While perusing the Admission Document (similar to our initial public offering document and yes, CPAs do like to read these documents for fun) for Continental Farmers Group PLC, I noticed that the company farms about 52,000 acres (20,840 hectares) in Western Ukraine. These 52,000 acres are covered by almost 17,000 individual leases (about 3 acres per lease). In order to keep track of and document these leases, five full-time employees are required.
The yields for the company compare very favorably to yields in the U.S. For example, its wheat yields were as high as 80 bu./acre in the Ukraine in 2008 and an impressive 120-plus bu./acre on its Polish holdings in 2008. The lowest yield it had in the last three years in Poland (for 2008 to 2010) was still almost 100 bu./acre.
Potatoes in the Ukraine averaged about 15 tons/acre and sugar beet yields were in the 20 to 25 tons/acre range. Some of the best "black earth" is in the Ukraine and about 95% of the country is considered flat.
Revenues grew from about $10 million in 2008 to more than $30 million in 2010, with profits of almost $5 million in 2010.
I know of some farmers who have upwards of 25 landlords, but the idea of having almost 1,000 times that amount is daunting. I think we will continue to see more companies like Continental Farmers Group going into Ukraine and other countries to bring more up-to-date farming practices to bear. The efficiencies may have a dramatic effect on overall yields in these countries. The world is getting flatter, and they will continue to catch up to the U.S. farmer.