Serbia: What are the consequences of a delayed wheat sowing season?

November is fast approaching and sowing is still underway. What will this mean for Serbian farmers?

Ears of wheat, sunset, dramatic clouds.
Beeld: ©Tom Hauk

The main worry of the majority farmers in this period is how much the sowing of winter wheat will cost, considering the increase in the prices of fertilizers, fuel, and even seed material. Weather conditions impacted and postponed the optimal time for the sowing of wheat. Experts advise farmers to hurry with field works, in order to achieve the desired yields and quality.

"The sowing season should have been completed between October 10 and 20, but we have passed those dates and are approaching November. Basically, the optimal deadlines are extended until the end of October and farmers can count on high yields of cereals," said Mr. Milan Mirosavljevic, field crop expert from the Institute of Field and Vegetable Crops in Novi Sad.

October sowing provides 5-10% higher yields compared to sowing in November, and shifting the sowing can significantly shorten the vegetation.

"The germination date is shifted. The wheat from October germinates faster than the one from November, because October temperatures are higher, the weather conditions are better, therefore  the germination itself is sped up. Also, the period from germination to rooting and later to earing is longer", explained Mr Mirosavljevic for the news portal Agroklub.

By shifting the sowing to later dates, the period of flower fertilization will also be delayed. Regardless of the sowing dates, wheat will enter the most critical period for the formation of yields from April to mid-May.

However, the main question many farmers are now asking is how much the sowing itself will cost, considering the increase in the prices of fertilizers, fuel, and even seeds.

"In order to cover the costs, farmers will need to have a yield of 4.86 tons/ha and a purchasing price not lower than €0.2 /kg . If the price of wheat in the 2022 harvest season is €0.17/kg, more than 6 tons/ha will be needed to cover the costs," explained Mr. Miroslav Malesevic, a field crop expert.