Solar power plant for agriculture
Grain crop is the product of the work of the sun. As with electricity, if along with fields of grain to place solar power plant. Farm «Omelyanenko», which marked the Ivanіnivka district of Kirovograd region, we are interested in a variety of reasons. First, our editorial falls rarely able to communicate with farmers, farms which have more than 20 years of history — not the collective farm, and his, of independent, private. Second, the farmer who rarely manages to build a land bank of 16 hectares to 5.5 hectares without outside investors. And thirdly, to our knowledge, Farm «Omelyanenko» — is the only agricultural farm that has decided to develop a completely unconventional direction for our country business — solar energy.
Interesting facts sufficient in the biography of the founder and permanent leader of the economy — Sergey Omelyanenko. History Teacher by profession, head of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party, the former captain of the KGB and, eventually, progressive farmer — the following entries in a workbook see often.
Sergei Borisovich what connects you with Ivanivka?
I was born in this village. Parents was teaching at a local school, so I decided to continue the family business — admitted to study in Odessa Mechnikov State University, educated history teacher. He returned home and worked as a teacher. Then he started working party — the party district committee. However, bureaucratic routine was not like: cabinet, desk and telephone. I asked for the farm.
So, I wanted to be closer to the real, not the desk in the world. However, the farm I also instructed party work — the post of Secretary of the Party Committee.
Obviously, the economy needed just such a specialist...
Times were as follows. However, I have been in this job is not delayed. Our District Directorate of the KGB decided to send me to their higher rates in Kyiv. Year studied, then served Detective Kirovograd of the KGB to 1990. Rose to kapitana. A as started in the country particular restructuring, re itching to return to work on the ground. Written report. However, I immediately said that we just do not go. Get rid of the bodies could be either due to health or a serious reprimand. But thought I did not leave, so I insisted. Leadership thought — thought and dismissed me in the transition to party work. So I was back at home marked the area.
Which section of the party has sent you this time?
Deputy chairman of the collective farm. The economic situation was then — free fall: no salary, no cigarettes, no food in the stores... Inflation — crazy. And here comes the Resolution of the Council of Ministers that the grain can be implemented in foreign currency. The head of the collective farm just went on vacation, I stayed a ruler. Therefore, I think: sell the crop for foreign currency, buy new equipment! Somehow we managed to do it, money for foreign currency account management came. However, I began to slowly compress — collective farm chairman looked at me his competitor.
Somewhere about this time farm chapter begins your biography...
And it was so. One day in early 1992, we sat with our kids for a glass — an accountant, agronomist, head shops, the driver and myself. I decided that tomorrow all five will write a statement of withdrawal from the kolkhoz and will launch their farms. Then to bed. In the morning, as usual, come to work, doing chores. When it comes to the agriculturist, "We agreed to go to the farmers." "So it’s not serious it was said under glass " - I said. And he said: «You gave the word.» Once given — must be kept.
What started your farming?
We have identified over 16 hectares of land. Agreed on loans purchased every kind of machinery: Who tractor who combine. The first years of working together. By the way, two of my godparents of our five to farm still, they have small plots: one 50 hectares, 70 hectares of another. That is, they are not forced their development.
Sown Wheat, barley, buckwheat bit, toll grown under sugar beet. Sugar factories in Kirovograd region was then up 12, including two not far from our village. At a time when money is devalued terribly fast sugar provide stability. When I had to buy something or pay date — calculated sugar. I have a whole room in the house was a warehouse. But sugar has long saga is over.
Since independent farm life you have two degrees, but none of Agriculture.
I was lucky: in 1993 the chairman of the Association of Farmers Ukraine offered a trip to the United States. Financed Farmers Association of Minnesota. For six months I lived and worked in the family of the American farmer. It allowed me to learn so much from farmers’ work, see perspective and understand what will be the agricultural business in Ukraine in 10-20 years. So when I came back, some imagine in which direction to move.
What’s impressed you most about the USA?
A technique that has worked on American fields. Compared with our tractors seemed to me their missiles. One broke on the tractor air — on the radio (cell phones did not exist) immediately caused the service team, it is directly in the field are repaired. But in our time, who knew about the air conditioning?
What you could recall the key stages in the development of its economy — from the beginning until today?
There were several phases. First, as was the distribution of land and we were able to rent the units. Second, when I bought the property of the former collective farm from which went to the farmers. From the property there was a whole story. First, it took one for the debts Kharkiv company. Farmed few years they saw that the work will not, and asked me to buy a business for a million UAH, «You — say — as it turns out, and we have — no.» I agreed. At that time (1999) my FARM area under cultivation has increased from about 1,000 to more than 3,000 acres. There were several more or less considerable accessions from neighboring farms failed. Therefore, although we have quite a large area under cultivation, land located compactly.
