Harvesting, prices and future plans: the potato situation in the regions of Russia

Harvesting, prices and future plans: the potato situation in the regions of Russia

Since the start of autumn, potato producers in the regions of Russia have been facing many challenges, new and old. In the Russian Federation, the average annual volume of potatoes used for food purposes is estimated to be at 13-14 million tons, which makes potato one of the most important crops in Russia. In this article, we present information about the potato situation in various regions of Russia.

Agricultural enterprises and farmers of the Tambov region have begun harvesting potatoes. This year, “second bread” is present in the crop rotation of 35 commodity producers, who allotted 3 hectares for it. Early ripening potatoes have already migrated from the fields to the storage facilities of farms. Now it's the turn of the mid-season varieties.

According to the operational information of the regional agriculture department, today potatoes have been harvested from more than 360 hectares, which is 10 percent of the area occupied by them. The gross harvest exceeded 8 tons with an average yield of 665 centners per circle. Experts note that while the yield remains at the level of the last year, but as the pace of harvesting increases, and as a result of the cultivated plantations, it will certainly be higher. In this regard, 240 is not much different from the previous agricultural seasons.

Last year, potato growers in the Tambov region received 130 thousand tons of tubers. In the current agricultural season, perhaps this result will be surpassed due to the skillful use of irrigation systems, competent crop rotation and the choice of varieties.

 

In the Vladimir region this fall the situation with potatoes is worse. Due to the rains, the owners of subsidiary farms did not manage to plant it on time, and the harvest will be half as much.

According to The Director of the Regional Department of Agriculture, Konstantin Demidov, the harvesting of potatoes started earlier than usual and the yield is lower than last year:

“Now 12% of all areas have been harvested. The potatoes that are now being harvested are partially used for fresh consumption, but most of them are sent for processing, for chips, our Melenkovsky district has a clear industrial specialization in the production of potatoes - for chips.”

Konstantin Demidov also added that the region will be able to cover the lack of its own potatoes at the expense of products coming from other regions. As for a significant increase in prices for potatoes, it is too early to talk about this, the director of the department believes.

There is a field day that is being held for the second year in a row on the property of Yuzefov Peasant Farm in the Rostov region called 'The Second Bread of Russia'.

Nikolay Yuzefov, head of the Yuzefov Peasant Farm (1200 hectares under potatoes):

“Our farm also grows wheat (4 thousand hectares), corn (800 hectares), peas (500 hectares), onions (300 hectares) and other crops, the total land bank is 8 thousand hectares.”

“But we pay maximum attention to potatoes. Part of the area is allocated for chip varieties: we supply the crop to the PepsiCo plant in Azov. We produce large volumes of ware potatoes and transport them throughout Russia: we sell them to Kaliningrad, Moscow, Murmansk, Chelyabinsk. We export early varieties to Belarus. Last year we sold 54 thousand tons of products. It is too early to summarize this year.”

“I see no point in talking about weather conditions. It was a normal year, I would maybe like it better, but I will not complain. The yield of potatoes this season is lower than the last year's: the average indicators are 510-520 c/ha, a year earlier - 550-590 c/ha (potatoes are grown on irrigation). Harvesting continues, another 400 hectares of potatoes remain unharvested (as of August 28 - from the editorship). We plan to complete the work by the end of September.”

“I will say a few more words about market prices. Three years ago, our farm spent about 75-80 million rubles on the purchase of fertilizers and plant protection products. This year we paid 128 million rubles for the 'chemistry'  (the cultivated area has not changed!), another 40 million were allocated for spare parts (which also went up very noticeably). Diesel fuel has practically not risen in price this season, but it passed this stage earlier. And the potatoes, as they were 10 rubles/kg, remained so.”

 

As for the Kemerovo region, according to the Kemerovo branch of the Federal State Budgetary Institution "Center of Agroanalytics", the total sown area for potatoes in the region is 8,5 thousand hectares, harvesting was carried out on 5,6 thousand hectares (66,2% of the plan). Work is proceeding faster by 36,6% compared to last year, the yield for the year increased by 6,3 c / ha, amounting to 186,8 c / ha. 105,3 thousand tons were accumulated (+ 41,2% compared to last year), thus, by September 21, the Kemerovo Region takes the first position in the rating of the subjects of the Siberian Federal District in terms of harvesting potatoes.

The harvesting of potatoes is nearing completion in the Lipetsk region. As of September 30, it was harvested from 4,1 thousand hectares (79%), 132 thousand tons were received. The average yield is 318,7 c/ha.

Potato production in the Lipetsk region is carried out by 14 large farms and more than 20 peasant Farm Holdings. In total, this year they have to harvest more than 5,2 thousand hectares.

Enterprises in the region grow potatoes not only for sale, but also for processing. For this purpose, a potato processing plant, Lamb Weston Belaya Dacha, was built in the region. The company is engaged in the production of French fries and potato wedges.

Sergey Marchenko, Development Director, Belaya Dacha Lipetsk LLC, Lipetsk region:

“The Lam Weston Belaya Dacha plant was successfully launched on August 1 after 3,5 months of downtime. During the break, the enterprise carried out a modernization of production at a cost of 650 million rubles, which made it possible to significantly increase the processing speed and improve the quality of finished products.”

