Agricultural business can be profitable and profitable with the right and competent approach. Growing and selling potatoes as a business is rarely seen by beginner entrepreneurs. Although potato is an indispensable food product and is a regular guest on any table - from everyday to festive, nevertheless, the business of growing and selling this crop is considered complex, costly and highly competitive.
For it to be successful, considerable investments will be required, as well as knowledge and experience. Specialists in the field of agricultural business provide the following data. In order to get 20-30 tons of potato harvest per hectare, you need to invest from 100 thousand rubles. For comparison with the same area, you can get up to 8 tons of wheat. However, the costs in the case of sowing wheat will range from 5 thousand rubles per hectare, and for potatoes - over 150 thousand rubles per hectare! The profit from the sale of 20 tons of potatoes is estimated at about 70 thousand rubles (at the latest prices, which are constantly changing in the current economic conditions). In addition, there are the latest technologies for intensive cultivation of potatoes, which allow to achieve yields from 65-70 tons per hectare. In this case, the profit can be about 900 thousand rubles.
To successfully conduct business and maximize profits from growing potatoes for sale, experts advise using acreage of at least 250 hectares. The profitability of such a project is estimated at 100-200%, and investments amount to hundreds of millions of rubles. At the same time, the payback of such a project is about 6-7 years. You need to take into account possible risks (a lean year, lower prices for potatoes, etc.) and be prepared for constant investments in the development of your business.
Obviously, such a scale is beyond the reach of novice entrepreneurs. But this does not mean at all that you have to abandon your plans and look for new directions for work. You can start this business with much less investment. True, its profitability will also be significantly lower and will not exceed 60% (an average of 40%).
Potato growing technology
Potatoes, unlike a number of other vegetable crops, are more susceptible to the influence of weather and climate conditions. There are two main methods of growing potatoes. In the first case, super-early varieties are grown in specially equipped greenhouses (thus, young potatoes go on sale in the spring), and in the second case, potatoes are grown in an open way for long storage and consumption in the autumn-winter period. The first option will bring you more profit, but its implementation requires significant upfront costs that will be spent on equipping greenhouses and providing the necessary conditions for the early ripening of potatoes. The second option is more affordable for entrepreneurs with a small starting capital, so we will start with it.
Potato refers to precocious crops. From planting to the sale of finished products takes only four months. The technology of growing and selling potatoes implies the presence of several main stages. They include preparation of planting material, preparation of soil for planting, planting, hilling, fertilizer, pest control, cleaning, storage, packaging of finished products and their sale.
Potatoes purchased for seeds must have all the necessary documents that guarantee the absence of diseases in the future and high productivity. Such planting material has higher requirements. So, the diameter of the tubers should be from 3 to 5 cm. It is not allowed to mix tubers of different varieties. Plant vegetation should be 100%, and their reproduction should be stable and high. If the reproduction of varietal potatoes does not reach the second stage according to the established standards, but it is prohibited to use it for seeds.
Planting stock is prepared in the fall. To do this, the potatoes are sorted, leaving only whole, clean medium-sized potatoes with no signs of spoilage and disease. Tubers selected for planting must be "landscaped" in advance. To do this, they are left in the light for about twenty days. Moreover, direct sunlight is strictly contraindicated for potatoes. The light must be diffused. As a result of “gardening, ” the seed quality of potatoes improves, and the material itself becomes less susceptible to decay. After germination, the potatoes are stored for storage in a room where sunlight does not get. In the warehouse, the optimum temperature should be maintained from +1 to +3 degrees and air humidity of about 80-90%.
About a month before the planned sowing, the potatoes are transferred to a bright and warm room, where it begins to germinate. The size of the sprout before planting should be from one centimeter. As a rule, a medium size is chosen for planting, but if large tubers are found in the material, then it is divided into parts - in half or in quarters so that in each part there are at least two or three eyes. The tubers are cut two weeks before germination or immediately in front of it. To protect the tubers from diseases and spoilage, the cuts can be covered with wood resin. Note that with large volumes of tubers no one manually sortes and, moreover, do not process them additionally. Preparation of planting material is carried out automatically, and tubers of the same size are selected for planting.
Potato planting dates depend on soil temperature. Potatoes are planted in the middle lane in May, in the south - in March, and in the northern regions - in early summer. Determining soil readiness is easy. It should be warmed up to 8 degrees to a depth of 12 cm. The soil for planting also needs to be prepared in advance. In small areas it is dug up with shovels or loosened with a pitchfork. Of course, on an area of several hectares, manual labor is excluded. For this, special equipment is used - a plow with a walk-behind tractor or a tractor. Previously, it was recommended to turn the soil over, that is, to swap its lower and upper layers. Now experts advise only loosening the topsoil, which provides unhindered access to the tubers of air and moisture. In such conditions, the root and bush parts of the plant will develop fully. For processing and loosening the soil, milling units with additional nozzles are used.
