European ag machinery dealers in many countries are currently (but also continuously) experiencing quite some turmoil caused by tractor and machine manufacturers who are realigning their distribution channels. Recently John Deere Netherlands announced the takeover of a dealer in the centre of the country by another John Deere dealer in the North of the country. Since the bankruptcy of another Dutch John Deere dealer in June 2015, the number of dealers now has gone down to 6. Whereas before the end of 2010 and the elimination of long-time importer Louis Nagel, The Netherlands was served by 26 dealers. Annually about 2.500 to 3.000 new tractors are sold in The Netherlands.
The so-called ‘Dealer of Tomorrow’ strategy John Deere is executing at the moment, also affects other European countries. In Germany, the company reduced the number of authorised dealers from 60 to 38 and in the United Kingdom, the number was reduced from 40 to 25. Most striking is the situation in Denmark where John Deere will transfer its complete importer and dealerships to Semler Gruppen, the importer of Volkswagen Group.
Will the European distribution of tractors and machines move towards large multisite and multinational dealers like we have seen in North-America, Germany and the former Soviet Union? Like Cervus Equipment (John Deere), Rocky Mountain Equipment (Case IH, New Holland), Toromont Industries (Caterpillar), Titan Machinery (Case IH, New Holland), BayWa (Agco), Agravis (Agco, Claas) and EkoNiva (John Deere)? Only time will tell.
Quite recently it was John Deere that drew attention to its slurry / manure sensing system. Initially it was on display at last year’s Agritechnica at German partnering companies Fliegl and Kotte Garant. At Agribex in Brussels John Deere was even awarded with a silver medal for this so-called Organic Nutrient Management System with Near Ifra Red (NIR) sensors. I wanted to write an article about it and since the project is still ongoing, the importers did not want to talk about it, so I ended up at Deere’s Strategic Marketing department in Mannheim (D). If you Google, you won’t find a lot of information or publications about it. The thing is, John Deere is not the only company and also not the first company working on slurry / manure sensing with NIR sensors. Initially it was German firm Zunhammer that developed a NIR manure sensing system in 2008. The applied for a patent as well. In The Netherlands, John Deere partners with Vervaet, manufacturer of self-propelled slurry applicators.
Another Dutch company, Veenhuis Machines, is also working on a solution to analyse manure on board of transport tanks. Veenhuis focusses on transport rather than on applicators though. Both John Deere and Veenhuis expect to have the first system available end of this year. A very promising outlook, since the systems enable to apply slurry as if it was (liquid) fertiliser! Enter the rate of N or P you want to apply and the system applies the correct rates site specific regardless of the slurry output in m3 per hectare!
A first article on this revolutionary way of applying slurry was published in Dutch magazine Boerderij no. 27 of April 1st and a second article appeared in TREKKER Magazine 308 of May.
Recently DuPont Pioneer and John Deere announced to cooperate in the area of precision agriculture. The companies seem to point toward closing the precision farming circle by connecting agronomic and decision support systems tot precision farming systems.
Currently the link between knowledge, information and practical cultivation measures is often still missing making it hard for farmers to interpret and translate the collected data. DuPont Pioneer now wants to link its software to the John Deere GreenStar and FarmSight systems. DuPont Pioneer widens its focus from selling inputs to providing information about efficient use of the inputs. The company seems to follow Monsanto´s introduction of FieldScripts software after the acquisition of The Climate Corp and Precision Planting.
In Dutch neighbouring country Germany, the Agritechnica exhibition was chosen for the introduction of 365FarmNet. Several companies including Allianz, Amazon, Bayer, Claas and KWS working cooperate in this new venture. The goal is to streamline all farm information into 365FarmNet, from crop plan to harvest and data documentation to accounting and business analysis.