Do you plan to adopt the land?
We do not mind, but in our area the competition is very high. Most of my neighbors — the same large farms that process several thousand hectares. We agree with them that in a strange city no one touch. Even when treated with disgruntled shareholders «foreign territory», I advise the parties to seek common ground. This is normal and civilized. Is that rents land individual farmers who have failed to manage on their own.
What culture is your current rotation?
Most land allocation under maize, for many years it takes half of our area. Because it can be grown in monoculture, sometimes sow corn on corn. In recent years more and more moving to the national selection for the trend is that the lack of moisture prevents foreign hybrids to unleash the full potential, especially their seed three times as much.
Sunflower grown ever, though relatively small in number, sow only foreign selection. In recent years, the area under it ranged thousand hectares, ie less than 25%. I believe that our area for growing sunflowers — the most favorable in Ukraine. In addition, Kirovohrad built significant capacity for processing — buyers look away do not.
In 2013, 600 hectares were sown sorghum. This insurance culture drought alternative maize. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Seeds of Sorghum slightly cheaper than corn, but the cost of protection — more. Last year, there was a problem at all: at the beginning of the growing season sorghum aphid jammed, had to use a large number of insecticides, although in recent years this has not been the invasion of pests.
Also, wheat and barley. However, this fall planted these crops, only 60% of the plan because they could not get out on time in the field — filled with rain. Had to know that November is a warm, laid to larger areas. Sow a little less sorghum — at 400 hectares. Consequently, little more is corn.
Engaged and soy, but most likely will abandon this culture — it ’s not my issue, good results on it does not work.
What methods of cultivation practice?
Different ways: plowing, and deep loosening and surface soil. It depends on the environmental conditions and the level of crop rotation. To improve soil structure does not burn and does not export out of the field crop remains. All leave, earn, while also sowing adding fertilizers: nitrogen and phosphorus. Potassium not make for it in our soils lack.
I really do not agree with those who believe that it is necessary to collect crop remains and make them briquettes or something. This is the way to go: the remains of export crop — fertilizers are imported. Marne work! Americans are not taken away from the field with nothing but harvest.
Analysts says that the results of 2013 almost all cultures in the red. What do you think about this?
In my sector has shown the highest return on sunflower yield as very good, at 33 kg/ha — the weather contributed. However, in sunflower is value if last year we sold it at least 5 thousand / ton, the new crop of possible will keep touch prior to 2014 because the price of 3 thousand / t is not very attractive.
Corn this year showed a small yield — 60-70 kg/ha. In July and August rainfall was lacking because the plants are not able to realize their full potential. With the final drying is also a problem: after the September rain had dried each kilogram of sunflower and maize. Moisture in corn was more than 20%, which is higher than the rate of 7-10%. Constantly had to buy energy, respectively, needed money, so little crop sold. But I am sure that those who have locked loop (cultivation, final drying, storage), the profit on corn receive. Of course, it will be small, but it will. We are into this culture with all the necessary infrastructure, so strategically will produce it forward.
Wheat sells only in the form of flour, have our own mill. With our meal in Kirovograd made cookies.
Your capacity to store enough grain for the entire amount? Depending on the crop. We have storage for 22 t. of Ivanivka and 5 t. in Kirovograd. What can not lay down, sell off. In our elevators all processes are automated. Generally, the Ukrainian farmers with much more advanced technology portfolio grains than most Americans. We actively construct powerful multi granaries, which are not there. To explain it simply, when the volume of large infrastructure investments pay off faster.
The first metal silos 4 tons we set in 2003 — the first in the area. This idea I also brought from America. Supplier of equipment found at an exhibition in Hanover. Our elevator became their first facility in Ukraine.
Is engaged in animal husbandry?
Two years ago we had a breeding farm for the breeding of Aberdeen- Angus beef cattle breeds. But she gave us each year at least one million USD loss. The state promised support, but it promises to believe not. Faith can only market. And our market does not accept valuable meat Aberdeen, it is no demand, had to sell it as a normal beef packing plants. I have long suffered, after all livestock purchased Russians and taken to the animal itself.
One time, ostrich farm lit, kept 200 ostriches. However, the real income from them may be, we have not tried. One thing — the zoo, and quite another — to profitable production. I had to eliminate this trend. Pigs kept — not profitable.
In the long, rather than livestock, we decided to engage in solar energy.
How did this avant-garde idea?