Potatoes are planted in rows at least one meter between the bushes. The row spacing for early varieties should ideally be about 65-70 cm, and for late varieties - 75-80 cm. Compliance with these requirements is necessary for the normal development of bushes and to facilitate the processing of plants and harvesting using technology. With such a row spacing, high loosening by milling aggregates does not harm the root system of plants. However, most farmers prefer to increase the planting density in every way in order to save space, and make the row spacing a maximum of 40-50 cm. This saving is ultimately doubtful, since when the soil is loosened, the developing roots are subsequently cut, as a result of which the vegetation process slows down significantly, and Tubers that are bare due to lack of soil turn green in the sun.
The tubers are planted to a depth of 4 to 8 cm with the formation of a ridge on top about 10 cm high. When planting seed potatoes, in accordance with the technological standard, there should be at least thirty bushes per square meter of land. In order to achieve such a density, those who have grown at least five eyes sprouted from the warmed and sprouted tubers at the stage of preparation of the planting material are selected, which means that they will be able to produce the required number of main stems. About a couple of weeks after planting, weeds must be removed from the field and sprouts spud. At the same time, the soil ridge above the potato is increased by another 10 cm. Thus, as a result, the height of the ridge is 20–25 cm in total, and its base is not less than 75 cm. The soil must be loose and soft during the formation of the ridge, since it is in it that potato shoots will develop. Potatoes are watered two to three times a week if there is no rain. In the southern regions, with severe drought, watering is recommended daily. In cloudy weather and high humidity, irrigation frequency can be reduced.
Do not forget about the use of fertilizers for growing potatoes. The best organic fertilizer is cow or horse manure, which is introduced into the soil before planting and thoroughly mixed with the top layer of the earth. Special attention should be paid to the use of chemical fertilizers. When using organic fertilizers, if the soil is not depleted, you can do without them. After harvesting potatoes, it is recommended to sow the field with any siderat crops. They belong to the so-called "green fertilizers." These are plants that are grown with the aim of their subsequent incorporation into the soil to improve its structure, enrich it with nitrogen and inhibit the growth of weeds. These include sunflower, corn, clover, legumes, etc. (a total of about four hundred plant species).
When the potato bushes bloom, they are treated with solutions of funds from Colorado potato beetles - the main pests of the culture that can ruin the entire crop. In addition, it is recommended to prevent late blight by spraying plants with special drugs. Processing of plantings is carried out at least 5-6 times with strict observance of the alternation of funds recommended by manufacturers of drugs. When cultivating planting material abroad, indirect methods of protecting plants from viral infection are also used. To do this, kill aphids in advance using chemicals. In our country, such processing of seed potatoes is extremely rare (again, with the aim of saving). We fight the spread of diseases, mainly by removing infected plants during weeding.
Potatoes are harvested immediately after the tubers ripen, which can significantly increase the shelf life and preserve all the useful qualities of the product. Harvested potatoes are stored in specially equipped storage rooms where a certain temperature and humidity level are maintained.
Potato yield depends on many factors, but the varieties used can be attributed to the main one. For example, high-yielding varieties include Dutch potato species. If, for example, high-yielding domestic varieties yield about 20-30 tons per hectare even with insufficient technological requirements, then the yield of Dutch varieties with the same care is about 30-40 tons per hectare. Although, for example, the same Dutch varieties are not in great demand among Russian potato farms. The fact is that our compatriots prefer to save on compliance with the cultivation technology, greatly simplifying it and confining themselves to three basic manipulations - planting, hilling and harvesting. In addition, not everyone can afford to buy high-quality planting material, often using degenerated potatoes for several seasons. Particular attention is not paid to the prevention of plant infection and late blight, and the level of technical equipment of farms, as a rule, leaves much to be desired. Meanwhile, experts are sure that a competent approach and correctly selected planting material are the main conditions for the success of the potato growing business.
As for the costs of sowing materials, about 40 kg (that is, about 600 tubers) will be required per hundred square meters. The exact amount depends on the average weight of the tubers and the planting pattern that you use.
Legal and accounting issues of agricultural business
In the event that the land where you plan to grow potatoes for personal needs or for sale in small volumes is in your property and belongs to the category of private household plots (personal subsidiary farming), you can not register as an entrepreneur and just sell your products ( or rather its surplus) in the retail market. However, you should not count on big profits in this case. If you want to have not just extra income, but a profitable business, you will have to register as an individual entrepreneur. When registering, you will need to select the OKVED code. In our case, the encoding suitable for August 18, 2019 is “Growing potatoes, table root and tuber crops with a high content of starch or inulin” (actual for 2015). This group includes the cultivation of potatoes, the cultivation of table crops of root crops and tubers with a high content of starch or inulin, the cultivation of seeds and planting stock, including elite and reproduction, intended for sale.
A single agricultural tax (SAR), which is 6% of net profit, is one of the most profitable. As the name implies, only agricultural producers, that is, enterprises or individual entrepreneurs who themselves produce these products and are engaged in their sale, can pay the URN. If you already have an existing enterprise and you want to switch to the Unified Social-Economic Plan, then the amount of income from the sale of agricultural products should be at least 70% of your total income. There are two taxation regimes for agricultural producers - general and special. There are certain differences between them. Enterprises that pay taxes according to the general taxation regime must pay VAT, a single social tax, property tax (for property used for the production and storage of finished agricultural products, a concession is provided), transport tax (for trucks and agricultural machinery there are also concessions ), transport tax (for trucks and agricultural machinery a privilege is provided), income tax (preferential tax rate on profit from the sale of agricultural products and), land tax, mineral extraction tax, the tax for the use of water and pollution.
