Less than a week after John Deere reported nearly $2 billion in profits for its first quarter 2023, the Moline-based equipment maker boasted of record net sales and earnings at its annual meeting.

On Feb. 17, Deere & Company announced net income of $1.959 billion for the first quarter ended Jan. 29, 2023, or $6.55 per share, compared with net income of $903 million, or $2.92 per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 30, 2022.

John C. May is chairman and CEO of Deere & Company.

Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 32 percent, to $12.652 billion, in the most recent quarter. Net sales were $11.402 billion for the quarter, compared with $8.531 billion in 2022.

For its 2022 fiscal year, Deere chairman and CEO John May said net sales and earnings were the highest in company history at $52.6 billion, while net income was $7.1 billion. Additionally, Deere shareholders realized a total return on their investment of 17 percent, compared with a decline in the market overall.

“Our operations were not immune from the industry-wide supply shortages and logistics challenges,” May said at the annual meeting Feb. 22 at Moline world headquarters. “In response, our employees rallied together. They boosted production and worked tirelessly to get equipment shipped to our dealers and customers. We also faced headwinds related to rising costs for raw materials and freight. Despite it all, we achieved higher volumes and maintained our margin profile.

A Deere 8RX tractor and ExactEmerge planter in the fields.

“Another group that deserves recognition and special thanks is our dealers. As has been true for generations, they worked hard to serve our customers and manage their needs,” he said. “This included ensuring uptime and the timely execution of critical jobs on farms and jobsites. Our dealers also made further progress strengthening their technical capabilities and making use of digital tools, which are key to the widespread adoption of precision technologies and unlocking more value for our customers.”

High-tech breakthroughs

Deere is delivering technological breakthroughs that help customers be more productive and profitable, and do their jobs more sustainably, the CEO said.

Deere’s fully autonomous 8R tractor doesn’t require an operator.

A prime example is the fully autonomous 8R tractor they introduced just over a year ago. “This industry-first technology can perform tillage work in the field without an operator in sight,” May said. “And we’re expanding our autonomy capabilities to other jobs on the farm and construction site.”

Another example of technological breakthroughs is Deere’s See & Spray Ultimate sprayers, which also debuted last year.

“They use advanced camera technology and artificial intelligence to distinguish weeds from healthy crop, reducing the use of herbicides and improving yields,” May said. At CES 2023, held last month, the company unveiled its ExactShot planter technology.

“Through a combination of the latest sensors and robotics, it applies starter fertilizer precisely to the seed as it is planted, at speeds up to 10 mph,” the CEO said. “As a result, farmers can reduce the amount of starter fertilizer used by as much as 60% while maintaining speeds needed to get the job done on time.”

The view inside the 8R autonomous tractor.

Also at CES, Deere introduced a fully electric excavator that reduces job site noise, increases safety and productivity and eliminates emissions, all without compromising power or performance, May said.

It’s a Deere-designed excavator powered by a Kreisel battery.

“Our work with Kreisel – a company in which we acquired a majority position in 2022 – gives us access to patented battery technology that delivers high performance and a longer battery life,” May said. “Kreisel also leverages charging technology that results in faster and lower-cost connections to the electrical grid, delivering even greater value to the customer.”

Deere gave the opening keynote address at CES, highlighting progress in robotics and artificial intelligence.

Making a true impact

“During the keynote, we shared how our real purpose and technology is making a real impact by helping our customers — the farmers, construction crews and roadbuilders who are providing the food, fuel, fiber and infrastructure the world relies on — do more with less,” May said.

To reduce emissions, the company is exploring ways to supplement our traditional diesel-powered engines with other power sources such as battery-electric and renewable fuels, like biodiesel.

Deere CEO John May was happy to report record sales and profits in 2022 at the company annual meeting Feb. 22, 2023.

“It’s worth noting, biofuels made from corn or soybean feedstocks, such as ethanol and renewable diesel, produce about 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than petroleum-based fuels,” he said. “Our plans also include having a number of battery-electric products on the market by 2026.

As part of its 80,000-employee worldwide workforce, Deere opened office locations in Austin and Chicago over the past year, as part of an effort to attract a wider range of employee talent.

“Another thing I’m personally proud of is Deere’s long record of being a socially responsible company and contributing to our communities,” May said. “Charitable contributions from the company and our foundation jumped 30% last year to some $55 million.”

Significant donations were made to combat global food insecurity, promote agricultural education, and strengthen support for underserved farmers.

A John Deere wheel loader in action.

“Highlighting our commitment to a more equitable society, Deere continued to support the LEAP coalition, a group that focuses on heirs’ property rights,” May said. “In addition, the company sponsored a fellowship program for Native American youth studying agriculture and announced plans to invest in a fund that is dedicated to investing in and supporting minority-owned businesses. These examples are just a few of many ways Deere is living out its higher purpose: We run so life can leap forward.”

For more information, visit the investor relations section of Deere’s website HERE.