Deere & Co. said it is cutting 600 workers from four Midwest farm-equipment manufacturing plants, with most of the losses coming from operations in the Quad Cities and Des Moines, Iowa, metro areas, the Des Moines Register is reporting. Deere also warned that plants in Ankeny and East Moline, Ill., will experience shutdowns lasting about a month each. The two plants employ nearly 3,000 workers.
Deere cited weakening commodity and farm profits as reasons for the workforce reductions, adding that worldwide farm and turf sales are expected to drop about 10 percent for the fiscal year. Overall, Deere’s third quarter profits plunged 15 percent, although officials said it was the company’s second-strongest third quarter on record.
Deere’s biggest cuts were to its combine manufacturing plant in East Moline, where it said 425 of its 1,730 factory workers would be laid off indefinitely, beginning Oct. 20.
The company made no other announcements about Iowa plants. Its Dubuque and Davenport plants focus on construction and forestry equipment, a sector that jumped 81 percent in operating profit in the fiscal third quarter, thanks to housing industry growth, with sales projected to increase 10 percent for the full fiscal year.