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CNH changes mind on Saskatoon production

Plans to consolidate ag equipment giant CNH’s North American production of tillage equipment at its Saskatoon plant have become the victim of the company’s recent success.

The Amsterdam-based multinational ag and construction equipment firm in October 2006 had announced it would shut its soil management equipment plant at Goodfield, Ill., about 220 km southwest of Chicago, and transfer that production to its Flexi-Coil seeding equipment shop in Saskatoon.

However, in a press release Friday, CNH said it is “rescinding” its plans to close the 233,000-square-foot Goodfield facility. All soil management equipment previously transferred to Saskatoon “will be returned to Goodfield as soon as possible,” it said.

In making the decision to keep Goodfield, CNH cited “successful launches of new products, market share gains in many segments and an acceleration in overall market requirements” and said it “will instead invest in increasing capacity of its industrial system.”

The Saskatoon plant, meanwhile, will retain its existing product lines, including seeding and planting equipment.

Workforce expansions

That having been said, to accommodate this change and to meet increased market demand, CNH “expects to expand the workforce at both locations.”

“During the previously planned closure, Goodfield has continued to produce high quality units and has maintained structural capacity,” said CNH North America’s vice-president for ag manufacturing sites, Brad Crews. “We will now begin an investment plan to increase our capacity, replace aged equipment and achieve world-class manufacturing standards.”

“The Goodfield operation is one of the primary plants producing crop production equipment for Case IH,” Case IH CEO Randy Baker said in the company’s release. “Our dual strategy of investing in product development and refocusing field sales and support has yielded significant increases in market share.”

“Extremely successful” new product releases have contributed to increased customer demand for Case IH’s soil management equipment, Baker said. “The new True-Tandem 330 Turbo vertical tillage unit released late last year has met with outstanding customer acceptance, resetting the bar for vertical seed bed tillage.

“And, the new Ecolo-Tiger 870 disk ripper, launched at this fall’s farm shows, has been a ‘wow’ everywhere it has been shown, leading to increased expectations of market demand going forward,” Baker said in the release.

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