Corn is the company’s main crop, accounting for a quarter of production. “Since the start of the company we have used Ukrainian corn hybrids from the Dnipro National Cereals Research Institute,” says Bernatskyy. “The institute develops products that are really competitive, which take into account market demand and what breeders are producing in other parts of the world. But they follow their own path and run a unique breeding program without foreign input.”
The company’s second most important crop is soy beans, with a focus on Ukrainian seed varieties to precede wheat crops, which it multiplies on contractual basis for Prograin. “Since 2002 we have grown wheat in cooperation with the Odessa Plant Breeding and Genetics Institute and their varieties are popular in this region. We are also working with a trading company to put a new wheat and barley breeding project in practice.”
Sunflowers are another crop that is increasing in demand, accounting for 15% of Rost Agro’s production, which over the last 10 years has shifted from the high oil black seeds favored by the Ukrainian market to the higher protein, but lower oil content striped confectionary sunflowers demanded by Mediterranean snack and sweet markets.
Growing such a range of crops, might tempt Bernatskyy to name a favorite, but he’s is scrupulously fair to all his breeding programs: “All cultivated plants I deal with are equal to me, with the crop that is currently needing the most care in the field my favorite at the moment. If you pay more attention to one crop you will pay less for another. However, corn is our main crop so naturally takes up more time than the others.”
Rost Agro and Adama
“Adama’s herbicide Acenit (acetochlor + AD-67 antidote) is a very good product for corn, consisting of an antidote, and for our large seed production area it is indispensable,” says Bernatskyy.
“This year I`ve discovered a pre-emergence selective herbicide called Racer (flurochloridone). All the sunflower seeds that we sow are resistant to imidazolinone so we needed a new product. As part of an experiment, we used Racer on a 500-hectare plot and got great yields, so we will be increasing orders of the products.
“Elsewhere, we only use Adama products on our soy bean crop, including Mistral (metribuzin), Kalif (clomazone) and Benta (bentazone). We do not treat soy beans with imazamox, as we do on sunflowers, because unlike with sunflower, we establish no-till wheat after soy. Agil (quizalofop-p-ethyl) is the main graminicide on the farm and we have no plans to change it. One of the main fungicides for our soy beans and cereal fields is Custodia (azoxystrobin + tebuconazole), while, Lamdex (lambda-cyhalothrin) is the most important pyrethroid insecticide, while Pyrinex Super (chlorpyrifos + bifenthrin) is the most relevant organophosphate broad-spectrum insecticide – a powerful weapon for us. In the last year almost, the whole cereal area was treated by the seed dressing Spherico (fludioxonil + kiralaxyl) and in the coming season, we will treat peas with this product. Among other favorites are the systemic herbicide Prometrex (prometrin) and the post-emergent herbicide Elegant (2,4-D acid + florasulam) – a ‘workhorse’ for corn and cereals.”
The interview was conducted by Iryna Korchagina, editor-in-chief of Agroexpert.