At the 37th sitting, held on 15 November, the members of the Subcommittee for Monitoring the Agricultural Situation in the Marginal - Most Undeveloped Areas in the Republic of Serbia discussed the sowing of winter crops in underdeveloped areas.
The Subcommittee members discussed the issue with Velimir Stanojevic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, Milan Cupic, Ministry representative in charge of agricultural policy, and Prof. Dr Miroslav Malesevic.
Subcommittee Chairman Milija Miletic said that the fact that the three rainless months Serbia have disrupted the sowing primarily of wheat, but also barley and other winter crops. No sowing was attempted on a lot of land in underdeveloped areas because of the lack of rain as well as mechanisation. He added that the sowing of winter cultures would require about 30ml/m2 of rainfall. The price of diesel and the high costs of the sowing also contribute to the dire situation, as well as the use of undeclared seed. According to the latest reports, about 480,000 ha in Serbia remain unsown which is 10% less than in previous years, which will affect next year’s yield. Miletic added that though the season is over sowing should go on, especially in the Nisava District, where so far less than 40,000 ha have been sown.
State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Velimir Stanojevic agreed that the autumn has been warm and dry and in October cereals were sown into dry topsoil. The sown areas differ from region to region and this year’s plan to sow 600,000 ha of wheat has so far resulted in only 400,000 ha of sown land across the country. Through the optimal period for sowing is over, sowing should go on, but he fears this would impact next year’s yield. The situation is similar with rye, oat and barley, with the exception of oilseed rape which had been sown in a greater quantity this year.
Milan Cupic, Ministry representative bin charge of agricultural policy, said that once again sowing has been completed on only half of the land planned within the set period, however the situation is even worse this year due to the drought. He also believes that the sowing should be continued as long as possible though the optimal period is over.
Prof. Dr Miroslav Malesevic agreed with the estimates of his colleagues from the Ministry, stressing that an autumn such as this one is unprecedented. The drought Serbia is experiencing is affecting all of Europe with the lack of ground water reserves being the most troubling issue there. This will be felt not only by the winter crops, but the young perennials with the combination of high temperatures and low humidity being the biggest problem as it prevents the plants from shedding their foliage. If it were to rain about 150ml/m2 in the next two to three months it would be enough to sow a sufficient amount of wheat. Agricultural producers had been advised to till the land now, but use only nitrogen fertilizers, no phosphorus or potassium. He said it would be good to set up a mechanism to monitor the sown areas, adding that besides the drought what also troubles the farmers is the appearance of rodents and aphids. Malesevic concluded that the 600,000 ha of wheat is a good plan and the farmers should be advised to continue sowing to reach it because there will be no lack of buyers due to the global wheat deficit.
The sitting was chaired by Subcommittee Chairman Milija Miletic, and attended by Subcommittee members Mladen Lukic and Zarko Bogatinovic.