Fruit growers in Serbia are worried about low soil moisture, which could cause lower yield and poor quality of fruit, due to the unusually warm climate at this time of year, small quantities of rain during autumn and snowless winter. This could also increase the price of fruit this year.
Director of the Pomiculture Institute in Cacak, Milan Lukic, says that if there is not a significant amount of snowfall in the next period, all types of fruit will suffer damage.
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“The amount of moisture in the soil at the moment is very low because there hasn’t been much rain in autumn and the winter is quite dry. The vegetation period begins in April and unless it snows, which would provide more soil moisture as the snow melts than we can say with certainty that such weather conditions will have a bad effect on all stages of vegetation: flowering, pollination, fruit development, the quantity of fruit harvested and their size”.
Such a situation could also lead to a significant reduction in fruit yields in Serbia this year and, as a result, to a lack of fruit on the market, which would probably lead to higher prices. Dr Lukic, however, says that it is too early to talk about this and that it is difficult to link the price directly to the lower yield, which, he points out, is regulated by supply and demand.
Experts point out that those fruit growers who have their own irrigation systems will not experience these problems. The irrigation usually starts during the flowering phase and thus increases the soil moisture. But the problem is that only 10% of orchards in Serbia have their own irrigation systems.
“There were several touches of frost this winter, with temperatures dropping to -10 degrees Celsius. This is good, that is, we can say that there was enough frost that benefitted the fruit. Since the low temperatures led to a decrease in the population of harmful organisms, pests should not cause major problems in orchards. However, lack of snow does pose a significant problem,” Dr Lukic adds.
(Vecernje Novosti, 02.02.2020)
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