for this type of innovation. The integration of Bluewhite into our technology stack allows our customers to access much-needed autonomous technology in an attainable aftermarket solution," said Carlo Lambro, brand president of New Holland.

Beginning immediately, select New Holland dealers in the western U.S. have the rights to sell, distribute and service Bluewhite's aftermarket kits for existing New Holland tractors.

New Holland and Bluewhite are exploring opportunities for factory-installed solutions.



AGCO welcomes the announcement of Parallel Ag's merger with the A.C. McCartney Equipment dealership in Illinois, including all five of its locations in Carthage, Durand, Fulton, Mt. Sterling and Wataga. All Illinois locations will continue to operate under the A.C. McCartney Equipment name. The merger will bring AGCO's full line of Fendt and Massey Ferguson products to the company's Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas territories.



AGCO has announced several new production ag dealerships and parts locations. These include:

-- Alliance Ag, Jonesboro, Arkansas. 25,000-square-foot location, full sales and service to farmers in northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri areas.

-- AgWest and AgriLink. AGCO's expansion in Canada continued with the opening of two new locations providing full-line Fendt and Massey Ferguson sales and services. AgWest Ltd. opened its fourth location in Russell, Manitoba. AgriLink Equipment opened its second location in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

-- Two AGCO dealers have opened parts-only locations. They are Agriteer in Warsaw, Virginia, and Palliser Sales in Brooks, Alberta. Parts-only stores are one of the five new Smart Network Coverage outlet types developed and implemented as part of AGCO's FarmerCore strategy to bring dealership support closer to the farm.



John Deere has officially appointed Rex Curtiss as its chief tractor officer. With this one-year contract position, Curtiss will create content for the company's social media channels.

"We were overwhelmed by the number of high-quality submissions received for the Chief Tractor Officer position, but Rex's creativity and authenticity grabbed our attention from the start," said Jen Hartmann, global director of strategic public relations and enterprise social media, in a Deere release.

Curtis has a degree in environmental studies from the University of Washington and more than 120,000 followers on his TikTok channel (3.5 million likes).

Dan Miller can be reached at

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