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December 20, 2021   |

Press Release

Agriculture Equipment Industry Faces Global Challenges by Advancing Technology and Practices that Boost Productivity While Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

America’s farms are greener and more productive than before while exploring new fuels and technologies for the future

WASHINGTON (December 20, 2021) – The global agriculture engine and equipment industry is rapidly evolving to face numerous challenges including feeding a growing population, the climate crisis and labor shortages. Continued improvements to engines, equipment and the technology that integrates the work of the machine with the land, are increasing efficiency and are the foundation for farming in the future.

“US agriculture is among the most productive and economically valuable in the world; producing more yield in less time with fewer inputs thanks largely to the advancements in the diesel powered machines and equipment that do the planting, harvesting and tending to the land,” says Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer.  

“Technology on the farm today is giving them a lot of information and insights today that they didn’t have in the past to make some decisions,” says Nick Block, Director, Global Marketing & Sales at John Deere Power Systems.  

“The innovations in powertrains, fuels and equipment technology that serve farmers around the world are impressive. They contribute to reducing greenhouse gas, and other emissions, and reducing inputs on the farm. Beyond the machines themselves, innovations in farm practices like automation and precision agriculture have evolved to bring further important benefit,” says Schaeffer.

Those innovations will be critical to meeting the dual challenges of greater demand for food and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

These topics were the subject of a virtual event recently organized by the Diesel Technology Forum, that discussed the state of farming, machines and equipment; opportunities for reducing emissions from smart and precision farming technologies, and the outlook for the future, including which fuels and technologies will meet the challenges of greater food demand and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Speakers went into detail about the demand for food in the year 2050. The industry will need to feed 9.7 billion people around the world then according to a prediction by The Global Harvest Initiative.

“Global ag productivity needs to increase 70 percent by 2050 in order to deliver on that 50 percent growth in food demand,” says Block.

With the increasing demand for food by a growing population, and less arable land to use to grow it, the industry is focused on the future, right now.

“As we think about the future, I don’t think a one size fits all [approach] is going to get us there,” says Ann Schmelzer, the General Manager of Global Ag Business for Cummins. She spoke about power options available on the market today and those Cummins is exploring in the future, including hydrogen and electrification as well as advanced diesel.

“Diesel right now is still the primary power of choice for many reasons. And there are still a lot of advances that we are working on with our base technology.”

While diesel engines power most of the agricultural equipment around the world, they are evolving to run more on fuels other than diesel, including renewable and biodiesel. Panelists also discussed the prospect of additional reductions in allowable emissions from both California and the US EPA.

Interim results of an off-highway low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) demonstration project with the Southwest Research Institute was reviewed and is showing promise to further reduce emissions in diesel engines with advanced catalysts and Selective Catalytic Reduction systems, noted Tom Harris, Senior Technical Specialist with Tenneco. “Leverage what you have to make a relatively quicker impact on CO2 in the near term, but then again, thinking about that as a bridge technology that ultimately has an impact while we’re waiting for the final solution if you will, in terms of whatever that is from a powertrain solution for the ag industry.”


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Diesel in the Agricultural Sector

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About the Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the current and future role of diesel engines, equipment, and fuels. Forum members are leaders in advanced diesel technology, emissions controls and petroleum-based and renewable biofuels. For more information visit http://www.dieselforum.org.

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