Categories Earnings Call Transcripts

Deere & Co. (DE) Q4 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

DE Earnings Call – Final Transcript

Deere & Co  (NYSE: DE) Q4 2021 earnings call dated Nov. 24, 2021

Corporate Participants:

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

Ryan D. Campbell — Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts:

Rob Wertheimer — Melius Research — Analyst

Jerry Revich — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Jamie Cook — Credit Suisse — Analyst

Stephen Volkmann — Jefferies — Analyst

Chad Dillard — Bernstein — Analyst

Tim Thein — Citigroup — Analyst

Kristen Owen — Oppenheimer — Analyst

Adam Uhlman — Cleveland Research — Analyst

Ralph Gilardi — Bank of America — Analyst

Mig Dobre — Baird — Analyst

Joel Tiss — BMO — Analyst

Stanley Elliott — Stifel — Analyst

Courtney Yakavonis — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Larry De Maria — William Blair — Analyst

Presentation:

Operator

Good morning and welcome to the Deere and Company Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Your lines have been placed on listen-only until the question-and-answer session of today’s conference. I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Josh Jepsen, Director of Investor Relations. Thank you. You may begin.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Good morning. Also on the call today are Ryan Campbell, our Chief Financial Officer; Cory Reed, President of Production and Precision Ag; and Brent Norwood, Manager of Investor Communications. Today, we’ll take a closer look at Deere’s fourth quarter earnings and spend some time talking about our markets and our current outlook for fiscal 2022. After that, we’ll respond to your questions. Please note slides are available to complement the call this morning. They can be accessed on our website at johndeere.com/earnings.

First, a reminder, this call is being broadcast live on the Internet and recorded for future transmission and use by Deere and Company. Any other use, recording or transmission of any portion of this copyrighted broadcast without the expressed written consent of Deere is strictly prohibited. Participants in the call, including the Q&A session agree that their likeness and remarks in all media may be stored and used as part of the earnings call.

This call includes forward-looking comments concerning the company’s plans and projections for the future that are subject to important risks and uncertainties. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially is contained in the company’s most recent Form 8-K and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

This call may include financial measures that are not in conformance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America or GAAP. Additional information concerning these measures, including reconciliations to comparable GAAP measures is included in the release and posted on our website at johndeere.com/earnings under Quarterly Earnings and Events.

I’ll now turn the call over to Brent Norwood.

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

John Deere finished the year with solid execution in the fourth quarter resulting in a 13.6% margin for the Equipment Operations. Ag fundamentals remained strong through the course of the year and our order books indicate another year of robust demand in 2022. Meanwhile, the construction and forestry markets also continue to benefit from strong demand and lean inventories leading to the divisions strongest financial results in over 15 years.

Now let’s take a closer look at our year-end results for 2021 beginning on Slide 3. For the full year, net sales and revenues were up 24% to $44 billion, while net sales for equipment operations increased 27% to $39.7 billion. Net income attributable to Deere and Company was $5.96 billion or $18.99 per diluted share. Slide 4 shows the results for the fourth quarter. Net sales and revenue were up 16% to $11.3 billion, while net sales for the Equipment Operations, were up 19%, to nearly $10.3 billion. Net income attributable to Deere and Company was $1.283 billion or $4.12 per diluted share.

At this time, I’d like to welcome Cory Reed, President of Production and Precision Ag to the call to discuss the segment’s results and provide an update on the global Ag environment. Cory?

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

Thanks, Brent. Before I cover our fourth quarter results, I’d like to recognize all of John Deere’s 77,000 employees for their tremendous hard work and dedication throughout a year filled with unpredictability. I’d also like to recognize the ongoing efforts and unparalleled capabilities of the John Deere dealer network that’s not only an integral part of our value proposition in the market, but also often called upon in the toughest of times to keep our customers up and running.

Let’s start with fourth quarter results for Production and Precision Ag starting on Slide 5. Net sales of $4.66 billion were up 23% compared to the fourth quarter last year, primarily due to higher shipment volumes and price realization. Price realization in the quarter was positive by about 7 points. And currency translation was also positive by roughly 1 point.

Operating profit was $777 million resulting in a 16.7% operating margin for the segment, compared to 15.2% margin for the same period last year. The year-over-year increase was driven by positive price realization, higher shipment volumes and mix, partially offset by higher production costs. Also, it’s worth noting that last year’s results were negatively impacted by employee separation expenses resulting from restructuring activities.

Shifting focus to Small Ag and Turf on Slide 6. Net sales were up 17%, totaling $2.8 billion in the fourth quarter. The increase was primarily driven by higher shipment volumes and price realization. Price realization in the quarter was positive by just over 4 points, while currency translation was minimal. For the quarter, operating profit was $346 million, resulting in a 12.3% operating margin. The higher shipment volumes, sales mix and price realization were partially offset by higher production costs, R&D and SA&G. When comparing to the fourth quarter of 2020, keep in mind, the prior period included $77 million in separation costs and impairments.

Slide 7 shows our industry outlook for Ag and Turf markets globally. In the U.S. and Canada, we expect industry sales of large Ag equipment to be up approximately 15%, reflecting another year of strong demand. In fiscal year ’21 customer demand driven by the combination of strong fundamentals and advanced fleet age and low inventory outpaced the industry’s ability to supply. With all of these dynamics still present in ’22, we expect demand to exceed the industry’s ability to produce for a second consecutive year as supply base delays continue to constraint shipments.

