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Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

 Федеральный исследовательский центр «Красноярский научный центр Сибирского отделения Российской академии наук»

Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

Harvest worth millions of roubles: scientists of the Krasnoyarsk Science Center of SB RAS sum up the results of the agricultural season

28 October 2020 г. FRC KSC SB RAS

Урожай на миллионы: ученые Красноярского научного центра СО РАН подводят итоги сельскохозяйственного сезона
Hunger is one of the world's greatest problems. Today, according to the UN, about a billion people in the world face malnutrition. In this regard, increasing the productivity of agricultural crops and improving their quality are global priorities. The problem of combating the food crisis has been acute for more than a decade. The relevance of this subject is evidenced by the Nobel Peace Prize 2020 awarded to World Food Program “for its efforts to combat hunger”.

At the Federal Research Center "Krasnoyarsk Science Center of SB RAS", subjects related to the agricultural production and ensuring food security are a priority. As a scientific unit, the center includes the Research Institute of Agriculture, where efforts are constantly being made to improve the quality of seeds, develop more productive and resistant varieties of plants, as well as to develop new technologies for their cultivation. Since last year, several experimental production farms have been included into KSC SB RAS, where large-scale testing of new technologies and breeding varieties can be performed. Leading experts of the agricultural industry present the results of this growing season.

Record harvest

This year there is an unprecedented grain harvest, as experts note. Only in the agricultural farms of the Krasnoyarsk Science Center SB RAS, thirty centners of grain were collected per hectare. One of the most productive is the Kuraginskoye experimental production farm. This year, about forty centners of grain were harvested from each hectare there. In total, this is eleven thousand tons of barley, oats and, most of all, wheat. “If to express in money the harvest collected only in one farm, then, according to the most modest estimates, it amounts to about 200 million roubles,” notes Alexander Shpedt, Acting Director of the Federal Research Center of KSC SB RAS, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences. The scientist notes that this year the experimental farm "Minino" also obtained a record amount of grain, about 2 thousand tons, including 500 tons of high quality seeds.

Why the harvest is so big? According to scientists, this is due to the peculiarities of this year. The crop formation depends on many factors. The first is weather. This year there has been a sufficient amount of precipitation, which determines the productivity of plants. Another significant reason is the observance of technologies and farming conditions: timely sowing and field processing from weeds and pests. The experts also monitored the situation with nutrients in order to know which ones are in the soil in the right amount, and which ones need to be additionally introduced. The combination of these factors provided a good yield.

“This year, due to the early onset of physical maturity of the soil, we started sowing in April, then fertilizers were applied on time and a complex plant protection system was used. All this, in combination, was very efficient in agrotechnological terms. In addition, we had high quality seeds, and, of course, the weather was favorable. As a result, an increase in the average gross yield  is about 5-6 centners per hectare as compared to the expected one.

The soil and climatic conditions of Central Siberia for agricultural production are characterized as risky with a short frost-free period of about 3-4 months. To maintain the level of crop yields in the Region and to improve it, the Research Institute of Agriculture is engaged in the selection and seed production of new grain varieties. Most often, the main achievement of each new variety obtained is an increase in the yield of about three to five centners per hectare as compared to the standard variety widely cultivated in the region. According to some scientists, the contribution of the crop variety to the yield is up to 50%. At the same time, the high yield obtained is a merit of the well-coordinated work of all the participants in the process - agronomists, machine operators and other agricultural workers, ” comments Aleksey Lipshin, Candidate of Agricultural Sciences, Director of the Research Institute of Agriculture.

New technologies

An important condition for obtaining a record harvest is the fact that this year agronomists have used mineral fertilizers in the required quantities, as well as new cultivation technologies. In the Krasnoyarsk Region, a unique farming system has been developed, based on a scientifically-grounded approach, which makes it possible to achieve high results. Its principle is that scientists create new varieties and develop recommendations for their cultivation. The application of these recommendations in experimental farms allows testing modern technologies.

Vladimir Wagner, director of the Kuraguinskoye experimental farm, tells about their application: “This year we have slightly changed the production technology: we have introduced foliar fertilizing for plants and used it on a large scale. We can say that we do not "fertilize the soil" in an old fashioned manner, but purposefully feed the plants. The approach has had a positive effect not only on the yield amount, but also on its quality. In addition, we have increased the amount of re-applied carbamide fertilizers. Together with colleagues from the Institute of Biophysics, KSC SB RAS, we experimentally found out the optimum number of such foliar dressings for the plants to give a higher and better yield. If we continue to develop new methods, we will be able even to improve the results of this year"

Caring about the future

The soil is similar to a living organism. To have good results, one needs to look after it. Due to the rich harvest, next year the agronomists will have twice as much work. As scientists note, in the case of a high yield, plants consume a lot of nutrients from the soil, in particular potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. This imposes a number of technological regulations to follow for the next year. The yield of the next year depends on their implementation.

Specialists have to estimate the condition of the soil, determine the content of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the arable horizon, calculate how much mineral elements need to be additionally introduced and plan their purchase so that the plants receive all the nutrition they need. This is a common planning procedure. Regardless of future weather conditions, these activities must be performed.

“In order not to lose in the harvest in the future, we need to increase the amount of fertilizers to be applied next year, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus. Due to the large harvest this year, a lot of organic, but nutrient-poor material - crop residues will enter the soil, so plants and microorganisms will have nothing to consume next year. In addition, precipitation, which this summer was 2-3 times higher than the norm, washed out useful substances from the soil into groundwater. All this must be taken into account. If the balance of elements is not replenished, then next year we will obtain nothing, ” concludes Alexander Shpedt.

Preserving and improving soil fertility is an investment into the future. It is based on the introduction of fertilizers into the soil, improving the quality of seeds and switching to more advanced varieties. It is also important to use state-of-the-art technologies for cultivating agricultural crops. This is the only way to preserve high yields. Scientists and specialists of the Federal Research Center "Krasnoyarsk Science Center of SB RAS" are developing all these constituents of modern agriculture.