Bavaria, the largest federal state in Germany, has always been renowned for its agricultural achievements. Even its last king Ludwig III was nicknamed ‘Dairy Farmer’ for his enthusiasm for agricultural activities. Today, Bavaria is the main dairy region in Europe, and Bavarian farmers have recently paid a business visit to Zashchitnoye farming enterprise in Kursk oblast.
The German colleagues bombarded the enterprise specialists with questions from the very first minutes. They were mostly interested in powerful tractors, machinery for harvesting, cultivating and applying fertilisers. The enterprise is equipped with cutting-edge equipment, its agricultural fleet has around 100 trailed and self-propelled units of the world’s brands.
‘We focus on ‘smart’ machines in our agricultural production chain’, relates Andrey Skvortsov, Director of Zashchitnoye-North. ‘The machinery is equipped with navigation systems and software, thus allowing to spend less time on agricultural works, increase yield and provide convenience for operators.’
‘We have lots of farmers and little land’, say the Bavarians. ‘That is why it is essential for us to use every patch of soil in a sensible way. We have no right to make mistakes when it comes to choosing seeds, fertilisers or machinery.’
There is no chance of languishing with EkoNiva’s seeds! The farmers could clearly understand it when they had a tour of the seed-processing plant with a capacity of 8 tonnes per hour. On average, the enterprise produces 50,000 tonnes of certified seeds per year, while the innovational technical facilities make it possible to produce 250 tonnes of seeds per day.
EkoNiva’s own seed quality control laboratory came as a pleasant surprise to the farmers. There the specialists keep a watchful eye on the seed material, which allows to obtain premium class seeds.
The Bavarian guests were delighted at the seed testing plot or the ‘oasis of science’, as they called it. Over 700 different crop varieties and hybrids brought from 25 world’s plant-breeding institutions are being tested on this plot.
‘Together with EkoNiva-Semena, we are successfully implementing a project on breeding winter wheat and soybeans here, in Zashchitnoye’, relates Andrey Zvyagin, Head of Department for Cereal Breeding and Primary Seed Growing. ‘Currently, seven winter wheat varieties bred by the enterprise have been sent to the State Committee on the Variety Testing for further trials. The livestock farmers got interested in corn hybrids, especially in Grizzly – it is winter-hardy, high-yielding and resistant to lodging.’
The foreign colleagues paid attention to the high-level farming culture of the enterprise. They also took note of how the operation is organised and expressed their wish to visit Zashchitnoye once again to exchange experience.
By Anna BORDUNOVA