Machine-Tractor Station MTS

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Machine-Tractor Station (MTS)


a large state socialist agricultural enterprise equipped with machines for technical and organizational assistance to kolkhozes. The MTS’s concentrated supplies of basic farm machinery, such as tractors and combines, to serve kolkhozes.

The first MTS was formed in 1928 from the tractor fleet of the Shevchenko Sovkhoz in Berezovka Raion, Odessa Oblast. Extensive construction of MTS’s began after the June 5, 1929, decree of the Council of Labor and Defense entitled “On the Organization of Machine-Tractor Stations.” Kolkhozes were served by MTS’s on a contract basis. The main working unit of the MTS was the tractor brigade. MTS’s played a very important part in the struggle for the socialist reconstruction of the countryside, in the establishment and consolidation of the kolkhoz system, in strengthening the alliance of the working class and peasantry, and in creating a closer working relationship between the city and countryside. (See Table 1 for data on the development of the MTS’s.)

Table 1. Development of MTS’s
Number of MTS’s
(end of year)
Number of tractors
(in 15-hp units)
Work performed
(in terms of hectares

With the organizational and economic strengthening of the kolkhozes, production and technical service through the MTS’s no longer met the requirements for developing the productive forces of agriculture. The February 1958 Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the CPSU recognized the necessity of a transition from the former system of providing production and technical service to kolkhozes through the MTS’s to the sale of machinery directly to the kolkhozes and reorganization of the MTS’s as maintenance and repair stations. The recommendations of the Plenary Session were made law by the decisions of the First Session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of the fifth convocation (March 1958). In 1958-59 the kolkhozes bought 32 billion rubles’ worth of tractors, machines, and equipment (including 18 billion rubbles’ worth that had previously been used at the MTS’s).

The Soviet experience in the construction of MTS’s during the organization of large-scale socialist agricultural production has been used in numerous other socialist countries in conformity with their historical conditions and characteristics of agricultural development.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.