Due to the drought and high temperatures, the yield of corn in Serbia will be significantly reduced because it is the worst bad combination of unfavorable conditions, and irrigation of a million hectares is an “impossible mission”, experts for that field crop said today.
Zivota Jovanovic, head of the marketing department at the Zemun Polje Corn Institute, said that due to climate change, medium-early hybrids must be sown, but that they are not completely resistant to drought because it affects all varieties of that crop.
“Drought affects everyone. This year, African temperatures are high, and the humidity of the air and soil is low, and not only the lower, but also the middle leaves have started to dry on the corn,” Jovanovic told Beta.
He added that corn on sandy soil will be particularly affected, and that high temperatures prevent normal pollination, so there will be trees without fruit.
Jovanovic estimated that this year will be similar to 2012 and 2017, when not even a whole ton of corn per hectare was harvested on certain plots, and the average is 4.5 to five tons, and the record yield is 12 to 15 tons.
“At this moment, it is difficult to estimate how much damage there will be because it depends on how temperatures will continue to move and whether there will be rain. Under normal conditions, the average rain in May is about 100 liters per square meter, this year it was about 70 liters, and in June is an average of about 70 liters, and this year there was almost no precipitation in that month, “said Jovanovic.
Goran Bekavac, a scientific advisor at the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Novi Sad, said that the drought would mean a reduction in the yield of corn.
“There was a similar drought in 2012, but not with such high temperatures, this is the worst combination of unfavorable conditions and it will seriously reduce the yield of corn,” Bekavac said.
He estimated that due to climate change, adaptation measures must be taken, which includes changing the assortment of corn, and if that does not give results, even changes in sowing crops.
Bekavac said that the plan to irrigate one million hectares of corn sown in Serbia is an “impossible mission” and too expensive a project because it requires a network of canals or pipes as well as the consumption of large amounts of water and energy.
“In Iran, they drew water for irrigation from the deep layers of the earth, and when they depleted it, the soil began to sink, so I would not recommend that water in Serbia, as a national resource, be extracted from the depths,” Bekavac said.
According to him, water can be used only from rivers and canals, but even that is questionable because, as he said, according to one research for 600,000 hectares of corn, it would be necessary to redirect all water from the Danube to corn fields for 11 days.