The quarantine and unusual weather conditions hardly were farmers’ best friends this spring. But professionals are able to do their best in any conditions. And we fully realized that Alebor Group’s enterprises are all ready for the coming early grains harvesting campaign and open for changes, being able to take new grain crops they hadn’t worked with earlier. Oleksiy Tsurkan, Director General of Grain Elevators Division of Alebor Group, told us about all these in his interview.
What are your expectations for the year 2020, taking into consideration not very stable 2019 one?
— We hope only for the better, of course. We are looking forward to improving our key figures. Actually, the expectations are all positive, but life will show how it all will go.
Are you planning to implement your idea to deal with new crops this year: sunflower seeds, soybeans, etc.?
— Yes. And let me note that our grain elevators are absolutely universal. Developing their design we assumed the feasibility to work with different crops, so we are all ready to take grain crops as well as sunflower seeds, soybeans, and peas. By the way, peas harvesting campaign will start pretty soon, and we’ve already signed the contract for drying 300 tons of peas. This batch will be taken by Khrystynivske Grain Collecting Station.
And did you get any similar proposals earlier? I mean if there was a demand?
—Yes, there was a demand and it is now. The point is how the tasks are set. The concept of our silos operation is “dry port”. Thus, we worked with crops of high volumes: wheat, barley, corn. These crops are shipped to high tonnage vessels. Since we are making business with big exporters, we are a transshipment point for them with high quality grain treatment and fast and efficient intake capacity (one grain elevator is able to intake 6-7 thousand tons of grain per 24 hours). To put it bluntly, we have taken a lot, and we have shipped a lot, because we worked with staple crops.
Sunflower seeds can also be referred to staple crops, but it remains in Ukraine for further processing and crushing. And exporters will be interested in our services only provided that they want to have some part of harvest stored until spring time.
How did the quarantine impact the preparation for the season?
— When the restrictions were in place our employees stayed home. Only those people who are in charge of silos, and security service worked on the sites, including me. But after the quarantine restrictions eased, everyone came to their working places. All necessary works have been done, so everything is completely ready to intake new year crop. Moreover, we’ve already took the first volumes of barley at our Balta silo – 60 tons.
There were quite unusual weather conditions this spring: early warm spell followed by May coolness and rainfalls. What are your expected volumes and quality of crops in this regard?
— As we can see, the vegetation and maturing terms have moved a bit due to such weather conditions. For instance, previously corn stalks and ears were completely formed by this time. And now we have only sprouts raised. In previous years we were starting to intake barley on 10-15 June, but now we have just the first mows. There is still about a week before mass harvesting will start.
For the time being I am not able to make any conclusions in terms of quality, since only corners are being cut right first. And, as a rule, the plants in these zones are exposed to not very positive impacts. Thus we have very low grain unit now – 600, whereas our working grain unit is at least 620.
The situation will likely change during mass harvesting, and we’ll be able to discuss quantity and quality related characteristics then.
You have modernized lab facilities during previous years. Did the annual inspection confirm its high standards?
— This year we also introduced some modernization, by the way. We have purchased modern Infratec grain analyzer for our laboratory at Chesne Grain Collecting Station. It is the most perfect device for measuring protein content, preliminary moisture content, as well as other characteristics. For example, it measures protein content in soybeans to a very high accuracy. And we have all our silos equipped with such analyzers now.
We have gained the certification and got through a number of inspections. The last inspection was conducted a few days ago at our Voronovytske Grain Collecting Station. So, we have everything completely ready to start the new season.