How to grow potatoes: the farm of Michael Kolpakov

How to grow potatoes: the farm of Michael Kolpakov

  • How to grow potatoes: farm Michael Kolpakov
  • How to grow potatoes: farm Michael Kolpakov

September 16, 2013

Photo: Tomsk Review

How often do we hear that farming takes troublesome, expensive and generally very inefficient. How does the need to carry out their activities in order to be considered the best management for the past five years and have enough money to build a school for 80 million?

Michael P. Kolpakov, accomplished the feat by building their own in Vershininoinnovative school(, Activities of daily living owner of the largest in the Tomsk region of the farm. Of the ten holdings accounting for 30% of all cultivated potatoes.


Farm, located in the two former state farms in the village Vershinino, you can call the family business: he manages the affairs of Michael Kolpakov, he was assisted by his son-in-law, wife, daughter and brother-in-law. In each of the two farms previously worked for fifteen experts, now it's all become a farm, run by whom, in fact, four people.

It all began back in 1993. At the time, Michael Kolpakov was chairman of the building cooperative "Three Heroes", but turn our gaze on agriculture, he was forced by two factors: the beginning of the country's problems with "nalichkoj" (more and more services offered to pay for barter), and the fact that his wife allocated land share a 6 acres in the collapse of the farm.

— What to do with it? We decided to try it, — says Mikhail. — Moreover, the potatoes, it seems, everyone knows how to plant. Well, not wheat were we sow, indeed. It should also be said that while the state has provided real help to agriculture. Give loans for equipment, paid the interest rates and so on. So I went to Kemerovo, took out a loan, purchased seeds. So it began. At that time, many people began to farm. but how many of them do not really have adjusted their production, began to build himself a house, buy a car? And somewhere on the first floor level the money they ended up … And I, before build a house, built a store, bought a good seed potatoes technique. "

Today, the property Kolpakov is more than 400 hectares of land. Each year it grows on her farm about 10 000 tonnes of potatoes.


Mass harvesting of potatoes starts in 20 days of August and the first tractor on the field with a special device with an original title KIR (kositel-rotor chopper) to mow down all the tops together with grass. He was followed over time produce harvester who dig and gather the harvest.

    • All harvesters in the import sector. Green came from Holland, and the red «Grimme» from Germany.

      — This harvester is 8000000, and our — 750000. We, though, and the Patriots, but chose it — says Michael. — It leaves a much smaller potatoes on the field — 2-3%, in contrast to ours, losing 20, or even 30%. They were still collect and collect. Tubers from the ground cleans better, not hurting them in the process. Sam throws stones. And his performance is much higher. With only four of these combine, we remove the potatoes with an area of 400 hectares, and the Russian will need fifteen or sixteen pieces on the same volume. So a price he still pays.

          • Harvester is designed in such a way that undermines the series, located on the side of the tractor that pulls it. Thus, tractor rides through the Pure Land, less damaging potatoes and set the combine its sensors are exactly on the ridge, preventing stray from the desired range.

                • Further unique system of screening conveyor separates undermine potatoes from the ground, foliage and rocks. To achieve this result the machines simply unrealistic, says Michael. Earth on the upper conveyor in any case not less than 50%. In order to have time to throw it on the processor, you need to put 4-5 people. It also needs one.

                        • — I won that early start. At the time, no one was buying imported equipment, — says Mikhail. — Director of State Farm said that it's too expensive, it is easier to spend a hundred thousand for repairs. In the end, where I worked as a processor, they were four. This means that they need to have four tractor, and another four persons on each processor. Total turns twenty people. Where do I need to just two — ten times less. And how much diesel fuel is burned four tractors a day of work? A reliability engineering? The fall of even a single hour of downtime due to breakage of the combine — a whole tragedy. You can simply not have time to harvest, autumn is short. Then rain, then snow, then the equipment
                          for repair — and all is lost. We never left the potatoes in the fields. Always have time to clean up the winter.

                          People working in the field of free food lunch and dinner. Meals are brought directly to the field, but here the tables are arranged. Supper is necessary because the time autumn lasts up to ten, eleven o'clock. According to him, Michael and people are interested in the fact that there was a good harvest, so are sensitive to nonstandard schedule. As long as the weather is, we have to work.

                          Hopper capacity to combine six and a half tons. Potatoes from being overwhelmed by his special brand tipper carts «Miedema» and transported to the sorting station.

                            • The park has four such farm carts came from Holland. Each of them can at times take away 12 tons of cargo. Thanks to hydraulic suspension, potatoes in these trailers is minimal mechanical damage during transport.

                              Sorting, cleaning and storage

                              Equipment working on sorting potatoes, the same brand as the tipper wagon. For this reason, one complements the other perfectly.

