The moods and plans of the agrarians of the Central Federal District, Volga Region and the south of the country were found out by the drafters of the next "Index of Development of Russian Agricultural Producers". Among the respondents are representatives of agricultural holdings and farmers, whose main revenue comes from crop production. Rossiyskaya Gazeta discussed the situation with experts.
Harvest from the currency exchange
The pandemic negatively impacted the business of 57 percent of 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”.
“Plant protection products, fertilizers and fuels and lubricants have risen in price. Although two years ago, a dollar in the spring also cost 68 rubles, and agricultural chemistry was 40 percent cheaper. What has changed? Oil has fallen in price - fuel has risen, ”says Konstantin Zemlyanoy, deputy director of the Stavropol agroholding Krasnogvardeisky.
One hope for a successful export. “If the exchange rate is 70-72 rubles, then we will get profit,” says Zemlyanoy. At a different cost of currency, plant breeders will “sink” in both revenue and profit, confirmed Sergey Miryuk, general director of the Kursk enterprise Greinrus Agro. “If the dollar will cost 68 rubles during the harvesting campaign,” he explained, “then our revenue will decrease even in rubles. Export 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 repay 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.
“In the central zone, a record sowing of winter crops was carried out. And then they took a huge wedge of spring wheat. The picture is not typical: 20 years there has been a shift towards winter crops, Rylko emphasized. “Close to record numbers for sowing sunflower and corn.” In the Voronezh region, expanded the area under crops with export potential: soy, 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 soy. “At one time, Central Russia set records for it, and then disappointment came. The reason is simple: no processing. Now several such plants are being built, ”Rylko said.
Export loves stability
Agribusiness is also invested in logistics. So, the Kursk holding launched its export terminal in order to “ship as many wagons as necessary” in an interesting period, said Sergey Miriuk.
“The main thing,” he said, “is that we are not undermined by measures that hinder natural competition.” Otherwise, everyone will try to simultaneously export grain to the dollar zone and create peak loads for transshipment capacities. We’ll lose both the margin, the attractiveness of the business, and our reputation as suppliers. ” A colleague was supported by Zemlyanaya, noting that a clear reference was needed on strategic grain stocks in the domestic market and the freedom to sell surpluses.
“Yes, in 2020, the decision to limit grain exports to seven million tons (from April 1 to June 30) was reasonable,” says the IKAR Director General. - Wheat was raked to the grain, flour mills in Siberia had problems. But systematically declaring an export quota for every second half-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 - 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, farmers are concentrated on “momentary” tasks. “Companies do not have a strategic development program, investments depend on the results of the season and are sometimes made forcibly, for example, when reseeding is needed,” said Anton Pushkarev, an official representative of Syngenta.
“Due to the pandemic, the agricultural market is in a state of high uncertainty, and most farms choose stabilization strategies,” commented Dmitry Rylko. - 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 farmers, for them - this is not her main problem. Fluctuations in the foreign exchange market and the vagaries of the weather remain more significant threats. Therefore, they increased the crops of “stable” wheat, hoping for favorable conditions for export.
Text by Tatyana Tkacheva