Deere & Co. this morning announced it will reduce its manufacturing workforce by placing more than 600 employees on indefinite layoff at four of its Midwest agricultural equipment plants, including John Deere Des Moines Works in Ankeny.


In July, Deere informed employees at its Ankeny factory of an extended shutdown affecting most manufacturing employees at that location. Today's announcement places 110 employees at that facility on indefinite layoff.


The layoffs are in response to current market demand for its agricultural products, the Moline, Ill.-based manufacturer said in a press release. The company had said during its third-quarter earnings announcement on Wednesday that it planned to reduce agricultural equipment production during its fiscal fourth quarter, which ends Oct. 31.  Deere had hired several hundred manufacturing employees in recent years to meet increased demand for products manufactured in its Midwest factories.


Net sales of the company's equipment operations were $8.72 billion in the third quarter, which ended July 31, down from $9.32 billion for the same period last year. Moderating conditions in the global farm sector negatively affected demand for farm machinery and contributed to lower sales and profits for Deere's agricultural equipment business, company Chairman and CEO Samuel Allen said Wednesday.


The company said it has informed employees at the four affected facilities, which in addition to Ankeny include plants in East Moline and Moline, Ill., and Coffeyville, Kan.


Deere also has implemented a seasonal shutdown affecting most of its manufacturing workforce at the John Deere Ottumwa Works, it said.