U.S. Markets closed

Edited Transcript of DE earnings conference call or presentation 27-Nov-19 3:00pm GMT

Q4 2019 Deere & Co Earnings Call

MOLINE Dec 11, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Deere & Co earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 3:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

================================================================================

Corporate Participants

================================================================================

* Brent Norwood

Deere & Company - Manager of Investor Communications

* John D. Lagemann

Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia

* Josh Jepsen

Deere & Company - Director of IR

* Ryan D. Campbell

Deere & Company - Senior VP & CFO

================================================================================

Conference Call Participants

================================================================================

* Andrew Millard Casey

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Machinery Analyst

* Ann P. Duignan

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD

* Ashish Ravi Gupta

Stephens Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst

* Courtney Yakavonis

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate

* David Michael Raso

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD & Head of Industrial Research Team

* Jamie Lyn Cook

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Sector Head of United States Capital Goods Research, and Analyst

* Jerry David Revich

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - VP

* Joseph O'Dea

Vertical Research Partners, LLC - Principal

* Mircea Dobre

Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Associate Director of Research and Senior Research Analyst

* Robert Cameron Wertheimer

Melius Research LLC - Founding Partner, Director of Research & Research Analyst of Global Machinery and Cannabis

* Ross Paul Gilardi

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director

* Seth Robert Weber

RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Stephen Edward Volkmann

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Steven Fisher

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director and Senior Analyst

* Timothy Thein

Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director and U.S. Machinery Analyst

================================================================================

Presentation

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good morning and welcome to Deere & Company Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Josh Jepsen, Director of Investor Relations. Thank you. You may begin.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Julie. Hello. Also on the call today are Ryan Campbell, our Chief Financial Officer; John Lagemann, Senior Vice President, Ag & Turf Sales and Marketing; and Brent Norwood, Manager, Investor Communications.

Today, we'll take a closer look at Deere's fourth quarter earnings then spend some time talking about our markets and current outlook for fiscal 2020. After that, we'll respond to your questions.

First, a reminder. This call is being broadcast live on the Internet and recorded for future transmission and use by Deere & Company. Any other use, recording or transmission of any portion of this copyrighted broadcast without the expressed written consent of Deere is strictly prohibited. Participants in the call, including the Q&A, agree that their likeness and remarks in all media may be stored and used as part of the earnings call.

This call includes forward-looking comments concerning the company's plans and projections for the future that are subject to important risks and uncertainties. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially is contained in the company's most recent Form 8-K and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This call may include financial measures that are not in conformance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America or GAAP. Additional information concerning these measures, including reconciliations to comparable GAAP measures, is included in the release and posted on our website at johndeere.com/earnings under Quarterly Earnings & Events. Brent?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brent Norwood, Deere & Company - Manager of Investor Communications [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Deere completed the fourth quarter with a strong finish in retail sales for both divisions. While uncertainty lingers in the U.S. ag market, replacement demand and increased adoption of precision technology will continue to be critical factors for 2020. As North American farmers work through trade issues and adverse weather conditions, sentiment in Brazil remains stable, offsetting weakness in other South American markets such as Argentina.

In the Construction & Forestry division, retail demand remained steady as end markets benefit from generally positive economic conditions. At the same time, dealers are cautiously managing inventory levels to ensure their ability to meet current demand while maintaining flexibility as activity fluctuates.

Now let's take a closer look at our year-end results for 2019 beginning on Slide 3. For the full year, net sales and revenue were up 5% to $39.258 billion while net sales for equipment operations were up 5% to $34.886 billion. Net income attributable to Deere & Company was $3.253 billion or $10.15 per diluted share.

The results included a favorable benefit of $68 million to the provision for income taxes due to U.S. tax reform. Excluding this item, adjusted net income was $3.185 billion or $9.94 per diluted share.

Slide 4 shows the results for the fourth quarter. Net sales and revenue were up 5% to $9.896 billion. Net income attributable to Deere & Company was $722 million or $2.27 per diluted share. The results included a favorable benefit of $41 million to the provision for income taxes due to U.S. tax reform. Excluding this item, adjusted net income was $681 million or $2.14 per diluted share.

On Slide 5, total worldwide equipment operations net sales were up 4% to $8.7 billion in the fourth quarter. Price realization in the quarter was positive by 3 points while currency translation was negative by 2 points.

At this point, I'd like to welcome to the call John Lagemann, Senior Vice President of Ag & Turf Sales and Marketing, to discuss the fundamentals affecting the Ag business. John?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Brent, and good morning all. Let's start with quarter's results on Slide 6. Net sales were up 3% in the quarter-over-quarter comparison, primarily driven by strong price realization and slightly higher volumes. Operating profit was $527 million, resulting in a 9.2% operating margin for the division. The year-over-year decline was largely due to higher production costs, SA&G and the unfavorable effects of foreign currency exchange, partially offset by positive price realization.

Importantly, our North American large ag business finished the quarter with strong retail sales, putting us in an excellent inventory position for the start of 2020. In the U.S., the large tractor and combine inventory to sales ratio is the lowest it's been since 2014, which puts us in a good position to produce in line with retail demand for North America large ag in 2020.

