While Deere’s deal is off – AGCO steps in to buy Precision Planting from Monsanto

It was going to be the jaw dropping industry deal of the year. Deere & Co. was making a major purchase, assured that the next big gains in agricultural productivity will come from harnessing big data to help farmers decide when to sow, care for and harvest their crops.

Deere & Co signed a deal to purchase Precision Planting that would set it on a path the other majors would take years to match. But when all of this came to an end on 1 May this year, at first glance it appeared the US Department of Justice legal action in an attempt to block the transaction was all too much for the seller, Monsanto Co to bear.

Monsanto advised Deere it was terminating the 2015 agreement for Deere to acquire the Precision Planting LLC business.

It all became mighty messy as two other agreements relating to Deere’s purchase of Precision Planting were also be terminated, including the digital collaboration agreement between Deere and The Climate Corp, a division of Monsanto. This also ended an agreement that would have allowed Ag Leader to expand access to and distribution of certain Precision Planting products and technologies.

John May, president, Agricultural Solutions and chief information officer of Deere Co said at the time. “We are deeply disappointed in this outcome as we remain confident the acquisition would have benefited customers.  As a world leader in precision agriculture, John Deere will continue developing technology-based products and services to help customers improve the productivity and profitability of their operations.” May concluded.

Now to the dismay of many industry watchers AGCO has stepped up to secure a dream run, in precision planting at least.

AGCO and The Climate Corp, a subsidiary of Monsanto Co, have signed a definitive agreement for AGCO to acquire the Precision Planting LLC equipment business.

Precision Planting provides products and technology to help growers achieve better seed spacing and depth control when planting row crops. The company offers metering components and monitoring systems such as 20/20 SeedSense, a color-coded touchscreen display for planters.

In 2015, AGCO entered into an agreement to factory integrate Precision Planting’s components into products from White Planters. The agreement also enabled farmers to integrate their on-farm data into Climate’s digital platform, FieldView, that combines field data collection, advanced agronomic modelling and local weather monitoring into mobile and web software solutions.

The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The transaction is once again subject to regulatory approvals.