|Singapore-listed agricultural group Don Agro International announced that it has achieved a 8,900 tonne growth in total crops harvested so far this year:
• 72,300 tonnes of winter wheat, and
• 19,000 tonnes of sunflower.
A key growth factor has been the Group’s expanded land bank via acquisitions.
Following its IPO in February 2020, the Group -- one of the largest agricultural companies based in the Rostov region of Russia -- acquired, at the end of 2020, Volgo-Agro LLC.
The latter is an agricultural company based in the Volgograd region of Russia operating a controlled land bank of approximately 10,040 hectares.
Subsequently in July 2021, the Group acquired a neighbouring agribusiness, Rav Agro Rost LLC, located in the Millerovo District, Rostov Region of Russia.
With an arable land bank of approximately 3,200 hectares, Rav Agro Rost alone contributed up to 3,100 tonnes of winter wheat and 1,540 tonnes of sunflower.
Said Mr. Marat Devlet-Kildeyev, CEO of Don Agro International: “While we are pleased with the robust harvest results achieved this year, we continue to look to capture growth. For us, the acquisition of new land banks is a strategic task, and is one that we have committed to our investors since listing in early 2020.
"At the moment, we operate a controlled land bank of approximately 67,300 hectares, of which 17,200 hectares are owned by the company, and we do not plan to stop there. Moving forward, we will continue to explore new acquisition prospects actively to raise our production capacity progressively, with the objective of achieving long-term sustainable growth.”
He added that the Group is applying a variety of innovative technologies to raise crops yields and productivity for Don Agro.
Since 2020, the Group has been working closely with Russian-based autonomous driving software developer Cognitive Pilot to implement the Cognitive Agro Pilot™, an AI-powered autonomous driving system for agricultural machinery.
Deployed on the Group’s crop harvesters, the Cognitive Agro Pilot™ system guides the harvester headers along the edge of unharvested crops with precision, maximising the width of the headers while optimising harvester movements. This reduces fuel consumption to make the harvesting process more environmentally-friendly.
The technology also allows harvester operators to focus solely on managing machinery parameters, making work less tedious and safer in general. The Group also employs no-till farming technologies for up to 7.5 thousand hectares of its arable land bank at present.
Compared to conventional farming methods which can erode soil quality and require more manual labour and fuel, no-till farming reduces the impact farming has on the soil, providing an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative which has the potential to enhance crop yields as well.
More recently in September 2021, the Group announced its joint pilot project with Smart Polymorph Technologies to introduce the latest pharmaceutical innovations aimed at optimising crop production for the agricultural sector.
As part of the pilot project, the Group earmarked experimental plots as a test bed for the application of a new growth bio-simulator which is expected to raise the Group’s crop yields and minimise production costs once it is ready to be deployed at scale.