Self-driving tractors in use on Arizona farms

Posted at 4:38 AM, Aug 22, 2017

We've all heard about self-driving cars -- but tractors? They're already being used by farmers here in the Valley. 

"It definitely makes things more efficient," said Tony Lederer, Farm Manager at Cow Chow Croppers. The Buckeye site grows alfalfa and other plants to feed dairy cows. 

Lederer and his team use John Deere tractors, equipped with GPS, on the field. 

"You select the equipment you have, the track spacing you want, and the direction you want to go. After that it's just the push of a button and it will be automatic from there," he said. 

The only thing the driver has to do is make sure everything goes to plan and, at the end of each virtual 'track', steer the tractor onto a new one. 

Lederer says in the past five years many Arizona farmers have started using the high-tech tool, adding it saves on fuel costs and reduces human error. 

Cow Chow also uses drones to monitor its corn crop. 

"We can see how the crop's growing, how the water's going -- make sure the nutrients is right for the crops," said manager Brett Rovey. 

"You gotta stay ahead of the game and keep up with technology and how it can advance your business," he said.