Now turning to Slide 7. Let's take a closer look at some of the fundamentals affecting the agricultural economy. It's been a year of uncertainty for corn and soybean growers in the U.S. In addition to continued trade uncertainty and near-term demand concerns stemming from African swine fever and unusually wet spring delayed planting this season, which ultimately resulted in fewer corn and soybean acres for the year. Compounding matters further, difficult weather conditions this fall have significantly delayed harvest, which is now the slowest -- the fourth slowest on record for corn. The combination of these factors have pressured grain supplies for the year.

More specifically, despite these lower levels of supply, overall grain consumption increased for the period, contributing to a decline in the stocks-to-use ratio for both corn and soybeans and in turn, higher year-over-year prices for both commodities in 2019. The weak global stocks-to-use ratio is expected to rise again in 2019 as production increases in Russia and Ukraine more than offset dryness in Argentina and Australia. Ending stocks for 2019 reflect record high levels for global wheat inventories.

Now Slide 8 outlines U.S. farm cash receipts. 2019 farm cash receipts are estimated to increase about 2% year-over-year to $395 billion while net cash income is estimated to be up around 7% to $113 billion. The increase in crop cash receipts and income is largely attributed to the market facilitation payments from the USDA, which are expected to contribute approximately $17 billion to the U.S. farm economy this year. As they complete their harvest, farmers will assess their individual situations to determine how best to allocate the year-over-year increase in receipts and income.

Before addressing our industry outlook on Slide 9, I'd like to first provide a high-level overview on the state of the North American ag industry. Despite uncertainty from trade, weather and ASF, we are still in a replacement market that, if anything, is becoming more amplified. Let me explain.

First of all, while this uncertainty has slowed replacement rates in both 2018 and '19 and long-term freight resolution is still clearly desired, we do see some evidence that U.S. farmer sentiment is beginning to improve as farmers acclimate over time to plant in a more uncertain trade environment.

Secondly, the fleet age in the U.S. has reached its highest point in over a decade, and our 2020 outlook anticipates even further aging of this fleet. This supports our view that many U.S. customers will reach a point where they simply need to replace their equipment. And with that impact, a gradual recovery of the equipment invest cycle will resume as customers make decisions to upgrade their operations.

Lastly, in addition to the advanced age of the fleet, the impact of precision technology is further driving these replacement decisions. Throughout this prolonged period of uncertainty, farmers have continued to invest in technologies that deliver high ROIs and operational efficiencies. And there is no doubt that our own product introductions in this area of precision ag technology have had a distinct impact on the financial and operational performance of our customers.

And never was that more evident than this year as our customers use these technologies to better manage the adverse weather conditions I mentioned earlier. This impact of technology has also been very apparent in the results of our early order programs where we have seen increased take rates for precision features compared to last year.

And speaking of our early order programs, the final phase of the planter and sprayer EOP concluded in October with mixed results on a unit basis. Early orders for planters finished up single digits with take rates for ExactEmerge technology up again significantly for fiscal year '20.

Sprayer orders were down low double digits with the U.S. results down single digits, and Canada orders were down significantly more. It's also important to note that the first phase of these programs was significantly impacted by the late planting this season and that orders for the subsequent 2 phases were up quite significantly on a year-over-year basis.

Our combine early order program completed the first of 3 phases in October with results down double digits. Similar to our crop EOP, the results of the first phase were negatively impacted by lower activity in Canada as well as the delayed harvest that I mentioned earlier. Given the late harvest, this year's program may be more back-end weighted towards phases 2 and 3. Also, due to strong take rates in 2018 and '19, Combine Advisor was moved into the base model for 2020, indicating a significant adoption of this game-changing feature.

Our tractor order book currently extends through the end of March, which is well ahead of last year. The strong order book is largely attributable to a mid-year model change as we transition to the all-new 8R tractor featured at Agritechnica this year. More specifically, our current order bank reflects a sellout of the current model as we begin taking orders for the new 8R starting in December.

We'll talk more about this new 8R as the year progresses. But simply put, it is the most technologically advanced tractor we've ever made and loaded with our latest precision technologies. This new model will feature upgrades in guidance, connectivity and user experience while enabling further electrification of associated implements. And initial reaction to these features has been very positive for both customers and dealers. We intend to begin production during the third quarter.

With that context, let's turn to our 2020 ag and turf industry outlook on Slide 9. Ag industry sales in the U.S. and Canada are forecast to be down about 5% for 2020 with the year-over-year decline reflective of a cautious environment.

Concerning the U.S. market, it's worth noting that we've made some adjustments to our leasing operations to address recent losses in the U.S. portfolio. Although the overall used equipment market continues to be quite stable, our lease return rates remain at elevated levels. At the same time, we've taken actions to reduce our matured lease inventory, which put downward pressure on our recovery rates in the wholesale market and contributed to the disclosed impairment.

But to address this situation going forward, we have taken the following actions. First, we've adjusted lease residual values to better reflect the current environment. Next, we have enough changes to our leasing program that will include a risk-sharing mechanism with our dealers to ensure alignment. And lastly, we will realign our performance and incentive structures in order to increase dealer collaboration and our collective remarketing efforts. In summary, we have taken significant actions to enhance our position with our current leasing portfolio and our overall leasing strategy going forward.

In terms of our current portfolio, we have reduced matured lease inventory during 2019 and are now turning that inventory much faster. Regarding our leasing strategy going forward, the changes I highlighted should provide for greater efficiency in managing the overall portfolio while remaining competitive in the marketplace. And these changes will enable us to better leverage the strength of our dealer organization by allowing them to control the inventory in their own area of responsibility.

