TYDEN.CZ – Sales of Czech substrate producer AGRO CS increase to 1.8 billion
The 2015 sales of AGRO CS, a leading Czech producer of horticultural substrates, grass seed mixes and fertilizers reached 1.8 billion CZK. This is a 9 % increase compared to 2014. In the previous year, AGRO CS also acquired a peat bog in Belarus with a mining licence valid for over thirty years.
The sales of the company, which is based in Říkov near Náchod, have been growing steadily over the past five years. “The steady rise in sales confirms that our business is going in the right direction. In 2011 the company’s takings were 1.5 billion CZK, in 2012 it was 1.55 billion and in 2013 and 2014 over 1.65 CZK. Last year our sales exceeded 1.8 billion CZK,” said Jaroslav Zítko of AGRO CS.
AGRO CS is a leader of a multinational AGRO CS Group, which has eighteen daughter companies. Their focus ranges from peat mining, production and distribution of substrates, fertilizers and grass seed, cultivation and production of professional turf sod, services for agricultural enterprises, engineering, to own agricultural production and golf course management. In 2015 the group reached a turnover of 2.5 billion CZK. Thanks to this, companies under AGRO CS Group now belong to the leaders of the European market.
Golf courses and new peat bog in Belarus
AGRO CS keeps constantly developing, not just in the main areas of its business, but the group also seeks new directions and activities to pursue. The company performed two key investments in 2015. One of them was the acquisition of Engelmann Czech s.r.o., which manages and maintains seven large golf courses in the Czech Republic.
The company with 233 employees (the entire AGRO CS Group has about 700 employees) also expanded to Belarus in the previous year, having purchased a peat mining and processing corporation. Through this, AGRO CS now has its own peat bog with a mining licence valid for over thirty years.
“The new Skuraty peat bog is exceptionally compact and homogenous. It consists of several blocks, which will be gradually extracted in order to maintain the quality of the product. The peat from the currently mined block is of the highest quality of the A category, so-called white peat,” explained production manager David Micák.
The company plans to mine 75 – 1000 cubic metres of peat from the new bog in 2016, which is about thirty to forty percent of amount annually consumed by the company’s production plants. “We will cover the rest of our needs from sources in Lithuania. We are fully self-sufficient, covering our peat consumption for at least twenty years,” added Micák.
Just to get an idea about peat mining. The peat layer on the new site ranges from 1.5 metres on its edges to 6.5 metres in the central part. This is a massive stock of peat that will far exceed the duration of the mining licence. Intensive mining extracts about one-metre layer per year from this particular peat bog.
Peat mining is performed with special equipment, large “extractors”, which follow after the mechanical disintegration of the bog and suck the loosened and dried peat. The peat is then processed on sieves that separate peat into fractions – different grain sizes – for different growing purposes.
“Our production plant is fully equipped with peat processing technologies developed and manufactured by AGRO CS own engineering division. The technology includes special equipment such as a large pit for unloading railway cars, a set of star-shaped sieves, fully automated mixing line, two presses, as well as an automated packing machine producing packaged peats and substrates. This significant investment places our corporation among the European leaders in substrate production, “added the production manager.
Over twenty hectares of professional turf per year
Besides producing horticultural substrates, grass seed mixes and fertilizers, AGRO CS specialises also in growing professional turf sod for ornamental and sport purposes. The company grows the turf on a specially designated area of 35 hectares. “In 2013, 2014 and 2015 we sold about twenty to twenty-two hectares per year,” said Zítko.
Some of the large projects delivered by AGRO CS include football green reconstructions of AC Sparta Praha, SK Slavie Praha, FK Mladá Boleslav, Uherské Hradiště and FK Jablonec. Other projects include turf deliveries for green tram belts in Prague, lawn and turf development in public areas such as parks, swimming pools and public spas, as well as sod deliveries for hundreds of private gardens.