MINSK, 6 October (BelTA) – Due to global warming, winter crops are a better bet than spring crops, the Belarus Segodnya newspaper learned from First Deputy Director General of the Scientific and Practical Center for Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB) Eroma Urban.
“Why is the sowing of winter cereals is becoming so relevant now? For a long time, the area under winter crops equaled that under spring crops in our country. But in recent years, due to global warming, droughts have become more frequent. In this regard, the Agriculture and Food Ministry, together with the National Academy of Sciences, has developed a Strategy for Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change. This strategy highlights the need to increase the area under winter cereals,” the expert noted.
According to him, winter crops have advantages over spring crops. “Sown at the optimal time and fertilized with the adequate amount of potash and phosphorus fertilizers, winter crops are better able to survive the lack of moisture and high temperatures in spring and summer. As a result, the yield is much higher than that of spring crops. At the same time, we recommend a broader use of drought-resistant crops: winter diploid rye, millet, foxtail millet, sweet clover, lotus, sainfoin, winter rapeseed, sorghum-Sudanese hybrids and others. Scientists are also busy creating new varieties. They use the gene pool of agricultural crops from other regions, in particular Russia where the deficit of moisture and the impact of high temperatures during the growing season are more pronounced than in Belarus. Breeders cross them with Belarusian varieties in order to create their own variety resistant to high temperatures and moisture deficit,” the expert said.
The specialist believes that the cultivation of corn for grain also helps to address the problems caused by global warming. “In 1995 two thousand hectares were used for this crop, while this year the area under this crop was expanded to 241,000 hectares. In recent years, corn grain has been produced even in Vitebsk Oblast. Now Belarus produces more than one million tons of this product in barn weight every year. Climate change has also led to an increase in the area under crops that were very rare in Belarus before, such as watermelons, melons, apricots, peaches, grapes. These crops are now grown not only on subsidiary plots, but also on a semi-industrial and even industrial scale. Now our task is to ramp up their production,” First Deputy Director General of the Scientific and Practical Center for Agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Eroma Urban concluded.