From Grids to Zones:
How OneSoil Pro Powers Poland's Soil Analysis Pioneer

Agrotechnology, a pioneer in soil analysis and precision agriculture in Poland, was one of the first companies to adopt OneSoil Pro to enhance their services. We spoke with Agrotechnology's CEO, Piotr Mazur, about the company's origins, its goals, and how OneSoil is helping them achieve those objectives.

Can you tell us briefly about Agrotechnology? How old is the company? What kind of services do you provide to customers?

Piotr Mazur, CEO of Agrotechnology: Agrotechnology is 20 years old, having started in 2004. We offer farmers a range of services like field area measurements, soil sampling, soil scanning, variable application tools, sensor software, and advisory services. Unlike many other companies in Poland that may only offer soil sampling, we strive to provide a full package, ensuring that farmers can maintain good soil condition and fertilization.
Boss, cat which lives in the company office_OneSoil Blog
Piotr Mazur, CEO of Agrotechnology
What drove your company's focus towards precision farming?

When we started, precision farming was merely an idea or something visible in foreign countries like Germany and the United States. It was not available in Poland. So, our goal was to introduce all the systems and procedures connected with precision farming to the Polish market.

When you compare machinery or knowledge, Polish farmers are on par with other farmers globally. There was just a missing element that we could add to provide value to them through precision farming.
Do you keep up with the evolving trends and innovations in precision farming?

Absolutely! We continually look for new opportunities and trends globally, especially in growing markets like Australia and the United States. When we find something promising, we try to adapt it for use in Poland, always aiming to improve our services.
And what are you mainly focusing on now? Is it soil sampling?

Our primary focus is on soil health and soil conditions. We want to provide as much qualified information about the soil as possible and ensure it's usable for farmers.

Previously, soil nutrition measurements in Poland were conducted only for legal purposes, often resulting in low-quality sampling. No one believed the results, and thus, they were not taken seriously for fertilization or advisory purposes.

Now, we are teaching our farmers and assuring them that the information we provide is of high quality and ready to use. We are focusing all our services on making the quality of soil sampling as high as possible.

This is exactly where the collaboration with OneSoil starts! Can you delve deeper into the original and current soil sampling workflow? How does OneSoil Pro affect it?

Historically, soil sampling was conducted by dividing fields into four-hectare squares, and then samples were taken from these squares, creating a squared map. However, starting from last year, with OneSoil's technology, we can offer a more precise and efficient method — sampling by productivity zones.
Productivity zones are areas of a field with different yields. A high productivity zone is an area that has consistently yielded the highest harvests over several seasons. Conversely, a low productivity zone continually produces low yields, while an average productivity zone gives average yields.
OneSoil Pro has been well-received by our customers and it's filled a gap in our portfolio as a scalable service. Unlike soil sampling, where scaling requires more people, cars, and machines, OneSoil Pro allows us to provide extensive information about plants and soil without being physically present on the field. This allows us to advise many more customers.
How did you introduce the new zone-based approach and OneSoil Pro as a tool for it to your customers?

We usually introduce new products like OneSoil Pro by explaining its benefits to our customers and offering it as an enhanced version of what they've been using. Our job is to make them feel good about their investment, by delivering the best solutions and technologies available on the market.

There is definitely a superiority in soil sampling by productivity zones over grid cell sampling. It's challenging to provide an exact calculation of the difference in accuracy, but we've officially informed our customers that the zones are 20% more accurate compared to squares. This difference is substantial, translating to about 20 kilograms of potassium or phosphorus per hectare. It can mean significant financial differences. From our perspective, the square method is no longer acceptable for farmers.

Interestingly, in Poland, we have some official but outdated standards for soil which state that soil samples should be taken from homogeneous parts of the field, with consistent soil quality and type. This directive aligns with the use of zones, and by these standards, 90% of soil maps created in Poland using squares would be considered illegal. Many companies claim to follow Polish standards, but it seems they have overlooked this specific point.

