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Farming in the Far East (Russia)

In agricultural terms, the Far East is most important in the production of soybeans, rice, potatoes, vegetables and livestock products. The main areas of arable land are concentrated in the Amur Region and Primorsky Krai.

Natural and climatic conditions


The climate of the Russian Far East has a pronounced monsoon character. Winters have little snow and are dominated by clear sunny days. The average annual temperature in January is -16 … -24 °С. Summer is warm, with an average daily temperature of 18 … 22 °С in July. Duration of frostless period is from 140 to 172 days, vegetation period (with a temperature of more than 5 °С) is 125-157 days. The sum of active temperatures during vegetation period is 2150-2800°С. Autumn frosts are possible from September 14-29, and spring frosts end from May 9-30.

Cold and strong winds in winter from the land alternate with cool, moist air currents from the ocean in summer.

Average annual precipitation varies from 400 mm in the north of the Magadan region to 800-900 mm in mountainous areas. In the main agricultural areas 500-700 mm falls, of which only 10% falls in winter. Frequent droughts are possible in spring and in the first half of summer, while in the second half – abundant precipitation, often accompanied by downpours.


Soils are represented by sod-podzolic, gleyey and meadow-gleyey varieties of heavy granulometric composition. Meadow-swamp and swampy soils are widespread in the lowland plains, peat-gleyey, light brown forest low-humus soils in the taiga-forest zone. Meadow black-earth-like soils with a thickness of the humus layer of 16-25 cm and the amount of humus of the arable layer of 6-10% are widespread in the Zeya-Bureya plain. Acidity (pHsalt) is 4.8-5.2.Fertile light alluvial soils are widespread in river valleys, and stony and rubbly soils on watersheds and gently sloping slopes.

In the south of the Far East, brown forest soils with humus content of up to 2.5% and phosphorus content of up to 2.5 mg/100 g with an acid reaction are spread on the Ussurian-Khanka and Sredne-Amurskaya plains along the ridges of hills.

Most soils of the Far East are characterized by heavy granulometric composition, with low content of organic matter and phosphorus, have an acidic reaction and weak structure. These properties cause poor water permeability, unsatisfactory water and nutrient regimes, the need for radical cultivation and the fight against water erosion. More than half of the arable lands of the Far East are periodically overwatered.


The relief of the Russian Far East is mostly flat and hilly, with the presence of accumulative depressions. Significant areas of arable land and natural forage lands are concentrated in the high part of the Zeya-Bureya plain and on gentle slopes. Soils in this area were formed in conditions of periodic overwetting, manifestation of water erosion and its deposits.


More than 80% of the land in the Far East is forested. Natural forage lands account for more than half of all agricultural lands. However, the yields of natural vegetation are low due to insufficient or lack of care for it. Cultural vegetation is represented by crops of spring cereals, rice, soybeans, potatoes, forage and vegetable crops.

The main tasks of the farming system

Tasks of the farming system in the Far East:

  • improving the structure of sown areas and the system of crop rotations,
  • improving the culture of farming and soil fertility,
  • creating a deep arable layer with a high state of cultivation and with optimal water-physical and agrochemical properties,
  • enriching the soil with organic matter and available plant nutrients,
  • reduction of acidity,
  • bilateral regulation of soil water regime (drainage, irrigation),
  • control of spring deficit and summer surplus of moisture,
  • prevention of water erosion of soil,
  • control of weed vegetation, pests and plant pathogens,
  • improving the state of cultivation of hayfields and pastures, increasing their productivity,
  • introduction of progressive intensive technologies of crops cultivation.

Improvement of the state of cultivation and fertility of the arable layer through the systematic application of organic fertilizers, phosphorus fertilizers and liming are of decisive importance.

Crop rotations system

Depending on soil and climatic conditions, specialization, and planting structure, in the Far East field, forage, and special crop rotations with the number of fields from three to nine are used: 4-6-field field rotations without perennial grasses, 6-9-field rotations with alfalfa, clover, and grass mixtures. A significant share of row crops in the structure of sown areas allows the wide use of cereal-grass-row (fruit-changing) crop rotation as the basis for crop rotation and intensification of farming.

