For the third year in a row, U.S. dealers are forecasting fewer additions to their precision farming departments, according to Ag Equipment Intelligence’s 2017 Dealer Business Outlook & Trends report.

The report, which tracks hiring and revenue projections for the coming year,reveals that only about 10% of U.S. dealers plan to add precision staff in 2017. This continues a gradual 13% decline during the last 3 years.

Independent dealers are the least optimistic group according to the report, with none planning to add staff in 2017 and more than 16% anticipating a reduction or relocation of precision specialists — up nearly 12% over this year.

2017 Precision Hiring Outlook

  Add Staff    No Change    Reduce/Relocate Staff
AGCO  13% 87% 0.0%
Case IH     15.6% 82.8% 1.6%
John Deere 11.4% 85.7%  2.9%
Kubota  0.0% 100.0% 0.0%
New Holland 13.2% 84.2% 2.6%
Independent   0.0% 83.3% 16.7%

Among the major manufacturers, Kubota dealers forecast the biggest drop in additional precision hires, going from 23% who planned to hire precision specialists this year to zero in 2017, according to the report, followed by John Deere, with about a 6% year-over-year decline.

But there is positive hiring news as well, with both Case IH and New Holland dealers are forecasting increases. Some 13% of New Holland dealers project adding precision specialists in 2017, more than double the percentage this year. About 16% of Case IH dealers are also forecasting hiring growth in the coming year, compared to just over 11% in 2016.


It’s also worth noting that New Holland dealers have the second highest hopes for precision sales growth in the coming year, with more than 34% forecasting precision sales growth of at least 2% in 2017, compared to about 18% this year. Deere dealers lead the way with 60% forecasting revenue growth in 2017, according to the report.