Working trip to Shklov District, Orsha District

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Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko inspected the progress in the harvest campaign in Belarus, saw modern agricultural vehicles, and took a ride in a grain harvester when visiting farms in Shklov District and Orsha District on 18 August.

The head of state drove a four-wheeler to the grain field of OAO Alexandriyskoye. He said that he decided to visit that place for a reason. “I will work today. This is the field of the President as someone said some time ago. This is my field indeed as I used to work here from a young age,” Aleksandr Lukashenko explained.

The field is located in two regions at once - Mogilev Oblast and Vitebsk Oblast.

According to the President, he worked on this field from an early age, and that he has two most vivid recollections. “The impressions were not quite good for those days but very useful for the present day,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state said that today the field occupies about 500 hectares and that some time ago he decided to turn it into an experimental field to cultivate different crops.

This year the President has instructed to sow the field with foreign varieties of winter wheat and hybrid diploid rye to see their quality and the yield. All technological processes have been observed. As a result, the yield reached 90-100 centners per hectare. The head of state noted that in previous years the field did not yield more than 13-17 centners per hectare. This shows that with high-quality seeds, appropriate cultivation techniques and technologies any soil can yield good harvests.

Aleksandr Lukashenko asked about the achievements of the domestic breeders. “I would like to hear what we have achieved so far. I was told that we have no problems with wheat seeds. We have learned to cultivate our seeds and their yield and quality are on par with those of foreign varieties,” the President said.

The head of state was briefed on the latest advancements in the sector. Aleksandr Lukashenko was told that the domestically-bred seeds are of the same quality as their foreign analogues and even better in some regards.

The President also heard out reports on the progress in the harvest campaign in the country and in regions. “Today is August 18. I said that we should gather in the bulk of the harvest by 20 August or 85-87% in my book. But we certainly mustn’t stop. This is why we must work hard until we gather in everything,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He also drew attention to the situation in northern parts of Belarus — Vitebsk Oblast and some areas in Mogilev Oblast and Minsk Oblast. Only half of the grain crops have been harvested over there so far. “I want a fast pace and hard work without any excuses. The favorable weather cannot last forever,” said the Belarusian leader. “This is why we need 90-92% as of Monday. Make decisions on how we are going to gather in the harvest in the northern parts.”

As another peculiarity of the current period the head of state mentioned the need to promptly switch to sowing operations in order to lay down the foundation for a good harvest next year.

Haymaking for the third time this year is another thing to keep in mind. “We have good grass and we need to gather it in. Efforts should be focused on the sowing campaign and haymaking,” the President stressed.

Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy informed Aleksandr Lukashenko about progress in harvesting various crops. So far Belarusian farmers have gathered in 80.2% of the grain and leguminous crops, producing about 6.3 million tonnes with the average yield at 36 centners per hectare. “We will reach last year’s gross harvest figures by today’s evening,” the deputy prime minister said.

In his words, this year Belarusian agricultural enterprises boast a good harvest of other crops, too. The volumes exceed last year’s figures in many cases.

They also spoke about the high-quality Belarusian grain harvesters. In due time the President gave an instruction to develop the manufacture of grain harvesting equipment in Belarus. For the past two decades, Gomselmash has designed and launched the production of seven basic models of grain harvesters and 38 modifications.

The KZS-1624-1 harvester, a flagship Palesse model, was demonstrated to the President. The head of state was briefed on the technical characteristics of this model and the experience of using it. Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed designers to modernize this harvester by the next harvest campaign, eliminate all drawbacks, design and produce a better harvester which will be in demand in the future.

Then the head of state wanted to see the harvester in operation. One of the local workers took the driver’s seat, the President’s younger son Nikolai sat beside him, and Aleksandr Lukashenko stood on the platform near the cabin to take a look at the process of work.

“I want to see this harvester in operation because our manufacturers often boast that we have as good harvesters as foreign ones. Let’s see it in operation right now and let’s show it to people,” the head of state said.

He also pointed out a big role of harvester operators. Good drivers will get better results and keep the equipment well-maintained. “We must prove that this harvester can be as efficient as foreign ones. A lot depends on a machinery operator here,” the President said.

While visiting agricultural enterprises Aleksandr Lukashenko taught the reporters, who were following him, how to harvest grain crops with a sickle. Heads of municipal government agencies and other government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy, also took part in the master class.

The head of state suggested reverting to the old ways of harvesting the grain crops after the reporters demonstrated their T-shirts with Belarusian ornamental designs, which underscore the national colors and the continuity of the generations, who had lived in the Belarusian lands for centuries and had been growing grain in the fields.

The reporters presented a photo of the flagship model of the Belarusian harvester, which performance Aleksandr Lukashenko had been evaluating that day, to the President.