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GPS firm buys sprayer boom control maker NORAC

Saskatoon tech firm NORAC Systems, best known today for its automated boom height control systems for field sprayers, is set to become part of a major U.S. GPS systems firm.

California-based Topcon Positioning Group announced Wednesday it will buy NORAC for an undisclosed sum, as the latest of Topcon’s recent plays in the precision ag equipment market.

NORAC’s systems are used to hold precise spray boom heights above the top of the crop or the ground, for “optimum application of needed fertilizers and plant protection products.”

“It’s another example of our optimism for investing in the agricultural marketplace,” Topcon CEO Ray O’Connor said in a release. “Topcon is committed to developing automation and management solutions that bring the power of the Industrial Internet of Things to every farm.”

NORAC and Topcon “have collaborated well in numerous precision agriculture development projects and know that our synergistic technologies and distribution channels make this a great fit,” NORAC CEO Bill Strelioff said in the same release.

“But just as importantly, we recognize that our company cultures are very closely aligned. That’s the real key to multiplying the benefits of this union.”

“As a global leader for boom leveling, NORAC will add considerable strength to our original equipment manufacturer (OEM) offering, and is an ideal complement to our extensive portfolio of innovative precision agriculture solutions,” Topcon president Albert Zahalka said in the same release.

Topcon, which also makes GPS products for industries including construction, forestry and mining, has bought three other companies in the precision ag tech market since last November, including Wisconsin-based weight sensor maker Digi-Star in March.

The NORAC deal, Topcon said, will give it an “additional” engineering and manufacturing facility in Canada and boosts Topcon’s roster of precision ag tech employees to over 700. NORAC’s Saskatoon plant, built in 2007, includes over 30,000 square feet of plant and office space.

Strelioff started the company in 1974 to make load bars and weighing systems under the name Senstek. It rebranded under the NORAC name in 1994 and sold its weighing division to U.S.-based Rice Lake Weighing Systems in 2011.

NORAC today also operates branch corporate offices and warehouses at Bloomington, Minn. and Guereins, France and an office in Shanghai. — AGCanada.com Network

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