Growth through smart agriculture
Without agriculture, there would be no need for our fertilizers. On the other hand, without them, modern agriculture would not exist as it is.
Without agriculture, there would be no need for our fertilizers. On the other hand, without them, modern agriculture would not exist as it is. At the Grupa Azoty Group, we are well aware of this interdependence. We do not perceive farmers and agricultural businesses as customers only – we see them as partners in a joint effort to ensure the highest possible crop yields, healthy food, and clean environment. We supply artificial fertilizers, supporting efficient and environmentally-friendly crop production to make agriculture profitable and guarantee the supply of affordable food. Particular emphasis in our research and development projects is placed on the development of new specialty fertilizers, including products that offer increased nutrient use efficiency, which is achieved by slowing down their undesirable transformation in soil.
We appreciate the innovative nature of the Grupa Azoty Group's products. A quote from a dialogue session
We believe in smart agriculture of the 21st century and we want to be part of the developments that are taking place. We carefully monitor market needs, and our experts also follow trends in foreign markets. We take into account the requirements of new plant varieties, changes in soil wealth, the amount and quality of the crops, and their intended use. In our laboratories and R&D facilities, we are constantly working on cutting-edge solutions that help farmers achieve high yields.
A NEW R&D CENTRE
In October 2018, in the presence of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology Jadwiga Emilewicz, we opened a new Research and Development Centre in Tarnów. A unique feature of the R&D Centre is its pilot-plant hall, where technologies developed in laboratories may be tested in almost real-life conditions. The technologies and processes which will be implemented by the Grupa Azoty Group will allow it to diversify its business and focus more on high-margin products.
In the nitrogen-sulfur fertilizers segment, the Group offers products in the form of large, durable and similarly shaped granules – Saletrosan®, Polifoska® 21 and Salmag z siarką®, as well as Tarnów-produced ammonium sulfate AS 21, present on the market for many years, and Pulsar® manufactured at Puławy. The chemical structure of the nitrogen-sulfur and nitrogen fertilizer granules prevents too quick release of nitrogen, and thus its losses in soil, while their uniquely similar shape, mechanical resistance and hardness protect them against caking, crumbling, and abrasion during transport and storage. When granulated mechanically, they can be evenly spread over considerable distances (of up to 42 metres).
In the nitrogen fertilizer group, nitrogen comes in three forms: the quick-release nitrite form, and the ammoniacal and amide forms, less readily available to the plants. The Grupa Azoty Group offers all-purpose ammonium nitrate fertilizers suitable for a wide range of applications: quick-release ZAKsan® (ammonum nitrate produced in Kędzierzyn Koźle) and Pulan®, as well as the slightly slower acting Saletrzak 27 Standard and Salmag®, additionally enriched with other necessary nutrients.
Nitrogen-phosphorous fertilizers include Polidap® and Polidap® Light, which can be used for all cultivated crops: winter and spring grains, industrial and root plants, on grassland, as well as in the cultivation of vegetables and fruit. Polidap® and Polidap® Light are primarily recommended for phosphorus deficient soil. This group of fertilizers also includes the all-purpose concentrated phosphate fertilizer Super FOS DAR 40™, designed for plants that require good supply of phosphorus, calcium and sulfur.
The compound fertilizers group includes the POLIFOSKA®, POLIMAG® and Amofoska® brands.The Police-produced fertilizers stand for homogeneous composition and high concentration of pure ingredients, while their wide range of applications is owed to exceptionally good assimilability. These fertilizers are very effective when applied in spring and autumn, as well as for pre-sowing and top-dressing applications. Gdańsk-produced Amofoska fertilizers are more effective when mixed with soil. To facilitate balanced applications, the Group offers various fertilizer formulations, with potassium content ranging from 1 to 3 kg per 1 kg of phosphorus.
Grupa Azoty Police offers football clubs from the West Pomeranian region fertilizers for football pitch applications. Its range of services includes free testing of the substratum and selecting the most efficient fertilizers, along with detailed instructions on how often they should be applied. The annual cost of using fertilizers manufactured by the Police-based plant is, according to the company’s calculations, approximately 50% lower than the cost of using fertilizers made by renowned producers from Western Europe.
Back in 2017, Grupa Azoty Police signed an agreement with the local branch of the Polish Football Association (PZPN). The effectiveness of the fertilizers was tested on football grounds of the Pogoń and Chemik Police teams. The results proved very good, and since 2018 all local clubs have been able to use the company’s products.
