Big machinery builders rolling slower and expecting lower

The big three are planning for shorter sales and higher costs in the remaining three quarters of this year

Farm machinery makers are adjusting operations as COVID-19 adds to complexity and limits supplies.

Case New Holland suspended many of its operations in the Americas for two weeks at the beginning of the month. Its Grand Island, Nebraska, combine plant closed just before Good Friday in an effort to maintain the health of its workers, said the company in a statement.

CNH’s Grand Island general manager Mike Schaefer said the operation would evaluate the situation weekly and was using the business’s experience with COVID-19 in other parts of the world to guide its operations in the United States.

The company has reduced, but is maintaining, its components businesses and retains its parts distribution facilities.

CNH withdrew its previously released financial outlook for the stock markets at the end of March.

John Deere, after reporting a profit bump year-over-year for the end of its first quarter, pulled the reigns tight and withdrew what it had told the market would be its revenue and expenses predictions for the year.

Citing COVID-19 issues, the machinery maker said in a statement that as an American essential service it would continue to operate as normally as possible, in North America and overseas.

“These operations, however, may be affected by issues such as remote working arrangements, adherence to social distancing guidelines, and other COVID-19-related challenges,” said Deere.

The company said it would be restricting some operations, however those were outside of the U.S. Deere is working with regional officials to reopen facilities it closed in China during the COVID-19 outbreak there.

AGCO also suspended or reduced some operations in Europe. The company said recently that those were largely due to material shortages and constraints in its European supply chain. And like the other publicly traded farm machinery companies, it withdrew its guidance for markets about its sales and expenses expectations.

AGCO’s chief executive officer, Martin Richenhagen, said in a statement that “demand for grain and protein will continue during this crisis… and AGCO will continue to prioritize support of our dealers and farmers to help promote food security.”

In North America, the company is maintaining operations, said Robert Crain, who is responsible for North American operations.

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