LIVERMORE, Calif. – April 20, 2023 – Shhh, you’ll have to listen carefully to hear the winds of change happening across American farms. It’s the sound of electric tractors humming along the agricultural landscape, scaling green agriculture and increasing efficiency across farm operations. This is the claim made in an April 2023 Modern Farmer article and it’s exactly what Monarch Tractor is accomplishing with its MK-V. Modern Farmer spoke to Monarch Tractor President and Co-founder, Mark Schwager.
“People don’t build that much in factories anymore,” Schwager said in the article. “Machines do, and people are there to supervise them.”
Schwager is bringing that model to agriculture. Monarch Tractor is based in Northern California at the crossroads of an agriculturally rich and tech-heavy region. With its farmer-first mission, Monarch is translating EV technology and robotics into tools that belong in crops, barns, and fields. The electric, driver-optional, and connected MK-V tractor has been on the market since 2022 and is the only commercially available EV tractor of its kind.
Out of the Red with Green Agriculture
By giving farmers the ability to unhitch themselves from fossil fuels, EV tractors are giving them a path to profitability. Eliminating fuel costs along with reducing maintenance needs, the MK-V comes equipped with advanced vision-based AI technology, data collection, and a full digital interface that can be used autonomously for mowing runs, monitored remotely for spraying, or to follow workers like a loyal dog carrying supplies or hauling harvest. Schwager also points out that because a diesel tractor spews carbon and particulate volumes equal to that of 14 cars, replacing one with an EV tractor can have a remarkably scaled impact, without sacrificing productivity.
Green agriculture in profitability and sustainability also extends to labor. Schwager explained that when mowing runs don’t cost anything, weeds require less spraying. And a driverless EV tractor isn’t replacing jobs, it’s helping the farming industry overcome its burdens of labor shortages and a rapidly aging workforce. One operator can monitor an MK-V fleet from a screen while overseeing multiple tasks. It’s an elevated version of farm work that keeps workers safer, while helping them be more productive.