What was the customers' reaction to the new approach and new tool?

Some customers might be unhappy about paying extra, but at the end of the day, they usually understand the value of this improvement and trust that we're offering the best solutions in the world. For farmers, the extra cost isn't a problem; they just need to see the value in something new and innovative.

This year, we decided to stop sampling in squares and introduced this new zone-based solution. Only 2-3% of customers chose not to work with us because they were looking for something cheaper. But for our other customers, this change was no problem. Our reputation and dedication to quality make them confident in our methods. We don't want to be just another company in the field; we want to be the best in this business.
Some time ago we launched a new feature in OneSoil Pro allowing users to build soil sampling maps based on field productivity maps. Can you share how this release has affected your workflow?

This feature streamlined the process! At the beginning of our partnership, we exported productivity zones from OneSoil Pro and then drafted our sampling zones. Now, with this new soil sampling feature, OneSoil Pro builds sampling zones automatically.

At Agrotechnology, we also provide soil scanning. We started it in Poland back in 2008 as a premium service for customers who wanted the best quality soil sampling. But we couldn't offer this to everyone since it was time-consuming, costly, and we had limited capacity. While soil scanning still offers the best quality, not everyone can afford it. With OneSoil Pro, we can now provide soil sampling zones that are more affordable and accessible.

So, our new feature is a time-saver, enabling you to accomplish more in less time, right?

Precisely. We've debated the cost of this feature, but the time savings are evident. For instance, a company like FarmFacts uses something similar with its RapidEye satellite. But their system requires knowledge of field boundaries a day in advance. With OneSoil, we can do everything in real-time. If we're unsure about a field, our sampler can head out, and we can pinpoint his location and prepare the zones within minutes. It's an entirely new level of efficiency.
For farmers, the extra cost isn't a problem; they just need to see the value in something new and innovative.
What other features do you sell to your customers through OneSoil Pro? What benefits of the platform can you highlight?

We also offer productivity mapping and variable-rate fertilizers application based on the identified productivity zones. When customers compare these productivity maps with historical data, they often find a correlation with how their fields have behaved in recent years. Of course, farmers already know which parts of their fields yield better crops, but they've lacked a digital way to document it.

OneSoil field reports include a six-year analysis of the field's yield and crop productivity. This data allows for a more precise understanding of the field's performance over an extended period. Also, the interface is indeed easy to use, and we appreciate that. It allows for a shared interface between us and the customer, enabling us to view the same field, discuss results, and offer advice. This ease of use is much more efficient than sending printed maps, for example.
Do you collaborate with many companies like OneSoil, or have you chosen one specifically?

Currently, we are using only OneSoil. Although we did consider other software solutions, OneSoil stood out for us.

For example, we also explored GeoPard for a specific farmer who needed deep data analysis, utilizing scans from various satellites. However, the UX [user experience] of GeoPard was not as clear or appealing. Many times, when we proposed GeoPard, farmers chose OneSoil instead. They found it more understandable and sufficient for their needs.

Why did you choose OneSoil?

Our collaboration with OneSoil was a mutual decision. We were impressed with your approach and willingness to listen to our ideas, and the alignment with our customers' needs. Working with OneSoil has been a positive experience. This collaboration was essential as we noticed a gap in our offerings – we didn't have satellite imagery service. Incorporating OneSoil into our portfolio filled that gap, ensuring that we can stay at the forefront of the industry.

That's great to hear, especially since Agrotechnology is one of our first OneSoil Pro customers. Many of your ideas have been implemented into our product, which has been great.

I believe that many more great features are ahead to drive precision agriculture and empower farmers and agronomists with more data simplifying decision-making. However, in conclusion, I'd like to say that sometimes we can be too scientific or nerdy, especially when dealing with agronomy. But farming is about passion and love for the land.

Interview conducted by Anastasiya Novikava
Article layout and editing by Katya Zhurauliova
Photos by Agrotechnology
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