Our strategic investment in R&D and new technologies allows us to tackle challenges and create opportunities across the agricultural sector. Developing new products can take several years and several million dollars. In 2015, Agrium employed 100 employees and invested more than $30 million in various aspects of R&D. Externally, partnerships with agricultural institutions and universities across North America enable collaborative agronomic research. Partnerships with suppliers help us to understand emerging technology offerings. Efforts in these areas positively impact the environment and our bottom line. Significant developments include:
- New precision agricultural technology (e.g., Echelon) provides growers with valuable crop input and seeding recommendations based on data from soil sampling, yield analysis, weather monitoring, field scouting, tissue sampling, aerial imagery analysis, record keeping and reporting. The goal is to apply fertilizer and crop protection products as precisely as possible to generate the most benefit;
- Controlled-release fertilizers that deliver nitrogen when the crop needs it most, significantly reduces the risk of nitrogen loss to the atmosphere or water (e.g., Environmentally Smart Nitrogen®);
- Leading-edge plant growth regulators that allow plants to use more available water and nutrients, aid in overcoming environmental stress factors (e.g., drought), and become less susceptible to disease, all of which lead to increased crop production and quality;
- Weed and drought resistant hybrid seed varieties allow growers to maximize their yields more efficiently;
- Reusing phosphogypsum (a by-product of processing phosphate ore into fertilizer) in ways that reduce our environmental impact and benefit the surrounding community;
- Innovative modifications at our production facilities that increase production rates and/or energy efficiency; and
- Systems and protocols that reduce environmental impacts (e.g., 4R Nutrient Solution, Nitrous Oxide Emission Reduction Protocol).
To meet the Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN, the world will need to sustainably intensify agricultural production. This is an enormous challenge that will require science based solutions that not only increase production on the existing land base, but also increase economic growth to reduce poverty while protecting our water, soil, air and biodiversity. Innovation and responsible application of technology will play a critical role in meeting this challenge. Read Agrium’s Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) position statement below.
Agrium’s product mix includes grain and pulse crop seed varieties that are bred to be drought and disease resistant. These advanced seed products allow growers to use less water, fertilizer and pest control products on their crops. We develop new seed varieties following strict handling requirements, using native and engineered genetic traits that often result in less chemical load (e.g., pesticides, fertilizers) on the field. Read more about Agrium and genetically modified seeds.