Cherkizovo Group, the largest vertically integrated meat and feed producer in Russia, has started its 2016 sowing season.

The company began its sowing season in the central part of the Black Earth Belt region. A total of 90,000 hectares of land will be cultivated in the Voronezh, the Lipetsk, the Orel and the Tambov regions in 2016. The main crops are wheat, corn and bean cultures, with corn production volume expected to be 56 percent higher than in 2015. Sorghum will also be sown for the first time. The company’s new state-of-the-art equipment will be used to cultivate soy and corn.

Providing that conditions are favorable, crop harvesting is expected to grow by 50 percent from 2015 to 460,000 tons as a result of yield improvement. Cherkizovo Group widely employs high-intensive technologies, uses manure and non-organic fertilizers, as well as high-yielding market and hybrid seeds.

Cherkizovo Group will continue expanding its fleet of advanced agricultural vehicles, which includes high-powered tractors, wide-cut self-propelled sprayers, and seeders equipped with electronic precision planting systems.

The grain division plays a key role in Cherkizovo Group’s vertically integrated business model and is one of the company’s strategic directions for growth. The company raises crops to produce feed for its 9 feed mills in the central part of the Black Earth Belt region, which then gets allocated between the group’s poultry and pork divisions. In 2015, Cherkizovo was 25 percent self-sufficient in grain, and it is expected that this figure will reach 35 percent by the end of this year.

By the end of 2015, the company’s operational land bank was 90,000 hectares with an average yield of close to 4,200 kilograms per hectare. Cherkizovo will continue consolidating its land bank over the course of 2016.