In this episode of On The Record, we examine the CNH Industrial's recently announced partnership with AGuru Machinery and how it reflects on the state of the strip-till equipment market. In the Technology Corner, we take a look at the future of AGCO and Bosch BASF's smart spraying partnership. Also in this episode: CNH Industrial's dealer inventory levels, Colorado Right to Repair concerns and corn fertilizer expenses.


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CNH Industrial & AGuru Machinery Announce New Partnership

CNH Industrial announced May 4 it has entered into a manufacturing partnership with strip-till implement manufacturer AGuru Machinery, based in Congerville, Ill. As part of the agreement, CNH Industrial purchased intellectual property from AGuru, including the drawings for AGuru’s current product line and the right to manufacture it. 

AGuru remains an independent business, manufacturer and brand, and CNH Industrial stated in a note to dealers that there are currently no plans in the works for CNH Industsrial to purchase AGuru in 2023. That same note said that “conversations about future plans are ongoing and should be communicated in late 2024.” CNH Industrial said to its dealers that the company seeks to be a comprehensive provider of all equipment and technology for strip-tillage systems.

CNH Industrial and AGuru’s partnership marks the latest big move in what’s been a busy 4-month stretch in the strip-till equipment market. John Deere officially re-entered the strip-till arena in late 2022, launching a new series of strip-till units that became available for purchase in February 2023. In February, Unverferth announced the purchase of Orthman Manufacturing, the creator of the popular 1tRIPr strip-till unit. And on April 28, Yetter Farm Equipment and Fast Ag Solutions announced the creation of a new strip-till bar that’s expected to hit the market this summer.

Curt Davis, Kuhn Krause marketing director, said in a recent interview with Ag Equipment Intelligence that although strip-till has been around for a long time, it’s really started making a push toward the mainstream in recent years. 

“Strip-till has always been a bit more of a side item than what it’s becoming today. There have always been a lot of manufacturers in the strip-till industry but they’ve been the smaller, regional type companies. Now you see several of the major companies focusing more on strip-till. I think that’s being driven by demand from the customers. The agreement between Deere and ETS started to bring more attention to that.

“With strip-till, you’re not painting with a broad brush anymore. Strip-till allows you to manage every acre of the farm for maximum efficiency and productivity. A lot of farmers are driven to strip-till because it allows them to place nutrients exactly where the crop needs them. It’s a good conservation practice too because you’re only tilling 30% of the entire field.”

Dealers on the Move

This week’s Dealers on the Move are Florida Coast Equipment, SN Partners, Atlantic & Southern Equipment and 21st Century Equipment.

Kubota dealer Florida Coast Equipment announced April 25 the opening of its 13th location in Homestead, Fla. 

John Deere dealer SN Partners moved its Marion, Ill., dealership to a new location in Carterville, Ill., and opened a new location in Wayne City, Ill., that will replace that location’s old building.

AGCO dealer Atlantic & Southern Equipment acquired C&R Implement in Williamston, N.C., on May 1, bringing the dealership to 9 total locations.

John Deere dealer 21st Century announced May 5 that it is slated to merge with the ag division of 4Rivers Equipment. Effective June 12, the move will create a 26-store organization serving western Nebraska, eastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. 4Rivers Equipment’s construction division will remain separate, and the merger is subject to approval by John Deere.

The Future of On-Farm Data Collection 

Ag Equipment Intelligence Contributor Dan Crummett recently caught up with AGCO application product specialist Joe Dimler for a deep dive into the significance of the company’s smart spraying collaboration with Bosch BASF. Dimler said the company has a roadmap to expand the technology’s data collection abilities a few years down the line to include plant health, population stands, fungus detection and pest detection.

“We really believe it’s going to change the way that guys farm. When you think of — If you talk to growers today, they’ll tell you they learn more about their crop on that first pass of the sprayer. When the corn’s V4, V5, they’re looking for what kind of stand is out there, what is the uniformity out there, how healthy is the crop.

