CLARION - Among farmers, the name Hagie Manufacturing is readily associated with sprayers, the company's main product since the first ones were built in 1947. They are based on a design of a machine formerly used for detasseling corn.
Hagie sprayers are unique with their front-mounted boom and in that sales are made only at the Clarion facility. Hagie Manufacturing does not use a dealer network to sell its products.
Now a Hagie product that first went on sale in 2002 is seeing increasing sales for two reasons; one is economic and the other environmental.
-Messenger photo by Clayton Rye
A Hagie nitrogen tool bar is receiving its finishing touches at the company’s Clarion factory. Sales of the tool bar are expected to rise this year.
-Messenger photo by Clayton Rye
Newt Lingenfelter shows one of the three connections used to attach the tool bar to the sprayer unit, a 15-minute process to go from spraying to applying nitrogen.
That product is a nitrogen tool bar that mounts on the front of the sprayer using a quick method of detaching the sprayer boom and attaching the tool bar.
"The tool bar was meant to be used as a supplement for side dressing," said Newt Lingenfelter, Hagie product manager.
Sales of the nitrogen tool bar were steady through 2008 at around 10 to 20 annually, he said.
Sales for 2013 are anticipated to be around 100 tool bars.
A 60-foot-wide model is new for 2013 in addition to the 30- and 40-foot bars already available. A purchaser has a choice of coulters by either Yetter or Ag Source.
Since its introduction in 2002, the tool bar has been steadily increasing in strength from the ones that were designed to cover 1,000 acres per year to ones now built to cover 10,000 acres annually, according to Lingenfelter.
The tool bar is gaining in customer acceptance because of its versatility, allowing it to be tailored to specific crop management methods.
Lingenfelter said the tool bar offers a wider window of application, improved fertilizer placement and application closer to the time of pollination.
Large farms or commercial applicators are using the sprayer during the day and applying fertilizer at night. Changing from boom to tool bar takes 15 minutes and requires only a few connections.
"The tool bar is selling sprayers for us," said Lingenfelter.
The tool bar offers a split application of fertilizer when corn is at growth stages V8 and up when the need for nitrogen is greatest. Side dressing typically stops at growth stage V4.
During last year's drought conditions when the crop was withering, Lingenfelter said some farmers did not apply the second fertilizer application as it would not have done any good, saving them the expense.
It is the tool bar's more efficient placement of nitrogen that offers an environmental advantage said Lingenfelter.
The state of Iowa is developing a program called Nutrient Reduction Strategy as a result of the 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan where 12 states along the Mississippi River were called on to reduce their nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico.
States are to write their own plans to take into account each state's conditions.
In Iowa, three categories were identified as practices for possible nutrient reduction. One of these was nitrogen and phosphorus management.
One of the management practices identified included application rate, timing and method.
Hancock County is one of the counties participating in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy program, and Jason Moore, who works out of the NRCS office in Garner.
Moore said, "Many of the features of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy will use programs already in place."
He said the program will look at entire watersheds to work with nutrient reduction instead of a county by county approach. The existing programs will be used to tailor a solution for each area.
Moore said nitrogen is the main problem in northern Iowa, and phosphorus is the main problem in southern Iowa.
There will be an economic benefit to farmers as fertilizer is better used; it will require less nitrogen to grow a crop.
Lingenfelter said, "That extra pass with a nitrogen tool bar will require a little more management."
He likes to tell of the customer who told him, "I've always got time to make more money."