How Farmers are Teaching Old Tractors to Think for Themselves — that’s the title of a recent Wall Street Journal article covering how OEMs like AGCO, Deere and CNH are expanding their presence in the retrofit market to ease the transition to more automation.

I saw an example of this ‘retrofit first’ approach from Deere at the Farm Progress Show. The company debuted its new See and Spray Premium package, which can be retrofitted to any sprayer model year 2018 or newer, as opposed to See and Spray Ultimate that can only be purchased from the factory. In their eyes, the retrofit option is easier, faster and will drive more technology to the farm. 

“If you’re looking at you just got a 2-year-old sprayer or 4-year-old sprayer, and you’re not ready to upgrade to a brand new one, or you just got that sprayer and you want to get the latest and greatest technology, you can do that with See and Spray Premium. You don’t have to go buy a whole new sprayer. You can get that as a precision upgrade on your sprayer today. So, if you’re looking to get little incremental value on your sprayer and take advantage of this technology, what we’re trying to do is not make you fully commit to a totally different sprayer. You can get that, order it, get it installed on your sprayer today, and get this awesome technology where you can go in the field, spray just weeds, cut down on your costs and look at better yields.”

Farm Equipment editor Mike Lessiter wrote about this trend in his most recent blog, titled Precision Ag’s Multi-Front Blitz. Check it out at and