Order books for the upcoming year or mostly full except for a few cases where we paused orders to manage supply challenges and allow us to reevaluate inflationary pressure later in the year. Currently, orders are complete for the years’ production of crop care products, while our combine production slots are over 90% full with the early order program still ongoing.

Meanwhile, large tractor orders are sourced well into the third quarter and we expect the remainder of the book to fill out shortly. We’re encouraged that take rates for our mainstay precision technologies like Combine Advisor, ExactApply an ExactEmerge continue to track higher year-over-year. More recent product introductions such as ExactRate planners and the X9 combine saw significant increases when compared to last year, while our premium and automation software activation take rates are over 85% for our 8 series and 9R Series Tractors.

Additionally, we saw significant increases in customer engagement with our digital tools in 2021. Engaged acres now stand at over 315 million acres, due in part to a sharp increase in Europe with a number of engaged acres has doubled over the past year. Likewise, use of our digital features such as expert alerts and service advisor remote has increased by about 30% compared to last year. In the small Ag and Turf segment, we expect industry sales in the U.S. and Canada to remain flat for the year as supply challenges continue to limit industry production. Following two years of very robust demand, field inventory levels are at multi-year lows and are unlikely to begin recovering until some time in 2023.

Moving on to Europe. The industry is forecast to be up roughly 5% as higher commodity prices strengthen business conditions in the arable segment and dairy prices remain resilient even as margins show some pressure from rising input costs. We expect the industry will continue to face supply base constraints resulting in demand outstripping production for the year. At this time, our order book extends into the third quarter for Mannheim tractors. In South America, we expect industry sales of tractors and combines to increase about 5%.

Farmer sentiment and profitability remain steady at all time highs as our customers benefit from robust commodity prices, record production and a favorable currency environment. Our order books reflect the strong sentiment and currently extends into the second quarter, which is as far as we’ve allowed it to grow. Despite limited government sponsored financing programs, private financing is supporting continued strength in equipment demand, while strong farmer balance sheets enable many customers to purchase using cash. Industry sales in Asia are forecasted to be flat as India, the world’s largest tractor market by units, hold steady in 2022.

Moving onto our segment forecast beginning on Slide 8. For production and Precision Ag, net sales are forecast to be up between 20% and 25% in fiscal year ’22. Forecast includes expectations of about 9 points of positive price realization for the full year. For the segment’s operating margin, our full-year forecast is between 20% and 21%, reflecting consistently solid financial performance across the various geographical regions. Slide 9 shows our forecast for the Small Ag and Turf segment. We expect net sales in fiscal year ’22 to be up 15% to 20%. This guidance includes nearly 7 points of positive price realization and roughly 1 point of currency headwind. The segment’s operating margin is forecasted to range between 16% and 17%.

With that, I’ll turn it back over to Brent Norwood.

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

Thanks, Corey. Now let’s focus on Construction and Forestry on Slide 10. For the quarter, net sales of $2.8 billion were up 14%, primarily due to higher shipment volumes and 6 points of positive price realization. Operating profit moved higher year-over-year to $270 million resulting in a 9.6% operating margin due to positive price realization and higher shipment volumes, partially offset by higher production cost, SA&G and R&D. The quarter also benefited from the lack of one-time expenses included in the prior period.

Let’s turn to our 2022 Construction and Forestry industry outlook on Slide 11. Both earthmoving and compact construction equipment industry sales in North America are expected to be up between 5% and 10%. End markets for earthmoving and compact equipment are expected to remain strong in our fiscal year ’22 forecast, benefiting from continued strength in the housing market, increased activity in the oil and gas sector, as well as strong capex programs from the independent rental companies.

Demand for earthmoving and compact construction equipment is expected to exceed our production for the year, resulting in continued low inventory levels, especially for compact construction equipment. In forestry, we now expect the industry to be up about 10% to 15% as lumber production looks to remain at elevated levels throughout the year even though lumber prices have come down from peaks in mid-summer.

Moving to the C and F segment outlook on Slide 12. Deere’s construction and forestry 2022 net sales are forecasted to be up between 10% to 15%. Our net sales guidance for the year includes about 8 points of positive price realization. We expect this segment’s operating margin to be between 13.5% and 14.5% for the year, benefiting from price, volume and lack of one-time items from the prior year.

Now, let’s move now to our financial services operation on Slide 13. Worldwide financial services net income attributable to Deere and Company in the fourth quarter was $227 million, benefiting from income earned on higher average portfolio and favorable financing spreads, as well as improvements on the operating lease portfolio, partially offset by a higher provision for credit losses. Results for the prior period were also affected by employee separation costs.

For fiscal year 2022, the net income forecast is $870 million as the segment is expected to continue to benefit from a higher average portfolio. Slide 14 outlined our guidance for net income, our effective tax rate, and operating cash flow. For fiscal year 2022, our full-year outlook for net income is forecasted to be between $6.5 billion and $7 billion.

The full-year forecast is inclusive of the impact from higher raw material prices and logistics costs, which we estimate will add an additional $2 billion in expenses relative to 2021. At this time, we expect two-thirds of that increase to manifest itself in the first half of the year as the comparisons get easier in the back half of fiscal year ’22. At this time, our forecasted price realization is expected to outpace both material cost and freight for the entire year, though we will likely be price cost negative in the first quarter.

