January 21, 2009

Deere and Vincentin

Mindy models the latest in safety gear
at the John Deere plant.
Note the cool Frankenstein boots.
MONDAY, JANUARY 19—After lunch at Bertini’s, we went to a John Deere production plant where they manufacture engines. About 95% of their product goes to Brazil for final construction, which is then marketed back into Argentina and other South American markets. Deere has been manufacturing in Argentina since 1985.

We heard again about the Argentine drought affecting sales. Still, Deere commands a 43% market share in combines and a 33% market share in tractors—making them first in both categories.

After a tour of the Deere plant, we headed to the Vincentin soybean crushing plant—a gargantuan facility located the Paranå River. The plant crushes 10,000 metric tons of soybeans per day, which are delivered by truck (about 600 per day) and about 10% comes in by rail. Beans also arrive from Paraguay by barge. A word about the rail: The gauge of the track is narrower going east and south than it is going north and west.

A team photo in the lobby of the
John Deere engine plant in Rosario.
Farmers are paid based on a third party grain test that is conducted by the testing labs at the Board of Trade. More on that later.

Due to the drought, the river is so low that Panamax ships cannot be loaded to full capacity—only about 65%. As the ship gets close to Brazil, it will be loaded to capacity since the river is deeper and then will go on to markets in Europe.

The plant employs 450 full time and 250 part-time.

Vincentin also produces biodiesel and has recently doubled production capacity to 400,000,000 liters per year. They use soybean and rape seed only—and can easily shift from edible oil to biodiesel depending on the market and value.

A shot down the Paranå River showing
the large number of port loading facilities.

A truck full of soybeans is dumped.
Trucks pull onto a platform that raises
to speed up the delivery of
beans to the plant.
A line of trucks is a continual
sight at the Vincentin soybean crushing plant.

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