The Altai Krai is the breadbasket not only for Siberia, but also for the country. The region is the largest grain producer in the Russian Federation. The region has a high potential in the field of agricultural production.
The total area of agricultural purpose lands amounts to 11.6 million ha, including agricultural lands – 10.6 million ha; the arable land area amounts to 6.5 million ha; this is the largest arable land area among the regions of the Russian Federation.
Occupying only 4% of the Siberian land area and having about 12% of the Siberian population, the region produces a fifth of the agricultural products of the Siberian Federal District.
The region has seven soil-climatic zones that range from steppe to foothills. The diverse soil and climatic conditions enables to grow a large variety of crops in the region.
The main areas in crop production are grain production, forage production, the cultivation of fiber flax, soybe
an and other crops. Commercial gardening and vegetable production are well-developed.
Crop products make about 45% of the total volume of farming product sales.
The area under crops on the farms of all types amounts to 5.4-5.5 million ha every year, including the areas under cereals and legumes – up to 3.8 million ha, and industrial crops – more than 620 thousand ha. Yearly, forage crops occupy over one million ha.
In terms of grain production volumes and, above all, high-quality wheat grain
Cereal crops are of great importance for livestock breeding as a raw material for formula feed production. Grain is also a raw material for brewing and alcohol distillation., the region is in the top five regions of the country. The grain produced in the region is mostly used for flour milling and groats production by the local processing enterprises.
The Altai Krai is the largest producer of sunflower oil-seeds in the Siberian Federal District, it accounts for about 90% of this production.
The Altai Krai is the only region from the Urals to the Far East that produces sugar beets.
Buckwheat production has become one of the cost-effective farming activities in the eastern and foothill areas of the Altai Krai. Every year, the percentage of the Altai Krai in the Russian total buckwheat production makes 40-50%.
The climatic conditions of the region make it possible to grow potatoes and vegetables. Every year the farms of all types produce 800-900 thousand tons of potatoes, and 220-240 thousand tons of vegetables; this enables not only to fully meet the requirements of the region, but also to export significant volumes of potatoes and vegetables.
Gardening is also developed in the Altai Krai. The main growers of fruits and berries are the farms of the population. They produce more than 80% of fruits and berries and occupy more than 70% of the area under orchards and berry fields. The area under orchards and berry fields makes 12.3 thousand ha. Every year up to 18 thousand tons of fruits and berries are produced. The most promising direction of this industry is sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) cultivation. Sea-buckthorn occupies about 80% of the total area under orchards and berry fields. The volumes of a sea-buckthorn product – sea-buckthorn oil concentrate, are also considerable. About 75% of this product is produced in the Altai Krai. Medicinal products based on sea-buckthorn, natural juices and other products are exported to the European part of Russia and the CIS countries.
Owing to the developments of the Research Institute of Gardening in Siberia named after M.A. Lisavenko, the developed varieties of fruit, berry and ornamental plants, gardening is widespread not only in the region but also beyond. The best varieties developed in the Altai Krai are released in 50 regions of the Russian Federation.