                                • Russian military equipment from Michael refused immediately. According to him, at first they used the sorting complex domestic production, but experience it was rather negative:

                                  — Just bought a new sort, her burned-six engine. We were tired out with her naturally. Hardly a day passed without it threw up some trouble: the circuits of the tear, the tape, the shaft will break. This also works as a clock. You can safely go somewhere, knowing that nothing is going to happen here.

                                  From the dump carts potatoes poured first into the hopper. Further, it is divided into three streams. One side of the large, medium to another seed, in the third, along with the land, gets shallow.

                                                • Close-potatoes of this game loaded into a container and sent to a special workshop for revision. There will wash it first, and then part of the pack and razvezut on commercial networks, and some will clean from the skin, pack in vacuum packs and razvezut for kindergartens, canteens, schools and the food plant where it is made into dumplings. When the plant needs are met, will fill this warehouse.

                                                  Re-adjust the conveyor belt takes the potatoes on the telescopic boom that can automatically, for a given program to fill in all of the store. Installed at the end of its sensors indicate that the potatoes in place sufficiently, making rotated from side to side.

                                                  The telescopic boom

                                                  This is a small store on the one hundred tons was one of the first who built the cap. Here on the grading of all four of these storage. In another place, next to the workshop to finalize located five more new stores by two thousand tons each:

                                                  • Small "huts", hammered together from planks — ventilation ducts. Autumn in this room to sleep up to the top of the potatoes wooden panels on the sides and the floor partition off these boxes completely. In masonry along one wall are special vents. Air drawn therethrough by the fan flows through ducts and rises up through the entire bed of potato, preventing it from rot.

                                                    Throughout the time of storage operators monitor the circulation of air in clamps. In this they were helped by various thermometer showing the temperature in the room, on the street and in the thickness of the potato. Comparing the temperature, the operator can control the flow of air through the mechanized valves directing it where it is needed, and adjust its volume, ensuring that the storage temperature was within 4.3 degrees.

                                                    The new store was attached directly to the shop by product refinement of potatoes, which can significantly reduce the cost of transporting it. However, this operation for sending subjected mechanization. In the shoulder belt is exhausted …

                                                    …and potatoes fed on the conveyor belt in a container. Then the container, a large wooden box, tipped into the hopper:

                                                    • From there, potatoes are the next conv
                                                      eyor. Moving on him, he gets into the washing device, which is a barrel of water.

                                                        • Sensor mounted in front of her, stopping the flow, if the barrel is crowded.

                                                          Inside this drum rotates with the blades. He mixes the potatoes evenly, thus he is cleared of mud. On the way out of the barrel is the flap, which can be adjusted during flushing, depending on the degree of contamination, and a shower with clean water, rinse the potatoes from the water into the sink.

                                                          Next, clean but wet potatoes are wind shafts.

                                                            • 13 rolls, wrapped with a cleaning cloth, rotating in one direction, wipe and dry the potatoes, giving it to the inspection table.

                                                              On the inspection table potatoes are selected presentation. Tubers with minor injuries are sent to the cleaners, and even and smooth — on the packaging. At the end of the table is another sensor that shuts off all in the same line, if the packing area is overloaded.

                                                                • Packaging

                                                                  Potatoes, last control on the inspection table, served on the weighing device — it consists of a vibrating table and weighing cups.

                                                                    • Due to vibration, potatoes evenly distributed over the cups. Next, the computer determines in which cups are necessary weight. The accuracy of this device is quite high: it can be variations of up to 10 grams, and only in a big way.

                                                                      For weighted potatoes are two options packages. For each of them corresponds to a different machine.

                                                                                            • Performance of this line: 28 packs per minute, each of 2.5 kilograms, which is 4 tons of potatoes per hour. At the final stage of packaging quality check just in case the goods ready put in more bags, and transported by commercial networks.

                                                                                                    • Potatoes, not the last control on the inspection table, sent to the cleaners. First, a rough mechanical, where barrel, similar to the centrifuge cleans potatoes peeled …

                                                                                                          • …and then manually rework:

                                                                                                              • Further such potatoes are packed in vacuum bags under five pounds and sent to the warehouse.

                                                                                                                Such processing "substandard" to reduce the amount of waste in the shop almost to zero. The fact still remains that, go around to the population. For the waste is usually visited by people who breed cattle.

                                                                                                                — From time to time I ask, of course, to sell some cleaning farmer, but I prefer to support local people, toiling in the countryside. People keep livestock, well, we encourage them: Hold on, guys.

                                                                                                                Number of persons working in the shop, depending on the season. In the warmest autumn season here employs 20 people. All of them are also free food lunches. On the second floor dining room made for them, changing rooms and shower room. Located next door and a study of the Kolpakov.

