|In the past year, in two separate announcements totaling $187 million,
John Deere has promised to increase high-horsepower tractor production at its Waterloo, Iowa, manufacturing plant by 40% by 2010.
Similar to all family trees, the table detailing the lineage of agricultural machinery companies branches out and grows with each new generation.
Farm Journal has tracked the evolving table for almost two decades. In previous years, changes in the family tree have stemmed from consolidation, but in 2008 mergers weren't in the headlines for these manufacturers.
For the past year, undoubtedly the greatest challenge for the industry has been meeting demand. The U.S. machinery market—and beyond thanks to many emerging markets—has been strong.
Even though the machinery industry is becoming more global, our listing is still limited to machines marketed and sold in the U.S. In our ag machinery family tree, we document who makes what machines where, but the big question in today's robust market is, how many machines are manufacturers making?
When the value of the dollar weakened in 2008, export opportunities for U.S.-sourced machines rose. Couple a strong export market with equally strong demand domestically, and machinery manufacturers shifted into high gear to increase production.
Although this trend isn't obvious in the table, these companies have made new pledges to ratchet up their manufacturing capacities. Rather than opening new facilities, they have opted to invest more resources in current facilities.
The uptick in machinery demand was significant enough for Case IH to cancel the closure of its Goodfield, Ill., facility. All tillage production has been reconsolidated to that plant while the Saskatoon plant in Saskatchewan, Canada, will build corn and grain heads and planting and seeding equipment.
AGCO has seen a rise in its tillage sector and will add a 24,000-sq.-ft. building to its manufacturing facility in Beloit, Kan. In 2008, the company forecasted its production across all brands to increase 16% to 18% compared with 2007. To meet the higher demand for tractors, AGCO has built and opened three import tractor assembly centers near major U.S ports.
John Deere has promised investments to increase production of large high-horsepower tractors, as well as combines. Its Waterloo, Iowa, facility will improve its tractor build with a $187 million investment. The East Moline, Ill., combine factory will have $35 million put toward production improvements. John Deere will also make improvements to its transmission plant in Coffeyville, Kan.
John Deere will close its Welland, Ontario, plant in 2009 because of the weakened Canadian dollar; most of the equipment sourced was being sold in the U.S. Manufacturing of cutting and loading attachments will shift to Monterrey, Mexico, and production of Gator utility vehicles will move to Horicon, Wis.
- December 2008