Agricultural and heavy-equipment maker John Deere entered into an agreement with SpaceX to provide a satellite communications service to help farmers access precision technologies and services.

SpaceX-owned Starlink’s network of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites will be used to provide connectivity to rural areas which typically have little-to-no broadband services.

John Deere explained the service will allow its customers “to be more productive, profitable and sustainable in their operations”.

Jahmy Hindman, SVP and CTO at John Deere, stated the company has used satellite-based precision guidance technology for more than two decades for its agricultural equipment.

Aaron Wetzel, the company’s VP of production and precision ag production systems, added farmers need to complete tasks in short time windows, which requires “executing incredibly precise production steps while coordinating between machines and managing” their performance.

“Each of these areas are enhanced through connectivity, making the entire operation more efficient, effective, and profitable.”

The company stated the service would enable the agriculture sector to benefit from technologies and services spanning autonomy, real-time data sharing, remote diagnostics, enhanced self-repair technologies and machine-to-machine communication.

John Deere dealerships will install ruggedised Starlink terminals on compatible machines, along with a 4G modem.

A limited release of the satellite service is planned to commence in the US and Brazil in the second half of the year.