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History of The Agricultural Center Limburgerhof

At BASF we have been supporting food production and farmers for more than 100 years

One of the most important innovations of the 20th century was the large-scale implementation of ammonia synthesis, which enabled the production of mineral fertilizers. This marked the starting point in 1914 for BASF’s operations in Limburgerhof, which has been part of the Ludwigshafen site ever since. 

We are proud of our pioneers, like Carl Bosch and Fritz Haber who invented the ammonia synthesis to produce synthetic fertilizers – the basis for modern agriculture. Mineral fertilizers still increase agricultural yields and play a major role in producing more food to meet the needs of the world’s rapidly growing population.

We have come a long way from our beginnings in agriculture. Much has changed since 1914 – the Agricultural Center has become BASF’s worldwide center of expertise for solutions  for farmers. A look at the history of the Agricultural Center Limburgerhof shows how the needs of farmers have changed and how BASF has helped shape this transformation. Groundbreaking products and solutions as well as the growth of global markets form this history as do crises and setbacks. But again and again, the company has transformed ideas and approaches into market-ready solutions. The history of the Agricultural Center Limburgerhof highlights one of BASF’s key strengths: managing challenges and working together to find new solutions . 

BASF in agriculture – finding the right balance for success! 
For farmers, agriculture and future generations.


Explore the milestones of our history!

1914 - 1927

History 1914-1927_BASF Agricultural Solutions

The beginnings – research, development, advisory services

With the introduction of ammonia synthesis, BASF lays the foundation for the industrial production of modern fertilizers. By concentrating on this new technology, the Agricultural Research Station Limburgerhof serves as an inspiration for the future direction of the entire company. The outbreak of the First World War soon grounds these high-flying plans but, at the same time, increases demand for yield-boosting fertilizers to ensure the supply of food for the country. With its professional advisory services and the new compound fertilizer Nitrophoska, the Agricultural Research Station provides the basic building blocks for forward-looking agriculture.

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1927 - 1948

History 19127-1948_BASF Agricultural Solutions

From fertilizers to crop protection

The findings at the Research Station Limburgerhof impressively demonstrate that yields can be increased with the use of mineral fertilizers. At the site, new technologies and facilities enable scientists to undertake research in plant breeding and initial studies with active ingredients for crop protection. With the increasing influence of the National Socialist dictatorship, Limburgerhof also begins preparing for a “production battle.” Even BASF, as part of I.G. Farben, cannot help achieve the “Autarkie” (self-sufficiency) in food production the regime is striving for. At zero hour after the war, the Research Station Limburgerhof faces an uncertain new beginning with new areas of research.

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1948 - 1966

History 1948-1966_BASF Agricultural Solutions

Agriculture during the “economic miracle”

The success of U 46 serves as the basis for the growth of the Agricultural Research Station. Increasing mechanization has been changing agriculture fundamentally since the 1950s. With the end of the I.G. Farben era, Limburgerhof reaches a new level of prosperity under the umbrella of the “new” BASF. With the fungicide Polyram® and the herbicide Pyramin® , key milestones of crop protection come on the market. The continuous transformation of agricultural production and the internationalization of markets create challenges in all business areas for the researchers in Limburgerhof.

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1966- 1996

History 1966-1996_BASF Agricultural Solutions

Growing international markets

The internationalization of agricultural markets poses new challenges to research and work in Limburgerhof. In order to meet different climatic and agro-structural conditions, a global network of BASF research stations is created. International and interdisciplinary teams of researchers work together to develop new active ingredients. Three landmark products – Basagran®, Basalin® and Pix® – come on the market, strengthening BASF’s position in the international crop protection market.

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1996 - 2014

Worldwide, BASF researchers work on new agricultural solutions that enable balance between agricultural productivity, environmental protection and society’s needs.

Partner in agriculture

With “green biotechnology,” plant breeding research in Limburgerhof heads into new research fields. With the acquisition of American Cyanamid, BASF becomes one of the world’s top three crop protection manufacturers and a global supplier of crop protection products. The main site in Limburgerhof is thoroughly modernized and in 2004 is renamed the Agricultural Center Limburgerhof. The fertilizer business, which once represented the original core business, is sold in 2012. BASF takes a new approach to shaping the agriculture of the future.

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2014 - 2022


Our Way Forward In Agriculture – Finding The Right Balance For Success

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Learn more about our history