Innovators in Application Technology for Agriculture
Valmar Airflo Inc. designs and manufactures granular applicators for fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide, seed, seed inoculant and forage preservatives. Our products are used by farm producers, commercial operators and agriculture research specialists.
There are 35 people employed in research and development, engineering, production and the sales department providing quality products and service for the market place. We also use independent factory representatives to help market our products throughout Canada and the United States.
Our market has traditionally covered the Canadian prairie provinces and the northern wheat growing regions of the United States. It has now grown to include applications in orchards, blueberries, potatoes, ginseng, forage crops (both in the field and at harvest) cranberries, golf courses and agricultural polymers to name a few.
The company was founded in 1977 by Charles Balmer, who was the principal designer and innovator of Valmar products. Both, the company and the product line evolved from a custom application business he operated in the mid-1970’s. The current facilities include a 30,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant and a 12,000 sq. ft. research and development building on 12 acres. Valmar Airflo Inc. was incorporated in 1982.
In addition to the regular product line, Valmar has designed airflo applicators and high clearance self-propelled sprayers that have been manufactured and sold under license by companies such as Ag Chem, LOR* AL and Willmar.
About the Founder
Charles Balmer was inducted into the Manitoba Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2007.
Charles P. Balmer was born October 14th, 1930 in Bussy Sur Moudon, Switzerland. He was raised on the family dairy farm and received a diploma in Agriculture from Ecole Cantonale D'Agriculture in 1951.
With French as his first language he found himself drawn to the predominantly French speaking community of St. Eustache, Manitoba where he settled for a brief time. A year later he moved to Elie where he remained since 1954.
Charlie was then hired as an ag-mechanic at Elie Motors, the local J.I. Case Dealer. While working there, he obtained a pilot license in 1961 and went on to become one of Manitoba's pioneer crop dusters applying chemicals for local farmers as a sideline to his mechanic's job. This led to the formation of Elie Air Spray, a custom ground and aerial application company that serviced the Elie area for nearly 20 years.
The Monsanto Company approached Charlie in 1976 to develop a metering system for granular Avadex to use in aerial applications but instead designed a ground applicator that was to become the Valmar Airflo.
By 1980 Charlie was so busy with his granular applicator line he had to give up his position as a mechanic with Elie Motors and the custom application business. Now he was heading up his own company, Valmar Airflo Incorporated.
Throughout the next two decades Charlie's designs would both directly and indirectly affect the agriculture industry. These contributions continue to influence today's trends and will be important for years to come. The Valmar Airflo Granular Applicator, Lor*al and AgChem Air Spreader, AirMax boom spreaders and the Willmar Air Ride SP Sprayer are all highly visible products used throughout progressive agriculture areas.
The Valmar applicator paved the way with its precise metering rates and product placement for granular herbicides that have been used extensively on the Canadian prairies and many regions of the US. These applicators are also widely used for fertilizer, seed, forage preservatives, inoculants and insecticides.
The AirMax and Air Spreader from Lor*al and AgChem are still the choice of custom applicators for their big flotation rigs. Literally millions of acres are covered each year with these spreaders. These machines were from their conception so well designed that little has changed on them to this day.
Charlie designed the Willmar AirRide Sprayer in the late 80's and distribution by Willmar began in 1990. This was the first high capacity, high clearance self propelled sprayer designed and built in North America with all the features the custom applicator needed. These self-propelled sprayers provided the basis for the large sprayers on the market today, most of which contain some of the technology introduced by Charlie's prototypes and the AirRide Sprayer.
If it weren't for his family and his love of flying you would literally find Charlie at the shop cutting steel, drawing or reading every single day. Even at 76 years of age, only the disease that finally claimed his life was able to slow him down.
Charlie lost his battle with cancer September 14, 2006.