Deere & Co. posted net income of $681.1 or $1.81 per share in its fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with $649.7 million, or $1.65 per share for the same period a year ago, a 4.8-percent increase. Worldwide net sales and revenues for the first quarter increased 3 percent to $7.65 billion, compared to $7.42 billion a year ago.

Deere’s equipment operations reported operating profit of $891 million for the quarter, compared to $837 million last year, a 6.5-percent hike. Deere’s financial services segment posted net income attributable to Deere of $142.2 million, compared with $132.0 million a year-ago, a 7-percent climb, primarily related to growth in the credit portfolio and a more favorable tax rate.

“With another record quarter, John Deere has started 2014 on a strong note,” said Samuel Allen, Deere’s chairman and CEO. “Our results demonstrate the adept execution of our operating and marketing plans, which are aimed at expanding our global market position and helping our customers throughout the world be more profitable and productive. In addition, we are seeing further benefit from efforts to hold the line on costs.”

Deere’s construction and forestry division boosted sales 4 percent in the quarter, with operating profit leaping 32.4 percent from $71 million a year ago to $94 million this year, primarily the result of lower production costs, decreased research and development expenses and price realization.

Looking forward, Deere expects equipment sales to decrease about 3 percent in fiscal 2014 and it expects about a 6 percent drop in the second quarter compared with the same periods last year. Deere expects its worldwide sales of agriculture and turf equipment to decline about 6 percent in fiscal 2014. However, it expects its worldwide sales of construction and forestry equipment to jump about 10 percent, because of further economic recovery and higher housing starts in the United States and sales increases outside of the U.S. and Canada.