The first soybean crop in Srem

In a partner company, “Sremkoop MJM” in Sremska Mitrovica, we talked to its owner, Mr. Milenko Jovelić.

When was the company Sremkoop MJM established?

My wife and I started working in agriculture 25 years ago, when I inherited 25 - 30 acres from my father and my grandfather. Since it was a small farm which we cultivated very fast, we wanted to do something more, and in 1989 we established STR animal feed, and in 1992 the company Sremkoop MJM which still exists.

What area and what crops do you cultivate?

We currently cultivate about 100 ha. This area increases to 200 ha, depending on the year; what we do not change are 4 crops: soybean, wheat, sugar beet and maize, which are mainly equally represented. In cooperation, we are cultivating soybean on another 200-300ha on the territory of Kuzmin, Laćarak, Martinci. We have adequate mechanisation: 3 tractors, sowing machine, trailer truck, spade ploughs, combine harvester for beets and grains...

Your company has been a pioneer in several fields, from employment of new systems for land cultivation, monitoring of traceability, but you have also been a pioneer in the production of soybean in this region. How did you get the idea and courage to start soybean production?

We used to grow only wheat, maize, sugar beat, but I decided to “experiment” and start something new. The first field sown with soybean in this area was my field, when people did not even know what soybean looks like, and not to speak about the way it was cultivated, while today, soybean is sown in Srem on a surface area of about 25,000 ha. With the production of soybean, the thing that is sure is the buyer, which cannot be said for maize and wheat. Each year, our cooperative hands over every grain of soybean to the Sojaprotein factory which is a member of Victoria Group. This is cooperation that has lasted for more than 20 years. Approximately 40%-50% is exchanged for soybean meal, since the manufacturers are engaged in husbandry, and the remaining quantity is sold.

You are open for cooperation and education. What is your cooperation with the expert team of Victoria Logistic?

You are right, I want to improve, expand my knowledge, to hear what the novelties in agriculture are. I gladly visit presentations on new ways of soil tillage, sowing, mechanisation, and I also organise them. This year, from the agricultural expert service from Sremska Mitrovica, which is in charge of our county, we received a field register, i.e. register of agricultural production, where all our plots and work on them are marked. New laws and requirements placed before the farmers for accession to the EU impose the necessity of keeping the field register. I will certainly strive to comply with everything and, at the same time, convey it to the people in my surroundings who also want and have to do the same.

Have you made soil analyses?

I have made soil analyses this year and I obeyed the Agroteam advice. Fertil is a factory within Victoria Group and I applied their mineral fertiliser. We do not throw the fertiliser, we apply it. For example, we used to apply the 15:15:15 fertiliser, but this year are applying Fertil’s Natura 24, i.e. 5:24:16 since there was excess potassium in the part where my fields had it in surplus and there was lack of phosphorus.

What do you think about the “About Our Land” bulletin and the Agroteam Call Centre?

I receive and I read the bulletin regularly. There, one can really find the most current topics, problems, advice what to do, in a word, anything a farmer needs. I think that the bulletin should reach every single farmer, since young people more often decide to stay in the village, to be engaged in agriculture, and on the other hand, they are eager to get more knowledge. I have not used the Call Centre since I have daily contact with people from Victoria Agroteam, but it is certain that the Call Centre is useful and that it should be used.

What are your plans for the future?

I think that one can live from agriculture. I also think that one should not overdo with the area that is cultivated. The area of 100-200 ha that I cultivate is quite sufficient. I may start again, engaging myself in animal husbandry given that my son has grown up and is willing to help me. I estimate is that you need a day of work for an acre of land. 300 acres, 300 days of work, and a man can have as much as he needs.