                                                                                                                This is only a small part of the available votes and credentials.

                                                                                                                A little further on there is another kitchen, restroom and shower facilities especially for newly arrived specialists. It happens that the installers of equipment have to live here a week and more time on business often lasts from morning until night. That people did not get out of here and back to the city, we decided to do for them is something like an apartment. They came, showered, slept, woke up in the morning, had breakfast and get back to work.

                                                                                                                    • Workshop to finalize the potato was built in 2009. To equip it with all the necessary equipment, had to spend 12 million rubles. Now through the shop runs only 10-15% of the total weight of potatoes, but the farm working on this and expect to gradually increase this share. The minimum wage in the shop 15 000 rubles. Pay, according to Michael, is stable, without delay. All workers formally employed, paid vacation and sick leave. His people to help extinguish kredity.Seychas here came to the conclusion that motivate and encourage people to work, increasing his salary is not at the expense of salary, but through premiums. During the autumn harvest workers are paid an additional salary and bonuses. Specific amounts Michael did not voiced, but said that even good money on urban standards, the farm they do not even earn in a year. But sometimes still have to deal with "educational" work: to come to a man, talk, persuade to stop drinking for the sake of the family and children.

                                                                                                                      With the opening of the workshop to finalize the potato farm was to distribute its products through retailers. Now it is spreading most of the Tomsk through a group of companies "Lama" (shops "Apricot" and "Fudsiti"), a network of shops "Bystronom" and "Holiday." Kolpakovskii eat potatoes and Seversk. But the first two years of the work shop brought nothing but losses. Unwashed potatoes sold even more expensive than processed in the shop. Kolpakov walked on it, continuing to keep people and paying them a salary, because he saw in the future, would like to go to the supermarket, to oust the shelf goods imported from other regions, "Even actuating to zero, we are happy that we still have twenty-five people in rural areas have a job. "

                                                                                                                      According to Michael, "go" in the trade network was not easy. At that time, the supermarket shelves were occupied by imported potatoes brought from the neighboring regions of Novosibirsk, Kemerovo and Altai. To start Tomsk economy set the price of its products to almost two times lower than the competition. Gradually, there was a preponderance of the shelves in favor of Kolpakov. Potatoes his farm became larger, but the price on it and still trying to keep below the imported.

                                                                                                                      — How can the potatoes grown here cost more than was brought from afar? In addition, we have too much to keep the high price. The same to the potatoes we stayed, and we could not sell it until the following year, there was a very long time, — says Alexander, son of Michael Kolpakov, in charge of sales. — As a rule, just the opposite happens: the potatoes over before we have time to build a new crop. Sometimes in such cases, it is necessary even to buy more to keep deliveries under the contracts. For example, a food plant, fully switched over to work with peeled potatoes. They even have their power not to be washed and cleaned.

                                                                                                                      Fields that are "rested" from this year's work, a few times over the summer plow tiller with grass growing up until she gave seeds. This operation fertilizes the ground, at the same time reducing the amount of weeds in the fields.

                                                                                                                        • One such tractor «John Deere» is worth three and a half million. In all of these tractors on the farm — seven. Each has air conditioning, radio, good visibility and easy operation, as the foreign cars. Certain difficulties recruiting staff in connection with this, it is understood available. For every tractor, every combine need to find a professional who will be able to work on it, will carefully treat him and not le
                                                                                                                          t you down at the crucial moment.

                                                                                                                          Michael Kolpakov, "That's why I became engaged in the social sphere. If I had not built a Vershinino school, nobody ever here is no longer to build, and after a while is not only on the technique of people will not find here at all one is left. A silent or pretend that nothing is happening — do not respect yourself. Last year, we had to clean up another old state farm storage for two thousand tons, which has become dangerous to store potatoes, but I started to build the school. Who had promised to help subsidies in exchange for school Kress, who was then governor of the Tomsk region, left, and the new government school in the village was not needed, thus helping to provide economy, too, has no intention. This year, I had to reduce the landing area on 160 acres just because I have nowhere to put it. In terms of the money I lost at least 30 million rubles. Imagine a man despises for the village wants to live not only for themselves, taking a big loan, lays all that he has, has been at a loss what the idea is to engage the state takes over the social functions … It would seem that it should help in every way possible, but no. There is no interest on the part of the authorities, no support, as if I did not exist! I even can not get reception on any matter! And I have now, for a moment, the biggest economy in the region. What is there to say? Even the family does not understand why I decided to build a school, instead of the repository, but that I hoped that the government will help me! But now, looking forward, I think we can all catch up, if we were to come to live here are normal people, if the village will develop. I myself in the future I plan to do the construction of housing in the village. After shots — the success of any enterprise. "

                                                                                                                          Text, photo Eugene Mytsyk

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