John Deere enters joint venture with semi-autonomous sprayer manufacturer
Deere & Company has formed a joint venture with GUSS Automation, a manufacturer in semi-autonomous orchard and vineyard sprayers.
“As demand for high-value crops (HVC) grows, we see significant opportunities to help growers be more productive while addressing the challenges of increasing labor costs and finding skilled labor to operate equipment,” says Chris Davison, director for small tractor and HVC production systems, at John Deere. “The GUSS team has a deep understanding of the HVC production system, as well as strong relationships with customers and a proven track record of deploying innovative technology.”
Meet the GUSS Sprayers
A single operator can remotely monitor up to eight GUSS sprayers (Global Unmanned Spray System) from a laptop computer, allowing growers to spray orchards and vineyards quickly and constantly. This can use fewer resources and reduce costs by eliminating operator error and downtime.
The GUSS machines use a combination of GPS, light detection and ranging, vehicle sensors, and software to traverse orchards without an operator. The SelectSpray function can be used to detect the desired tree, and spray the specific amount of material needed to properly cover it, regardless of height and variable terrain.
The GUSS is offered in two models, the Orchard GUSS and the Mini GUSS, a model built 25% smaller to roll through higher-density orchards, vineyards, and berries. Both models run on Cummins F3.8 173-hp. Stage V diesel engines, and are four-wheel drive, with four-wheel steering for better maneuverability. Both models have stainless steel bodies.
The Orchard GUSS has a 90-gallon fuel cell with a 13- to 14-hour run time, and a material tank with 600-gallon material capacity. The Mini has a 77-gallon fuel cell with a 12-hour run time, and a 400-gallon material capacity. The Orchard model has a 32-nozzle spray manifold with individual shutoffs. The standard housing on the Mini GUSS has 28 ceramic nozzles, while the Vineyard tower option has 22 nozzles, and the Apple tower option has 44 nozzles.
About GUSS Automation team
Through a joint venture, Davison says Deere will help GUSS further collaborate with the Deere sales channel, and GUSS will continue its innovation and product development to best serve customers.
“Deere and GUSS are both committed to investing in innovation and technology to help farmers be more productive and profitable while growing more food using fewer resources,” Davison says.
Dave Crinklaw formed the Crinklaw Farm Services (CFS) spraying business in 1982, serving growers in Arizona and California. GUSS was developed specifically to address common pain points associated with CFS’s orchard spraying business. GUSS Automation was later launched as a separate business from CFS.
GUSS will retain its employees, brand name, and trademark, and continue to operate from its current location in Kingsburg, California. GUSS employees, customers, and business partners should notice little change in daily operations resulting from the joint venture.