“And they do a great job, but they’re also trying to drive a sprayer 15 miles an hour down a field and watch a boom and watch pressures, and they have a lot going on in the cab. This system will be designed to really collect a lot of those things that they’re looking for, but it’ll put. — It’ll add in a way that there’s a summary that really gives you the ability to make changes. For instance, if you start to see some early fungus set in, that is something to plan for on your next herbicide pass, whether you decide to add a fungicide early on and take a little bit more of a precautionary measure or whether it’s something you need to simply scout throughout the year.

“But either way, we feel like that first sprayer pass, that first post emerge pass is the most critical pass on the farm, and we aim to collect as much data as we can on that pass.”

Hear more of Crummett’s discussion with Joe Dimler in the latest edition of the Precision Farming Dealer podcast

CNH Working to Keep Dealer Inventory in Check

During CNH Industrial’s first quarter 2023 earnings call on May 5, 2023, CEO Scott Wine said the company’s order backlog remains solid and well above 2019 levels, with ag and construction order books full through the third quarter.

Wine said, “Based on feedback from our dealers we expect the Q4 order slots to fill rapidly. Our dealers remain on allocation for products, where demand is outstripping our ability to produce, especially our large agricultural equipment with precision technology.” 

CNH dealers’ high horsepower tractor and combine inventories remain at historically low levels, but Wine noted that with the “persistent small ag demand softness,” CNH is lowering production on relevant equipment in order to keep dealer inventories near optimal levels. 

“In many markets, especially cash crop around the world, they [dealers] just need more inventory,” Wine said. “It is too low and what I have told our dealers is, we do not want to get back to the 2019, 2018 levels, where they are slight over what they would like to have. We would like to keep dealers relatively lean, we are not perfect at that.”

As an example of that imperfection, Wine pointed to the lowering production of lower horsepower ag equipment because the manufacturer didn’t slow down soon enough. 

“In many markets, especially cash crop around the world, they [dealers] just need more inventory. It is too low and what I have told our dealers is, we do not want to get back to the 2019, 2018 levels, where they are slight over what they would like to have. We would like to keep dealers relatively lean, we are not perfect at that.”

Colorado Repair Law Raises Concerns 

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the Consumer Right To Repair Agricultural Equipment bill into law on April 25, making it the first U.S. right to repair bill focused on ag equipment to be approved by both houses and signed by a governor. While the law won’t go into effect until 2024, it is raising concerns around the industry. 

John Schmeiser, COO of the North American Equipment Dealers Assn. says the Colorado law is a good example that elected officials don’t understand the ag industry. 

And no matter how much we try and educate them or the manufacturers trying to educate them, they're still not going to completely grasp it unless they've been in the business. And so we've run into situations where we've had to describe what a combine is to an elected official who's making a decision whether or not she should support a right to repair bill. That is concerning to me. And I want to maintain that an industry solution should always be preferable to a legislative solution because of that. And so we have John Deere, CNH, and I understand Kubota now talking to the American Farm Bureau on a memorandum of understanding. That's a great sign of industry working together, and we support that completely. And the message I would have out there to our customers is let's put right to repair legislation on hold for the time being, and let's see if these MOUs are going to work.

Schmeiser goes on to say if the question is truly about repairing equipment, the industry has the tools, diagnostic equipment and repair manuals to support farmers in doing those repairs. However, it if is about modification, violating EPA regulations by altering emissions systems is something the industry will not support. He says legislation should be put on hold to give the MOUs an opportunity to work. 

DataPoints: 2023 Corn Fertilizer Expenses

This week’s DataPoint is brought to you by the Dealership Minds Summit.


This chart from an April 17 Agricultural Economic Insights report shows the expense for a corn fertilizer blend of 180-70-70. For 2010-22, the reported expense is based on spring prices (April-May), while the 2023 data considers recent data (March-early April). The report found fertilizer expenses have fallen by $67 per acre or 24%, though said they “remain stubbornly high.” At $207 per acre, current prices equate to the second-highest expense since 2010. The expense was $99 per acre in 2020, and expenses jumped by $133 per acre in 2022 alone.

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