“We’re working on it.”
E-mail sent by a Midwest farmer to a friend of mine and forwarded to me:
Subject: ELECTRIC FARM EQUIPMENT
I farm over 10,000 acres of corn in the Midwest. The property is spread out over three counties. The operation is a “partnership farm” with John Deere (JD).
JD uses larger farm operations as demonstration projects for the promotion and development of new equipment.
I recently received a phone call from my JD representative. The representative told me that JD wants the farm to move to electric tractors and combines in 2023.
I have five diesel combines that cost $900,000 each and are traded in every three years, and 10 really big tractors.
JD wants me to go all-electric.
I said, “Okay, I have some questions. How do I charge these combines when they are in the middle of a cornfield, in the middle of nowhere, three counties away from the shop charging station?
“How do I run them 24 hours a day for 10 or 12 days straight when the harvest is ready and the weather is coming in?
“How do I get a 50,000+ lb. combine that takes up the width of an entire road to the shop, which is 20 miles away, when the battery goes dead?”
There was dead silence on the other end of the phone.
I explained to the JD representative, “When the corn is ready to harvest, it must have the proper sugar and moisture content. If it is too wet, it must be put in giant dryers that burn natural or propane gas, and lots of it. Harvest time is critical because if the corn degrades in sugar content or quality, it can drop the value of my crop by half a million dollars or more. It is analyzed at the time of sale. It is standard procedure to run these machines 10 to 12 days straight, 24 hours a day, at peak harvest time. When they need fuel, a tanker truck delivers it, and the machines keep going.”
The JD representative’s only answer was, “We’re working on it.”
The farmer said in the email to my friend, “They [JD] are being pushed by the government to force these electric machines on American farmers. The government is out of control. They are messing with the production of food crops that feed people and livestock … all in the name of their green dream.
“Look for the cost of your box of cornflakes to triple in the next 24 months.
“When you read about the green dream, it is obvious that all-electric is not well thought out.
“Also, the added weight of batteries might compact soil excessively and really tear up country roads and bridges.”