Episode 62


QUOTING former Russian Agricultural Minister, Alexander Tkachev, the organisers of YugAgro, the largest Russian farm machinery exhibition, say that Russia needs ".. at least 180,000 new tractors and 80,000 new combines" to fill the gap in Russia's total farm machinery pool which has shrunk by more 50% in the last decade.

No wonder major US and European manufacturers have ramped up their presence in Russia over the past 10-15 years. It is a country with huge farming potential, which has been starved of the machinery and new technology it needed to make the most of its natural resources.

Manufacturers such as CLAAS, John Deere, CNH Industrial and AGCO have invested huge sums to establish state of the art production facilities, training and service support in a country where the sheer size of the region presents considerable logistical challenges.

Today everything has come to a shuddering halt. Sanctions have been imposed and most leading manufacturers have announced that they are halting supplies as a result of Russia's decision to invade and wage war on neighbouring Ukraine, a democratic, independent country.

Chris Biddle looks at their presence in the Russian market, and the difficult position they find now themselves in. He also quotes a Ukrainian arable farmer who says "Today I'm farming wheat , tomorrow I might be shooting Russians" - and who has already modified his farm truck to mount a machine gun.

However, Chris preludes his analysis with a few words on the day that the Russians came to his home City armed with one of the worlds deadliest nerve agents - and ends by considering whether we need to re-consider our food self-sufficiency in the UK.

Time stamps

(01:08) The Salisbury poisonings

(04:54) Russian farm machinery fall-out and short-fall

(19:56) Release more land, grow more food.

Source documents

YugAgro show market analysis

Russian Agri-business (US International Trade)

Press releases from Rosspetsmash (Russian Ag Machinery Association)

Challenges for Ukraine farmers (Sunday Times)

About the Podcast

Show artwork for INSIDE AGRI-TURF
The farm and grass machinery business

About your host

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Chris Biddle

Chris is an experienced journalist specialising in the farm and grass machinery market. He has worked for a major tractor manufacturer and been a managing director of a farm and grass machinery dealership in the West Country.
In 1988, he launched trade magazine, Service Dealer followed by TurfPro in 1998, selling both titles to Land Power Publications in 2015.
He was editor of Landwards, the professional journal of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) from 2008 until 2019 and is the recipient of the 2020 IAgrE Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Land-Based industry.
Chris lives in Salisbury with his wife Trish, and is an avid cricket fan and member of the MCC for over 55 years.