Moving on to tax. Our guidance incorporates an effective tax rate projected to be between 25% and 27%. Lastly, cash flow from the equipment operations is expected to be in the range of $6 billion to $6.5 billion and includes a $1 billion voluntary contribution to our pension and OPEB plans. Before we open up the line for Q&A, we like to first address a few of the likely questions around the current market dynamics, our financial results and the details around our new labor agreement, as well as provide some thoughts on capital allocation for the next year. To cover the range of topics, I’ll engage today’s call participants to provide some additional color, and then we’ll open up the line for additional questions. First, I’d like to start with the current demand environment for large Ag equipment. Cory, can you provide some additional color on demand for large Ag products and which new technologies are resonating with customers.

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

Yes, thanks, Brent. We’re really encouraged by both the velocity of our order books and the take rates for some of our latest technology. Demand has been strong since the beginning of 2021 and overall that doesn’t look like it’s going to let up in 2022. I touched on this earlier, our order books are either full or near full for most of our North American large ag product lines.

Starting with the combine and EOP. Our EOP for 2022 production will finish in January, where we’ll grow the levels of S-series production and we’ve already sold out of our planned production for X9 combines. This is the first year in a multi-year ramp up of production for X9 and we’ll ship a 1,000 plus units of X9 9 into North America alone. We’ll further solidify our market leadership in the power class 9 plus combine categories, while also establishing a clear new global benchmark in both productivity and efficiency.

We’re also seeing strong demand for some of our newer products, products like ExactRate planter applied fertilizer systems and AutoPath. ExactRate represents an important first step in the precision application of fertilizer. Future iterations of this product will be critical in helping us improve nitrogen use efficiency for our customers. In just its second year we’re seeing take rates of that product close to 20%, which is really encouraging.

Similarly, in the first full season, we’ve seen tremendous feedback from the launch of John Deere AutoPath. AutoPath leverages John Deere’s onboard technology like our Gen-4 displays, SF6000 receivers including the SF3 correction signal and embedded software linked to the John Deere operation center throughout a customer’s entire production cycle.

The technology leverages data from planting to know exactly where the row unit traveled to plant seeds and then creates a guidance line for each subsequent path, making in-season fertilizer applications, manual cultivation for weeding or crop protection passes easier and more accurate. At harvest, it makes it easier to find your guess row and makes that easy for harvest to be even more efficient.

In 2021, we saw take rates of the automation package activation or subscription, which includes AutoPath double, leading to more customers enabled with John Deere’s highest value Precision Ag software. In 2022 and beyond, we’ll continue to add value to AutoPath for new features and new technologies as a part of our Precision Ag software package strategies and AutoPath will be foundational for even more automated farming in the future, making every step of our customers’ production system even better.

Lastly, See and Spray. See and Spray Ultimate is going to hit the market this year on a limited basis and we’re excited to get it in the more customers’ hands. We view See and Spray as just the first step in a long series of sense and act. In that journey, we’re encouraged by to see early demand for both See and Spray itself and multiple products related to plant-level management in future. Let’s dive a little bit deeper on the fluctuations in North American large ag market share for fiscal year ’21 and then let’s provide some expectations for this next year in fiscal year ’22. Can you first walk us through the progression of market share that we saw in ’21, Corey? Sure. Yes, 2021 was a unique year. Demand inflected sharply from October of ’20 to January ’21 timeframe. And as a result, we experienced pressure on market share early in the year due to our asset-light model. If you recall, we talked about this dynamic in our fourth quarter earnings call last year and noted that we expected to recover that share quickly and that’s exactly what happened. In fact, we gained 2 points of market share in North America for our large Ag products by year-end and you can see an example of that in the last three quarters of retail sales data for the 100 plus horsepower tractor categories.

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

So how might market share play out this next year, given that our most recent labor agreement didn’t ratify until November 17th?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Yes, it’s a great question and while it’s too early to forecast with a lot of precision, we see the potential for 2022 to play out very similarly. We’re very likely to see similar pressure in the first quarter as we recover from record low inventories, but also expect a production ramp that helps us maintain and even grow our position as we execute throughout the year.

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

Let’s get into some of the details on our latest labor agreement. One of the most frequent questions out there is on the incremental cost of the new contract relative to the previous one. So how should investors think about the impact to our cost structure?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

First, it’s important to note, we’re really glad to have our UAW employees back in our factories and proud of the groundbreaking contract that we put in place. With respect to its impact on our cost [Technical Issues] side of the contracts period. Over the six-year contract, the incremental costs will be between $250 million and $300 million pre-tax per year with 80% of impacting operating margins.

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

So, we experienced a gap between the last contract and the current one resulting in a few weeks of lost production. How does that impact the quarterly cadence of our financial results?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Yes. There are a number of unique items impacting the first quarter. At first we would — if you think about first quarter ’22, we expect the topline for the equip ops to be pretty similar to the first quarter of ’21, missing a few weeks plus of production will neutralize some of the benefits that Corey mentioned in terms of ramping up to higher line rates in December and January. With respect to margins, there are few things to consider. In the first quarter, we’ll have our toughest price cost comp for the year. We expect that to be negative in the first quarter, but positive for the full year.

We also expect to experience poor overhead absorption due to the lower volumes as mentioned and there are few other one-time items that will provide some additional drag including ratification bonus and some favorable tax credits that we saw in the first quarter of ’21 that don’t repeat in ’22.

