Almost 60 years of tradition, 8,500 hectares of land intended for cultivation, 9,000 head of cattle – this is how Kombinat Rolny Kietrz in the voivodship presents itself in a nutshell. Opolskie, one of the most important farms in the country. What is the reason for the success of KR Kietrz? Good management, great work organization, use of proven solutions, but also openness to changes and modern technologies tested on your farm.
Many years of tradition
Kombinat Rolny Kietrz is not only one of the largest and dynamically operating farms in Poland, but also a company with great traditions. Kombinat started its activity in 1961 and it was the second such a large agricultural enterprise in Poland, which included 8 agricultural plants operating on the area of 5,877 ha, located in the south of the province. Opole, right on the border with the then Czechoslovakia. In 1969, the ninth farm was added – it is a farm of the State Farms Ściborzyce Wielkie. In the following years, the plant obligatorily took over land from the land fund and partly from the purchase from individual farmers. The combine was developing dynamically, increasing the ownership of not only land, but also fixed assets, while introducing innovation and progress in production, and improved the methods of management and organization of work. In 2013, the Hucul Horse Stud in Gładyszów was incorporated into the combine, thus extending the scope of activity to another area of agricultural production.
The largest farm and the leading employer in the region
The scale of the combine’s operations today is also impressive. KR Kietrz is a real company operating in many areas.
– The area intended for cultivation is almost 8,500 ha, where we grow winter wheat, sugar beet, maize, winter oilseed rape and plants for fodder. Almost 1,500 ha of sugar beet cultivation means that we do not have the slightest problem with crop rotation, being the largest beet producer both in Poland and in the European Union. The average size of the field is about 100 ha – describes Marek Oblicki, plant production director of the Kietrz Agricultural Combine.
Currently, the combine is one of 41 strategic companies belonging to the National Center for Agricultural Support.
The infrastructure is also adapted to the enormous scale of cultivation.
– Central warehouse with a capacity of about 70 thousand. tonnes allows us not only to store the crops harvested in the plant, but also those purchased from local farmers (mainly maize and rape). This opens up great opportunities and has a great impact on our performance. In summer and autumn, we practically work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Then we switch to a two-shift mode, and a special service takes care of the technical condition of the machines. Refueling and replacement of operators takes place while working in the field – says Mariusz Sikora, president of the management board of Kombinat Rolnego Kietrz.
KR Kietrz has been one of the most important employers in the region for years, employing over 300 people on a permanent basis. Although the labor market in the agricultural sector faces many challenges every year, there are many people willing to work in Kietrz – the plant enjoys a good reputation as an employer.
A liter for each Pole
The second very important branch of activity is dairy production. In total, about 9,000 head of cattle (including about 3,700 dairy cows) are located in three locations: Pilszcz, Krotoszyn and Langów. This, in turn, guarantees as much as 108 thousand. liters of milk each day, KR Kietrz farms produce approx. 39 million liters of milk a year each year. This means that within twelve months a statistical Pole could drink a liter of milk from this farm a year. The milk is shipped to the Danone company and to the dairy in Włoszczowa.
Interestingly, apart from typically agricultural activities, KR runs its own petrol station, making it available to residents, and even sells heat generated by its own heating plant.
Reliable machines are essential
Over the last dozen or so years, the plant has undergone many changes – both in terms of infrastructure and the machines and technologies used in everyday work, which had a significant impact on the efficiency of the works carried out. More than PLN 200 million was spent on infrastructure, making the farm in the Opolskie Voivodeship today a key agricultural enterprise in the country.
One of the most important aspects influencing the day-to-day operation of KR Kietrz is the reliability of agricultural machinery, especially tractors. There are 126 tractors in total, 40 of which are John Deere models. Why was it decided that this particular brand should be present in such large numbers, especially in field work?
- Each farmer chooses the most optimal solution for himself. We use tractors of various brands, but our experience shows that John Deere proved to be the best – says Wojciech Kwaśnik, mechanization director at Kombinata Rolny Kietrz. – First of all, in our field conditions, which are not easy, these tractors perform very well, they are durable, and you have to remember that during periods of intense field work they have to work continuously for many days and nights. Such a model example is the 8400, which worked 36,000 hours without engine overhaul. It is a sensation.
Secondly, the ongoing care and cooperation of the dealer from our region, Chempest from Rudnik, is also very important for us, thanks to which we can count on specialized service if necessary, but also flexibility in subsequent purchases if the fleet needs to be expanded.
Third, the comfort and intuitive operation of John Deere tractors is at a high level, which means that young operators learn quickly. We try to be faithful to the brands in order to perform basic service as quickly as possible, such as changing filters or oil – adds the director of mechanization.
Openness to new technologies, e.g. in the field of precision farming or completely new directions of cultivation, such as soybean, but also the constant expansion of the scope of activities allows the management of the plant to look to the future with optimism.