Cereal-grass-row crop rotations may include soybeans, cereal crops, legumes grasses, primarily clover of one-year use. For example: 1 – clover, 2 – soybeans, 3 – wheat, 4 – soybeans, 5 – cereals with undersowing of clover. If perennial grasses are used for a longer period of time, they are cultivated in a withdrawal field.

Cereal-soybean crop rotations with inclusion of cereals, soybeans, clover, and annual grasses are applied in soils with heavy granulometric composition and susceptible to overwatering and siltation. These crops, except soybeans, finish vegetation before the period of heavy rains.

In Primorsky Krai, repeated (two- and three-year) sowing of rice, potato and corn in field and special crop rotations is widespread. The share of rice in crops in the steppe and forest-steppe parts of the Prikhanka lowland is up to 75%.

In the areas of soybean cultivation, it accounts for 25-40% of the arable area. Here grain and fallow fields or crop rotations are used:

  • 1 – bare or seeded fallow, 2 – wheat, 3 – soybeans, 4 – wheat or grain forage, 5 – soybeans;
  • 1 – bare or seeded fallow, 2 – wheat, 3 – soybeans, 4 – wheat or other cereals.

On light soils, cereal-soybean crop rotations may include corn, potatoes, sugar beets or other row crops: 1 – corn, 2 – wheat, 3 – soybeans, 4 – spring cereals, 5 – soybeans.

At the enterprises of rice specialization special rice crop rotations are introduced.

On-farm crop rotations mainly include fodder crops:

  • 1 – corn for silage, 2 – potatoes, 3 – root crops;
  • 1 – clover, 2 – corn, 3 – potatoes and root crops, 4 – silage, 5 – barley with undersowing of clover.

Vegetable crop rotations are selected taking into account zonal recommendations, specialization and production needs.

Tillage system

Taking into account soil and climatic conditions of the Far East (Russia), positive results are obtained by periodic, and in some cases repeated deep plowing with ploughs with skimmers to a depth of 25-27 cm and non-moldboard loosening. The efficiency is explained by the fact that the humus-accumulative layer of many soils of the Far East is not more than 16 cm, the subsoil layer is dense and poorly water-permeable.

The effectiveness of different-depth plowing in the conditions of the Far East is also confirmed by scientific research. It is applied to the depth of 22-24 cm for soybeans and 14-16 cm for wheat. Different-depth plowing also reduces the weed infestation of crops.

Great effect gives a deepening of the arable layer, subject to the introduction of organic and mineral fertilizers in crop rotations. For example, deepening of topsoil from 16-18 cm to 25 cm for three rotations in 9-field crop rotations with background of 120 tons of manure, 15,6 tons of lime and 469 kg of phosphorus resulted in increase of crop capacity during this period by 2-3 times.

Pre-sowing soil preparation for late crops, such as soybeans or corn, use multi-phase different-depth tillage. In addition to ploughing, the soil is cultivated in layers three times: the first – to a depth of 12-14 cm, the second – 8-10 cm and the third – 5-6 cm with reconsolidation. Such treatment allows to clean the field from weeds and improve the water and nutrient regimes of the seed layer.

To prevent development of water erosion, plowing on sloping lands is carried out after termination of abundant rainfall at an angle of 0,005-0,007 to the horizon. On long slopes runoff water is intercepted by drainage furrows. In 3-4 years deepening of arable layer by ploughs with deepeners or non-moldboard plough stands is carried out.

To divert excess water from the fields, the soil is mole-cutting or slitting is carried out. Soils subjected to wind erosion are subjected to flat-cut tillage, non-moldboard tillage or their alternation with plowing.

Pre-sowing tillage of soils prone to erosion is carried out particularly carefully. Cultivation is carried out crosswise, the second time necessarily across the slope.

In conditions of over-wetting the ridge-row technology of crops cultivation is highly effective.

Fertilizer system

Manure is the most important organic fertilizer for all regions of Russia. 1 ton of manure per rotation of field crop rotation allows to get 60-95 kg/ha additional fodder unit. In this case the cost of its preparation and application pays for itself within 1-2 years.

