As expected, Russia is not just repeated last year’s success in the harvest of grain, but exceeded it. For the first time in almost 40 years, the country produced 117 million tons of grain. However, this is not the limit, experts say, why this year managed to achieve such yield and how much grain is actually capable of producing Russia.
As expected, Russia is not just repeated last year’s success in the harvest of grain, but exceeded it. The country set a new record – gathered 117 million tons of grain and leguminous crops. Of the harvest was achieved already in 1978.
“Russia has the potential to further raise and keep 40-50 million tons of grain even without an increase in acreage”
The corresponding statement was made head of the Ministry of agriculture Alexander Tkachev. According to him, “such a result managed to get through a growth in productivity, which over the years has increased by 60% from 17 quintals per hectare to 27 quintals per hectare, while the same 60% reduction in sown area – from 74 million to 47 million hectares”.
For comparison: last year Russia has collected about 105 million tons of grain in its pure form, of which almost 62 million tons of wheat. By the way, neighboring Ukraine expects to collect only 61 million tons of grain.
Such a phenomenal result will allow Russia to maintain leadership in the export of wheat in this marketing year (runs from July 2016 to June 2017). “This year, according to our forecasts, grain exports may increase from 30 to 35 million tons, and wheat exports, Russia will retain the lead, beating out such major suppliers as the EU and the USA”, – said Tkachev. Russia’s share on the world wheat market over the past 15 years has quadrupled, from 4% to 16%, he added. Last year Russia for the first time in modern history became the largest exporter of wheat in the world.
The experts believe that the USDA unfairly lowered the forecast of grain exports this agricultural year to 35 million tonnes (including 28 million tons of wheat). More recently, the office claimed that abroad will be sold up to 40 million tons of grain, including 30 million tons of wheat. And the General Director of the analytical center “Prozerno” Vladimir Petrichenko confirms that if grain export will amount this year to only 35 million tons, it will be a disaster, reports Agroinvestor. According to him, Russia last season exported as many – 35 million tons of grain, but this season the harvest at 13-14 million tons. Thus domestic consumption will grow by only 1-1,5 million tonnes to 73.7 million tons. Remains of 12-13 million tons of grain that has nowhere to go, except for export. Therefore, the expert hopes that exports will amount to 40 million tons. In fact, the same forecast is given and the analytical center “Sovekon”, in the Institute for agricultural market studies (IKAR).
One of the main achievements of Russian farmers is the yield increase from 17 to 27 tons per hectare while reducing the acreage from 74 million to 47 million hectares.
In fact, the area of grain crops was reduced to 43 million ha in 2009 (for comparison, in 1990, was planted 63 million hectares). Since then, as can be seen, the acreage even increased. But the level of productivity is really impressive. For comparison: in 1995, 55 million hectares of crops were collected only 63 million tons of grain, i.e., the yield amounted to only 11.4 centner / hectare.
According to the National Union of grain producers, on November 8, 2016 on the area of 45 million hectares were harvested of 120.7 million tons of grain. The yield was 26.8 tons per hectare. For comparison, in 2015 from the area of 43.8 million ha were harvested 106,9 million tons of grain, yield was 24.4 tons per hectare.
What helped Russian farmers to significantly increase grain yield in the last two years without increasing acreage?
Of course, a record crop in Russia helps weather. “Among the main ingredients of success – favorable weather conditions during the growth and ripening of plants, which influenced the good overwintering of winter crops and development of spring grain crops”, – said the newspaper LOOK President of the National Union of grain producers Pavel Skurikhin. So, the year before, Russian farmers have lost more than 10% of winter crops of grain, and this time death did not exceed 4%.
“Sufficient rainfall had a positive impact on fertility of arable land,” says Director of the Association of producers and suppliers of food products “Rusprodsoyuz” Dmitry Vostrikov. For high yield of grain crops was also influenced by the use in recent years of modern agricultural technologies, more advanced equipment, means of protection of plants.