This, in turn, will also support their evolution of promoting production systems versus individual products because they can better manage their customers' trade cycles. We received a variety of feedback from our dealers, but many of our strongest dealers view these changes as quite positive. They also see them as an obvious evolution to our leasing strategy that reflects the growing importance of leasing to the overall industry.

Now moving on to the EU 28. The industry outlook is forecast to be flat in 2020 as most regions impacted from last year's drought are expected to recover with favorable production for the year. Furthermore, the outlook for the dairy sector remains stable.

In South America, industry sales of tractors and combines are projected to be flat for the year. Sentiment in Brazil remains very stable with high levels of grain production combined with healthy producer margins and restored liquidity in the financing market driving a positive outlook. However, other Latin American markets like Mexico and to a greater extent, Argentina, face near-term challenges due to the potential for adverse policy impacting the ag sector.

Shifting to Asia. Industry sales are expected to be flat with growth in India offset by slowness in China. And lastly, industry retail sales of turf and utility equipment in the U.S. and Canada are projected to be flat in 2020 based on stable general economic factors.

Now moving on to the ag and turf forecast on Slide 10. Fiscal year 2020 sales of worldwide ag and turf equipment are now forecasted to be down between 5% and 10%, which includes expectations of 2 points of positive price realization and currency headwind of about 1 point. Also note that our sales forecast does contemplate producing below retail demand for some small ag products in 2020. Our full year operating margin forecast is ranging between 10.5% and 11.5%.

I will now turn the call back over to Brent Norwood. Brent?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brent Norwood, Deere & Company - Manager of Investor Communications [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now let's focus on Construction & Forestry on Slide 11. Net sales of $2.947 billion were up 8%, primarily due to shipment volumes and positive price realization for the quarter. Operating profit was $261 million benefiting from increased shipment volumes and price realization offset by higher production costs, SA&G and a negative mix. Similar to the Ag division, C&F also finished 2019 with strong retail activity keeping inventory to sales ratio within a desirable range.

Moving to the C&F outlook on Slide 12. Deere's Construction & Forestry 2020 sales are forecast to be down between 15 -- between 10% and 15% compared to last year. The year-over-year decline is driven mostly by a mid-single-digit underproduction to retail volumes versus a building of inventory in 2019.

The order book remains healthy and back within our historical 30- to 60-day replenishment window while the overall industry activity remains steady. The global forestry market forecast is expected to be flat with growth coming from products in Europe offsetting declines in the U.S. and Russian markets. C&F's full year operating margin is projected to be between 9.5% to 10.5% with roadbuilding margins higher than the overall vision.

Let's move now to our Financial Services operations on Slide 13. Worldwide Financial Services net income attributable to Deere & Company was $90 million in the fourth quarter and $539 million for the full year. The provision for credit losses as a percentage of the average owned portfolio was 7 basis points for 2019. Fourth quarter results were negatively impacted by a $77 million pretax impairment charge relating to the operating lease portfolio.

As John mentioned earlier, we've already implemented measures to adjust the lease program going forward and ensure stronger -- to ensure stronger dealer alignment for remarketing returned machines on future leases. For fiscal year 2020, net income is forecast to be $600 million, which contemplates a tax rate of 24% to 26%. The provision for credit losses in 2020 is forecast at 19 basis points.

Slide 14 outlines receivables and inventories. For the company as a whole, trade receivables and inventories ended the year up about $52 million, which was well below our forecast, as the decrease in the Ag division was offset by increases in C&F. In the C&F division, the full year rise is largely attributable to building some field inventory after a historically low position at start of 2019. In ag, the year's decrease is mainly attributable to a strong finish in retail sales and underproduction in large ag in 2019.

Moving to Slide 15. Cost of sales for the fourth quarter and the full year was 77% of net sales. Our guidance for 2020 is about 76%, down 1 point year-over-year. R&D was up about 4% in the fourth quarter and 8% for the full year, and our forecast for 2020 is down 2% from 2019 levels. SA&G expense for the equipment operations was up 8% in the quarter and 3% for the full year while next year's forecast is down 3% from 2019.

Turning to Slide 16. The fourth quarter included a $41 million benefit to the provision for income taxes and other favorable discrete adjustments resulting in a 9% tax rate for the period. The full year 2019 rate of 20% included a $68 million benefit related to tax reform adoption. For 2020, the full year effective tax rate is now projected to be between 24% to 26%.

Slide 17 shows our equipment operations cash flow. Cash flow from the equipment operations is now forecast to be in a range of $3.1 billion to $3.5 billion in 2020. The guidance reflects a potential $300 million voluntary contribution to our OPEB plans.

Finally, the company's fiscal year 2020 net income outlook is on Slide 18. Our full year outlook calls for net income to be between $2.7 billion and $3.1 billion.

I will now turn the call over to Ryan Campbell for closing comments. Ryan?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ryan D. Campbell, Deere & Company - Senior VP & CFO [6]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Before we respond to your questions, I'd first like to offer some closing thoughts on 2019 and then provide an update to some key initiatives we have underway in 2020.

In summary, 2019 was a challenging year with respect to losses in our lease portfolio and managing through midyear production cuts in large ag. However, the measures we've taken position us with greater flexibility to respond to market conditions in the future.

