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Deere, World’s Biggest Tractor Maker, Halts Output in Brazil

Tatiana Freitas

(Bloomberg) -- Deere & Co. is halting production in agricultural behemoth Brazil as the coronavirus outbreak erodes sales for the world’s biggest tractor maker.

In a bid to protect employees and families, Deere said it will suspend two facilities in Brazil on Wednesday for an undetermined period while four other units will stop Monday.

Deere and smaller rival AGCO Corp. pulled their financial outlooks on Monday and said they were cutting back operations. Dogged in the past year by trade war uncertainties and low crop prices, machinery companies are now struggling to deal with the ambiguity surrounding a pandemic, unable to say how long it will last or how economically damaging it may be.

In Brazil -- one of the largest farm economies and the top exporter of commodities including coffee and soybeans -- the virus is leading to suspensions of agricultural fairs, worsening the outlook for sales.

Deere’s Brazilian operations are mainly in the southern half of the country, including centers that supply parts in Campinas, sugarcane harvesters and sprayers in Catalao and tractors in Montenegro.

Its distribution center for Latin America will continue to give support amid the soybean harvest as well as services to construction clients. Office staff will work remotely.

(Adds detail on Brazilian operations)

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