Farmers are sitting on their checkbooks instead of buying new equipment because of the Sino-U.S. trade war and planting delays in the United States, said the chief executive of Deere and Co., the world's largest farm equipment manufacturer. Deere, which also makes construction and logging equipment, said overall sales fell 3 percent during May, June and July, led by a 6- percent drop in agriculture and turf, its largest division.
Analysts predict that John Deere will raise its profit forecasts for the year on Friday, despite a dismal year for crop prices. Bloomberg reports that a possible reason for the company’s rising profits could be the mechanical needs of large, consolidated mega-farms.
John Deere’s $305 million purchase of Blue River Technology, “a startup that makes robots capable of identifying unwanted plants, and shooting them with deadly, high-precision squirts of herbicide,” is yet another indication of the “growing appetite for high tech in agriculture,” says Wired.
In response to a Justice Department lawsuit, Deere and Co., the world's largest farm equipment maker, says its purchase of a competitor, Precision Planting, will expand farmers' ability to update their planters and will not reduce competition for planter sales.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley set a Sept. 20 hearing to examine consolidation in the seed and agricultural chemical sector at the same time that another blockbuster merger seemed imminent. "If these mergers go through, you'd have a 'big three' instead of a 'big six' dominating the market," Grassley told reporters.