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It started with an ordinary boom spray

By Renae B. Vander Schaaf
agripen@live.com

Date Modified: 03/05/2013 9:17 AM

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MOUNTAIN LAKE, Minn. — Not quite satisfied with a purchased wheel boom sprayer, Verlyn Fast tinkered with it until it performed exactly how he wanted it to.

Soon, his Mountain Lake farm neighbors were requesting ones just like it. Hiring one worker to assist him, six units were initially made. He went to a farm show in 1990 and came back with more orders. Ever since then, Fast Manufacturing has continued to grow.

The mission hasn't changed — to supply quality products, at competitive prices, backed by dependable service.

Owner Verlyn Fast is a farmer himself, many of his 100 employees are farmers themselves. Hours of field testing occur in real-life soil and weather conditions.

"That is good for us," said Brian Johnson, sales manager. "Their feedback helps us to make the equipment better. Farmers working with the engineers make a pretty good team."

Wheel boom sprayers were eventually replaced by suspended boom sprayers. Fast Manufacturing offers front mount, pull-type, three point and track tank sprayers. The stainless steel tanks easily mount between the chassis on Caterpillar and John Deere track tractors.

"Our sprayers are divided into two major groups," said Johnson. "The 9600 Series have 100 foot booms or less with 1,000 or 1,300 gallon tanks. The 9500 Series is actually larger with truss booms of 120 to 132 feet and 1,800 and 2,400 gallon tanks."

Fast Manufacturing spray tanks have their own patented design, said Johnson. The tank allows for duals at 60" and 120," allows for a shorter trailer to improve tracking on hillsides and on end row turns.

On the 9600 series with standard booms, Fast utilizes a patented extendable tongue that allows userts to pull the hitch in when in the field position.

Fast Manufacturing first concentrated on producing high quality sprayers, but demands from farmers at their Gilman, Ill., location soon had them working on designing and manufacturing liquid fertilizer applicators.

"With the popularity of sidedressing nitrogen and adding micro-nutrients, the need for an applicator with pinpoint accuracy was there," said Johnson.

Research and field testing done by Verlyn Fast, his employees and others has led the company to design one of the industries top liquid fertilizer applicators.

Johnson explained how they were the first in the industry to patent a flex hinge, that folds the flex-hinge allows for the "sidefold" configuration of the model 8200 applicator. Along with being able to reduce the transport height it allows for downward flex when in the field position to give better coulter to ground contact in rolling ground.

"Fields are not always level, with swales and hills that sometimes kept coulters out of the ground, fertilizer did not get applied then,'' Johnson said. "This flex hinge has an eight degree downward flex and unlimited upward flex."

Higher field speeds can be obtained with their applicator design.

Although the company has grown from the plant shutting completely down May through December to year around employment with multiple shifts, the family focus has not changed.

Interaction between owners Verlyn and Nancy Fast is paramount and the key to success where each one's opinion is valuable. On a first name basis everyone often sits down to share noon meals together. Employee turnover is minimal.

The equipment is sold throughout the United States as well as in Australia, the Philippines, and Kakistan.