As mentioned during our comments, we've taken actions during the last half of 2019 to reduce our inventory position and address the performance of our lease book. Specifically, as it relates to U.S. large ag, we entered 2020 with the lowest inventory-to-sales ratio over the past several years, allowing us to produce roughly in line with retail demand in this important market. For leasing, the changes we are making to our programs will enhance the long-term sustainability of our leasing business model.

Now as we shift our focus towards 2020 and beyond, we've recently launched some key initiatives to help us better execute our strategy. As we mentioned, during the third quarter earnings call, we initiated plans to create a leaner and more efficient organization with an increased focus on the areas of our business that provide the greatest potential for differentiation -- differentiated customer value.

Throughout the remainder of fiscal 2019, we completed targeted measures to streamline operations and headcount, incurring costs of $30 million. These initial actions in 2019 were the start of a broader effort to produce a more agile organization that enables quicker responses to changing market conditions. This initiative will also place a greater emphasis on the acceleration of our precision technologies and aftermarket strategies.

In line with these objectives, today, we announced a broader voluntary separation program for eligible salary employees. The cost of the fiscal year '20 program is approximately $140 million and contributes to an annualized savings run rate of approximately $150 million when combined with the initiatives taken in 2019. Furthermore, we are undertaking an assessment of our overseas footprint as we work to serve our customers more efficiently. We will provide updates on our plans throughout the year during our quarterly earnings calls.

As a result of these actions, we intend to drive the following outcomes. First, a streamlined organizational structure with reduced layers, reset to focus on delivering technology and innovation at an increasingly rapid pace. Second, these actions will drive capital allocation decisions that further prioritize markets, products and services with the highest potential for differentiation as well as advance our solutions offerings focused on improving customer outcomes throughout their production systems. Lastly, we'll accelerate our capture of aftermarket parts and services, leveraging our dealer channel and unique tools such as connected support and expert alerts.

In addition, we'll continue to focus on the successful integration of Wirtgen and realization of synergies while leveraging their market position and roadbuilding to offer customers a more complete solution. As a final note, we acknowledge the uncertain environment we are operating in. However, we take these strategic measures as beginning steps to reshape our organization and capitalize on the tremendous opportunities in front of us, particularly as it relates to precision technologies.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [7]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Now we're ready to begin the Q&A portion of the call. The operator will instruct you on the polling procedure. (Operator Instructions) Julie?

================================================================================

Questions and Answers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Stephen Volkmann with Jefferies.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stephen Edward Volkmann, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I guess I'll just kick it off with a little bit of color on your Ag outlook, please. So when I look at your various geographic outlooks, mostly flat, U.S. down 5%, I don't come up with anything close to net sales down 5% to 10%, especially with a little bit of price tailwind.

So I guess obviously, you're underproducing, I think you may have mentioned, in small ag. But I was surprised to hear you say that you think you're kind of where you need to be in large ag. It just seems like a pretty big delta between your sales and your end market forecast. So maybe just a little color there. Sorry for the long question.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Thanks, Steve. I think as you think about those, you're right, most geographies flat while we're down about 5% in the U.S. and Canada. I think what we see there is certainly the impact that was mentioned in terms of underproducing on the small ag side of the business. We expect -- the retail environment continues to be pretty stable and that we would continue to perform well there.

But as we've gotten to better inventory levels there, we realize we can optimize those inventory levels and we'll underproduce as a result as we make that work. I think the other part of thinking about the range is just recognizing the uncertainty in the environment and maybe a little bit cautious as we see some of the delays related to the harvest season pushing back some of the activity in our EOP.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, Josh. But I'd like to make it clear that our product portfolio has never been better. We like our go-to-market strategies, and we're certainly not planning on losing any market share from that perspective. So we feel very bullish about our share position going forward.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Jamie Cook with Crédit Suisse.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jamie Lyn Cook, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD, Sector Head of United States Capital Goods Research, and Analyst [6]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I guess just 2 questions. One, on the restructuring, the $140 million, just to be clear, is that included in the net income GAAP guide? And when do you expect to realize the $150 million, over what time frame? And then I just -- my second question, Josh, is on the implied decrementals for the total company. But I guess, in particular, on the Ag side, they look very healthy considering the sales decline. So I'm just trying to get comfort with what's implied in that decremental margin. Is there restructuring, price cost, freight tailwinds from last year? If you could just give some broader color there.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [7]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, I'll start. I mean, yes, we would say the programs that Ryan mentioned, we would have embedded in our guidance today. So that's included into the cost and the run rate savings. As you think about Ag & Turf for next year, the big question and your comment on -- are we seeing material prices, steel prices improve, we are seeing those come through and starting to improve. Now maybe a little bit tempered by the fact that we underproduced in the back half of '19 and our production is lower going into 2020, so not maybe as big of a benefit. But we are seeing those prices come down.

I think the other thing to note on -- as you think about our margins is, we are seeing higher pension costs, a little bit higher incentive compensation that are impacting us. And then some overhead as we bring in new product programs. So we introduced a couple of new products at Agritechnica. So we'll be -- we're in the process of bringing those in. So there is some impact on overhead spend as we integrate those and launch those in the year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [8]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Jerry Revich of Goldman Sachs.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jerry David Revich, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - VP [9]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm wondering if you could just update us on the take rates for precision planting and some of the other key products. I guess we're hearing in the field a lot of momentum in soybeans in particular. So it sounds like that could be a multi-hundred million dollar revenue tailwind '20 versus '19. But I'm wondering if you could comment on the exact take rates and maybe on that revenue tailwind estimate.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [10]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Thanks, Jerry. Yes, so as mentioned by John, we were -- we've seen continued growth there. So if you look at ExactEmerge, for example, we were around 30% last year. That number is in the upper 30s, near 40% as we come through the early order program. And I think this past season, the challenges with the wet conditions has been the best test case for why that technology is particularly valuable. The shorter windows that we need to execute those jobs is really, really important.

