AGCO Purchases Appareo

AGCO Purchases North Dakota Technology Company Appareo

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
AGCO intends to purchase Appareo for its expertise in the fields of automation and autonomy. The North Dakota company brings skills in communication, sensing and tracking, among other skills, to the $9 billion ag manufacturer. (Photo courtesy of AGCO)

CHELSEA, Ala. (DTN) -- AGCO announced late Tuesday an agreement to acquire Appareo Systems LLC, a leader in software engineering, hardware development and electronic manufacturing.

"We see Appareo as a great addition to support delivering high-quality, smart solutions to our farmers to maximize both their user experience and profitability," AGCO's Chairman, President and CEO Eric Hansotia said in a news release announcing the agreement.

AGCO's purchase is another in a string of technology purchases by major agricultural machinery manufacturers featuring high skill sets in automation and autonomy -- for example, in the areas of tracking, sensing and controlling.

CNH recently finalized its purchase of Raven Industries (…).

John Deere in late summer purchased Bear Flag Robotics (…).

Appareo specializes in the research, development, design and manufacture of technology that utilizes artificial intelligence, mechatronics, and innovative electronics to produce solutions for agriculture, aviation and other off-road businesses. Mechatronics is a merger of mechanics, electronics and computing to create simpler, smarter systems.

AGCO is familiar with Appareo's capabilities, as the two have worked together for several years. "Initially, it was primarily around their sensors that we used, particularly in some of our harvesting products," Greg Peterson, vice president for investor relations at AGCO, told DTN/Progressive Farmer. Appareo sensors are found in AGCO's IDEAL combine, for example, to detect moisture, texture and denseness and adjust the combine based on those characteristics.

"Over the years, we've worked with them on different technologies around communication, monitoring, sensing, tracking and controlling devices," he said. "We know the quality of their work. And you can imagine, there's a relatively small population of engineers that understand and have worked with and developed technology for agricultural equipment. These guys are really good at what they do. (They) identify and solve problems and deliver solutions."

Within Appareo is an aviation business. Peterson could not say there is a product on Appareo's aviation shelf that AGCO will incorporate directly into its agricultural equipment. "But there are pieces of the architecture I think may well be tremendously helpful," he said.

AGCO had net sales of about $9.1 billion in 2020 from its core brands such as Challenger, Fendt, GSI, Massey Ferguson and Valtra. Appareo was founded in 2003 and is a provider of custom electronics and software design for off-highway and airborne equipment. Appareo is based in Fargo, North Dakota, with an additional design office in Paris, France.

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Dan Miller