The efficiency of manure increases when it is applied in combination with mineral fertilizers.

Manure is brought in the first place under vegetable crops in a dose of 60 t/ha and potatoes – 40 t/ha with repeated introduction in 2 years. In field crop rotations, it is used once per rotation at a rate of 30-40 t/ha.

Litterless (liquid) manure also gives good results.

Peat in pure form as an organic fertilizer is ineffective. It is used to prepare peat manure, lime-bacterial, peat-phosphorite, peat-phosphorite-lime composts. Lime must be thoroughly mixed into the organic mass. The size of the base of piles 3-4 m, height up to 2 m.

Peat composts are used mainly in forage crop rotations. In potato and vegetable crop rotations they are alternated with manure.

Soybean and clover straw is used as a green fertilizer, plowing them in late August and early September.

Mineral fertilization in the Far East allows increasing the yield by 25-70%. Cereal crops, potatoes, corn, vegetable crops, cereal perennial grasses and, under favorable weather conditions, soybeans are particularly responsive.

The main fertilizer is applied under autumn tillage, during spring cultivation or deep non-moldboard loosening. During the sowing fertilizer is applied in the rows, during the care of crops in the form of top dressing.

In the fertilizer systems in the Amur region the basic fertilizer is made under the plowing or locally to a depth of 8-15 cm by grain-(fertilizer)mixture seeders or combined machines design All-Russian Research Institute of Soybean. For fertilizing cereals and perennial grasses, grain-(fertilizer)mixture seeders are used; for row crops, cultivators are used.

Liming of acidic soils is one of the most important methods of the fertilizer system in the Far East, which increases soil fertility and efficiency of mineral fertilizers. Lime is applied in the summer and autumn, after harvesting fallow-occupying and cereal crops or before plowing clover and soy-sideral fertilizers.

To improve the phosphorus nutrient regime of acidic soils, phosphate meal is used in a dose of 1-2 t/ha.

Microfertilizers have an important role in increasing crop yield. For example, the treatment of soybean seeds with ammonium molybdate solution at a rate of 50-100 grams of salt per hectare seed rate increases the yield by 0.2 t/ha. The introduction of 7-12 kg/ha of borax (sodium tetraborate) increases potato yields by 10-24%, increasing the starchiness of tubers.

Bacterial fertilizers such as nitragin, rhizotorfin are effective when used in soybean-cereal crop rotations. The yield of soybean seeds increases by 0.08-0.3 t/ha when nitragin is used in the Amur region.

Plant protection system

The Russian Far East is characterized by a complex type of weed infestation, dominated by perennial weeds, of which the most harmful are: thistles (Sonchus), Artemisia (Artemisia), couch grass (Elytrigia repens).

In the system of plant protection against pests and diseases in the crops of cereals are carried out harrowing and treated with rapidly degradable pesticides in accordance with the technology of cultivation. Harrowing is performed during mass growth of weeds, optimally – in the period of full sprouts of cultivated plants before their tillering.

The following pests and diseases are widespread in the Far East: meadow moth, potato moth, soybean moth, soybean nematode, white rot of soybean, fusariosis of cereals and soybean, dust bunt, potato phytophthora, different types of rust.

The system of plant protection against weeds, pests and pathogens includes all extermination and preventive methods.

Crop rotation is a biological (cultural) method of controlling pests, diseases and weeds. Thus, when returning soybeans to their previous place in the rotation after 2-3 years, it allows to minimize their damage.

The main, pre-sowing and inter-row tillage are the methods of agrotechnical method of protection system. They allow to reduce the infestation of cultural plants by diseases and pests by 15-30%.

Chemical method of plant protection is used to control: meadow moth, blister, bread flea, gophers and pathogens such as dusty mildew, brown rust, helminthosporiosis, fusarium, in some years stem rust.


Farming. Textbook for universities / G.I. Bazdyrev, V.G. Loshakov, A.I. Puponin et al. – Moscow: Publishing House “Kolos”, 2000. – 551 с.