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Yara invests in state of the art development and training centre

Yara invests in state of the art development and training centre at Pocklington.

yara dtc

Egil Hogna accompanied by the attendees at the opening of the DTC at Pocklington

The official opening of the new Development & Training Centre (DTC) at Yara Pocklington on Wednesday 27th August was the latest part of Yara’s recent investment of £2.5million at the site. The DTC is a brand new high tech training facility with state of the art and interactive AV equipment, linked to a large climate controlled glasshouse, which will enable continued development of new products & demonstration of plant nutrient requirements. The DTC is adjacent to Yara Analytical Laboratory which has also been extended to accommodate the growth of the analysis business.

Coming from Oslo especially for the inauguration of the DTC, Yara’s global Head of Downstream, Egil Hogna declared the investment “a clear demonstration of the high esteem in which the Pocklington team is held by Yara and the strong belief the Company has in the business growth of the advanced YaraVita range of foliar and micro-nutrient products they produce”. Designed for application as foliar sprays, seed treatments and products developed for fertilizer coating, YaraVita products symbolize Yara’s unique ability to offer the farmer the full range of high quality plant nutrient products – globally – as products from Pocklington are distributed to more than 60 countries worldwide.

“Yara is a knowledge leader in all aspects of plant nutrition and the training and development through investment of our people is a core strength of Yara together with the recognition of the need for Yara’s agronomists to be able to communicate the value and benefit of Yara products to our customers”. Egil continued. “Yara uses the strap line “knowledge grows” and it is really true that through the sharing of knowledge and understanding of what our products can offer we can grow our business all over the world”. Mr Hogna was delighted to welcome 21 participants in the first training course held at the DTC: delegates from several countries in Europe, Latin America, Canada, Australia, Turkey and South Africa, demonstrating Yara’s global reach. “Seeing is believing “he told them “and this wonderful DTC will provide visual training images for you to take back to your markets”.

The facilities provided by the DTC have been designed purposely for the training of people and the development and communication of the latest crop knowledge. The development work in the glasshouse will be carefully integrated into the global product application development work coordinated from Yara’s R & D Hanninghof Research Station. Product development focuses on application, safety, efficacy of both novel and raw materials and new YaraVita product formulations.

The benefits of the major nutrients are widely known but the importance of micro-nutrients to human and plant health, as well as crop yield is less well understood. For example Zinc deficiency effects on average one-third of the world’s population. Children are particularly sensitive and Zn deficiency has led to the death of 450,000 of children under five, annually. Major health problems in adults have been responsible for impairments in brain function and mental development, disturbances in immune system and susceptibility to deadly infectious diseases and stunted growth. Further work on understanding and correcting Zn deficiencies in a wide range of crops will be part of the YaraVita product development work in the glasshouse.

The new glasshouse is more than twice the size of its predecessor. The ‘environment computer’ in the glasshouse controls temperature, ventilation, shading and lighting. Day length can be extended or reduced and the LED lights provide the optimal wavelengths for plant growth and development. This flexibility means development work can be carried out on a wide range of global crops, from the standard European crops of cereals, oilseeds and maize to the more exotic species such as bananas, sugarcane, soybean and coffee. The impact of nutrient deficiencies across a wide range of crops and the benefits of applying YaraVita products to overcome these deficiencies can be demonstrated. Some work will look at the effect of individual nutrients on plant health, growth and development, identifying which nutrients and rates are key for each crop and capturing the visual symptoms of deficiency levels. The facilities of the adjoining Analytical Laboratory will be used to measure the uptake from differing nutrient sources and full nutrient analyses will provide an insight into how nutrient deficiency can influence the uptake of other nutrients into the plant.

The photographic equipment in the “studio” will be used to take high quality photographs for use in Yara’s Apps and for the CheckIT database and advice literature. There is also a timer system which can be set to take images at intervals so videos of nutrient deficiencies and product uptake at different growth stages can be captured. This information in photographic and video form will be made available on Yara’s websites and through the DTC at Pocklington. An example of a video already made, shows the effect of YaraVita Bortrac 150 on flower development in boron deficient sunflower, and a video showing the effect of YaraVita Glytrel MnP on Mn deficient soybean is planned.

To complement the glasshouse, the new training facility employs state of the art and interactive Audio Visual equipment, which supports the multi-use of digital media platforms for presentations, videos and Yara’s range of Apps (CheckIT, TankmixIT, ImageIT etc.). The whole room is controlled by an iPad including the screens, the sound, light and electronic blinds revealing the crops in the glasshouse. The training room is decorated to give the impression of being in a wheat field, helping to forge the link between the value of the information in the classroom and its application in the field.

Designed to give visitors “the YaraVita Experience” it provides a clear picture of the high level of technology Yara has invested in modern agriculture and to addressing its global challenges. The DTC will support the growth of the YaraVita business and be available for training Yara agronomists, customer and farmer groups from all over the World. We also hope the facility will be used by schools and colleges locally.

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