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07 June 2024, 16:58

Belarus premier: Technical readiness, personnel qualifications are key factors in precision farming

GRODNO DISTRICT, 7 June (BelTA) – Key factors for introducing precision farming are technical readiness of the agricultural enterprises and the qualification of their workers. Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko made the relevant statement during a working trip to Grodno Oblast, BelTA has learned.

BelTA reported earlier that during the working trip Roman Golovchenko visited the agricultural enterprise named after I.P. Senko in Grodno District. The prime minister hosted a conference on working out a program designed to guide the transition of agriculture to new technological standards. The introduction of precision farming systems was one of the items on the agenda.

Roman Golovchenko said: “To preserve our key resource – fertile soil – is the most important task for any state, including ours. We should at least prevent a decrease in soil fertility. It is the main resource agriculture is built around.”

The prime minister noted that it is necessary to transition to a new technological level in order to accomplish this task. “Transition to a new technological level involves the accomplishment of two main tasks: preservation of soil fertility and quality and increase in returns from investments in agriculture, better rationality of using this very resource,” he stressed.

Roman Golovchenko stated that participants of today’s conference discussed how this task can be accomplished on a tight schedule in the best way possible and with the least financial costs.

Speaking about a precision farming system, Roman Golovchenko pointed out that it goes beyond simply creating precise geo references: “It is just a reference network, which is used by unmanned vehicles or parallel control vehicles, which are fitted with the appropriate sensors and can take into account agrochemical qualities of the soil, the terrain, and so on.”

The prime minister went on saying that later on this basis can be leveraged to use new soil tilling technologies including strip till, no till, and mini till. They offer different approaches to growing various crops and boast higher crop yield parameters in comparison with traditional methods.

“We should develop these areas without rejecting our traditional methods for now. They have been tried for years and approved by science. But components, including precision farming components, should be introduced where agricultural enterprises are ready for it,” the prime minister stressed.

One of the most important factors is technical readiness or the availability of the appropriate machines and vehicles. “Domestic ones are not manufactured in sufficient quantities for now. It is another issue that needs to be addressed,” Roman Golovchenko remarked. “But it has to be addressed by setting ambitious goals. Every enterprise needs to understand what machines, equipment, and vehicles it needs to make, by what deadline, and with what parameters. It is not the time to engage in market competition. It is necessary to precisely plan resources and set tasks for industrial enterprises. We will get down to it soon. The government will pass administrative documents.”

Apart from that, the prime minister added that personnel qualifications are as important: “Not only agronomists should be highly professional. Machine operators should be highly professional as well.”

Operating procedures for growing various crops are also in need of changes. Roman Golovchenko added that these processes shift cultivation timeframes. “By accomplishing this, we will resolve one of our problems: a certain shortage of personnel in agriculture,” he believes.

After that it is necessary to analyze the results and the reserves that can be used to improve returns from arable lands, Roman Golovchenko concluded.

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