All in, we expect first quarter margins to be mid-to high-single digits for the Equipment Operations with those businesses that have been most affected by the delayed ratification to be below that average looking beyond the first quarter, though we do expect margins for the rest of the year to be more favorable and incrementals more in line with historical averages. And maybe stepping back and just thinking about the full-year impact on [Technical Issues]

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

Switching topics. Let’s conclude with some discussion around capital allocation. Ryan, how would you characterize our capital allocation strategy in fiscal year ’21 and what might we expect this upcoming year?

Ryan D. Campbell — Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. Thanks, Brent. With respect to 2021, our strong liquidity position and our cash flow generation really allowed us to execute against all of our cash priorities. We continue to focus on maintaining our solid A credit rating, but beyond that we invested in our strategic growth priorities, both organically and inorganically.

In addition, we returned over $3.5 billion in capital to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Our two dividend increases are evidence of the confidence we have in the structural improvements we’ve made in the earnings power of our business. Overall, our actions in 2021 serve as a good blueprint for how to think about 2022 as we expect to again execute against all of our priorities.

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

It sounds like we’ll continue to see discipline with respect to returning capital, but can you elaborate any further on investing back into our businesses?

Ryan D. Campbell — Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, sure. Brent. The smart industrial strategy that we put in place during 2020 is the foundation for us to focus our resources on the areas that are most differentiated from a customer value perspective. It’s through that lens that we are positioned to increase the level of investment back into our business both organically and inorganically through M&A.

As you can see in our guidance, the R&D investment is up 17% in 2022. The focus of the increase is on further developing our tech stack, which accelerates our capabilities related to sense and act, autonomy, digital solutions, connectivity and electrification. We’re planning to demonstrate many of our new technologies at our Investor Tech Day in mid 2022. So stay tuned for that exciting event. Finally, as it relates to M&A, expect us to continue to be active, aligned with the themes that we’ve discussed over the last year.

Brent Norwood — Manager of Investor Communications

Lastly, is there anything else that you’d like to highlight for investors to expect in 2022?

Ryan D. Campbell — Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes, 2022 is shaping up to be a very important year for us. We put in place the new strategy and are well positioned to accomplish our goals. On that note, we do have a set of goals both related to business and sustainability that will sunset this year. Accordingly, we’ll be rolling out our next suite of goals that will highlight the opportunity we have and what we think we can accomplish over the rest of the decade. Importantly, we are uniquely positioned and that there is direct alignment between our creation of customer value, improving our own earnings and delivering more sustainable outcomes for the environment. So, Brent expect us to see — expect to see a comprehensive suite of goals that really brings all of those elements together.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Now, we’re ready to begin the Q&A portion of the call. The operator will instruct you on the polling procedure. In consideration of others and our hope to allow more of you to participate in the call, please limit yourself to one question. If you have additional questions, we ask that you rejoin the queue. Tasha?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Rob Wertheimer with Melius Research. Your line is open.

Rob Wertheimer — Melius Research — Analyst

Hi, good morning everybody and thanks for all the color. My question is on See and Spray Ultimate. I wonder in whatever way you could, if you could expand on what limited launch means? How the technology is progressing? I don’t know if you could talk about the pipeline for fertilizer versus herbicide and/or the geographic scope of the launch? Thank you.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Yes. I’ll start there and Corey please add in. We haven’t put out exact numbers, but we’ll have that out in — again in customers’ hands with production units and again through multiple products: soybeans, cotton and corn. So, continuing to evolve there. And I think I feel really, really good about how we’re performing and the customer response as we get it into their hands.

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

Yes, I would say, our See and Spray journey started with ExactApply and the ability to use individual nozzle control. We’ve gone through and put the select product into the market this year in full supply. So that’s the green-on-brown solution. We’re now taking many units into a commercial application with select customers in ’23 — or in 2022 of See and Spray Ultimate that’s to both improve out our business model and show the value and then we’ll ramp from there. So, it’s really exciting journey. We’re seeing a lot of demand for it and we’re excited about it going forward.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Yes. Thanks, Rob. We’ll, go ahead and go to our next question.

Operator

Jerry Revich with Goldman Sachs. Your line is open.

Jerry Revich — Goldman Sachs — Analyst

Yes, hi, good morning and happy Thanksgiving everyone. I’m wondering if you folks can talk about what you’re seeing in the installed base of equipment. I know you track used equipment inventories closely based on industry data that we see. It looks like that’s cut in half from 2015 levels, but maybe you can comment on where it’s been for your equipment specifically and what does that tell you about what the potential for new equipment that may brought your supplies beyond ’22?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

So, I think when we look at used, I mean, we’re at tremendously low levels of used inventory and particularly in large Ag, levels we haven’t been out for well over a decade. We’ve seen that pull down and what that’s driving is increasing used prices, which has been really positive for our farmers that are trading in product. So, impacting their trade differentials, making those differentials as they trade up more — make that differential less, excuse me. So, I think that’s our big piece. I think it’s also important as we think about, just overall, the replacement cycle and recovery that we’re seeing there and the lower those inventory levels are, I think that extends some of that cycle. Corey, anything you would add?

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

No, as Josh said, we’re well below the bands that we would normally see and the lowest we’ve been in 10 years. You have a combination factors going on. Obviously, you have solid financial income on the part of farmers, albeit with some headwinds and inputs. You have an aging fleet, you have new technologies, you have the opportunity to trade their equipment at the highest values they’ve ever traded and it’s driving tremendous demand. So, right now, the limitation is used is creating significant demand going forward. We chose figuring out the supply side and making sure that we can deliver every product into the market, but used right now is at all-time low.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Thanks, Jerry, we’ll go ahead and go to our next question.