Individual entrepreneurs who switch to a single agricultural tax are exempt from personal income tax, VAT (except for imports), property tax, and enterprises and organizations that have chosen this taxation system are exempt from VAT (except for imports), property tax and property tax profit. All other fees are paid, as with other tax systems, but the benefits to agricultural enterprises are obvious.
It is possible to go to the Unified Agricultural Tax Administration if you are an agricultural producer and meet the above requirements, either by general procedure, by submitting a corresponding application to the Federal Tax Service during the period from October 20 to December 31 of the current year, or individually - within thirty days after registration as an individual by entrepreneurs or legal entity. In the first case, your enterprise will transfer to the Unified Social Tax Administration from the new calendar year, and in the second, when registering with the Federal Tax Service. Keep in mind that during the year you cannot refuse the taxation system of your choice. But there is the possibility of forced cancellation of the unified agricultural tax in the event that your company begins to conduct activities not related to agriculture, or the share of sales of agricultural products becomes less than 70%.
It is also worth considering the fact that the expenses of an individual entrepreneur or an enterprise that conducts agricultural activities are limited to expenses on the acquisition of fixed assets, employees' wages and advertising with the obligatory keeping of an income and expense book. Only those funds that are credited to your bank account or cash desk are considered incomes.
Business plan for growing and selling potatoes
Let us consider in more detail what an entrepreneur will need to organize his own farm. To process a small area of 30 acres (personal subsidiary farming) you will need a mini-tractor (or walk-behind tractor), a plow for it, an okuchnik for a mini-tractor, a body for transporting goods using a mini-tractor, a device for digging potatoes. This equipment will cost 100 thousand rubles.
If we are not talking about hectares, but about hectares, then the cost of equipment will, of course, be much higher. So, you need a harvester, which costs about 350 thousand euros, planter costing about 100 thousand euros. Is it worth saving on equipment? You can buy long-obsolete equipment from the Soviet era, but the savings in this case will be doubtful. Old equipment is constantly failing. In addition, its use leads to loss and damage to the crop. New Russian-made equipment is cheaper than imported, while not inferior to the latter in quality and performance. Therefore, it is better to purchase it, rather than used and obsolete equipment.
Additional costs are associated with cleaning the collected potatoes from contamination, sorting, packaging and transportation. For a small farm, these investments will amount to about 10 thousand rubles. To dry the washed potatoes, a canopy or a shed with a trellised floor is suitable. For packaging, you can use packing bags made of dense porous polyethylene, a stapler for sealing bags with staples, strips of thick cardboard and labels measuring 25 by 8 cm, which can be printed on your printer. The process of cleaning and packaging potatoes is quite simple - a couple of people will also cope with it.
First, the crop is moved, and all spoiled potatoes are removed from the total mass. Then, the selected potatoes are soaked in a container of water. After an hour, the water changes. This procedure is repeated two to three more times until the potatoes are completely peeled of contaminants. Then the potatoes are laid out to dry on the trellised floor and left to dry completely. Finally, the finished product is laid out in bags and weighed (the average weight of a “portioned" bag with potatoes is about 2-4 kg). The upper part of the packaging bag is wrapped several times around a cardboard strip, which gives it rigidity and prevents tearing, and then fastened with a stapler in two or three places with a label pre-attached underneath the polyethylene.
But large industrial enterprises will have to spend a lot of money on ensuring a constant water supply, purchasing large containers (bathtubs) for washing products, equipment for drying potatoes, buying weights, as well as packaging bags and labels. However, these costs are worth it. Experience shows that clean, selective potatoes are in double demand, rather than dirty and unwashed ones.
Additional costs associated with the purchase of seeds, fertilizers and tools for processing potatoes from pests (Colorado potato beetle) and diseases. For a small economy, this expense item is about 10-15 thousand rubles. From one hundredth you can collect, on average, 250-300 kg of potatoes. Even with a relatively small area of 30 acres, you can collect about 7500 kg of products. Thus, the wholesale sale of potatoes can bring an income of about 180 thousand rubles. Excluding taxes and deductions to the pension fund, the entrepreneur's net profit will be from 70 thousand rubles.
Potatoes from private farms are sold, as a rule, in food markets. Also, many entrepreneurs give their products for sale or rent to wholesale companies. The latter option is suitable only for large farms, as the prices of wholesalers are much lower than market prices. In addition, you can sell your potatoes to grocery stores, retail chains and individual outlets. Large enterprises work mainly with wholesale bases. Regardless of the extent to which you intend to work, if you are an individual entrepreneur or a legal entity, draw up your own version of the contract in advance, which sets forth the delivery time of the product and receipt of payment for it, prices and other important conditions for cooperation. Keep in mind that the highest prices for potatoes are observed in the spring.
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