For those who closely follow the equipment industry, there was something unique about John Deere’s deal with sprayer-maker Hagie Manufacturing.
The two companies announced a joint venture this past spring that saw Deere acquire a majority stake in the Iowa-based company known for its innovative front boom, high clearance sprayers. Unlike most of its other acquisitions over the years, Deere agreed to keep the Hagie name and colours.
“This is the first time in the history of John Deere, in a 179 year history, that they’ve put another self-propelled brand into their dealerships, and we’re both excited about that,” explains Alan Hagie, the CEO of Hagie Manufacturing, and the grandson of founder Ray Hagie, who developed the first self-propelled sprayer.
Catching up with him at the 2016 Farm Progress Show in Iowa, Hagie says the deal coincided with the growing desire of farmers to apply nitrogen and fungicide later in-crop.
“The market softened, commodity prices dropped and margins got a lot tighter on the farm, so people were looking for ways to boost yields, cut production costs, whatever it would take to be more profitable,” he says. “Our machines really aligned well with that because we can do the split-applied nitrogen, you can reduce the amount of fertilizer you’re putting down, and you can make decisions based on what the weather has done…”
However, Hagie’s ability to reach and support farmers was a challenge, he notes.
“We were a factory-direct company and struggling with our growth, as far as getting to our customers who needed the products.”
And that’s when Deere entered the picture, with its global distribution network.
Hagie says they hope to have all Deere dealers interested in selling their sprayers on board by the end of the year: “It comes down to support. If the dealer can support the product, they can sell the product.”
Meanwhile, Hagie will keep building its machines in Clarion, Iowa.
“Our machines are distinctively different and we intend to keep them that way,” he says.
Check out the video above for more on the Deere/Hagie arrangement and Hagie’s views on the future of spraying technology.