Breeding, like any other science, is a painstaking long-term work on which a researcher spends his whole life. Russian and Soviet scientist-geneticist, breeder Nikolai Vavilov called selection "evolution, guided by the will of man." And the result of this activity are more advanced species of plants and animals.
Anna Rybalko, State Prize Laureate, Altai scientist and breeder, told AIF-Altai correspondent about the hard work of the breeder, about the rise and fall of the vegetable experimental station, about her discoveries.
“Must, because I can!”
Anna Rybalko: In my life I came across people who always aimed me at something more.
Elena Chekhova, AIF-Altai: Probably, you consider such people your teachers?
- Of course. And among them - my first teacher, Vorobyova Vera Vasilievna. She said: "Anya, here I’ll put him five, but I won’t bet you for that, because you can do better." She so abused me with such exactingness that all my life I proved to myself and to others: I must, because I can! Vera Vasilievna was a wonderful teacher and an amazing person. And an amazing incident occurred after her death. When Vera Vasilyevna was buried, at the same time a little tomb was brought to the cemetery. Apparently, this was an outlaw: neither parents nor relatives. At the cemetery they asked if his coffin could be put in the grave of Vera Vasilievna. The request was not refused. So she, apparently, continues her mission there.
- Anna Anatolyevna, how did you get into science?
- After school, I entered the pedagogical university in absentia. And she worked as a pioneer leader. And then a tutor in a boarding school for mentally retarded children. I don’t know how strong a heart you need to have to work there. Mine could not stand the experience. I went to the factory. She worked there for five years, got married, gave birth to twins - a boy and a girl. Children often got sick. There was no one to sit with them. I had to look for work near the house. And then they said that a laboratory assistant is required at the experimental station. Working here, I entered the Altai Agricultural Institute. Then there was graduate school in Moscow, at the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Selection and Seed Production of Vegetable Crops. As a researcher, she dealt with the problem of plant immunity. In 1988 she defended her thesis. Soon I was offered to engage in breeding work. Over 35 years of work at the experimental station, I managed to bring out 25 varieties of various vegetable crops. Only breeding is not the work of one person, but the team, so all the work is co-authored.
- In general, how many varieties of vegetables have been bred by station staff?
- During the existence of the station, and it was created back in 1932, more than 200 varieties were created by its scientific staff. Our station, our varieties were once known in Siberia, and throughout the Soviet Union, and in Mongolia, and in Bulgaria, and in Czechoslovakia ...
The trouble of our country is that, “renouncing the old world”, we also discard all the good that was there, and then we begin to build again.
Graduate degree through calluses
- Had it been a shame for yourself and for your work?
- I remember the first day after the so-called Pavlovian reform (the 1991 monetary reform carried out by the Prime Minister of the USSR Valentin Pavlov - approx. Ed.). My employee and I went to the Central Department Store. I wanted to buy a hat. I look: yesterday its price was 7 rubles, and today - 25 rubles. I bought it. When I came home, I calculated incomes and expenses, and I got hysterical: I studied for 40 years, worked, achieved something in my life, but it turned out that I can’t feed myself and my family! ... The worst thing is that this situation is scientific The staff at the station still remains. The doctor of science receives at most 18 thousand rubles. Moreover, he must weave, dig, water, collect the fruits ... But people are holding on. How? On enthusiasm. By the way, the story is about the enthusiasm of our scientists. Somehow, breeders from France came to our station. The tour of the greenhouses was conducted by Nina A. Prokofieva, who at that time was the deputy director for science. We introduced a special selection for film greenhouses - there were melons, watermelons, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. The guests in admiration: “How did you manage to achieve such results?” Nina Alexandrovna says: “We have a team of enthusiasts.” French: "What is it?" Out of confusion, she honestly said: "Well, this is when they work hard and get little money." The French applauded and admitted: "Your heads and our conditions."
