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Kinze rebuffs Deere’s cease-and-desist letter on Twitter

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Over the summer, Kinze Manufacturing posted a video to YouTube showcasing what it calls a direct, farmer-led comparison between its 4905 planter and John Deere’s rival ExactEmerge planter. But that video didn’t really start to make waves until Oct. 1, when Kinze posted to Twitter a letter it received from John Deere in September. In the posted letter, Deere accused Kinze of wrongful and uneven comparison between the ExactEmerge planter and the 4905 planter.

John Deere sends the first letter

In the first letter of exchange between the two companies, Deere stated, “The 29 July 2020 Facebook video showing John Deere and Kinze Manufacturing planters in a competitive test plot … claims, without any supporting data, the Kinze Manufacturing 4905 planter had a ‘Positive Win Ratio’ when compared to the John Deere ExactEmerge planter.”

John Deere questioned the methodology stating the planters were pulled by two different staples of tractors and configured differently — Kinze with liquid system and John Deere without. Deere also states the video claimed Kinze’s planter is easier to disassemble and that the Kinze planter has longer wear life pieces.

Due to the alleged lack of supporting data, Deere sent the cease and desist letter to Kinze on Sept. 18 — giving Kinze seven business days to respond. 

Kinze’s reply to Deere’s letter

A day after Kinze posted Deere’s cease-and-desist letter to its Twitter feed, it also posted a detailed rebuttal of Deere’s allegations.

But right away Kinze had a short answer for John Deere. “No, Kinze will not ‘deactivate the link and cease and desist making these product comparison claims or otherwise using these materials.’”

After that, Kinze broke down point by point its reasoning and methodology, which can be read in the letter reply. 

In the break down, Susanne Veatch, President & Chief Marketing Officer of Kinze Manufacturing singled out some paragraphs and points to highlight. All of the rebuttals can be viewed in the tweet below.  They included:

  • Kinze makes it clear that this project was not a test plot. This was a “real-world, uncontrolled test” preformed by a farmer, not Kinze Manufactoring. 
  •  When questioned by the methodology, Veatch said it is shown in the video. “We asked a farmer who was already on his farm with a John Deere ExactEmerge planter to run his John Deere side-by-side with a Kinze True Speed 4905 planter. I am confident the farmer did everything to make his John Deere quad-track tractor, pulling his John Deere ExactEmerge planter, put down the best stand it could. To do otherwise would mean taking money of his own pocket.” Veatch reiterated there was no meddling and no payment from Kinze. 
  • Veatch says that Kinze was not comparing their tool-less design to John Deere’s. It was just objectively easy to disassemble. 

In the end, Veatch states, “Kinze denies John Deere’s claims about Kinze’s video and will not alter or remove the video. Kinze stands by its claims.” 

The data comparison spreadsheets between the two companies’ machines were posted to this link by Kinze. But the whole thing didn’t start out as a mere “gotcha” moment by Kinze’s product team — the creation of the video was rooted in a challenge that Kinze put forth to Deere.

The Challenge

In an effort to bring light to the situation and raise money for a good cause Veatch also asked John Deere to consider a little friendly competition. 

“I am so confident in Kinze’s True Speed planter that, in the spirit of friendly competition, I publicly challenge John Deere to a race in June 2021. A customer ready 24-row Kinze True Speed planter versus a customer ready 24-row John Deere ExactEmerge planter, each with a team of two engineers and a 20-acre plot to plant.” 

Setting the rules to the challenge, Veatch includes planting 10 acres of corn, stop, and switch to finishing the rest of the 10 acres in soybeans. A third party would come in to analyze the data and release the findings to the public. The winner gets bragging rights, the loser pays $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity. It is yet to be determined if John Deere has accepted that offer. 

Watch the video in question below. 

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