Deere & Co. says the Department of Justice is unfairly accusing the company of trying to monopolize a market that does not exist. Deere responded last week to a DOJ challenge to the companies planned purchase of Monsanto’s seed planting equipment line, Precision Planting. The Wall Street Journal reports the government aims to block Deere from buying Precision Planting on grounds the deal would suppress competition for technology that allows farmers to plant crops at accelerated rates. Deere already offers high-speed components for its own planters. Deere denied that the purchase would give the company 86 percent of all precision-plating system sales in the United States. The DOJ filed a lawsuit against the deal at the end of August. Deere responded last week and repeatedly challenged the government’s attempts to distinguish high-speed planting systems from slower, conventional planting equipment. Deere also says products from Precision Planting would be widely available for non-Deere equipment after the deal is finalized. Precision Planting’s U.S. sales were about $100 million in 2015, while Deere’s U.S. sales of planter-related equipment last was near $900 million.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.