Serbia, Modest corn yields in the South Banat fields as well

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This year’s corn yield in the South Banat fields, according to professional estimates, was a modest 4.7 tons per hectare, although there were announcements that it would be even worse.

The average corn yield per hectare in other parts of the country, which was reduced this year due to drought, is approximately the same.

Jan Babka, advisor of the Agricultural and Environmental Advisory Service of the “Tamiš” Institute, stated for Tanjug that the yield in southern Banat ranged in very large ranges, between two and nine tons, which is related to the amount of precipitation in certain parts of the atar.

He says that in the part of southern Banat covered by that service, there were 73,200 hectares under corn and that from the very beginning there were problems with the development of the plant.

“Year after year, the same phenomena are repeated, first of all, a dry spring with a lack of precipitation, and there was also a very early onset of high temperatures of close to 30 degrees at the beginning of May, as well as frequent temperature fluctuations, which led to worse conditions for plant growth”, states the expert.

He adds that later there was an uneven development, and the problems culminated in July and August due to extreme temperatures and such weak plants could not pour grain well, regardless of the fact that the fertilization was very good.

“In recent years, there have been problems with weeds, so due to the uneven plants it was difficult to determine the right moment for herbicide treatments, and in such dry conditions they have a weaker effect”, says Babka.

He adds that in the last 10 years, the occurrence of weed resistance, especially of wild sorghum, has become more frequent, so it can be said that in addition to droughts, high temperatures and uneven rainfall, this also leads to a decrease in yields.

He emphasizes that the yields are better on the plots where more attention is paid to the fight against weeds.

“A large number of producers still do not understand the importance of anti-resistant strategies and the necessity of adding new crops to the crop rotation, primarily small grains, and even oilseed rape at the expense of corn, and in production technology there are solutions to fight against weeds chemically”, says Babka.

He said that purchase prices for most cultures are significantly higher, but he does not deny that costs are rising inexorably.

He adds that when starting production, there were no such large increases as when it comes to fuel and fertilizers, especially nitrogen, which is why many resorted to reducing some measures.

“The increase in the price of seeds, chemicals and other inputs has yet to have its consequences, so I am more afraid of next year and I think it will be much more difficult in the economic sense”, says Babka and concludes that, nevertheless, there will be no shortage of food, because the total produced quantities could be sufficient both for life and for export.

Agricultural producer Marko Škrbić from the village of Jabuka near Pančevo, who is the president of the farmers’ association there, points out that the rains failed when they were most needed, during the pouring of grain.

“On our fields, the situation is very colorful: where there was rainfall, it gave birth, about five or six tons per hectare, and where there was no rain at all, barely two tons were accumulated, and that with the application of all the necessary agricultural techniques”, says this farmer. 

He adds that, on the other hand, the current purchase price of corn is not so bad and is up to 40 on the stock exchange, although there is a waiting period for payment, while the buyers pay “on hand”, but up to two dinars less.

Škrbić also notes that the costs of corn production per hectare during the season in such circumstances were more than enormous.

“Thus, a bag of, say, ‘pioneer’ seeds with 25,000 grains increases in price from about 7,800 dinars to 10,000, which for about three bags per hectare amounts to 30,000 dinars, and even more for about 300 kilograms of NPK fertilizer, for chemistry about 15,000, for oil 20,000 , and the land lease is about 50,000 dinars, which in total, without depreciation and labor, amounts to about 150,000 dinars, and if you got the mentioned two tons per hectare, which is about 70,000 dinars, that’s exactly how much you lost”, says Škrbić.

He points out that this season, as always when there is a drought, there were no pests or any major diseases.

“Unfortunately, we have another problem, because according to everything, a very difficult next year awaits us: fertilizer has already become more expensive, as well as fuel, and seeds, which cost 15 percent more than last year, according to the announcements of the subcontractors, will jump by even more, and at the same time, we won’t be able to choose hybrids as we like”, says this young farmer.

His colleague Marko Bojtar, president of the Dolovački Paori Association and member of the board of the Banat Association of Farmers, says that this year in Dolovački atar, which is one of the largest in Vojvodina with 14,000 hectares, is one of the worst in his 40-year career.

“I haven’t experienced a worse season in my life, starting with the climatic conditions and ending with the situation regarding energy sources and fertilizers, which had a somewhat milder effect on wheat, and a disastrous effect on soybeans, sunflowers and corn”, says this farmer.

He states that the yields in the Dolovac atar varied depending on the amount of rainfall, so where there was rain, they were about five per hectare, and there were fields that were even left unprotected at the end.

“On the other hand, we expected that the state would make our difficult situation a little easier and, based on this year’s negotiations, give at least the minimum aid of 20 dinars for 50 liters per hectare, which would also mean for plowing, sowing, and harvesting”, notes Bojtar, RTV writes.