What is selection work? This is endless physical work - in plots, in storage. In addition to labor on the ground, you need to turn boxes and bags, load them, sort out the fruits that are in them. Once, after harvesting a cabbage, which was super-rich, 15 kg each, I felt bad with my heart. I came to the doctor. She saw that the card says that I am a laboratory assistant and issued a recommendation: "You need to do more physical work and sports." The stereotype worked: the researcher in a white robe and lifts nothing heavier than a pen.
About the "insulting" ... insulting! Because even during the war the station was saved. And after the war, it just blossomed - everything was in front of my eyes. I remember: at first there were dugouts, barracks. Since the mid 60-ies began to build multi-apartment comfortable homes for station employees. They built a first-aid post, which was a real dispensary: heal baths were taken, and physiotherapy was received, and the procedures prescribed by the doctor. Built a kindergarten. We even had a fountain! And how did the scientific topics increase. Colleagues from all over the Union came to get acquainted with our experience. We had the only site in the country of the so-called rare cultures. It had more than 200 species of medicinal plants. And since 1942, a unique experience in studying soil fertility has been conducted at the station. Its essence is that under different vegetable crops a different amount of mineral fertilizers is applied, as well as the option when no fertilizer is used at all. And it is compared: how soil fertility, humus content, soil structure change. This is invaluable data. And while this experience is still alive, an employee continues to work on it. But he is already a pensioner.
- Maybe sanctions will help? They should also become an incentive for the development of own production, domestic technologies, etc.
- Due to the fact that seed production has been destroyed, now many good varieties are difficult to reproduce. While the station employees are trying with bare enthusiasm to produce seeds. Let not in such quantities as before - up to 180 varieties. But last year, for example, they produced seeds of the Altai Krasa radish, and this year they produced White Zephyr radishes, two excellent varieties of carrots Dayan and Sonata. Of course, gardeners ask this. They have already “pinned” on imported seeds, which are produced in Kyrgyzstan and the Caucasus. It happens that a gardener sows carrots, and suddenly white amateurs appear among orange root crops. Where from? And this is due to the fact that when water comes from the mountains where wild carrots grow, and the seeds fall on the cultivated fields, germinate, and since no one sortes them, the quality is lost as a result.
- Why did you receive the State Prize?
- For the creation of varieties of carrots with a high content of carotene. If in the same Shantane - this is an old-old variety, known since 1942 - there were only 6 mg% carotene, then we managed to increase this figure to 10 mg%. And in the varieties that we ourselves created - Dayana, Sonata, the carotene content was from 18 to 22 mg%.
- Could our station provide seed for the region?
- If you create a base, then yes. There are still specialists. But ... Here is a specialist in peppers - Natalya Yuryevna Antipova, she is already a pensioner. Dock on pumpkin, cucumbers, zucchini Vasily G. Vysochin, Doctor of Sciences, he is 75 years old. Andreeva Nadezhda Nikolaevna - tomato breeder. She is 65 years old ...
- Although you are retired, you are actively engaged in public work, being the chairman of the council of veterans of your native village. What excites you in this field?
- In 2011, 130 home front workers and 11 war veterans lived in our village. Now there is not a single participant in the war, and about 70 people of the rear workers remain. But then there are people who are assigned the status of children of war. For them, I want to arrange congratulations for the holidays - postcards or small gifts. And it takes money. I go, please. Soon there will be a month of the elderly person. You have to invent something.
- Is it difficult to be elderly in Russia?
- It all depends on the state of mind of a person. Someone and at 90 years old does not feel like an old man. I remember congratulating Anna Ivanovna Dubov on the 95th anniversary. She said: "I am not a burden to the children, because I have been friends with the song all my life." And she sang. And stamped her foot. Unfortunately, Anna Ivanovna is no longer alive.
For a long time I remembered one case. It was in Yeltsin's times. I'm standing at the bus stop. Nearby, grandmothers say: “Well, okay - we have a garden. And how do the poor live in the city? ” I am sure: as long as there are such old women in Russia, our country cannot be broken.
Dossier: Anna Rybalko - Candidate of Agricultural Sciences. Laureate of the State Prize, laureate of the Altai Territory Prize in the field of science and technology. The author of more than 100 scientific publications.
A source: https://www.nsss-russia.ru/