This year can be the most disastrous for the Ural potato growers in the last 5 years. At the same time, the pace of harvesting is now faster than ever. All this is the consequences of the July heat: lack of moisture affected the development of tubers, and the high temperature accelerated the maturation of most agricultural plants.
So, according to the Ministry of Agroindustrial Complex and Consumer Market of the Sverdlovsk Region, as of October 2, the harvesting of grain in the region is almost complete. They have already threshed on 96,4 percent of the area; last year, by that date, almost a quarter of the fields remained to be harvested. Whole territories have already completed harvesting work, including such a large one as the Alapaevskoye municipality. But the gross harvest in the region this year is less than last year: 701,9 thousand tons. A year ago, more than 760 thousand tons were harvested from the same number of areas in the Middle Urals. The reason for the decrease in the gross yield is the decrease in yield. This especially affected the southern municipalities of the region, and the worst of all is the situation in the Kamensky urban district.
“We have a gross grain harvest - minus 5 tons to the level of last year,” says Alexander Bakhterev, general director of Kamenskoye. - We are already forced to buy feed grain, although we sold it last year.
JSC "Kamenskoye" is the largest grain producer in the Kamensky urban district, more than 7 thousand hectares are occupied by these crops. The farm needs grain in the production of compound feed for animal husbandry, monthly for this, according to Alexander Bakhterev, 1 tons. In a year, it will take almost all the grain that has been harvested today - 250 thousand tons. And you also need to leave it for seeds. So, barely having time to harvest its grain, Kamenskoye JSC purchased 15 tons on the side. The purchase of grain will negatively affect the cost of the same livestock products. And today many large producers of milk and meat in the region find themselves in such a situation.
Another disadvantage of the current harvesting campaign is the low potato yield. As of October 2, 185 thousand tons of tubers were harvested in the commercial farms of the region, almost 17 percent of the area remained to be harvested. Taking this into account, the total gross harvest may amount to 210-215 thousand tons. Last year, agricultural enterprises and farms of the region dug up more than 270 thousand tons of potatoes, and in 2018 - about 250 thousand tons. The average yield of potatoes this year in the region is one of the lowest in recent years - 166,9 centners of tubers per hectare.
“In terms of potato yield, we sank by almost 50 centners per hectare,” says Alexander Kozhevnikov, general director of AIC Belorechensky. - Typically, our yield indicator ranges from 270 to 350 centners per hectare. This year will be much less.
Belorechensky is the largest potato and vegetable producer in the region. The situation here is indicative for all potato growing in the region.
“Our early and mid-early potato varieties yielded a particularly low yield,” says Alexander Kozhevnikov. - But the heat had a negative effect on the later varieties. The early ones simply stopped growing, while the later ones did not grow during a drought and waited for moisture. They began to grow after the rains in August-September. We removed them manually during the period of active growth so as not to damage the barely formed peel.
But on the other hand, the harvest of vegetables was successful this year, especially those that are being irrigated. Thus, the yield of cabbage and carrots in the region is on average almost 10 percent higher than last year. Especially this year, the beets were born: their yield is 267 centners per hectare against 220,9 at that date last year.
Another positive moment of this autumn is a large number of plowing fields: the fields were freed from crops faster, they were immediately plowed up or surface tillage was carried out on them. By the beginning of October, there are almost a third more such fields in the region than last year. And this is the key to successful sowing, which in many respects decides the fate of the future harvest.