May 2013 AgriService Moldova Trip Report
Les Yoder was in Moldova April 26 until May 17. Herb Graybill and David Huffman came May 2 and returned May 12. Michael Caraivan and Les picked Herb and David up at the airport about 1 pm on Friday May 2 and drove immediately to Dancu where they were waiting to start planting sunflower.
There was barley planted late last fall as a cover crop, and there wasn’t a great stand, but at least there was something. It was decided to wait and burn down the cover crop until planting so that we could get maximum growth. Planting was delayed by 2 weeks later than optimum because this was the first time the planter had been used to plant sunflower, and they wanted us to be there so that everything would be done properly.
Peter had the planter ready to go – we thought – and we made some adjustments to the fertilizer rate and checked to see if the planter was planting properly. We messed around for about an hour trying to get the population right. It turns out that the soybean cups are not right for planting sunflowers like we were told. When we finally switched back to the corn fingers, we got the population what we wanted – about 24,000 seeds per acre.
Burn-down with glyphosate was being done just prior to planting. Control a week later was decent, with a few skips. When we checked back a week later, the sunflowers had emerged well where there was no cover crop, and was just emerging where there was cover. A beetle called “Long Nose” was chewing on a lot of emerging sunflowers, and we noticed considerable damage on other fields that we had be looking at through-out the country. We suggested that they spray. Next year we need to have the insecticide boxes working and look for a granular insecticide to apply at planting.
On Saturday morning we went to Iablona to plant corn. Nicolae had a nice growth of barley on 5 hectares, and 1½ hectares without any cover crop. When we got there they were working on the sprayer, it being the first time it was being used this spring. They had punched a hole in the diaphrams because there wasn’t enough pressure to get a good spray pattern. This was partially due to the fact that the filter was clogged, and maybe the pump wasn’t working properly. After about an hour of messing around with the sprayer, it was decided to hook up to the planter. I stressed the importance of getting the spraying done that day, not waiting until the next week.
Peter had taken the planter up from Dancu late Friday night. Along the way he lost one of the lids to a seed box. Other years he had either taken the lids off or put a strap across them, but didn’t bother this time. We must get a replacement lid. It was quite an ordeal to get the planter unloaded, hoses switched and hooked up and ready to plant. It was not an ideal situation, only having one tractor to do all of the work. But once planting started, it went very well. We ate some lunch there, and then headed to Vadul lui Isac about 3 pm.
We were able to pick up David’s lost luggage at the airport on our way thru, Herb’s not getting to Moldova for a couple of days later. We arrived at Michael’s about 9 pm., ate some supper then staggered off to bed. Sunday was Easter, and the holiday lasted until Tuesday. We went to church twice on Sunday and Monday, and only once on Tuesday morning. We had a good chance to get to know people in Michael’s church.
Wednesday morning we traveled back to Chisinau, where we visited the Russian Embassy, looking into the possibility of me getting a visa to Russia after my time in Moldova. After realizing that there wasn’t enough time for me to get a visa, we went to the outdoor art market, and then met Eugen Tataru from Moldova Dairy Farm Service Agency. We made plans to meet with him and his staff on Friday Morning.
Thursday morning, May 9, was a holiday celebrating the end of World War II. We knew that our ability to make contacts would be limited, but prayed for Divine Appointments before we left that morning. We went to the Seed Institute where the offices were closed. During a parking lot impromptu lesson on legumes – digging up alfalfa, clover and vetch to look at roots and nodules – a man stopped to see what we were up to. When we explained who we were and what we were looking for, he invited us to go back to the warehouse and processing facility as there were some people there.
We stopped to talk to a group of men talking outside the facility. Again, explaining who we were and what we were interested in, a man came forward and introduced himself as the director of the institute. We spent some time talking to him, and then he asked if we would be interested in taking a tour of his research plot. We quickly agreed, and Vasile gave us a grand tour of his plot with current and new hybrids they are working with, along with some product from Pioneer and Syngenta. When I expressed interest in other seeds, alfalfa, clover and anything that might be considered for a cover crop, he informed us that he had been the director of the other seed institute in Balti, and he made contact with the current director to set up a meeting the following week to visit there.
Vasile – Director of the Seed Institute – gave us a tour of his research plots at the Institute.
Ion Boaghii – Scientific Secretary, Doctor of Agricultural Sciences. Has conducted trials with various tillage methods, cover crops, cropping systems since 1967.
Sergiu Cosman – Chief of Laboratory of Feeding and Forage Technology, Doctor in Agriculture at Scientifical and Practical Institute of BioTechnologies in Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medicine. Has a passion for dairy nutrition, and will give a tour of his facility when I visit in August. He will give me a data base of forage information, and wants to know what type of forage tests are needed to be able to run dairy rations.
Eugen Tataru and Ana Rusu – Moldova Dairy Farm Service Agency. This contact was made because I shared the vision of AgConnect Ministries with a friend and business contact in Wisconsin. He shared it with a co-worker who knew of a person from Wisconsin who has been working in Moldova. Bob Binversie helped form MDFSA, and has been heavily involved in trying to start a strong dairy industry in Moldova. Eugen is a doctor who realized the potential for agriculture to be a thriving business, and with Bob’s help, has built an organization that is focused on genetic, equipment and housing. He needs help with bringing new products and technologies to the Moldovan dairy industry, along with nutritional technical support. Ana Rusu is the Project Manager, and is the one who gets things done.
Mihail Cocieru – has a small pellet mill, an extruder, and an oil press. Would like to start a feed manufacturing facility. Good man with vision of potential opportunities marketing feed to multi-species not only in Moldova, but also into Romania and the Ukraine.
Petru Mihov – manager Terra-Vitis, 1,800 hectare farm, with seed wheat, alfalfa, orchards, vineyards, 600 sheep and 240 dairy animals, 105 milking 15 liters per day.
Dumitru Cotet – Ion Semmert’s friend, farming 300 hectares
Tudor Gisca – agronomist
Ion ? – farmer, wants to start a dairy, interested in No-Till, onion grower
Costa ? – largest farmer in southern Moldova, interested in No-Till