Krasnodar, 5 December – Yug Times. The regional authorities want to oblige the agricultural farms to apply organic fertilizers. This measure is also meant to stimulate the growth of the number of cattle, goats, sheep and other ruminants in the farms.
Presently some farms do that, while others do not - the ultimate decision is taken by the owner. As a result, in the opinion of the regional Ministry of Agriculture, too few organic fertilizers are introduced, the humus layer in the soil is falling, and the soil grows poorer.
Experts of the Kuban State Agrarian University assert that over the past century, the fertility of Kuban chernozems (black soils) has halved due to the reduction of the humus layer. Mineral additives cannot resolve the problem of restoration of the soils or at least to stop their degradation. However much they would be added, the plants would take up to 60% of the nutrients from the humus. What is more, applications of mineral fertilizers without organic ones are even detrimental for the Kuban chernozems, because they oxidise them.
Anastasia Vladimirova, partner of Walter Construction’s consulting department, emphasises that it is the economic situation that has caused such use of the arable lands. The demand for wheat, rice, sunflower oil and other crop products is growing worldwide, and yearning for high profits keeps urging the farmers to intensify their work.
In Krasnodar province, there is one more problem related to the deterioration of the soil fertility. In the Soviet times, every kolkhoz used to have its own cattle and pig far which predominantly covered their need in organic manure; now the situation is different.
The regional administration believes that if the farms would be obliged to apply organic fertilizers, it would become one more incentive to build new farms and grow cattle. Thus the agricultural sector would kill two birds with one stone - to preserve the soil fertility, and to raise the livestock number. Since 2010, the livestock number in Kuban province has decreased: in 2010 there were 649,000 head of cattle, and in 2018 - only 533,000.
Anastasia Vladimirova believes that the problem of fertility cannot be resolved by merely rising the number of cattle. The soil must take a rest to fully restore. But the demand for agricultural crops grows by 3-5% every year. If some 10% of the tilled soil would be taken out of the agricultural turnover, it may lead to a crisis in both domestic and international markets. The farms will continue to strive for record yields, while the soils will continue to become poorer, Ms. Vladimirova summarises.
Vladimir Sobkalov of Agrokultura Group notes that cattle breeding is a complicated business. What a new farm needs first of all is cheap financing. He stresses that Kuban chernozems are good first of all for plant cultivation rather than animal husbandry. There are quite few pastures in the region, and they are located mainly at the foothills. Our climate is hot, which also reduces the opportunities to keep and use certain animal breeds.
Viktor Sergeyev, chair of the regional farmers’ association, asserts that the rate of agricultural development is directly linked with the sums of money allocated by government to support animal husbandry. Still, not all farmers wishing to take up cattle breeding have an opportunity to receive a governmental grant.
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