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ECONOMY > Agriculture

Kubota developing large-scale facilities in Japan, U.S.

  • May 11, 2022
  • , NIKKEI Business Daily , p. 7
  • JMH Translation

Kubota’s R&D facility in Georgia

By Nakai Narushi

 

Kubota is accelerating its investment in R&D at home and abroad. In April, the company’s largest facility for developing agricultural machinery went online in Georgia. 

The new facility will develop four-wheel vehicles for transporting materials in addition to developing lawn mowers, which are expected to be in high demand in the United States. Kubota invested about 9.9 billion yen in the facilities, and the site is 1.2 million square meters in area, making it the company’s largest, surpassing Kubota facilities in Thailand and France. The company secured a large tract of ​​land in order to have a test site, which would enable it to quickly test products under development.

The company used to rent a test site locally, but “there were time constraints so we couldn’t do our research at the pace we wanted,” comments Kubota Director Watanabe Dai, who oversees the machinery business. Kubota is also hurrying to hire R&D personnel. Kubota will start with about 70 people, mainly local engineers, and it plans to increase the number to 200 by 2027. In this way, the company aims to accelerate the product refinement cycle.

 

Kubota also opened a research center in Texas in January. It gathered personnel from U.S. startups and other companies it invests in and launched the development of agricultural robots for use in grape farming. In the future, the company plans to go into AI-based data farming. (Abridged)

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