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Damage to crops from drought to exceed USD 1bn

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The drought has reduced agricultural output by about 20 percent compared to the average annual yield, and by 30 percent compared to the previous, record year.

That is why the lost value exceeds a billion dollars, says Milan Prostran, an agriculture expert.

He told the Beta agency that this damage from this year’s hot weather should be compared to years that had the average yield, “because it is more correct than making a comparison to a record year, like the previous one.”

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“The average annual agriculture production value in Serbia ranges from five to six billion dollars,” Prostran said.

He added that by the end of the season, the situation could improve – but could also worsen – and that the rain, which fell on Saturday in much of the country, has helped the plants recover a little.

“High temperatures have mostly destroyed corn, that makes up 20-25 percent of the total agricultural production, and it is grown on 1.1 million hectares,” Prostran said.

He stressed that “due to climate change and the inability of the state to finance irrigation on larger areas,” a solution for sustainable agriculture should be sought in autumn sowing on a twice larger area than the average so far – from 500,000 to 600,000 hectares.

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“Within two weeks, the deadline for autumn sowing begins, so everything that can withstand low winter temperatures – wheat, oats, barley, rye and rapeseed – should be planted,” Prostran said.

This expert added that the spring sowing should begin “a month early to avoid high temperatures and drought.”

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