It is busy on the arable equipment market with new Chinese players Zoomlion and Foton Arbos both keen to add cultivators, ploughs and drills to the European portfolio. So too is CNH, and at Agritechnica recently AGCO top man Martin Richenhagen said if a mid-size company was available for the right price ‘such as Antonio-Carraro in Italy’ then there may be an opportunity for a future acquisition, but that he could say no more for now. What he probably meant is that AGCO is involved in talks but almost certainly not with Antonio-Carraro. We are repeatedly told the cash is there to do something, and the plan could indeed be to source a range of small specialist tractors. But the serious betting money is likely to be on the purchase of a European arable equipment maker, especially now that John Deere has acquired precision drill specialist Monosem. Mr Richenhagen hinted to this, referring to possible candidates in Italy and Scandinavia. Quite how AGCO plans to incorporate arable tackle within the European portfolio remains to be seen, and longer term senior management could be hatching plans to boost the MF and Fendt ranges with drills, ploughs and cultivators. In the short term, Challenger could be an option. The launch of this company’s first trailed sprayer at Agritechnica clearly suggests the positioning of this brand, which already offers certain US-built AGCO Sunflower implements in Eastern Europe, as the concern’s arable crops specialist. Boosting Challenger’s product range with European-made arable equipment could hinge to some extent on which company AGCO ultimately manages to secure. As far as we are aware, none of the well-known family-owned brands are for sale. Even if they were then it would be suicidal to change the name, so a major player would almost certainly be included within AGCO as an additional brand. The purchase of a ‘sub-topper’ would be much easier to incorporate within Challenger, or any other AGCO brand for that matter. In the meantime, it is a case of watch this space.