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.
Currently, the Group is being referred to as an innovative company, for instance because of its introduction of organic-mineral fertilizers containing humic acids.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
We are building a new Research and Development Centre in Tarnów. After the project is completed, it will significantly increase the scale of the Group’s own research and development activities and will make it possible to verify research results at pilot-plant scale. The Centre will employ 20 specialists, including five with a doctoral degree. This nearly PLN 88m project will also allow us to establish and expand cooperation with start-up companies, research institutions, and non-governmental organisations. The new facility will be created based on the Chemical Technology and Development Centre, an existing unit within the structure of Grupa Azoty S.A.
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. Also, they can be quite evenly distributed at large distances (as much as 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.
These 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.
Our companies from Police and Puławy are working jointly on a technology for the production of liquid fertilizers based on phosphorous bearing materials of sedimentary origin (phosphate rock). First, they are going to develop the method for obtaining ammonium polyphosphate (APP) and then the technology for preparing mixtures of ammonium polyphosphate (APP) with UAN and other additives. As part of the project, a pilot production unit will be built, and the development work results will be used to design the final production facility. The project’s integral part, implemented in parallel with industrial research and development work, will be field and application research, including preparation of fertilizer formulations and a fertilizer application technology manual for key commodity plants, obtaining final prototypes of new liquid fertilizers, drafting of the technology documentation, logistics recommendations and directions for use of the final products.
The solution will stand out from other APP manufacturing technologies used globally. Our production will be based on phosphoric acid obtained through extraction from phosphorous bearing materials of sedimentary origin characterised by highly varying amounts of impurities.
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. In the second quarter of 2017, a grant application was submitted with the National Centre for Research and Development under the INNOCHEM II programme. The project received a positive assessment and was selected as eligible for funding. It is expected to lead to the development of an innovative technology for producing liquid fertilizers using exhaust gases under optimum operating conditions. Its implementation will make it possible to manufacture innovative 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 fertilizer
All 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.
We 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. In addition, it contains silicon, which has a positive impact on plants, and thus – through the crops – on human body.
The modern agricultural industry relies on knowledge. At the Grupa Azoty Group, we want to support farmers in effective management of their farms.
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. As part of a three-year campaign, we set ourselves the goal of reaching almost 2,000 farms across Poland and collecting 28,000 soil samples at as many as 17 regional chemical and agricultural stations. 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. During the International Agricultural Fair CTR 2016 the project received a prestigious ‘Golden Crane of Agriculture’ award.
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 monitoring of individual farm fields and creation of electronic directions for the application of fertilizers (mainly 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, and the interest enjoyed by the SatAgro service among the Grupa Azoty S.A.’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 S.A., 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. Valued at PLN 385m, the project will consist of two production lines, one to be placed in service by the end of 2018, and the other in 2020. The plant, with a projected 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.