Comment – A smart, autonomous, and tech driven future?

Now the dust has settled on the first Agritechnica since 2o19 and four weeks since yours truly was pounding the halls, a few things stand out.

Firstly, I had the opportunity to meet with Austrian machinery company Pottinger’s Gregor Dietachmayr to discuss the economy, and how they are adapting. The company are very pleased with this years financial results, yet anticipate that things will change, and in Gregor’s words “We have gained from that momentum.”

There are some big plusses, profitability has been at an all time high and manufacturing capacity is up – this is not just a Pottinger comment, all major manufacturers have invested in production and people in the last few years. The desire for farmers to invest in technology is high (Pottinger are working to be ‘autonomous ready’ with their machines).

And yet, inventories are much higher than usual, interest rates are greater than farmers have become used to and output is being scaled back to match anticipated demand.

Elsewhere at Agritechnica, on the first day, Fendts press conference provided a wealth of news, but I wanted to concentrate on a few things Eric Hansotia, AGCO’s CEO said. That Fendt was shifting to a ‘farmer first’ not ‘product first’ strategy and that the joint venture  which involves the “planned acquisition of Trimbles ag assets and technology”, appears to be a purchase. Incidentally there has been a 60% uplift in investment in production and research, and a 91% uplift in the companies patent portfolio. So some marks in the sand have been made.

The Trimble deal also enables AGCO in Eric’s words to become “a global leader in mixed fleet smart farming’ and will utilise all existing AGCO and Precision Planting channels plus existing Trimble OEM channels to take the tech to market. Quite what a CNH dealer will think of that is another matter.

I suspect that the same mood music would have come from most manufacturers had I had the time to speak to them all, but as far as headlines go all seem to have invested hard and are preparing for a downturn.

It’s chucking it down here, so time to light the fire (well, until we have to go electric).

Have a good week.