Astarta agricultural holding, the largest sugar producer in Ukraine, has launched the first phase of a five-year investment program to update agricultural machinery and introduce IT instruments for agricultural management of AgriChain company, which is part of the agricultural holding structure.
According to the statement on Astarta’s website, the investments in 2020 were aimed at purchasing 31 tractors (John Deere), 21 grain, row crops and beet seeders (John Deere, Horsch Maestro, Pöttinger Terrasem, Kinze, Monopil, Amity Technology).
In addition, as part of the investment program, two self-propelled sprayers (John Deere), four cultivators (Amity Technology), three seed harrows of Ukrainian production and ten sets of vacuum systems for the conversion of row seeders were purchased.
New John Deere tractors with a capacity of 345 hp equipped with accurate navigation and telemetry systems that will integrate with AgriChain Farm and AgriChain Scout modules.
“The data obtained in real time will provide an opportunity to receive information, form informed decisions and create accurate daily tasks to increase technological field operations,” Astarta reported.
The agricultural holding said that in a few weeks Astarta will begin the spring sowing campaign, preparations for which are ongoing. In particular, winter wheat fertilizing is being completed and soil is being prepared for sowing spring crops.
The company’s crop rotation in 2020 will not change, since traditionally the main spring crops are sugar beets (35,000 hectares), corn (65,000 hectares), soybean (28,000 hectares) and sunflower (41,000 hectares).
Astarta is a vertically integrated agro-industrial holding operating in eight regions of Ukraine. It consists of eight sugar factories, agricultural enterprises with a land bank of 243,000 hectares and dairy farms with 25,000 animals, seven elevators, a biogas complex and a soybean processing plant in Poltava region (Globino Processing Plant LLC).
After three years of profitable work in 2018, Astarta received a net loss of EUR 21.11 million. Its revenue decreased by 18.8%, to EUR 372.22 million, and EBITDA fell by 52.4%, to EUR 56.87 million in 2018.
The AgriChain Farm module is designed to operate and communicate across all production services. It combines all the stages and processes of the production chain: from planning to execution and reflection. The AgriChain Scout information system is currently at the final stages of testing. It combined monitoring of the state of crops, agrochemical field certificates, meteorological data, plant vegetation status (NDVI), systematic monitoring of crops and assessment of its condition, etc.
Other modules are under development and are simultaneously being tested as pilot projects at Astarta’s subsidiary agricultural companies.