ExactApply, we're seeing kind of very similar take rates to a year ago, which you're talking about in the 40s. And then Combine Advisor, we moved into base equipment. So that's a significant move. If you think about the duration in which we've seen that adopt very quickly, so that's 3 years to go in base. And that -- so we feel really good about that.

On top of that, what we're seeing from our tractors is on our -- some of our precision packages that our tractors can take, we've seen pretty significant growth. So our 8R tractor has seen a jump to about 50% take rate on our CommandCenter AutoTrac guidance, which includes RowSense and some other functions. So we're seeing that really across the portfolio. Anything you'd mention, John?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [11]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, I'd just like to augment it. This last year, the weather -- I've never seen the weather conditions more adverse and really more unpredictable. And the ExactEmerge technology proved to be really a game changer when you consider that 1 or 2 days could make a difference whether a guy got his crop in or not, and it really proved itself.

And then I think on the Combine Advisor, if you think about some of the conditions that they face this fall, I think the ability to set those settings and then have them automatically set in the field proved to be really, really valuable. And then on the premium activations, Josh, I think that just shows the precision piece of the technology here and how important that is when you consider inch-by-inch accuracy. So -- but this year has proven to be a very solid year from a way to augment what they really do.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ryan D. Campbell, Deere & Company - Senior VP & CFO [12]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jerry, it's Ryan. Just a quick thought on that. It took over a decade for us to move AutoTrac from a feature and option into base machines. As we think about adoption of precision technologies, some prospective Combine Advisor, this is year 3 and we're moving it into base.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [13]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The only other thing I'd add there on the precision side is we're seeing continued growth in engaged acres. So we are north of 165 million engaged acres. So that has grown and not just in North America, but we're seeing that grow overseas as well. Brazil is a market where we've seen significant growth there. So we feel really good about the trajectory of those take rates, particularly as we introduce those features in other geographies like South America. But on top of that, what we're seeing from the ops center and folks engaging with those digital tools to plan, monitor and analyze their operations.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [14]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Rob Wertheimer with Melius Research.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Robert Cameron Wertheimer, Melius Research LLC - Founding Partner, Director of Research & Research Analyst of Global Machinery and Cannabis [15]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just one quick one on the voluntary separation. That is, I guess, more U.S.-based than international. If I understand correctly, the future cost out that you'll work through and talk through the rest of the year is more on the international side. And then I know it's hard to talk about things that are cost related, but will that put you in a good position? Or is this a multiyear journey that you're kind of kicking off on cost?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [16]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, Rob, thanks for the question. I'd say, I mean, this is -- this certainly is strategic in nature and I'd say, not a 1- or 2-quarter event. So I think over time, we'll continue kind of executing on this path in terms of looking at our cost structure but then also how do we best and most efficiently serve our customers all over the world. So I think we'll -- as we continue to execute on the plans, as Ryan mentioned, we're undergoing assessment. We'll provide updates. But I think that's a little bit.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ryan D. Campbell, Deere & Company - Senior VP & CFO [17]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rob, it's Ryan. This is -- I would view it as a journey to reshape our portfolio and our business towards the areas that we've talked about with respect to where we can differentiate more than potentially other areas. And that's really with production systems, agriculture, precision agriculture and aftermarket.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [18]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Mig Dobre with Baird.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mircea Dobre, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Associate Director of Research and Senior Research Analyst [19]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just want to go back to Steve's initial question on your Ag & Turf outlook. I guess I'm having a bit of a hard time understanding exactly what's implied in terms of inventory destocking for the smaller equipment. Can you maybe put this in perspective?

I mean from what I recall, this is less than half the overall segment. And we're talking about $1.5 billion-plus worth of a headwind, at least on my math, in 2020. I mean correct me if I'm wrong. And why is this happening now? And again, some framework and some context would be helpful.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [20]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Thanks, Mig. I think when you think about that, I mean, we are seeing the large ag market come down. So it's not small ag alone. So we are seeing top line there. The benefit of the actions we took last year is we're able to produce in line with that retail demand. So that's positive, but still, it's at a lower level.

