Deere-Ag Leader Planter Tech Agreement Adds Choices; Could Alter Discussion On DOJ Challenge

In a move which could serve to improve the prospects of the Deere-Precision Planting deal currently under challenge by the Department of Justice, an agreement between John Deere and technology and software manufacturer Ag Leader will allow Ag Leader to “obtain the technologies and licenses necessary to manufacture and sell the Precision Planting SpeedTube and related technology, including vSet, vDrive, and DeltaForce,” according to an Ag Leader press release.

The agreement is contingent on Deere completing the acquisition of Precision Planting from The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company.

The agreement enables Ag Leader to further develop these products and continue delivering innovative solutions for precision agriculture, according to the release.

Press releases from both companies about the deal emphasized the creation of addition grower choices, whether buying new machinery or retrofitting older planting equipment made by other manufacturers. They also emphasized that Ag Leader continues to exist as a separate company.

“The agreement will expand competition and the availability of various planting solutions as Ag Leader will be allowed to sell Precision Planting products using the current names that farmers have come to trust,” according to the release. “Importantly, Ag Leader remains a completely independent competitor to Deere and Precision Planting.”

Al Myers, president of Ag Leader Technology, asserted that the company is continuously “looking for opportunities to expand our already impressive line of precision farming technologies. When this prospect arose, we knew it was worth looking into for our customers and dealers, as high-speed planting is an emerging precision agriculture technology.”

It was not clear from the release what this would mean for dealerships of either brand in terms of products and territories should both agreements go through.

In November 2015, Deere signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Precision Planting, LLC equipment business. In August, the U.S. Department of Justice challenged the transaction, delaying its completion, and Deere announced it would contest the DOJ action.

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