On the 5th of October, “Zakhidnyi Buh” enterprise was visited by colleagues from the Agricultural Holding JSC “Atameken-Agro” to gain European experience in agricultural business and the art of growing soybeans.
JSC “Atameken-Agro” is a large holding in Kazakhstan, with a total of over 440 thousand hectares of land, of which – 270 thousand hectares is the crop area. It is a large group of companies, which includes agricultural producers who grow different crops (oil seeds, grains, legumes, fodder) and companies with their own storage facilities such as elevators, hangars, and warehouses, grain receiving stations. The other activity is cattle breeding (beef cattle) and poultry farming (ducks, geese).
Thus, Petro Vasylovych Vilkhovyi, who is an agronomist of PE “Zakhidnyi Buh” in Zhvyrka UTS, Sokalskyi district, shares his successful experience in growing soybeans with the guests from Kazakhstan.
“The division has 8200 hectares of land” the agronomist begins his story. “The structure of cultivated areas consists of 50% – grain wedge, 0% – all other crops, such as corn, rape, sugar beets, soybeans. We sow soybeans only on wheat.
Preparing the soil for sowing, we do not plow, we conduct combined processing. As well as for beets, corn, and soybeans we work deep – 28–30 cm so that the core root system penetrated well.
For soybeans, we apply fertilizer in spring before sowing. This year we used ARVI 18/24/24, with a rate of 180–200 kg/ha, or you can replace it with Nitroammophoska 10/20/20 + sulfur + boron + zinc, with a rate of 230–250 kg/ha. Also, before sowing, we make 1 c/ha of carbamide.
We grow different varieties of soybeans, from the Canadian selection of early – Zelda, and earlier – Tanais, which gave 2.2 tons.
The optimal sowing period is from April 15 to May 5, we start when there is at least 10 °C at the sowing depth. Sowing depth is 4–5 cm.
The protection system is always combined: soil and post-emergent herbicides.
We start harvesting soybeans on September 20–25 and harvesting of late varieties lasts almost until the end of October.
While last year was a soybean year, we harvested more than 4 t/ha, this year a bit less: Zelda – 3.2 t/ha, elite seed Kyoto – 3.82 t/ha”.
Climatic conditions in Kazakhstan are completely different. The holding is located in the north of the country in North Kazakhstan and Akmola regions. The climate is extremely continental and slightly arid, the average annual precipitation rate is 250–270 mm, and it can be even 120–150 mm. This is a zone of high-risk agriculture. Soils are different: from sodium soil to black soil, so special attention is paid to fertilization. They work with No-Till technology.
It happens in Kazakhstan that until the end of April there is still snow, so they start sowing later – in May. The second thing, they actually sow into the swamp, and then drought sets in, so all the fertilizers should be applied from the fall, so that in the spring, while there is moisture, they were already in the soil.
What properties should a soybean variety have in order to grow in Kazakhstan?
“The first factor is the number of CHU – the positive temperatures during the growing season, the second is protein, and the third is yield potential” answers Viktor Kukharchuk, a consultant at JSC “Atameken-Agro”. “Only when the first two factors are normal, you can select a variety by yield potential. After all, if the soybeans won’t mature, there’s no point in growing them; if there’s no protein there, no one will buy them, no matter the volume we grow.
We choose early varieties. Summer in Kazakhstan is very short: on the 1st of October this year it was already snowing, it fell and lay, and the temperature dropped, and this is a serious risk for soybeans. After winter, snow lies around the middle of April”.
Khrystyna Danyliuk, the Head of the Sales Department of PE “Zakhidnyi Buh”:
As of today, the structure of Zakhidnyi Buh includes 8.5 thousand hectares of soybean crops. We cooperate with three selection breeders, including Zakhidnyi Buh company, which is the official distributor of the Canadian selection company Prograin. We grow their varieties Zelda, Amadeus, and Kyoto.
The Zelda variety is one of the earliest soybean varieties that were in our seed farm portfolio. We grew this variety in the fields of the subdivision in Zhvyrka UTS, Sokalskyi district. We sowed 65 hectares and harvested at the end of August with a yield of 2.9 t/ha. This is a good result for a variety with such early maturity. Zelda is perfect for those companies that need to clear fields as early as possible in order to sow winter wheat or winter barley timely, which is an excellent precursor and gives the first money. There will be demand for this variety, especially from agricultural holdings and large farms that care about the structure of sown areas, because a small farmer is interested in one more highly productive variety. Zelda is a niche variety, which has its own purpose: to give the maximum result for its group of ripeness and release the field faster.
To ensure the quality of seeds, we need to control the process of their cultivation and refinement from the beginning, even from the time when we get them to the elevator. There the seeds are dressed, and then we sow them. At each of these stages, there should be monitoring, because seed production is primarily the observance of the purity of the variety. In Zakhidnyi Buh we conduct internal approbation of crop purity, and monitoring is carried out by external approbators such as state accredited bodies – Agrosert LLC, or SE “State Center of Certification and Expertise of Agricultural Products”. The supervisors inspect the fields, check how level and clean the crop is, and verify that there are no admixtures of other varieties. In all our years of soybean seed production, we have never had a single case of other varieties being contaminated. To ensure that a soybean variety is truly pure, cleanliness should be maintained during receiving, sowing, harvesting, transportation, storage, etc., that is, controlling every point of contact of the variety with the machines and equipment that work with it.
The second point: we collect soybeans with conditioned humidity (up to 14%), and we do not dry the seeds, so as not to affect them mechanically unnecessarily and not to reduce the germination ability of future seeds.
After assembly, the seeds are immediately sent for purification, which is carried out on the German Petkus equipment. We use two machines for soybean processing: the first is a separator that takes out large impurities and small, broken, cross-cut seeds; the second is a pneumatic vibrating table, which sorts the seeds by specific weight: heavier, filled seeds, which in the future will give friendly sprouts, will have the best germination energy to the seed, and the rest to the waste.
There is no difference in refining the seed either for own needs or for selection breeders as its quality is equally high.
Based on materials from the magazine “AhroElita” No. 10 (81)/2019