As you think about the small ag side and what we're doing there on the underproduction to pull those inventory levels down, that's really -- as we think about where do we need to be in the selling season and what are those inventory-to-sales ratios. And roughly, we're talking about probably about a 10-point reduction of those inventory-to-sales ratios on where we want to be. So there's some movement there, but that is the biggest portion of the underproduction.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mircea Dobre, Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division - Associate Director of Research and Senior Research Analyst [21]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And Josh, is this in under 40-horsepower tractors, specifically?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [22]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. No, I'd say more broadly, so essentially 100 horsepower and below. So you're talking about compact utilities plus utilities.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [23]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh, we've made some pretty significant improvements to the overall order fulfillment process on small tractors. And frankly, with those changes, we're confident that we can bring the inventory down, as you mentioned. So I think it's a combination of factors.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [24]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Joe O'Dea with Vertical Research.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joseph O'Dea, Vertical Research Partners, LLC - Principal [25]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With respect to the 15% segment margin targets, can you talk about the bridge to those targets at this point? How much of that is volume dependent? How much of that is things that you control?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [26]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So I think, first and foremost, there are things that we're working on regardless of end markets, and that's precision ag, it's aftermarket opportunities, it's activities on the cost structure, it's executing and integrating Wirtgen in our synergies there. So those are, I'd say, the big piece of where we see the margin improvement coming from. As we think about what does the end market do, yes, we're not contemplating a huge swing back in terms of improvement, for example, for large ag.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Joseph O'Dea, Vertical Research Partners, LLC - Principal [27]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And so just following up on that. I mean you're down this year, I would say, 2018, 2019, probably more reflective of normalized demand, so those 15% margin targets really with respect to normalized demand and so this year, would be below that. Just -- or 2020 would be below that, just to be clear.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [28]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Our math would put us just below 90% of mid-cycle from an ag perspective overall. Thanks, Joe.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [29]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Andy Casey with Wells Fargo Securities.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Millard Casey, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Machinery Analyst [30]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A question on the 2020 outlook. Is -- should we think that is more truncated to the second half than usual because it kind of sounds like you expect demand to start out slowly. It's probably going to take some time to realize the benefit from the voluntary separation to kick in. And then you have comps that should get a little bit easier in the second half given the inventory correction that you did this year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [31]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andy, that's fair. I would say there's more of that impact in the first part of the year. Certainly, as you think about some of the costs, some of the underproduction, and you're right, the comps would get -- would be more favorable in the back part of the year where we did significant underproduction in 2019 in large ag.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ryan D. Campbell, Deere & Company - Senior VP & CFO [32]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And Andy, the voluntary separation costs will be incurred in the first quarter. The benefits, obviously, will go throughout the year. And then full year run rate benefits will be in the following year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Millard Casey, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Machinery Analyst [33]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. And then a follow-up, just a clarification on the series 8R production starting in Q3, does that impact the first half production rates at all for the existing 8R?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [34]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We're effectively -- I mean we've got the schedule laid out. And we've sold out -- as Brent mentioned in his comments or John mentioned, we've sold out that level of production that we have. So that's full. So it really doesn't impact what we would execute on in the first half of the year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [35]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Steven Fisher with UBS.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steven Fisher, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director and Senior Analyst [36]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just a couple of things on the construction side of the business. What is your retail expectation for 2020 if I missed it? And how does the 1% price assumption for '20 compare to what you achieved in '19? And then just wondering if -- to what extent you're starting to see any competitive pricing in the segment as things start to soften there?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [37]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Steve. Yes, so when you think about C&F on price, as we talked about or it was in our press release, we're expecting about 1 point of price in 2020. That compares to about 3 in 2019. And as we discussed, throughout this year, C&F did 3 for the full year. That was much more front end loaded, where we took some price actions at the end of '18 and then early '19. So we saw a lot of that come through in the early part of the year, but strong price performance given where we've been.

Now certainly -- and that's a market where we always watch what's going on, understand not necessarily the price leader. So we'll continue to monitor what we've seen going on from a competitive perspective. But we think we're able to deliver that 1%, which is a good thing for that business.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steven Fisher, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director and Senior Analyst [38]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And the retail expectation overall for construction in 2020?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [39]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Sorry. Yes. We expect retail to be down around 5%. And certainly, as was noted, we will do some underproduction, a mid-single-digit underproduction in Construction in North America as we align inventories in that business.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [40]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from David Raso with Evercore ISI.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Michael Raso, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD & Head of Industrial Research Team [41]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

First, a clarification. Maybe I missed it. Ag & Turf, high horsepower, did you underproduce retail in the second half of '19? I know we talked about that a quarter or so ago. Was that the case?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [42]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We did. We did. so for the full year, we talked about -- a quarter ago, we said we were going to -- for the full year, high horsepower in North America. We were going to underproduce at mid-single digit. We actually ended up underproducing by a high single digit as a result of executing the production plans, but then also strong retail to close out the year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Michael Raso, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD & Head of Industrial Research Team [43]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, that's what I'm trying to understand. If you're producing at retail next year and you think high horsepower is generally okay, I mean I know it's within the guide of down 5% for U.S., Canada, though it sounded more on the smaller side. I'm trying to understand why your production want to be up a year following your underproducing because it puts even more pressure on the amount of underproduction and the low horsepower to make the math work. So can you just square that up for us? If you're producing at retail for higher horsepower in '20, wouldn't your production be up from '19?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [44]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think the -- so retail is lower. First of all, if we can go from '19, '20, retail is lower, and we're going to produce to that level. But that level is lower than where we would have been in -- or that level is lower just when we compare the years '19 to '20. So we're going to produce in line even after the underproduction that we did in '19.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Michael Raso, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD & Head of Industrial Research Team [45]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But if you were underproducing by high single digit in '19, even if retail is down 3% or 4% in high horsepower, your production will be up because you were underproducing more a year ago. I'm just -- I think we're just putting a lot of pressure on a huge underproduction and low horsepower to make this math logical, and I just want to make sure we level set.

