Believe it or not, Deere & Company (DE -3.44%) currently employs more software engineers than mechanical engineers. How is this possible? The farming industry is experiencing significant disruption. Innovative technology is enabling what is called "precision agriculture" to come to fruition. Farmers are able to leverage technology to monitor their crops in ways that were once unfathomable. John Deere's next-generation machines use artificial intelligence (AI) to exponentially increase efficiencies, enabling farmers to reap increased crop yields with less work and lower costs.
Deere does not manufacture electric vehicles like Tesla (TSLA -4.59%), but you may be surprised to hear it is working on autonomous electric tractors, semiautonomous tractors, autonomous drone sprayers, and much more. Is John Deere the Tesla of agriculture?
In July 2020 John Deere hired Jahmy Hindman as the company's first chief technology officer in its 184-year history. Did that number surprise you? That's right, John Deere was founded in 1837. Hindman leads Deere's Intelligent Solutions Group, and his role is responsible for building out the company's tech stack, which includes connectivity, embedded software, data platforms, and applications.
ARK Innovation's autonomous ETF, ARK Industrial Innovation (ARKQ -2.82%), consists of approximately 2.5% of Deere and Company. Given that it's a 184-year-old blue chip company, many would be surprised to think of John Deere as an innovative technology company, but the business is pivoting into a new era, and it could be an opportunity for a long-term investing portfolio.
John Deere's stock pays just over a 1% dividend, and the current P/E ratio is under 23. The stock price recently pulled back from an all-time high of $400.34. Should you buy John Deere stock now? Please watch the below video for a detailed breakdown of the stock and opinions on the share price.