Grupa Azoty Puławy and Gdańskie Zakłady Nawozów Fosforowych Fosfory joined forces in a project to develop a technology for the production of potassium thiosulfate using exhaust gases from the sulfuric acid plant and production of potassium thiosulfate-based compound liquid fertilizers. The expected final outcome of the initiative is an innovative technology for manufacturing liquid fertilizers using exhaust gases under optimum operating conditions. Its implementation will make it possible to manufacture liquid fertilizers on the basis of potassium thiosulfate solution as new products on the Polish market. In addition, it will reduce atmospheric emissions of sulfur and nitrogen compounds.
We source information on what fertilizers are needed directly from farmers, distributors, and field sales representatives as well as by tracking foreign trends in agriculture.
Test production of a fertilizerAll test batches are carefully checked at our laboratories for quality of the granules.
Launch of productionAfter successful completion of all the tests and analyses, the fertilizer is introduced into the Grupa Azoty Group's offering.
Development of concepts for new fertilizer formulas
Our scientists develop the optimum composition of a new fertilizer taking into account gathered information on farmers' expectations.
Field testsWe distribute the new fertilizer over fields and analyse the effects. Agrotechnological tests take at least three years.
An example of our philosophy for modern fertilizers is Polifoska Krzem. The product supplies plants with nutrients, reduces their susceptibility to diseases and pests, and makes them more resistant to drought. It contains silicon, which has a positive impact on plants, and thus – through the crops – on human body.
We provide training
Together with our trading partners, we organise free training courses for farmers. Our experts share their knowledge of crop plants and the use and application of fertilizers. We explain specific soil and crop requirements. We always remain open to questions and we are happy to see the high attendance at our meetings.
Our training projects are supplemented with the Fertilizer Encyclopeadia, providing a wealth of knowledge, including understandably presented practical information not only about fertilizer characteristics but also about nutrients and soil. The website also contains current information on agricultural product prices and farm work schedules prepared by the Grupa Azoty Group's experts.
We engage in research
Since 2015, we have been running a unique ‘Grounded in Knowledge’ programme. (https://nawozy.eu/grunt-to-wiedza.html). Its objective is to develop fertilization technologies and fertilizer products adapted to the needs of the Polish agriculture. Benefits available to each farmer that qualifies for the programme include free examination of 15 soil samples (sufficient for about 50 ha of land) in terms of the content of nutrients. In the 6th edition of the campaign, we reached nearly 3,000 farms across Poland and collected almost 40,000 samples. Thanks to our recommendations, the farm owners can, or will be able to, learn the actual nutrient requirements of their soil and plan the right fertilization strategy.
Business and operational participants of the project
Grounded in Knowledge’ is very popular among farmers, but it is also appreciated by independent industry experts.
We embrace space technologies
Although our products are active in the ground, we are reaching for space technologies, hoping to make advances in developing the so-called smart farming in Poland, which is a technological response to the expectations of increased productivity of agriculture as a whole. To further improve our offering in the area of precision agriculture, we extended our agreement with the Polish start-up company SatAgro. SatAgro is a web application that enables automatic processing of satellite data for the monitoring of individual farm fields, and generation of electronic fertilizer dosage directions (mainly for nitrogen fertilizers), compatible with precision fertilizer spreaders and sprayers of most manufacturers. With correct use of information on the growth phase of the crops and the suggested fertilizer doses, it is possible to save from a few to more than 10% of the fertilizer per hectare. This translates into measurable economic and environmental effects. The interest enjoyed by the SatAgro service among the Grupa Azoty’s customers shows the great potential of Polish farms for embracing innovative technologies for effective fertilization.
The technology allows direct access to satellite observations made by NASA, the European Space Agency, the European Commission (Copernicus programme), and private operators. As a result, farmers gain crop data processing tools which can be used for individual farm fields to aid in effective farm management. With the application offered by Grupa Azoty, users can remotely monitor crop growth, assess the impact of weather conditions and agronomic treatments, and analyse historical data.
A pilot project carried out in 2017 covered eight large-sized farms. Based on the information collected, the SatAgro application was adapted to the farmers' preferences: the improvements included simplified map edition and change of the interface. In 2018, our offering of precision fertilization services was extended to include individual customers and smaller farms.
We continue on a path of development. In 2016, we started construction of a facility for the production of granulated fertilizers based on ammonium nitrate on our site in Puławy. The project is worth PLN 385m and is due for completion in 2020. The plant, with a planned headcount of 130, will enable the production, packaging and shipments of CAN and granulated ammonium nitrate. The project will also include storage facilities and a logistics centre. According to the assumptions, the plant's daily production capacity will be 1,400 tonnes of CAN or 1,200 tonnes of mechanically granulated nitrate.