Operator

Jamie Cook with Credit Suisse. Your line is open.

Jamie Cook — Credit Suisse — Analyst

Hi, good morning. I guess, question, the R&D, up 17%. That’s a big jump. I’m just wondering if given where we’re going with technology, should R&D structural the up in sort of the high teens range going forward? And then just sort of on the M&A side, can you just talk about the pipeline there? And what that implies for — if you just focus on technology, precision Ag tech solutions? Thanks.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

The R&D maybe — looking at the increase in ’22, some of that is compared to ’21 where we were down a bit and some of that was really the effects of pulling together the organization, creating the Chief Technology Officer org,which did allow us to pool and centralize component of the tech stack. So, we saw some elimination of redundancies. So, that’s really the jumping off point then for this increase in ’22, which is focused on the areas that Ryan mentioned in terms of where we really feel like we can accelerate and differentiate sense and act, autonomy, electrification, connectivity. So those are the areas where we see the biggest opportunities to deliver value for customers and our spending there accordingly. Relative to M&A.

Ryan D. Campbell — Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. This is Ryan. So as it relates to M&A, as we’ve talked over the last year, we’ve got these thematic trends with respect to the sense and act platform that we’re building, autonomy, digital solutions, connectivity and also electrification. On example of digital solutions, we acquired Harvest Profit and that’s right along with our expectations of delivering value and overall management of the customers’ P&L and making it super seamless and easy for them to use. With respect to autonomy, which we see accelerating Bear Flag is an example of a transaction like that and so we’ve got a relatively full pipeline over the next several months. You’ll see us do — continue to be active and source deals and close deals that allow us to accelerate our journey along those thematic trends. So stay tuned, more to come and you’ll see us be active in this area over the next several years.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

And maybe one thing, Jamie, I’m sorry, I missed part of your question was just the level. This does represent a bit of a step-up compared to where we were. We think broadly this level. It is reasonable for where we operate. Again, always reserve the right in the future as we see new technologies or new opportunities to invest, to create value, but I think that’s a fair view of where we are today.

Jamie Cook — Credit Suisse — Analyst

Okay, thank you.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Thanks.

Operator

Stephen Volkmann with Jefferies. Your line is open.

Stephen Volkmann — Jefferies — Analyst

And good morning everybody. I’m wondering if could go back to inventory, but touch on the news side. Does your plan for ’22 anticipate rebuilding any new inventories or does that sort of get pushed out into ’23?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Good morning, Steve. It really does imply very little to no inventory build given what we’re seeing broadly demand above the industry’s ability to produce. We would expect most everything we ship gets retailed, but no replenishment of those inventories. As a result of that, whether it’s large Ag equipment, small Ag and construction, we could probably take multiple years to rebuild some of the field inventory levels, coming off of historic lows.

For example, if we look at small tractors or compact construction equipment, they are in the teens, inventory to sales, as we entered the year and the targets there are probably closer to 40% plus inventory to sales. So, there’s a lot of room to go there and even large Ag, which traditionally comes down where we’re at levels we’ve really not seen before, row crop tractors, 10% inventory to sales; combines low single digit. So very, very low and I think as we consider how this continued replacement drives forward, we do see that as positive in that we see the need to recover inventory over a few years, not just one. Thanks, Steve.

Stephen Volkmann — Jefferies — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Chad Dillard with Bernstein. Your line is open.

Chad Dillard — Bernstein — Analyst

Hi, good morning, guys. So my question is how much room is there to impose higher equipment crisis on farmers? I’m just trying to get sense of whether there is any security in the near term given what we’re seeing on the fertilizer price side? And could you actually pass some of the cost on from the labor cost increase?

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

Yes. Thanks for the question. I think certainly farmers have seen some headwinds relative to their overall input cost. I think the first part is to — for us to focus on being able to deliver technologies that help them improve their profitability. So, a lot of our pricing comes from our ability to deliver technologies in the machines that make them or give them the ability to create more yield or manage their cost differently. So that’s a big part of it out.

Now, obviously, in the last 18 months with a lot of the commodity increases, there’s also been the opportunity to recover for some of those commodities and that’s allowed us to do that, but by and large, I would tell you that our pricing model is based upon delivering value for them and being able to make sure that each time they can go to the field, we can make them more profitable by using the equipment that we put out there.

And each of the examples relative to See and Spray or X9 or AutoPath that’s what they do, is allowing to either create more yield or manage their cost and be more efficient in the field and that’s the focus.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

The other thing we’ve seen too that’s impacted price has been very strong overseas pricing. So as we’ve reacted to both FX movements as well as inflationary environments, we’ve taken more price. So really throughout ’21 and into ’22 we’re seeing and if we look at Production and Precision Ag, low double digit pricing in the overseas market that has driven that. So as we think — looking forward, we continue to see that occurring. The one piece that we don’t see as much repeating or tailwind is on lower discounts. As we pulled down discounts throughout the back half of ’20 and through ’21, there’s not much there. So that is another thing to consider when we think about price. Thanks, Chad. I appreciate the question. We’ll go ahead and go to our next caller.

Operator

Tim Thein with Citigroup. Your line is open.

