Minnesota Soybean Business

‘Green’ with envy: Flag barrier system stops overspray in its tracks

May-June 2020

Farmers are known as regular MacGyvers – finding solutions and repairs to any problem that arises on the farm. Mark Hagberg was no different when he invented the Green Shield Pesticide Overspray Barrier on his farm near Lafayette, Minn.

“It was a hassle to get out and put a flag on when you had a border to protect,” Hagberg says. “You had to glove up, climb out of the cab. I was looking for a different way of doing things.”

The Green Shield Pesticide Overspray Barrier is a remote control, battery-operated flag barrier system that mounts on the ends of a sprayer boom. Green Shield reduces the outside nozzle pattern from two-three feet past the end of the boom down to approximately one foot, creating a definitive line where the chemical stops. It stops unwanted overspray onto another crop, buffer strips, CRP land or anything adjacent to a farm field.

“Some cabs are pressurized and there’s a lot of stuff mounted in there,” Hagberg says. “I wanted to keep as much equipment and wiring out of the cab as I could, so it is all remote controlled from the cab with no wiring.”

After three years of testing the product that Hagberg manufactures right here in Minnesota, he was finally able to offer it to customers on large-scale thanks in part to agricultural research company Ag Revival. Logan Miller, an employee of Ag Revival, has been eager to see farmers and cooperatives adopt the new hardware.

“Some see it as a no-brainer, and it can make their applicator a better operator because you take a little extra care,” Miller says, “and it serves as a visual to give the operator better judgment of where the boom is at.”

Miller and Hagberg both agree Green Shield saves time and money, but also gives applicators more confidence.

“Some will move over, leave the rows and won’t spray it, and some will go back and hit it with the four-wheeler on a different day, but this way you don’t have to go back out,” Hagberg says. “It saves them time and time is worth something.”

Confidence is key, Miller says.

“Farmers will leave those two or three rows to avoid problems, and if nothing gets sprayed there, we see weed issues generally start there. You have more confidence now to spray right up to what is adjacent to your field border,” Miller says. “You have the confidence that you can do a better job and not worry about off-target overspray.”

Miller sees the Green Shield as another tool for farmers to be able to improve their chemical application.

“Everybody can do a better job, whether it is reducing weed resistance or keeping field edges clean, or less problems with ditch banks getting overgrown,” he says. “People can do a better job. You still have to have common sense and follow guidelines. It isn’t a cure-all, but it can help us do a better job.”

Miller expects to see some potential for Green Shield in areas of weed resistance down the road as well.

“Let’s say you aren’t using the Green Shield and you spray normally, you might be getting a third or half rate on those outside rows. You might kill the grass, but not the giant ragweed. If you aren’t getting a full rate on those fence lines, that giant ragweed might come back up,” Miller says. “You should still go back and clean up fields if you need to, but this helps with cleaner fields.”

The ease of install, the ability to mount it to any type of sprayer and quickly remove and replace parts without welding all add to the appeal of the Green Shield.

“Install is very simple. Two brackets and you run the wiring along with some other wires or hoses to a 12v power source,” Hagberg says. “The tubes are aluminum, the brackets are stainless steel and everything takes the weather and the chemicals. It’s made so once you put it on there, there’s no maintenance. A flag every once in a while, you just slide a new one on. If something does happen and a part breaks, nothing is welded. It’s all bolted together so anything can be replaced or fixed.”

So what’s next for the Green Shield Pesticide Overspray Barrier? Simple – Hagberg just wants as many operators as possible to start using the product.

“I would like to see them on as many sprayers as I can,” he says. “I think Green Shield is a good thing. It will help everybody.”


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