PLATTSBURG, Mo. (DTN) -- John Deere is still in a buying mode. Early this year, Deere bought Precision Planting from Monsanto and it acquired the French planter manufacturer Monosem. On Tuesday, Deere announced it was entering a joint venture with the privately held sprayer company Hagie Manufacturing and will hold majority ownership.
Key to the deal is Hagie's expertise in high-clearance machines. Deere has an extensive line of self-propelled sprayers, but not one that classifies as high-clearance. Its tallest self-propelled sprayer has a crop clearance of about 5 feet. That's good for most applications, but a tad short if you want to go into late-season corn to add nutrients or fungicides. Center clearance on Hagie's 204Sp, on the other hand, is about 6 1/2 feet and frame clearance is almost 7 feet.
With corn growers trending toward both late-season nitrogen applications and fungicide use, a high-clearance machine has key advantages. Detasseling is another application where taller is better. And a Hagie sprayer can add a detasseling accessory to make it a full-season machine.
"High-clearance spraying equipment is a new market for John Deere," John May, president, agricultural solutions and chief information officer at Deere, said in a news release. "The expertise at Hagie allows John Deere to immediately serve customers who need precision solutions that extend their window for applying nutrients."
As part of the Deere family, owners of Hagie sprayers now will have access to Deere's Operation Center, a telematics system to facilitate the two-way flow of information between a machine in the field and a cloud-based secure server.
By adding Hagie sprayers to its lineup, Deere also acquired its first front-mount sprayer. New Holland and Miller are the only other North American manufacturers who sell high-clearance sprayers and front-mount booms. Some growers prefer the visibility front-mounts offer.
Hagie does not have its own dealer network; it works through distributors and independent dealers. Sales and service will now run through Deere dealers. The joint venture specifies that Hagie equipment and service will be integrated into the Deere distribution system over the next 15 months. That will mean many Hagie employees will shift to Deere.
A joint board of directors including Hagie and Deere representatives will guide the company as it transitions, according to Amber Kohlhaas, Hagie communications manager.
Hagie will continue to manufacturer the sprayer line in Clarion, Iowa. Ray Hagie, who invented the world's first self-propelled sprayer, founded the company there in 1947 to build his brainchild. His son Alan is the current president.
Jim Patrico can be reached at Jim.Patrico@dtn.com
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