Tim Thein — Citigroup — Analyst

Thanks, good morning, Josh, maybe dig into the Production and Precision Ag margin guidance of, call it under 100 basis points of improvement on 20% plus sales growth. So with a $1.5 or so of positive price, just maybe walk us through, obviously, that I would assume as you talked about for the full — for the total company, call it 100 basis points from the work stoppages? I assume that — a disproportionate amount of that is impacting that segment, maybe you can correct me on that, but maybe just walk us through how you get to headwinds and tailwinds as we think about margin for that segment? Thank you.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Sure. And you’re right. There’s an outsized proportion of that impact is in Production and Precision Ag, most largely affected. If we think about the puts and takes, particularly in the first quarter, as I mentioned, you’ve got some amount of lower production impacting that, which drives lower overhead absorption, material and freight cost higher and we would expect to be priced cost negative in 1Q in Production and Precision Ag.

And then there again you have the larger portion of some one-time items like ratification bonus and you may recall, last year in the fourth quarter — excuse me, last year in the first quarter, we had about a $50 million benefit from taxes overseas related. So that goes against us in the first quarter. So that pulls down the absolute margin pretty significantly. Stepping forward from that and then thinking about the full year, which you mentioned, about 100 bps higher from a absolute margin point of view, we returned to the incrementals that we’ve run historically where we expect to see them. So around 35% incremental rest of the year. So Q2 through 4Q for PPA.

Tim Thein — Citigroup — Analyst

Thank you.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Thanks, Tim. We’ll go ahead and jump to our next question.

Operator

Kristen Owen with Oppenheimer. Your line is open.

Kristen Owen — Oppenheimer — Analyst

Thank you. You talked about the incremental functionality that you’re looking at rolling out for AutoPath over the coming years. Can you just speak to how you’re thinking about sort of current customers ability to participate in that incremental functionality? The question is really one about business model and what types of model be it subscription service etc., that you’re exploring for that solution? Thank you.

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

Sure. And you’ll see more on this from us in the coming quarters as we roll out some objectives for how we’re thinking about this. One of the things we’re talking about and making sure is that, just like we did with guidance solutions in the past where we started years ahead putting base functionality into machines that would allow us to both put the functionality for, in this case, AutoPath or further automation features into every machine. We’ll start working through a series of making sure that the base functionality of the vehicle will allow us to either ship the vehicle with the functionality or upgrade it in the future and we’re looking at new ways and new business models to make that easier for customers to adopt.

So that journey, we’re on that path right now. We’re rolling out ways that we’re doing that with our Precision Ag hardware. You’ll see us do it more with our subscriptions and software going forward. So, we’re out cooperating and working with customers. And how we can make that work on their operations today and how they like to consume it and you’ll see that revenue stream continue to grow from us in the future.

Ryan D. Campbell — Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Kristen. It’s Ryan. As we talk about and rollout our next generation of goals, you’ll see us think through an evolution of our business model over the next decade with respect to what Corey talked about and the value we’re delivering every time. Our customers go across the field and how can we think through a business model that’s more of an ongoing basis. So more to come on that. You’ll see us have some relatively specific targets and goals on what we think we can deliver from that evolution.

Kristen Owen — Oppenheimer — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Adam Uhlman with Cleveland Research. Your line is open.

Adam Uhlman — Cleveland Research — Analyst

Hey, everybody. Happy Thanksgiving. I guess one of the turn back to the supply chain issues that you mentioned. Could you share some more insights on what exactly you’re seeing and more so maybe what is included in the forecast? I’m curious how much visibility you have into supply chain getting better? What could be tough still with chips that maybe should serve to improve and maybe what could be held back by capacity limitations that your suppliers that may be won’t free up for another year or so?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Good morning, Adam. The — if you go back a quarter ago in the third quarter, we expected the supply challenges to be more impactful in 4Q. And that’s what we saw. We did see it deteriorate. There was a more challenging environment in the fourth quarter between the supply challenges and some of the work stoppage. That probably impacted the fourth quarter by call it 0.5 point of margin or so for the Equipment Operations. So, it was more challenging. And as we think about the ’22 plan, we went in assuming that similar level of disruption in activity and supply chain.

So we have embedded a significant amount of improvement there. We expect to continue to be challenged and choppy. One of the things we did do during the last couple of months as we continue to bring parts in — parts and components into our facilities. So, we were able to continue that. We didn’t slow that down. So that’s positive as we ramp up. as Corey mentioned, start to ramp up production coming back. That’s important, but we think that continues to be a challenge and it’s broad based.

So chips you mentioned, very tight. We expect that continue through ’22. Other things, there’s material challenges, there’s labor availability in the supply base and this extends across to many geographies. So, logistics become a challenge as well. So we’re continuing to work through those. Supply management teams working really closely with our suppliers. We’re giving them more visibility than we ever had before to try to work through this and we’ve tried to plan accordingly.

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

Yes, I would echo that. This is Corey. If you look at 2021, we knew we’re going to have some challenges coming forward and what we said was, we have to execute and make sure that we can manage that better than anyone in the industry and I think what you saw us do through the back half of the year was manage it well. We’re positioned well as we kick off and have the workforce back. And they’re going to be a whole lot of pop-ups that come: electronic components, labor, logistics. We have to manage through them and that’s where our folks have been up to the task on to this point and we’re confident they can be up to that task going forward.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Yes. We have seen some regional disparities. I think Europe for us has probably operated a little more smoothly than say the Americas and Asia. So, there are some deltas and differences there that have impacted our businesses differently, but continue to execute and we’ll update as we go through the year. Thanks Adam.

Operator

Ralph Gilardi with Bank of America. Your line is open.