Prerequisites were many. When it rains in summer, my heart is nice. When no rain, plants suffer — the soul difficult. So I started thinking how to improve your mood. For anything but the sun is shining? There must be a benefit from it? Thus was born the idea. Another incentive — the «green» tariff, which we have the most powerful in Europe.
Does farmer can so easy enter to the energy market and bring a «green» tariff?
Yes, it is not easy. When I first turned to the leadership power companies with their idea, I listened carefully, and then diplomatically explained that someone else is not happy. I argued that we have three acres will produce only megawatts of power, it’s a drop in the ocean, I power companies not competitive. It did not help.
And then I was lucky. The idea in 2012 was supported by the leadership of the region. Then the year was a success, the money we have to build. However, after completion of six months I’ve been collecting documents to get a «green tariff». The first months of the station worked in beta, which means that all the energy produced is "merged" into the network power companies for free. And since the first of July 2013 National Electricity Regulatory Commission of Ukraine has approved us by 2030 «green» tariff of $5 USD/kWh. (0.465€/kWh.) On the power 1.3 MW. In the power invested 28 million USD, so a maximum of five years investment should pay off.
Who developed the project and what are its main components?
Kiev organization named«Rentechno. I’m don’t understand on technical issues because they fully trusted. Power stations placed in the area of 3 hectares near the administrative building and elevator, this site owned farms.
The total capacity of the power station — 1,3 MW: 5300 This panel of 250 watts each. However, given the losses (in transformers, inverters) actual output power is 1,104 MW SES for maximum sun. In July and August SES issued to 8 MW. a day that is one month we have about 1 million in revenue. In November, on a cloudy day SES provides much less — 1.2 MW., But still nice.
The share of Ukrainian materials, equipment and work stations in the value of the sum was 28%. Normal to get «green tariff» was then 15%, now it is higher — 30%.
How long is enough of this source of additional income?
Lifetime panels — 25-30 years. After that, they continue to work, but with less efficiency: burn- through silicon annual return is reduced by 0.5-1%. I think that 25 years is enough, because then it will make sense to buy new, more effective. Modern solar panels convert into electricity only 15% of the light that falls on them from the sun, that is huge room for improvement.
Equipment while working steadily, but there are cases of warranty. Went down two Italian inverters that convert direct current to alternating, the company replaced them.
Is it complicated maintenance of solar power?
It is minimal. Dirt panel wash rain, snow come down himself (PV hot during use.) The only thing — you need to mow the grass between the rows, because it obscures the view. This is difficult, because the equipment is on a large number of metal poles. So we decided to go the other way — to run the power plant area of 500 geese. In summer, they «work», and the fall go to food employees. Thought to run sheep, but sheep are the worst option for us, because they are trying to get out of the panel and scratch them.
Do not consider the option of using solar electricity for their own needs?
We sell it cheaper power companies 5 USD, and buy them on the same 1.23 USD. Moreover, we have this amount of energy is required, we will not be able to eat. In addition, it requires the installation of additional equipment, including a large number of batteries. If we were not able to sell electricity to the grid, it would Ivanivka of Las Vegas — it would all shone and flickered.
In Germany, farmers likes to install wind turbines on their lands. Did you considerer this option?
Wind turbines begin to operate at wind speeds of 2.5 m / s, and we have effective winds are only a few months a year — winter. Therefore Wind farm on their current performance is not very important for Ukraine.
Sergei Borisovich, in your opinion, what is the secret to the success of your farm?
You can tell a lot about that. I was able to put together the best local talent. I am with great respect to men, never been to delayed salaries. For stocks, we also try to pay decently. I myself live in the village, all I see with my own eyes in all processes taking part. Managing not hold.
I never do what I do not like. Quickly change the orientation, curious novelties. Want to make a profit — you have to invest. Do you think what our heated office space? Because natural gas marked the area there... We are among the few in Ukraine who set the heat pump. In the summer he works as an air conditioner in winter — the heating.
Can you say something about future plans?
Our country always stormy. Constantly emerging news that generally reflect a desire to develop. That was the news that the Land Bank will receive a monopoly on the purchase of share of land. Is this correct? Parliament did not support this initiative, but the mere appearance of such slogans leaves producers confidence. If you put a rough market conditions, then we can have a future? So I am not surprised that many of my colleagues eyeing business in other countries.
To be optimistic, we plan to develop energy. «Green» tariff gradually reduced, today it is 0.35 € / kWh., But still profitable.
Do you have a good mood on the eve of New Year?
Yes, I do! For farmers winter — relax. I want to congratulate all colleagues in the New Year and Christmas — though next year will be even better and more successful!
The Ukrainian Farmer, №1 (49), January 2014