Hungary

Spiel Mix KFT, Hungary

About the farm

Started in

1990

Livestock

300-500 sheep (on the family farm)

Personnel

20 staff

Area under cultivation

1,160 ha, including

295 ha soya

255 ha winter wheat

160 ha sunflowers

145 ha winter rape

95 ha maize

90 ha sweetcorn

45 ha seed maize

45 ha winter barley

30 ha spelt

Soil type

Black earth (chernozem)/Danube alluvium

Annual rainfall

550 – 600 mm

CLAAS machinery

2x LEXION 540

1x LEXION 650

SCORPION 7030

SCORPION 7045

AXION 810

ARION 640

ARION 530

ARION 520

ARION 420

ARES 697

About Hungary

Population

Approx. 9.9 million

Total area

9,303 million ha (22,988 million acres)

Area under cultivation

Approx. 5,337 million hectares (approx 13,188 million acres)

Number of farms

Approx. 576,000

The climatic conditions and soil along the Danube are ideal for soya plants.

 

Nowadays, Árpád Bártfais is passionate about soya growing and is convinced that "our country is fundamentally capable of meeting its own needs in terms of soya-based feeds, just as it did in the 1980s. It would take just under 300,000 hectares. There would be enough suitable land." The climatic conditions and soil along the Danube – the home of the Spiel-Mix Kft. farm which 37-year old Árpád and his father-in-law run together – are ideal for soya plants. In Hungary the area under soya is currently 40,000 to 80,000 hectares, yielding an average of 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes. Nevertheless, most of the soya is exported. "We currently sell our soya to Germany or Holland where it is mixed with  GMO (genetically modified organism) soya and sent back to us in Hungary  as animal feed," explains Árpád Bártfai. Sighing, he adds: "It's so difficult to understand." Hungary is committed to growing GMO-free soya, and this is even laid down in the Hungarian constitution. What's more, Hungary and seven other countries belong to the 'Danube Soya Initiative' and in 2012 they signed a declaration confirming their intention to grow GMO-free soya, based on the growing demand for non-genetically-modified soya for food and feed production in Europe. Árpád Bártfai believes that a processing industry is likely to develop in the future, further reducing dependence on South American soya. This father-of-three has a vision for the future which combines these elements: the coming together of Hungarian soya producers and the construction of a factory to produce non-GM soya-based feeds.

The CLAAS machines make sure that things run smoothly during drilling, harvesting and other agricultural work around the farm.

 

For their highly varied farm work, the two men consider it important to have machines that can cope with this variety and the high technical demands. CLAAS machines have formed the backbone of their machinery fleet for many years. "There are two reasons for this," explains Árpád Bártfai: "quality and reliability." Plus the fact that the CLAAS dealer, a company called Axiál, is just 25 kilometres from the farm. Six CLAAS tractors, three LEXION combine harvesters and two SCORPION telehandlers make sure that things run smoothly during drilling, harvesting and other agricultural work around the farm. Árpád Bártfai is convinced: "Agriculture still has plenty of unexploited potential. Nowadays we no longer talk about which seed we should drill with which machine, but about the technology that networks everything and how phones, apps, etc. make life easier for farmers." He and his father-in-law have now divided up the work on the farm: László Gallo is responsible for the day-to-day work and crop protection while Árpád Bártfai does the office work, takes care of farm/fleet management and new technologies and is responsible for the staff. Árpád Bártfai feels that it is important for them each to have their own area of responsibility which the other one doesn't interfere with. There was some doubt about whether the collaboration between the two men would work. But despite – or perhaps because of – the differences in their characters they have now gelled into a good team. "I can count the number of times we've argued over the last ten years on two fingers," says Árpád Bártfai. "I think I've learnt the ropes in this brilliant but very difficult profession to the best of my abilities. It's a very different line of business but I love it. I'm sure anybody who does this job will know what I mean."


Picture gallery


Making-of – Behind the scenes