“Now we are actively processing potatoes according to the plan and the contracted volume. In early August, for the production of fries and slices, early harvest potatoes were used, which were supplied to us by farmers of the Astrakhan Region and the Stavropol Territory, and from August 10 they switched to the main one - the Innovator potatoes are now supplied to the plant from the farms of the Central Federal District (from Lipetsk, Tula, Bryansk and Voronezh regions). The quality of raw materials from the field is traditionally excellent!.”

 

The harvesting campaign for cereals, legumes and oilseeds in the Moscow region is coming to an end, about 95% of all sown areas have been harvested, while the active harvesting of potatoes and vegetables in the open field is ongoing, the press service of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region reports.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Moscow Region Andrei Razin:

“As of September 30, potatoes were dug from an area of ​​7,5 thousand hectares in the amount of 181,8 thousand tons with a yield of 242 centners per hectare and vegetables were harvested from an area of ​​3,6 thousand hectares in the amount of 103,7 thousand tons”.

Meanwhile, in Chuvashia, according to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Chuvash Republic, as of September 1, potatoes are harvested in 10 municipal districts, from 245 hectares (in 2019 - 592 hectares). With a yield of 195,1 c/ha (in 2019 - 246,3 c/ha), 4,8 thousand tons were harvested (in 2019 - 14,6 thousand tons).

Leonid Tyudyumov, General Director of TAV LLC (TAV LLC produces dried potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage):

“Our enterprise will start its work in the very near future: the shop will open after major repairs.”

“We planned the repairs in advance, however, the pandemic forced us to move the approved dates, but only by a week. After the announcement of the quarantine, production was stopped, the employees went on vacation.”

“During this period, sales of finished products continued in the usual volumes, the coronavirus did not affect the number of applications in any way. The fact is that, basically, we supply dried vegetables according to the state order, and in the spring there is always a peak in demand for such goods. This year the situation in this regard has not changed.”

“Also, among our customers there are enterprises that use dried vegetables as ingredients for their products. These companies also kept their purchases at the same level.”

“In the near future, we do not plan to reduce production volumes. Now we are actively preparing for the purchase of raw materials. Judging by the feedback from Chuvash agricultural producers, this year the yield indicators are lower than usual, many complain that the potatoes have grown small. And we are just buying a small fraction, therefore, we think that we will not have a shortage of suppliers.”

 

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.

As of October 2, 185 thousand tons of tubers were harvested in the commercial farms of the Sverdlovsk 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.

Alexander Kozhevnikov, general director of AIC Belorechensky:

“In terms of potato yield, we sank by almost 50 centners per hectare. […] Typically, our yield indicator ranges from 270 to 350 centners per hectare. This year will be much less.”

The situation in the Bryansk region doesn't seem to be anything out of ordinary.

Mikhail Rublev, individual entrepreneur, Head of KFH Mikhail Petrovich Rublev (100 ha under potatoes):

“We have completed the harvesting of grain (as of September 1 - from the editors), but we have not started digging potatoes yet (the start of work is scheduled for September 5). And in neighboring farms - if we talk about small farms - they are in no hurry to start. Therefore, I can only say roughly about the yield: I think that on average, we will get more than 300 c/ha (judging by the test digging).”

“In general, the season passed without any noticeable features, everything was in the usual mode. We hope that the weather will not let you down during cleaning.”

 

Despite the harsh climatic conditions, crop production is well developed in the Novosibirsk region. The main areas in the region are allocated for the production of grain crops, but potatoes also found their place.

This culture is grown in every rural backyard. More than a dozen agricultural enterprises are engaged in the industrial production of potatoes. The achievement of high results is facilitated by the use of advanced technologies and modern equipment supplied by both domestic manufacturers and foreign partners from European countries and America.

In the last two years the market situation has remained unfavorable for potato producers. Prices for products are at a very low level, storage costs are growing, and the traditional distribution channel to the Central Asian republics practically does not work. Against this background, many agricultural enterprises began to reduce the area of ​​cultivation, or even completely close production.

Siberian potato growers expect 2021 to be a turning point for the region, and potatoes will once again become a highly profitable crop. These expectations are primarily related to the construction and launch of PepsiCo's potato chips plant. Processing should help the potato industry to survive.

As for the situation in Vologda region, let's hear from one of the main potato growers of the area.

Aleksandr Kuznetsov, Executive Director of SSSK Ustyuzhensky Potato (300 ha under potatoes):

“The 2020 season had its own characteristics: there was high humidity in our region, especially in the second half of summer. I had to work actively on phytophthora. Fungicidal treatments were used, quite frequent: in a certain period they had to be carried out literally every 5-7 days. But today there are many good drugs on the market, so the situation was dealt with.”

“Now we have started harvesting seed potatoes. The yield in these areas is traditional, not the highest. But on marketable potatoes, we expect indicators in the range of 45-55 t/ha, depending on the variety.”

“Harvesting work has actually just begun (the terms have been slightly shifted, since the sowing campaign in our region was delayed by 10-14 days), we plan to complete them in early October.”

“Some of the seeds have already been sold (such varieties as Riviera, Evolution, Arizona), some are awaiting implementation. This year, for example, we received enough seeds of several promising domestic varieties (Krepysh, Meteor, Ariel, Flagman).”

“Seed potato prices are still in the same range as last year, although the final target will be set by October-November. We do not sell table potatoes yet, therefore there is no information on the cost. But I predict that the price of marketable potatoes should be good by December.”
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