Machinery for today and tomorrow

Founded in 1983, Stavropolstroyoptorg is the largest wholesale and retail company in the Stavropol Territory and in the south of Russia, selling agricultural machinery including tractors, combines, cultivation machinery, seeders, fertiliser spreaders, sprayers as well as a range of livestock related equipment. Mike Lee speaks to Igor Syrovatka, deputy general director of ZAO KPK Stavropolstroyoptorg.

Machinery for cultivating and harvesting cereals, legumes, as well as sunflower, maize, rapeseed and other oil crops and spices are the main focus for the company, says Mr Syrovatka.

A number of machines for the livestock industry, storage and processing of grain are also available. As main dealers for Rostselmash, Stavropolstroyoptorg represents all its products in the region, naturally, according to the particularneeds of farmers, he adds.

These can vary widely because there is no one leading problem that is typical for all the business units.

Mr Syrovatka says: “The Stavropol region has different soil types and climatic zones so choice of crops being grown in these zones varies accordingly. "But, although there is sufficient sun, as a rule, lack of moisture can be an issue for growers.”

But growing conditions are not the only challenges; low availability of cheap credit resources can affect investment. Moreover, there is lack of clear government programs to regulate the industry, which would eliminate the problems of overproduction in crop production. Moreover, he adds, there is a lack of crop specialists and machine operators.

Although this can make his job more challenging, it also offers opportunities because the equipment he sells has clear technical and economic benefits, which he makes sure are clearly presented to the potential buyer.

This is accompanied by financial instruments from our credit institution partners. “Based on his own goals, the buyer can then determines exactly what he needs.”

For example, he notes, a farmer from the eastern regions of Stavropol, where the temperature quickly reaches 30-35 degrees during the ripening of cereals, knows that his wheat yield will not exceed 3.5 tons per hectare and will choose a combine with a low yield and cheaper price.

However, a farmer from the western part of the region can harvest 9-10 tons, so the machinery should be more productive. “Sometimes farmers ask us to supply equipment that we do not deal with, such as one that produced abroad/foreign production.

“After studying this equipment in terms of reliability, service, delivery terms, we decide either to be a supplier, or politely refuse.”

He goes on to note that in the last 10 years Stavropol farmers have begun to show considerable interest in no-till technology. This is happening due to the climatic changes and a hope for improving profitability.

“Especially for beginners, we have started to supply Argentine seeders, designed by the engineer Enrique Bertini, and produced at the company of the same name.

“This seeder is profitable for small farms, up to 1000 hectares of land, and allows sowing both wheat (continuous sowing), and, after a little work on reorganization - sunflower, corn, about 20 crops, including herbs, i.e. this seeder is universal.

“Many of the engineering solutions of Signor Bertini embodied in this drill are unique, patented, and not found in other machines.

“This seeder allows farmers to effectively master the technology in the first 5 years, without resorting to significant costs. “The cost of operation, and the cost of repairs in comparison with other seeders, are very small, since its reliability is very high.”

Moreover, this seeder can be set up to work with the majority of known models of tractors used in the region, including Russian, Belarusian and other well-known brands. “The power of the tractor is selected depending on the width of the seeder, which is 300-380hp.

“Moreover, there are small seeders, for small farms, up to 5 meters wide, whose need for horsepower is lower.”

While all possible operating conditions are taken into account in the manual, it remains crucial to follow the instructions on timely services and maintenance, he warns.

Innovations on the horizon
The Russian manufacturer Rostelmash, which Stavropolstroyoptorg represents, also supports research on developing implement innovative solutions for remote monitoring and control of operations of agricultural machinery.

“Based on GPRS technologies, they Agrotronic system tracks field work, allowing the farmer to make timely management decisions,” says Mr Syrovatka.

“It is already available for using with harvesters and sprayers, and he expects the entire system will be integrated into a single complex of agricultural machines produced by Rostselmash in the near future; from a seeder to a combine.”