Ralph Gilardi — Bank of America — Analyst

Yes. Good morning, guys. Can you just address your ability to deliver in time for planting season, which isn’t that far away in the aftermath of the strike and given all the supply chain constraints? And then just also there seems to be a lot of investor chatter that’s soaring in that costs for the farmer are going to lead to a big slowdown in equipment demand or premature end of the cycle? I mean, it seems like the opposite might be true if lower fertilizer application rates lead to greater demand for Precision Ag, as well as lower yields? And then I’m just wondering if you could address that too? Thanks.

Cory J. Reed — President of Production and Precision Ag

Yes. Thanks, Ralph. This is Corey. You’re right. I mean one of the things we’re focused on is, even as we were in the middle of the interruption, was making sure that we could deliver products on time seasonally for our customers. Planting is the top end of that. We continued and made sure we could surge components into our planning lines as people are coming back. We’ve got a production plan that’s commensurate with what our early order program is. We do have some risks.

We’ve gone out and talked to our customers about where we are and our dealers about where we are with that. But we feel really confident in our ability to deliver even more planters into the market this year. And where we have the opportunity, if customers want to accept planters later in the season, we’ll do that as well.

So from that standpoint, we operate with transparency, talk to our dealers and customers and then put a good production plan together that allows us to meet market demand. That demand hasn’t slowed. In fact, it’s continued and much like all of our other large Ag products, planters were one of those things that even post the optimum planning window, people are taking product.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

And then, Ralph. When we — when you — your question related to input costs and how does that impact the cycle. Maybe stepping back more broadly and then I’ll address that a part of this, but as — where we are right now and how we’re seeing this play out, we feel like there is continued runway of replacement recovery out here to continue to be had. And that’s for a few reasons: one underlying fundamentals continue to be very strong whether it’s cash receipts, income, what we’re seeing, land values, for example, those are positive. We see demand for replacement, the age of the fleet.

You’ve talked — you’ve heard us talk about this a lot, ’21, we got older and even as we’ve looked at ’22, we’d expect the fleet overall in North America to age out. And then you have this dynamic that we’ve seen in ’21 and repeat in ’22 where demand is above the industry’s ability to deliver. Further and our mind stretches or elongates a little bit of that recovery cycle. And as mentioned earlier, inventory levels for both new and used are quite low. So, again when you think about comparing back, when you compare this back to 2012 and ’13 and some of the dynamics, one of the big differences is we are significantly lower levels of inventory, which makes some of the replacement demand push out a bit further.

And then lastly, as it relates to input costs, as input costs rise, the impact that our precision tools can have in terms of leveraging technology to drive more accuracy, more precision with inputs whether that’s seed, fertilizer, chemical and make that value proposition even more attractive. And if you — Corey talked a bit about this in his prepared remarks, but the take rates that we’re seeing on technology took a significant step-up, where ExactApply on sprayers is 55%, which is up quite a bit. ExactEmerge on planters is 55%. And then we’re seeing that really across these technologies, a pretty significant step function change in terms of the use of the technology that drives again back to better yields and lower cost through increased precision.

So we will continue to execute there, but we feel like there’s — there are legs to this recovery that we’re in. It really began about one year ago right now. Thanks, Ralph. We’ll go ahead and jump to our next question.

Operator

Mig Dobre with Baird. Your line is open.

Mig Dobre — Baird — Analyst

Yes. Thanks for taking the question. Just looking to maybe get a little more color on the commentary of raw material headwinds, the $2 billion that you called out. So kind of two questions in that. First, where are you in terms of the assumptions that you made relative to current spot prices for things like steel? Like what’s kind of baked into this number? And then given the higher than normal visibility that you have in terms of where the early order programs shaping up, I’m kind of curious as to what you’re doing in terms of either forward buying materials or the various components that you’re going to — you know you’re going to need? Thanks.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

The material and freight costs. So Brent mentioned this. We expect $2 billion of headwinds compared to ’21 and that’s split roughly 80% material and about 20% freight. The freight is driven by essentially all different modes whether it’s air, ocean, truck, all those things are impactful there. On the material side, it’s things like the raw that you mentioned steel, for example, you know traditionally we buy roughly a quarter ahead. We have seen from a pure spot price, we’ve seen steel moderate some from where it was peaking probably a bit — quarter or so ago. So we haven’t adjusted significantly. We do work our supply base to ensure that we’ve got availability.

So, given the demand we have and the customer desire to get product, we will try to balance that, in terms of having product and making sure we’ve got the availability of raw. So, I mean from a price perspective, yes, we haven’t got into the detail of where we’re at or where we’re locking in, but definitely, we do expect to see more of that come through the first half of the year and our comps get a little bit easier in the back half. So that’s a few billion, we expect about two-thirds to come through in the first half of ’22.

And maybe lastly similar splits in terms of the businesses. About half of that is Production and Precision Ag, about 30% Small Ag and Turf and roughly 20% C&F and a lot of that just varies based on the products and the makeup overall of their material. With that, we’ll go ahead and jump to our next question.

Operator

Joel Tiss with BMO. Your line is open.

