Crop Cultivation, Polar

Crop Cultivation, Polar


the raising of crops in the polar regions of the USSR.

In 1923, the agronomist I. G. Eikhfel’d established an experimental field at the base of the Khibiny Mountains on the Kola Peninsula. It later became the Polar Experimental Station, the first scientific polar crop cultivation center in the USSR. In 1929 the large Industriia sovkhoz was established in the same area.

During the 1930’s, the Nar’ian-Mar, Iamal, Igarka, and other experimental stations and points were set up in the North, and in 1937 became part of the system of the Scientific Research Institute of Polar Crop Cultivation and Livestock Breeding (now the Scientific Research Institute of Agriculture of the Far North, in Noril’sk). At the same time, sovkhozes, part-time farms, and kolkhozes were founded in the North. The Kola, Komi, and Yakut branches of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR also study polar crop cultivation. The total sown area in the Far North of the USSR was 14 hectares (ha) in 1926 and approximately 50,000 ha in 1973.

Plots on southern or southwestern slopes are used for polar crop cultivation. A system of land- and soil-improvement procedures prepares the plots for cultivation: drainage, irrigation, uprooting of shrubs, removal of stones, and setting up of windbreaks. To create more favorable hydrothermal conditions, crops are grown on crests and ridges. In the northern taiga, forest-tundra, and moss-shrub tundra zones, only fast-maturing and cold-resistant varieties of potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, radishes, green vegetables, perennial grasses, and barley and oats for fresh fodder are raised in fields. Farther north, in the arctic tundra, vegetables are raised in hotbeds and hothouses, while green crops, radishes, oats, and grasses are raised on open soil.

Soil tillage involves moldboard plowing or disking with a heavy harrow, regular deep plowing without a moldboard, cultivation, and packing. Fertilizer is applied annually to all fields, from 60–80 tons per ha of manure or compost for primary crops to 100–150 tons/ha when preparing the soil for cultivation. Mineral fertilizers are used in amounts 1½ to two times greater than amounts used in the middle belt of the USSR. Other methods utilized are sprouting of potatoes and hardening of seedlings grown in peat-humus blocks. Yields produced in polar crop cultivation in the USSR are up to 150 quintals per ha of potatoes (300–400 at leading sovkhozes and at experimental stations), 600–800 quintals/ha of cabbage (up to 1,000), 20-60 qu/ha of cereal-grass hay, and 25-40 kg/sq m of vegetables in hothouses.

Polar crop cultivation is practiced abroad in Norway in Finn-mark and Troms counties, in Sweden (Norrbotten), and in Finland (Lappi). The primary crops are fodder (grasses and root crops), potatoes, cabbage, and carrots.


Vavilov, N. I. Problemy severnogo zemledeliia. Leningrad, 1931.
Eikhfel’d, I. G. Bor’ba za Krainii Sever. Leningrad, 1933.
Ivanovskii, A. I. Sel’skokhoziaistvennoe osvoenie Krainego Severa. Moscow, 1958.
Sistema vedeniia sel’skogo khoziaistva v Iakutskoi ASSR. Yakutsk, 1968.
Sel’skokhoziaistvennoe osvoenie Severa SSSR., vol. 1. Novosibirsk, 1973.