The mood and plans of the farmers of the Central Federal District, Volga Region and the south of the country were found out by the compilers of the next “Index of Development of Agricultural Producers in Russia”. Among the respondents there are representatives of agricultural holdings and farmers, whose main income comes from crop production. Rossiyskaya Gazeta discussed the situation with experts.
Harvest from the currency exchange
The pandemic had a negative impact on business for 57 percent of the households surveyed. And only two percent said that the situation was in their favor. The rest are afraid of negativity in the future.
Representatives of large enterprises among the main reasons for pessimism called the dollar and the spring 20 percent increase in prices for “consumables”.
“The prices for plant protection products, fertilizers and fuels and lubricants have risen. Although two years ago a dollar in the spring also cost 68 rubles, and agricultural chemicals were 40 percent cheaper. What has changed? Oil prices have dropped - fuel has risen, ”says Konstantin Zemlyanoy, deputy director of the Krasnogvardeisky agricultural holding in Stavropol.
One hope for a successful export. “If the rate is 70-72 rubles, then we will get a profit,” says Zemlyanoy. If the value of the currency is different, plant breeders will "sag" both in terms of revenue and profit, confirmed Sergey Miryuk, general director of the Kursk enterprise "Grainrus Agro". “If the dollar costs 68 rubles during the harvesting campaign,” he explained, “our revenue will decrease even in rubles. Exports may fail: the south of the country will not want to work at such prices. " Only small farms will be forced to sell grain cheaply in order to pay off loans, Zemlyanoy added.
Not everything is lost
And yet, according to the index, more than half of plant growers still hope to increase their income. If not this season, then the next one for sure. The increase can provide a high yield and low cost of production.
Yield growth in 2020 is expected by 68 percent of the study participants (almost 10 percent more than in 2019). The main role here, in their opinion, is played by plant protection products and quality seeds. Every second noted the contribution of management and precision farming technologies.
The structure of sown areas in the center and in the south has changed. But this is not due to a coronacrisis, but to the general market situation. According to the director general of ICAR Dmitry Rylko, in the fall it was clear that in the south, wheat and barley crops will be increased as highly profitable and stable crops.
“Record sowing of winter crops was carried out in the central zone. And then they occupied a huge wedge with spring wheat. The picture is not typical: for 20 years there has been a shift towards winter crops, Rylko stressed. "Close to record numbers for sunflower and corn planting." In the Voronezh region, the area under crops with export potential was expanded: soybeans, corn, barley.
In the Central Federal District, corn production for grain previously developed at a faster pace: there were not enough elevators and drying capacities. Farms have become less involved in this crop. Now there are more objects for drying and storage, so that corn will easily regain its position. It has good profitability, there are new markets.
Among the main problems of this season, farmers called the dollar and spring 20 percent increase in prices for seeds and agricultural chemistry.
A similar situation is with soybeans. “At one time, records were set in Central Russia, and then disappointment set in. The reason is simple: no recycling. Now they are building several such plants, ”Rylko said.
Export loves stability
Agribusiness and logistics are being invested. Thus, the Kursk holding company launched its export terminal in order to ship as many wagons as necessary during an interesting period, said Sergei Miryuk.
“The main thing,” he said, “is that we are not undermined by measures that restrain natural competition. Otherwise, everyone will try to simultaneously export grain to the dollar zone, create peak loads for transshipment capacities. We will lose both the margin, and the attractiveness of the business, and our reputation as suppliers. " The colleague was supported by Zemlyanoy, noting that a clear guideline for strategic grain reserves in the domestic market and freedom to sell surplus were needed.
“Yes, in 2020 the decision to limit grain exports to seven million tons (from April 1 to June 30) had a good reason,” says the CEO of IKAR. - Wheat was raked to the grain, the millers in Siberia have problems. But systematically declaring an export quota for every second half of the year means slowing down the investments that the industry deserves. "
According to agrarians' plans for investments, it is noticeable that many are not sure about tomorrow.
Pandemic is not the main thing
Almost two-thirds of respondents intend to increase investment in business. But if a year earlier, 86 percent was going to replenish fixed capital (to buy equipment, build warehouses), now the share of such companies has decreased by 20 percent. And the proportion of those who increase investment in working capital (seeds, fertilizers, agrochemicals) has increased.
That is, the agrarians are focused on "momentary" tasks. “The companies do not have a strategic development program, investments depend on the results of the season and are sometimes made forcibly, for example, when a reseeding is needed,” said Anton Pushkarev, an official representative of Syngenta.
“Due to the pandemic, the agro-industrial complex market is in a state of high uncertainty, and most farms choose stabilization strategies,” Dmitry Rylko commented. - The depreciation of the ruble, on the one hand, is beneficial to farmers. On the other hand, it makes it difficult for them to access advanced world technologies ”. According to the analyst, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for a long time. However, judging by the answers of the agrarians, it is not the main problem for them. The more significant threats remain fluctuations in the currency market and the vagaries of the weather. That is why they increased their crops of "stable" wheat, hoping for favorable conditions for export.
Text by Tatyana Tkacheva