Interview Series: Morteza Abdipourchenarestansofla from John Deere

In this edition of our interview series, we talk with Morteza Abdipourchenarestansofla from John Deere who is leading the pilot project 2.2 focusing on automated documentation of arable crop farming processes.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your organization, and your involvement in the DEMETER project?  

I’m Morteza Abdipourchenarestansofla, PhD-product engineer at John Deere European Technology Center in Europe located in Kaiserslautern, Germany. I am working in this R&D European project (DEMETER, cluster 2, pilot 2.2.) as project leader for pilot 2.2.

John Deere is a worldwide American company. John Deere agricultural products include tractors, combines, harvesters, sprayers, balers, and planters/seeders. The company is also a leading supplier of constructions and forestry equipment in Europe, as well as equipment for commercial and consumer applications used in lawn, grounds and turf care. In addition to machines and equipment, John Deere product lines comprise agricultural system solutions and services as well as sensor systems. Today, over 60.000 employees are located at 76 factories and development centers in 20 countries.

What pilot cluster and pilot project are you involved in/leading?

I am leading on behalf of John Deere our pilot 2.2. The pilot has a name: “Automated Documentation of Arable Crop Farming Processes”.  Pilot Cluster 2 specifically focuses on the usage of agricultural machinery and the establishment of precision farming in order to facilitate farming practices in this digital world.

What is the objective of the pilot and what approach are you taking?

The objective of pilot 2.2 is to support farm management by developing Automated Documentation of arable crop farming process with the following scopes:

  • Automated job (tillage, seeding, fertilizing, and spraying) documentation.
  • Intelligence Job identification.
  • Job cost calculation for spraying and fertilization applications

The main focus will be the enhancement of documentation processes through smart automation of GPS-records combined with background information by m2Xpert. Within the main focus, John Deere develop a job cost estimation model for small grain (winter wheat).

This pilot will include capturing high precision data, merging with data from farms / machines, and deriving required cost estimation and documentation parameters via data analytics and knowledge management techniques.  Moreover, the data quality of the used data will be assessed by Fraunhofer IESE to allow further improvements of the planned solutions.

Fertilization and spraying job are done several times each year and will therefore deliver more data than seeding or harvesting, which are only executed once per field. The development of job cost calculation relies on variable and fixed costs which drives from geospatial data from John Deere auto track machines (from my John Deere data operation centre) and non-geospatial data from external sources (e.g. KTBL). For the development of an automated documentation tool the sensor data from machines and external sensors such as satellites (e.g. sentinel) and on data from weather stations will be used.

Overall architecture pilot 2.2, Descripts flow of information and inter and intra connection between pilot scopes and farmers

What other stakeholders are involved in the pilot?

Alongside John Deere the following stakeholders are involved:

Fraunhofer is the largest funding organisation for applied research and technology transfer in Germany. FRAUNHOFER participates in this DEMETER pilot 2.2 with its Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (Fraunhofer IESE) in Kaiserslautern. Fraunhofer IESE is one of the most recognised software engineering institutions world-wide and takes a lead in Europe for more than 20 years. With its applied research, the institute develops innovative solutions for the design of dependable digital ecosystems, thereby accelerating the economic and social benefits for its customers. The focus of Fraunhofer IESE is on topics such as “Autonomous Systems”, “Industrie 4.0”, and “Smart Farming”, as well as on digital solutions for rural and urban areas.

m2Xpert is a German SME located in Bielefeld. m2Xpert develops software, system components and intelligent networking services. m2Xpert aims to provide secure solutions for networking machines with each other and with different management infrastructures. m2Xpert develops intelligent solutions for controlling machine to infrastructure communication and also offers the associated software applications. One major product of m2xpert is Farmtune. Farmtune is an open, free web-based farm management solution. In addition, Farmtune offers sensor systems and fee-based IoT services for networked process optimization

Farmers- The Pilot will be deployed in 3 sites (farms) on 7 machines in Germany.

Other stakeholders who will be engaged by the outcome of pilot 2.2 are identified as follows,

  • Contractors
  • Consultants/advisors/suppliers


What are the expected outcomes of the pilot project?

Given the many factors influencing a profitable job application, the abovementioned approach contributes to three major benefits: On one hand, job cost prediction has the potential to increase farmers’ and contractors’ productivity. In addition, the automated job identification and documentation will improve decision support. Finally, automated documentation will be serving both time efficiency and precision for a process.