Your high horsepower production would appear to be up in your retail environment coming off of how you underproduced. I mean that's just the math. I'm just making sure I understand we all level set leaving the call.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [46]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. I mean what I'd tell you is we are -- on the lower retails that we see in '20 versus '19, producing at that is still at a lower level than what we saw in fiscal '19.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David Michael Raso, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD & Head of Industrial Research Team [47]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. We can talk offline. And then maybe lastly, the cadence on how you see the sales playing out for the year. I know you don't give quarterly guidance, but any sense of the cadence of the implied total sales down about 9%, how do you see it or even break it up by segment, whatever you choose to provide.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [48]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I mean I think when you think about '20, it's probably a little bit lighter in the first half. As we talked about, we've got some of the underproduction, some of those things on small ag, small tractors in particular, that impact the first half of the year. So I'd say a little bit lighter first half versus second half.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [49]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Ashish Gupta with Stephens.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ashish Ravi Gupta, Stephens Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [50]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have a question and a clarification. Do you think there's a demand pull forward for the 8R resulting in the sellout? And then just to clarify on the large tractor order book, I think last year in the fourth -- on this call, you said it was -- the large tractor order book was extended versus last year. But I thought last year, you said it was out through the fiscal second quarter and I think you had said through March this year. So if you could just clarify, that would be great.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [51]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So I think we would say there's an impact of the model changeover certainly. And I think that's -- Brent and John have commented on that in terms of -- that has impacted where orders are and we're not taking orders. So certainly, we do expect some orders have come in on the existing model. So I think that's the component.

As you think about where we are in relation to last year, 8000 series, 9000 series, we're a month to 2 months further out in terms of availability. But that can be variable on what's the underlying production schedule, right? So that's not absolute when we compare those. But we are further out. We have more visibility this year than we do -- than we did a year ago at this time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [52]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh, and as we planned our transition strategy, we had intended to do this to sell out the current model and then transition to the new model. And I can tell you that there's demand on the current model since it's sold out, but there's a lot of excitement on the new ones. So actually, the transition is going just as we had it planned.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ashish Ravi Gupta, Stephens Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [53]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And then, sorry, just a quick follow-up. So I think you had said that you expect some downtime in the third quarter related to the model changeover. So should we expect production to be lower in some Q versus -- is there going to be different seasonality?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [54]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I mean there's probably a little bit of impact, but I don't think it's significant, I would say significant, as that changeover happens really kind of at the end of our second quarter into the beginning of our third. So I don't think it would impact meaningfully our kind of seasonal shift there or seasonal splits.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [55]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Seth Weber with RBC Capital Markets.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Seth Robert Weber, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - Equity Analyst [56]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On Construction, maybe just on the Wirtgen business, it sounds like your messaging that it's really the U.S. business, that's going to be weaker. But it feels like Wirtgen has been a little bit softer than we expected. I mean can you just give us kind of a walk around in -- on what you're seeing in the regions for the Wirtgen business? And you kind of alluded to margins being above segment average. But are margins kind of where you would expect them to be at this point? Or are you pushing -- still pushing synergies there? Is there still more upside on margins to come?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [57]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Thanks, Seth. Yes. I mean certainly, we think the opportunity on synergies is yet to come. There's a lot of work, and we feel good about that EUR 125 million. But we're not -- we haven't seen a lot of that making its way through from a margin perspective yet.

What I would say is on -- some of those synergies are having some impact. A good example is, we talked about this year of integrating order fulfillment. So this year, Wirtgen did do some underproduction, some Wirtgen models as well as Vögele models, which have been impactful in terms of their margin performance. So that's impacted their margin as we did do some underproduction to right-size inventory there in some models in some markets. So there -- that had an impact on Wirtgen margins for the year.

I think as you just -- as you look around the globe there, North America has been pretty steady from a roadbuilding perspective. Europe has been relatively stable, kind of flat, maybe a little bit of caution in a market like the U.K. on Brexit. I think in -- if you look at emerging markets, in other markets, that's probably where we've seen more of the weakness. China, we've talked about places like Argentina, Turkey, where we've seen more incremental weakness.

So still feel really good about the business, really good about the integration and the synergy opportunities and continue to find more opportunities to leverage and work together. So we'd say on track, certainly. We took some steps with the underproduction this year. We've got some factory start-up going on that's driven some inefficiencies but feel good about the future there.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [58]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Courtney Yakavonis with Morgan Stanley.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Courtney Yakavonis, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate [59]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Can you -- I appreciate the color you gave on some of the steps you're taking on the finco to reduce losses on operating leases. But can you just talk a little bit about how much you adjusted down the low residual values? And also, it sounded like this was primarily in Ag, primarily in the Ag division. But was there any impact on C&F operating leases residual values? And then also, was any of this equipment with precision ag or any of the more advanced features or is this some of just an aging effect?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [60]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Thanks, Courtney. Yes, I'll start there. I mean I think when you think about -- as our lease terms have gotten longer, they tend to be in between 3 and 4 years. So you've got a little bit -- a little bit, you're not talking about brand-new equipment. As you think about which divisions, it's -- we see -- we saw it across both divisions. And maybe when you -- if you just go back to -- we made some changes to our lease book in 2016 where we reduced residual value, we encouraged longer term leases and we saw some of that benefit. We saw the benefit in '17. We saw it in '18 as well.

