It's all about commitment

While visiting Serbia and the Ćalić Agrar farm, we encounter Lazar Ćalić at work – and in his natural environment – in a vast grain field, operating a combine harvester, loading a Durus tipper with wheat.


“The key to success in farming is hard work.”

Lazar Čalič

Two main operations

The very beginnings of the Ćalić Agrar farm from Novi Karlovci in the south of Vojvodina in Serbia date back to the 19th century, when the foundations of today’s operations were laid by the father of Aleksa Ćalić, which were upgraded to their present level by his son and successor of the farm, Lazar Ćalić, who ensured that they are recognizable today by the whole of Vojvodina and Serbia. Their primary operation is agriculture and the provision of services. In the fields, they have 400 hectares of land planted with five classic crops – corn, wheat, barley, sunflowers and turnips and rapeseed – which they also distribute evenly and adjust as necessary depending on the yields per hectare of land. In addition to this, in recent years they have been providing more and more services – both for sowing and harvesting – and have been very successful. Up to 500 hectares are processed annually. “The most important thing in this business is reliability. Clients just don’t want to wait. The crops don’t wait either. When we receive an order, we go into action,” says Lazar and sticks to it, as services are high on the list of priorities. This is the only way to gain the client’s trust. Most of them work within a radius of 30 km from their headquarters, but there are some exceptions where the fields are even further away.

His own boss

Just like the nature and sheer variety of the work, the Ćalić family rarely rests. Work is carried out only by family members – that is, Lazar, father Aleksa and brother Predrag. “We are a small and close-knit team that does most of the work ourselves, which requires effort, good organization, modern mechanization, many sacrifices and many sleepless hours,” says Lazar and adds, that during peak season, if necessary, other machinists from their area come to help, all with the aim that the work really will be finished in the agreed time. “When I think about it, being a farmer is hard and tiring, but I’m used to it, because I’ve been involved in it since I was young. And despite everything, I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” says the young farmer and owner Lazar Ćalić, who already knew as a child that he would be a farmer. “In our industry, everything depends on dedication and persistence. The right decisions, a set goal, willingness and hard, hard work are important. We work really hard and sometimes it seems that we succeed in doing the impossible,« he adds proudly.


Two instead of ten

Until 2018, Lazar had no major experience with Farmtech products, but of course the brand is still well known on the Serbian market. “At that time, I was looking for a robust, durable and reliable tipper that would replace several smaller classic tippers, but at the same time provide the same transport volume. There were several brands and several models in play, but I found everything required and more in the perfectly equipped Durus 2000S side tipper,” says Lazar Ćalić, who does not regret his decision. “Incredibly, the tipper performed 560 transports in its first year! And without major problems or complications,” he says praisingly and emphasizes: “The tipper rides well, is stable on all surfaces, built for durability and practically as strong as a tank! It’s practical for year-round use and transport of all raw materials, and it also has a cool look.” In 2020, due to additional needs and an increase in services, he repeated the investment, so that he now has two Durus 2000S dump tippers in his fleet, which have practically replaced 10 classic tippers, for which, in principle, as many as five tractors and machine operators would be needed. With dump tippers, I would also like a camera for a better rear view, and they will already be available as an option in the new series.


Optimization leads to progress

Lazar is constantly thinking about how to improve his work on the farm. He’s constantly investing in fleet upgrades where necessary and possible, as this was not the case in the past. “We had outdated machinery and too many employees, which made us uncompetitive. We tried to optimize capacities in all areas, and choosing the correct modern mechanization contributed to this,” says Lazar, who thinks that nowadays a lot depends on mechanization, which saves a lot of hard work. “The better the mechanization, the easier, more comfortable and more efficient it is to cultivate the land. This is the only way to reap success in the long term. But it is also true that stakes have increased enormously in recent years,« he adds, but in the same breath, he realizes that they are necessary for progress. It was his modern approach and investment in modern machinery that helped the farm develop and specialize. The constant increase in services has led to the need for transport services also increasing. And so, just one day after our visit, two new ZDK 1400 double-axle tippers, purchased through the Farmtech dealer Inter-Agrar from Čenej, arrived at the farm, and became part of the fleet. “We trust in the brand and its quality, so the decision was easy,” says Lazar. “We’ll be testing the tippers the very same day, when we take them directly to one of the fields. This should take some weight off both Durus tippers,« he jokes.


New approach

Lazar says that he is not too worried about the future. Even the expanded operations were not planned. He doesn’t spend much time thinking about this year’s prices, and just hopes for a good harvest. “This year’s yields per hectare are not bad, so we are optimistic. We are hoping for better and more stable prices and, of course, good support from the state, so that the season can get definitely resolved,« he adds optimistically and reminds that every season is different, more unpredictable. At the same time, in recent years, they’ve had to depend on the weather far too often . “We know how fertile the soil in our area around the Danube river is, but the weather has been too bad for us in recent years,” he says. He likes to share his joy of farming with the rest of the world on social networks. As a service provider, he is aware of the importance of self-promotion, so he actively creates content that promotes his operation and offers insight into his everyday life. “For me, digital media are tools that relax me, but at the same time allow me to reach new areas that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. That’s how I met quite a few people whom I now consider friends – including Farmtech employees,” he likes to emphasize. This year, he is also among the candidates for the competition for the best young farmer organized by the Association of Young Farmers of Serbia. “I just signed up because I have nothing to lose. But, of course I do hope that I will win,” says Lazar confidently with a smile on his face as he’s already rushing back to the harvester.

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