AGCO was established in 1990 when executives at Deutz-Allis bought out Deutz-Allis North American operations from the parent corporation KHD (Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz), a German company that owned the Deutz-Fahr brand of agriculture equipment. KHD had purchased portions of the Allis-Chalmers agricultural equipment business five years earlier.
The company was first called Gleaner-Allis Corporation, then rearranged to be Allis-Gleaner Corporation, or AGCO. The Deutz-Allis line of tractors were renamed AGCO-Allis, and Gleaner became a brand of its own for combines. The Deutz-Allis brand continued in South America until 2001, when they were renamed AGCO-Allis. In 2001, AGCO Allis was renamed AGCO in North America.
In March 1991, AGCO purchased the Hesston Corporation gaining hay and forage equipment as well as technologies such as the grain auger (used to unload grain quickly from combines), invented in 1947 by Lyle Yost. Hesston had a 50 percent joint venture with Case International, now a part of CNH Global. AGCO purchased the White Tractor line from the Allied Corporation's White-New Idea company. In 1993, AGCO purchased the remainder of White-New Idea, gaining New Idea hay equipment, manure spreaders, White planters, from a large manufacturing plant operating in Coldwater, Ohio.
Also in 1993, AGCO purchased the North American distribution rights to Massey Ferguson, a worldwide agricultural equipment company. In 1994, they purchased McConnell Tractors, manufacturer of the large articulated Massey Ferguson tractors. AGCO developed the Agcostar line of articulated tractors. Later in 1994, the Black Machine line of planters was purchased.
1995 saw the purchase of the AgEquipment Group, which manufactured tillage equipment and loaders under the Glenco, Tye and Farmhand brands. In 1996, acquisitions went international with the purchase of Iochpe-Maxion in Brazil. This was the Brazilian company that had rights to the Massey Ferguson brand and manufacturing in the region, as well as the Maxion brand of industrial equipment. This was also the year that AGCO purchased Deutz Argentina, the number one leader of tractors in Argentina. Also in 1996, AGCO purchased Western Combine Corporation and Portage Manufacturing in Canada. Western Combine had previously purchased the assets of the Massey Combine Corporation's combine operation, which had been spun off by Massey-Ferguson.
1997 was the year of the major purchase of Fendt in Germany, the leading German tractor company. Fendt is well known for its advanced technology. AGCO also acquired Dronningborg Industries in Denmark, the manufacturer of European Massey-Ferguson combines, and former manufacturer of Dronningborg combines.
In 1998, AGCO made a joint venture with Deutz AG to produce engines in Argentina, and purchased the Spra-Coupe and Willmar companies. Spra-Coupe and Willmar are leading sprayer companies in North America. SpraCoupe originated in Bismarck, ND. Upon purchase by AGCO, the manufacturing of SpraCoupes was moved to Willmar, Minnesota where the Willmar branded fertilizer tenders and "Wrangler" articulated loaders were being manufactured. SpraCoupe and Willmar products were manufactured in Willmar from 1998 to 2001.
In 2001, AGCO purchased Ag-Chem Equipment, expanding its application equipment business. Ag-Chem Equipment was based in Jackson, Minnesota and developed the TerraGator flotation-type and RoGator rowcrop-type applicators. Also that year, the SpraCoupe and Willmar brands moved their manufacturing from Willmar, MN to the Jackson, Minnesota facility and the Agco-Allis and White tractor lines were merged in North America under the AGCO brand, continuing in the orange color.
2002 was the year that AGCO purchased rights to the Challenger name and the tracked tractors from the Caterpillar Corporation, giving the firm a well-known brand name and high-power tracked tractors. The firm further developed the Challenger line into: wheeled tractors, using tractors manufactured by Iseki, Agritalia, the Massey Ferguson factory and the Brazilian Valtra factory; combines, rebranding some Massey Ferguson/Gleaner -built combines; and hay equipment, using Hesston-built hay equipment. AGCO also purchased the Sunflower Manufacturing Company in Beloit, Kansas, which manufactures tillage, seeding and specialty harvesting equipment.
2004 brought about the purchase of the Valtra tractor company from the Kone Group, in Finland. Valtra has licensing agreements with the Eicher company in India for tractor production, and also with the HEMA group in Turkey. The purchase of Valtra also included SISU Diesel engines. A Finland based diesel engine manufacturer with production in Brazil as well.
2006 saw a re-focusing of the various brands, and the reduction of individual brands. AGCO announced plans to combine some, and make some only part of a larger brand, or co-branding. Examples include the Massey Ferguson 9635 Hesston self-propelled swather, and the AGCO 9365 Hesston self-propelled swather. Challenger has seen further expansion with the further consolidation of the AgChem brand into Challenger, and the introduction of Agritalia built tractors and an articulated Challenger tractor.
In 2008/2009 AGCO, the Challenger, Valtra, and Massey Ferguson large row crop tractors were launched in Europe and North America respectively with AGCO's e3 Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) emission reduction technology.
Late in 2009, the firm announced that it would phase out the orange AGCO Tractors by 2011.
In 2011, the firm plans to transfer its high-horsepower wheeled-tractor assembly of tractors sold in North America from Beauvais, France to Jackson, Minnesota, where it will expand the plant by 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2).
In 2011, the firm said that it will invest $40 million in its Hesston plant by building a new 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) painting and finishing building. Construction began June 2011 and was completed in 2013.
In 2012. AGCO acquired 60% of Santal Equipamentos, a sugar cane planting and harvesting equipment. It also purchased 80% of Shandong Dafeng Machinery Co, a combine harvester manufacturer in China. AGCO formed the Algerian Tractors Company joint venture with the Algerian brand Etrag with 49% ownership.
In 2013, AGCO’s GSI acquired Johnson System, a manufacturer of catwalks and towers. In 2013, AGCO started Fuse Technologies, a smart farming technology division providing high-tech solutions to the world's farmers.
In 2017, the firm acquired Precision Planting, LLC, a planting equipment and technology business.
In 2017, the firm acquired the forage machinery of Lely, including balers, loading wagons, mowers, tedders and rakes. This included factories in Wolfenbuettel (D) and Waldstetten (D). The factory in Maassluis (NL) will be closed in 2018.
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