Skurikhin confirms that spring field work has increased the level of acquisition of mineral fertilizers, farmers on time spent in the preparatory work for the protection from pests and crop was used the corresponding seed material.
“In addition, for the past three years has tracked the trend of increasing acreage under maize, which has almost double handicap for yield relative to wheat,” says Skurikhin. So, this year for wheat, the figure is 27.9 t/ha, and corn – 55.9 dt/ha.
Finally, state support of agricultural producers during the spring period were carried out without delays, in time, indicates the source.
To set records farmers also helps the crisis and the devaluation of the ruble. Owing to exchange rate differences of the Russian wheat became more affordable for buyers in the global market, they win a price competition, for example, with the French. Not surprisingly, Russia the low price of grain easily won the lion’s share of contracts to supply wheat to Egypt.
However, the price affects the quality of Russian grain. We have to admit that because of the rains that fell in several regions in the pre-harvest period and during the harvest, and decreased grain quality. On the one hand, the rains that fell in may and June in the European part of Russia, rendered a great service to the farmers. This has increased the harvest in the Rostov, Volgograd, Saratov regions and the Stavropol territory. On the other hand, heavy rainfall in the spring affected the quality of grain. This triggered the spread of Fusarium in the South that eventually led to the decline in the share of high quality wheat and to increase the share of fodder (for feeding animals). However, feed wheat values are also good is exported.
“The influence of rainy or dry weather on production volumes is inversely proportional to the quality characteristics of grain. In the rainy year of high productivity is fraught with a large share of feed grain, and, conversely, in dry weather, the crop may be lower, but grain quality will be higher”, – says Vostrikov.
How to set a new record harvest
Russia is not going to stop there. The Ministry of agriculture builds ambitious plans for further growth in grain yield. Tkachev said recently that Russia in the future plans to increase grain production to 150 million tons per year, and under certain conditions by 2030 may collect up to 170 million tonnes of grain.
Thus, Russia plans to substantially surpass the Soviet record. Skurikhin sure that Russia has a huge potential to further collect and save 40-50 million tons of grain even without increasing acreage. In Russia today there are about 20 million hectares of arable land is a major reserve for increasing grain production of the country and boosting production of crops.
The growth of grain production in Russia is possible at observance of three conditions, says Skurikhin. First, we need technical re-equipment, including storage of grain and its transportation. For example, it is important to remove the Mature grain in five to six business days for each additional day leads to 1% loss of the crop. “Most grain-producing areas, the harvest of the grain is stretched to 30 days or more. The result is yield losses reach 15-20%, which is 15-20 million tons of grain,” says Skurikhin. Storage outdated storage can lead to losses of grain harvest in the amount of up to 10% and also reduce its quality.
Secondly, farmers should be more demanding to treat seed material. “For the past many years, despite our recommendations, continued use of quality seed material, and is a 15-20% shortage of areas sown with low quality seeds,” – said the interlocutor of the newspaper VIEW. Due to the fact that the level of availability of certified seeds amounted to only 80%, Russia this year, lost 3 million tons of grain, the expert adds.
Finally, farmers should still widespread use of chemical plant protection products and, of course, fertilizer. Due to the fact that not all cultivated areas are used means of protection, Russia, according to experts, annually loses about 10-15 million tons of grain.
Fertilizers our farmers, of course, used, but significantly less. On average, they spend 22 kg of fertilizer per hectare, whereas in earlier period spent 109 kg per hectare.
According to statistics, in 1970 the world was made 1248 million tonnes of grain, of which in the Russian Federation – 114 million tons in the United States – 188 million tons in China — 182 million tons. In less than 50 years, world cereal production was almost doubled (an increase of 204%). So, in China the increase was 232% in the United States – 207%. “In Russia, if to take for comparison the current crop year, gross collection remained at the same level. If the projected doubling of world grain production to grain production in Russia at the present time the industry of the country needs to annually produce 200-210 million tons,” – said the President of the National Union of grain producers.