How realistic is it to earn (to earn, not to get from the sale of products) 2000 euros per hectare? Is it realistic to earn 2000 Euro / ha on field crops? “Really,” says Vimal director of the company Sergey Samonenko.
Starch varieties - salvation for potato growing
Vimal recently launched the largest starch factory in Eastern Europe in Chernihiv. The equipment installed on it can process 1440 tons of potatoes per day. The first stage, capable of processing 700 tons / day, is already working. The starch that is produced here meets all international quality standards and is already exported to Turkey, China and even the Netherlands - the world’s center for starch production. “Moreover, this is clearly not for resale. Because Dutch traders who trade around the world don’t take starch from us, but bring their branded bags, pack our starch in them at our factory and send them directly to China, ”says Sergey Samonenko. Having created such a powerful production, Vimal is now actively forming a circle of suppliers. At the same time, the plant does not need any potatoes, but with a high starch content. For example, with a starchiness of 20%, the plant is ready to pay 0,09 euros / kg. “We pay 30% more for potatoes than they pay in the European Union,” S. Samonenko notes. High starchiness can only be achieved with special starch varieties. Well, maybe chip-based ones - if the products for some reason do not satisfy the chips manufacturer or if, as last year, the weather conditions are such that instead of 16% specified in the variety specification, starchiness was all 20%, and hand over this potato sometimes it became more profitable for a starch factory than for a chip factory.
Director of the company "Vimal" Sergey Samonenko
The cultivation of special starch varieties, as S. Samonenko said, is only being introduced in Ukraine. Now these varieties account for no more than 10% of the total volume of the raw materials that are brought to Vimal. The rest are substandard products of crisps (starchiness 14-16%) or table (starchiness 10-12%). Of course, with such starchiness, the price of admission does not allow you to rely on any kind of earnings: if only you could get at least something for substandard potatoes if you do not have your own livestock of pigs to feed them potatoes.
Today, Vimal accepts potatoes at the following price: for starchiness 10-13% - 0,03-0,04 euro / kg; 13-15% - 0,05-0,06 euro / kg; 15-18% - 0,06-0,07 euro / kg; more than 18% - from 0,07 euro / kg. But many potato farms began to become interested in starch varieties. They were prompted by the market conditions: the overproduction of table potatoes led to such prices for the latter that the farms considered the option of curtailing potato growing, selling specialized equipment and concentrating on corn and sunflower. Therefore, in this situation, the cultivation of starchy varieties could be a salvation for potato farms for the period when a generation is alive who still knows how to grow potatoes on their own.
Sergey Samonenko gives general economic calculations. For example, if you collect 50 t / ha of potato starch varieties, you can sell them for 4 euros. There is no waste here, unlike table potatoes: anyone will do for processing. “If only the farm left the land on the field, but did not bring it to the plant,” adds S. Samonenko. This level of yield is quite achievable. For example, among the partners of the Vimal plant there is a farm from the Chernihiv region, which in 650 reached the level of 2018 t / ha. But the costs of growing potatoes, according to S. Samonenko, now in Ukraine do not exceed 63 euros / ha. And this is with the high technologies that require the cultivation of marketable potatoes. But, as the director of the Vimal company reminds, starchy potatoes do not need to be stored, calibrated, or packaged. There is no need to take care of the presentation in the growing process, and this at least slightly reduces the cost of fungicides and insecticides. For example, pest control was limited to pickling tubers against the Colorado potato beetle, and that was enough. Vimal's calculations show that by growing starch varieties instead of canteens, you can save per hectare: sorting - 2790 euros (124 euros / t); two fungicidal treatments - 2,79 euros;
on a vegetable grid - 86 euros;
by reducing the amount of fertilizer applied - almost 48 euros;
replacing the original drugs with generics of good quality - 54 euros. In general, the savings are almost 412 euros / ha, which reduces the cost per hectare to 2378 euros. Thus, on a hectare you can earn 2000 euros. Of course, there are farms where 15 t / ha are also harvested, where planting material is used, it is not known which reproductions are grown by hand, and not in seed farms under the control of breeding firms; where the equipment is outdated and does not cut ridges, and the digger leaves half the crop in the ground. But even in this case, according to S. Samonenko, the potato grower can earn. So, one farm known to him saved on technology and cost only 1744 euros / ha, because of which it reached a yield of only 30 t / ha. At the same time, starchiness was 19,5%, which allowed the farm to earn 951 euros per hectare.
