Deere to license Precision Planting wares to Ag Leader

Iowa precision ag equipment maker Ag Leader will be able to make and sell high-speed planting equipment using certain systems from Precison Planting — when, or if, Deere and Co. seals its deal to buy the latter company.

Deere and Ag Leader announced Wednesday they will have a licensing agreement in place allowing Ag Leader to make and sell Precision’s SpeedTube line and “related technology,” such as Precision’s vSet, vDrive and DeltaForce systems.

The agreement — which hinges on Deere successfully buying Illinois-based Precision from Monsanto subsidiary The Climate Corp. — would allow Ag Leader to integrate those systems into its own SeedCommand systems and InCommand displays.

Ag Leader, whose Canadian sales network includes 16 dealers in six provinces, said it also plans to “build upon this technology to deliver future planting equipment innovations that support higher planting speeds.”

“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,” Ag Leader president Al Myers said.

Deere’s agreement with Ag Leader is far from a done deal, as Deere’s November 2015 proposal to buy Precision hasn’t yet closed and faces a civil antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), seeking to block the sale.

The DOJ said Aug. 31 a Deere/Precision deal would combine “the only two significant U.S. providers of high-speed precision planting systems,” which, it alleged, could allow Deere to “raise prices and slow innovation at the expense of American farmers who rely on these systems.”

Deere, which plans to contest the DOJ suit, said Wednesday its deal with Ag Leader “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.”

Both companies emphasized that, under the deal, Ag Leader would remain “a completely independent competitor to Deere and Precision Planting.”

Deere said Wednesday it also expects Ag Leader will sell Precision Planting components to retrofit Deere and “other brands” of planters, and offer a “separate and competitive source of supply” for manufacturers who choose to use Precision Planting components.

Thus, Deere said, a deal with Ag Leader “further enhances competition and innovation in the market and expands customers’ choices for planting equipment, whether they are buying new machinery or retrofitting older planting equipment made by various manufacturers.” — AGCanada.com Network

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