In a major step for the lawn care industry, as well as the turfgrass and horticulture industries, Agrium Advanced Technologies (AAT) has opened a new fertilizer production facility in Courtright, Ontario, Canada. The state-of-the-art manufacturing operation is producing the Agrium Advanced Technologies’ specialized, controlled-release fertilizers, many of which involve the company’s patented coating technology. This plant opening also coincides with the launch of the Agrium Advanced Technologies’ newest product, XCU Slow-Release Fertilizer, which is now available for sale in both the U.S. and Canada. On September 30, 2008, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) approved XCU for sale in Canada.
“With production capabilities in the North and South, we can meet the increased customer demand and diversify our geography,” said Rod Oglesby, Director of Operations for Agrium Advanced Technologies. “Now we can better serve our customers across North America and globally with the assurance of product availability, and at a lower freight cost.”
The new Courtright facility is a multi-million-dollar addition to an existing AAT operation, but it represents a complete transformation of the site’s manufacturing capabilities. As a result of the dramatic expansion, Agrium Advanced Technologies now has a second location for making its new XCU Slow-Release Fertilizer.
XCU is a new polymer-coated, sulfur-coated fertilizer, and its ultra-thin, highly durable coating requires a sophisticated, proprietary manufacturing process. Until now, that capability had existed only at AAT’s production facilities in Sylacauga, Alabama. “This is exciting because it’s new, innovative technology,” said Oglesby, “but it’s already been proven. We perfected the processes and quality-control assurances that we have in place in Sylacauga, and now we’re applying them at the Courtright facility.”
The new operation—which also features improved laboratory, warehousing and distribution capabilities—has an annual production capacity of 60,000 tons of slow- and controlled-release fertilizers. In addition to the new XCU product, the Courtright facility is able to manufacture Agrium Advanced Technologies’ popular POLYON Controlled-Release Fertilizer.
“We’re in the value-added business,” said Oglesby, “and we’re investing in products to help our customers solve the economic and environmental situations they’re facing. And we’re not just talking about innovation, we’re going out and spending the money to get better products to the market quickly. This new facility is the latest example.”