As we got into the latter half of '19, we saw kind of the market uncertainty impacting the recovery rates as we were remarketing this equipment back through the wholesale channel, so that resulted in some of the impairment that we disclosed and then the changes that John mentioned today. So there's been a combination of those things that have impacted this, but we are -- we have seen it in both divisions, so it's not just one division or the other.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [61]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But we have not made major changes to the RVs. I mean we've tweaked them a little bit to fit the market but not major changes.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Courtney Yakavonis, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Associate [62]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Got you. And then just on the comment that you're rolling Combine Advisor into your pricing, I think you gave a 2% pricing forecast for A&T, how should we be thinking about that? Is that like-for-like equipment? Or will there still be an additional mix impact from something like Combine Advisor that's not necessarily an upsell anymore?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [63]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. In its first year, when it moves in base, it will still be coming through mix, not in our price realization number. It would not have been in the comparable model last year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [64]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Ann Duignan with JPMorgan.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ann P. Duignan, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD [65]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I could ask out why the strong dollar is not listed as one of the headwinds facing U.S. agriculture, but I'm not going to ask that. I'm going to ask why were you overproducing in the small horsepower sector, in the under 100 horsepower? And how much inventory do you have to reduce now that you've spent your overproducing?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [66]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Ann, I would say, I think as we look at that business, we were building inventory to get to a desired inventory level to meet really retail demand and meet the needs of those customers. The way those customers buy those is effectively on impulse. You walk into a dealership on a Saturday, you want to walk away with a tractor that day.

So over the last couple of years, we've been growing to get to that sustained inventory-to-sales level. And I think as John mentioned earlier, as we have looked at that and we've gotten to that level, we've identified opportunities really to optimize those levels of inventory while still being able to meet the customer needs. So it's really about us getting a little more efficient and having a little bit better information as we've gotten to those levels to be able to execute. Anything you'd mention, John?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [67]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Right. And once again, we made -- and we made some pretty significant improvements to the overall order fulfillment process, so we're confident to respond quicker to retail demand. So I think the word optimization is spot on, Josh.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ann P. Duignan, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD [68]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And the strong dollar?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [69]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Next question comes from Tim Thein with Citigroup.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Timothy Thein, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director and U.S. Machinery Analyst [70]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John, I'm wondering, is there a way to quantify how much -- for Ag & Turf, how much of the forecast is made up essentially of your own estimates versus orders in hand? And the spirit of the question is, normally, at this time, just given the delayed harvest, presumably, there's less of dealer -- visibility that dealers have and in turn, that you have.

So is there a way to, again, just quantify -- again, I think it's ballpark numbers in terms of -- at this point of the year, we normally have x percent visibility and thus, the balance is just our own estimate in terms of how order rates play out over the coming months.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [71]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tim, yes, I think I'll start. This is Josh. I think certainly, the weather and the delayed harvest has impacted EOP combines in particular. Certainly, we would acknowledge, we have less visibility there because of the delayed seasonality that we're seeing. And that's led us to probably be a little more cautious in terms of how we're viewing the market and our overall guide as a result of that. Now I think tractors, good visibility, as we mentioned, really driven more by some of the changeover in product. But those would be the key things I would mention. I'll ask John to add in.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [72]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd like to repeat the comment I made in my opening comments that with this weather situation being so unique, there's a pretty good possibility that our early order program on combines will be back ended. We don't know that yet. So that's why we're a little cautious, but we think there's a good chance of that as farmers complete their harvest and assess their income situation. We think there could be some year in buying, but we don't know that yet.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Timothy Thein, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - Director and U.S. Machinery Analyst [73]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Okay. And then -- and maybe just while you're there, John, a quick follow-up in terms of -- you mentioned earlier, from the standpoint of replacement demand and the fleet being the oldest it's been in a while. And I'm assuming this weather that you're talking -- that we're seeing is putting some additional pressure on the fleet.

Are you seeing that manifested in terms of higher reconditioning bills and service and parts activity at the dealers in terms of maybe a bit more visibility that you have that, hey, maybe we are getting closer to the point where you're going to see more need-based buying? Or is it just more anecdotal?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [74]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. I think that's a great question. And in fact, we are seeing good growth in the aftermarket. Our dealers are reporting parts sales growth, absorption growth, et cetera. So we are seeing some larger bills as they come through the system. And we think our connected support approach that Ryan alluded to, we think that's going to really help the dealer be proactive with some of those service opportunities. So yes, as the fleet ages, we are seeing some pretty good sales growth on the aftermarket side of the business.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [75]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our next question comes from Ross Gilardi with Bank of America.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ross Paul Gilardi, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [76]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wanted to ask another question about Combine Advisor and making that a standard option only after 3 years, which you're doing at the same time, the phase 1 of your early order book you've done, double digit. And what I'm trying to get at is, is there a risk? This is just a very short-term decision that's going to remove your ability to go back and price in the future for this pretty valuable option when the market recovers. And is the reality that you're going to have to give away a lot of these technologies in the base models to drive adoption, particularly as some of your competitors seem to be stepping up their game and really focusing a lot more heavily on precision agriculture?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [77]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. I think maybe one thing there to call out is when something is in the base, it's not free. When a feature moves into base, base price moves up with it. So we don't give up that pricing opportunity or margin that goes with that.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John D. Lagemann, Deere & Company - SVP of A&T Sales & Marketing – Americas & Australia [78]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And we were seeing take rates increase to the point where we needed to do that because it's a fundamental improvement to the overall combine, the way it functions. So we think that's a positive, the way we've transitioned that into base so quickly.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Josh Jepsen, Deere & Company - Director of IR [79]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Excellent. We're at the top of the hour, so that will be our last question. We appreciate all the interest, and we'll be around taking the questions. Thanks, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [80]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you for your participation. You may disconnect at this time.