Vimal-Agro experience: the secret is in fungicides
The Vimal company is not just a processor who draws exciting prospects in front of suppliers. This is a diversified company, which is engaged in the processing of potatoes, and construction, and agriculture. In particular, the Vimal agricultural company includes the Vimal-Agro agricultural company, which is located in the village of Vimal. Selected Kulikovsky district of Chernihiv region. Among other things, the agricultural company in 2018 grew potato starch varieties - Susanna and Eurostarch (both - Europlant breeding) and Kuras of Agrico selection. According to Yuriy Dyak, director of Record Agro, an exclusive distributor of Europlant selection varieties in Ukraine, Eurostarch is a medium-late variety (growing period of 85-95 days), resistant to late blight, leaf curling virus, black leg, nematodes, is demanding to a balanced diet, with a starch potential of 20-21% and a yield of up to 50 t / ha. But the Susanna variety is medium early, with a similar yield potential and even higher (22,5%) starchiness, resistant to metribuzin and many diseases. 100 hectares were occupied by starch potatoes in the agricultural company. The potato yield at the beginning of the digging was 35 t / ha, at the end - 40 t / ha. As S. Samonenko assures, this is not the maximum that the crop could give: potatoes were dug from August to mid-September, while the maximum yield of the variety is given when digging in late September or in the 1st decade of October. Thus, the agricultural company "Vimal-Agro" has shown an example of the successful cultivation of potato starch varieties. “We wanted to launch a project for growing starchy potatoes in 2014 - to plant 5-10 hectares and see the results, calculate the economic efficiency. However, then the war prevented. But in 2018, there was a resuscitation of interest in the project: the front line stabilized, while the situation on the food potato market worsened, which forced producers to look for new ways. Moreover, the prospect of growing starch varieties, according to the calculations of Vimal, looks encouraging:
|Food||Starch (starchiness 20%)||Chipsy|
|Productivity, t / ha||45||45||38|
|Sales price of marketable potatoes, euro. / Kg||0,1||0,095||0,12|
|Non-commercial potato starch selling price, Euro. / Kg||0,06||0,06|
|Gross income, thousand Euro / ha: total||4,26||4.28||4.11|
|from the sale of marketable products||3,88||3,67|
|from the sale of non-commodity products to starch||0,38||0,44|
|Costs, thousand Euro / ha||3,22||2,34||2,98|
|Profit, thousand Euro / ha||1,51||1,92||1,13|
Commenting on the calculations, S. Samonenko noted that the marketability indicator of 80-85%, especially for table potatoes, is rather optimistic, because in practice this level often amounts to 75, and even 50%. Summing up the first season of growing starchy potato varieties in large volumes, S. Samonenko discovered two main secrets. The first he formulated as follows: "70% of the pledge of the crop - the right seeds." By correct seeds, he meant planting material of high reproductions, which meets the requirements of viral standards, etc. For example, if you use planting material not of the 1st, but of the 2nd reproduction, you can reduce its costs from 383 to 255 euros / kg However, because of this, 15% of the crop is not received, which costs the farm 636.942 euros / ha. Thus, the “savings” in planting material results in a net loss of 8100 euros / ha. The second feature of starch varieties is that they form the bulk of the yield in the last 3 or even 2 weeks of vegetation, that is, in September. “In July, when many days of potato fields are spent, starchy varieties look unattractive: the tubers are still small. But in the last 2-3 weeks there has been a major increase in productivity, ”says S. Samonenko.
Accordingly, starch varieties more than any other require the conservation of green mass during the growing season. “Preserving the vegetative mass throughout the summer, until September, is the second secret to growing starchy varieties,” says S. Samonenko. And this, he said, would be impossible without the use of high-quality fungicides, which saved the vegetative mass from diseases, primarily from alternariosis and late blight. The Vimal-Agro company processed its starchy potato once with Propuls from alternariosis and three times with Ditan from late blight. This made it possible to preserve the vegetative mass of potatoes during the summer until September inclusive. And without this, the agricultural company would not have received the productivity of starch varieties that would allow it to earn.
The third secret to growing starch varieties, he called potato fertilizer potassium sulfate instead of traditional chloride. “The use of potassium sulfate instead of chloride increases starchiness,” S. Samonenko explained. Europlant breeders note that potassium chloride is allowed to be introduced, but in limited doses: in the spring - no more than 80 kg / ha. But the rate of introduction of K2О recommended at the level of 190–250 kg / ha. Also, you should not add a lot of nitrogen, as this reduces starchiness. As Yuri Dyak said, the rate of nitrogen application should not exceed 100 kg / ha, and the introduction of this element should be stopped before the budding stage. The optimal dose of phosphorus, according to him, is 120 kg / ha. Also, starchy varieties require the introduction of magnesium at a rate of 80 kg / ha in two divided doses.
Thus, the costs of growing 1 ha of starchy varieties of potatoes are: for planting material of the 1st reproduction at a planting density of 42 thousand units / ha for late varieties and 44 thousand units / ha for earlier varieties - 1146.49 euro / ha; for fertilizers - 500 euro / ha; for plant protection - 350 euro / ha; for fuel - 200 euro / ha; other expenses (salary, rent, depreciation, etc.) - 574 euros / ha. In general, according to S. Samonenko, the agricultural technology of starchy varieties of potatoes is largely reminiscent of the agricultural technology of table potatoes. This allows table potato producers to easily switch to starchy varieties and, subject to the introduction of high agricultural technologies, earn 2000 Euro / ha - as much as no other field crop provides.