Joel Tiss — BMO — Analyst

Hey guys, just switching gears a little bit. Can you talk a little bit about the focus of future restructuring and any guidelines that you can give us about you think 50 basis points a year of margin improvement or 100 basis points or just sort of some of the targeted areas and what it’s going to mean?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Good morning, Joel. Going through the smart industrial operating model and the shift and changes we made in 2020, we feel like we’re seeing the benefits of that play out in ’21 as we refocus the organization and then really started to put the capital allocation model to work in terms of how do we guide and invest in the parts of the business where we feel like we can differentiate and create the most value. So, I think as we’ve worked through that and you see now, maybe some of that impact, as you see R&D increasing this next year and that’s in the areas that we focused on. So we made adjustments to how we’re organized and to how we’re allocating resources and we work through some things like divestitures in 2020. So I think that’s the continued model.

Ryan D. Campbell — Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. It’s Ryan, I think you’ll see us pivot particularly as we announce our next set of goals to focus on the growth opportunities that we have. There’ll be financial components of the goals that come out, but also be kind of additional infrastructure related investments that we can make with our technology stack that will really unlock the next generation of customer value. So, that’s where we’re focused. We spent the last couple of years doing some restructuring activities, having a more dynamic capital allocation process, but now as we move forward that’s going to be more about growth and taking advantage of the unique opportunities that we have to create customer value, both profitability and sustainability wise.

Joel Tiss — BMO — Analyst

Great. Thanks.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Thanks, Joel. We’ll go ahead and go to our next question.

Operator

Stanley Elliott with Stifel. Your line is open.

Stanley Elliott — Stifel — Analyst

Hey, good morning everyone. Thank you all for taking the question. Can you talk a little bit about the — with the news on the infrastructure build the other week, when would you expect to see that through the portfolio and then also maybe any sort of nuances between the road construction business versus the legacy core?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Good morning, Stanley. On the infrastructure, the interesting thing here is as we start to see that, we think jobs probably really start to move more towards the end of ’22. But given this dynamic of demand above the industry’s ability to produce, due to supply, probably not as much impact as one might expect or hope in ’22. So, we’ll continue to watch that. We think those — that type of program, it’s very, very positive for the industry, tend to have a long run of impact, but probably start to see more of that in ’23.

When we step back and look at that, there’s a significant amount of funding that is roads, bridges, waterways, broadband, all of which really are very attractive and applicable to our earthmoving and road building businesses. So, that’s — I think that’s particularly positive. If you look at our industry outlooks, we’re — and again this is muted somewhat by just the supply constraints, but up 5% to 10% North America for both construction and compact construction.

Globally, we’d say roadbuilding is probably in that same vein of 5% to 10%. So, we’ll keep our eyes out there. Dealers are obviously working very closely with customers, I think we’ll watch the independent rental companies. We’ve seen some of their capex start to move upward in ’21 and into ’22 and that’s probably a good leading indicator of some of the work on the infrastructure coming.

Stanley Elliott — Stifel — Analyst

Thank you, everyone and happy Thanksgiving.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Thanks Stanley. Take care.

Operator

Courtney Yakavonis with Morgan Stanley. Your line is open.

Courtney Yakavonis — Morgan Stanley — Analyst

Hi, good morning, guys. Thanks for the question. Can you just pair for us a little bit the gap between your small Ag industry guidance and your sales guidance, obviously, pricing is the part of it, but I don’t think you could be really expecting inventory levels to — mostly to the mix or just help us understand the difference between those two?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

The Small Ag and Turf, North America, we expect to be up — excuse me, expect to be flat. Our overall sales for that that business unit are up 15% to 20%. So a big part of it’s price, so about 7 points of price embedded in there. That is also a more global operation. So that had some impact when we think about where and how we operate around the world. So, there’s a peak there. So there’s a little bit of market share, I think it’d be fair to assume some gains there. And then on the very little margins maybe on some segments of tractors. We expect to build a little bit of inventory, but relatively muted. So, I think those are components that are driving the difference between those outlooks.

Stanley Elliott — Stifel — Analyst

And maybe just as a follow-up, can you also just comment on the margins being down year-over-year in that segment? Is that anything that disproportionately weighing on this line?

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Yes, good question. It’s — the price cost for Small Ag and Turf is positive for ’22, but it’s the most challenged. So it’s — we’re price cost positive, but that’s — we’re seeing a bigger impact there as it relates to margin and particularly incremental margins are more challenged in that regard. And I would say that’s a part of the business where we are seeing constraints on the supply side that are impacting some parts of that business, maybe a little bit more than others. So with that, I think we’ve got time for one more question.

Operator

Larry De Maria with William Blair. Your line is open.

Larry De Maria — William Blair — Analyst

Hey, thanks, good morning. Slightly off topic here, but now that delivering negotiation with Stryker concluded, congratulations. Do we have potential OSHA rules on the horizon around mandatory vaccines? Just curious if there’s anything in the contract that talks to that? What your policy is? And just trying to understand the expectation around further issues in production, both here and potentially even in Mannheim? Thank you.

Josh Jepsen — Director of Investor Relations

Sure. Thanks, Larry. Yes, I mean, I would say the focus here over the last couple of months has really been around the negotiations on the contract and getting our employees back in our facilities and operating. We’ll continue to work through all the important guidelines and everything that’s then you see put in place. I’d say, if we go back to the early days of the pandemic, we were taking measures ahead of guidelines, ahead of CDC requirements and as well as in other parts of the world to take care of our workforce to keep them safe. We shifted to multi-shift operations in order to create distance.

We put a number of those things in place early on. So, I think we feel pretty good about the track record we have of taking care and keeping our employees safe and our work environment safe. And we’ll continue to do that. With that, we’ll go ahead and wrap up the call. I appreciate everyone’s time. Hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving and we’ll talk soon. Take care.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

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