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Rain interrupts harvest in southwestern regions. Just in time

Deszcz przerywa żniwa w południowo-zachodnich regionach. W samą porę
  • Storms interrupted the already advanced grain harvest in the south-western regions of Poland.
  • Rain is currently the last chance, among others. for corn.

Harvest interrupted. But it is good

It is true that rainfall during harvest is not very desirable, but at the moment it is absolutely necessary. And most farmers are probably happy about this rainfall, because although strong storms interrupted the harvest, the rain at that moment was the last resort for corn, sugar beets, potatoes and many other plants still growing in the fields. Another thing is that we need rain, not torrential phenomena. And unfortunately, such things also appeared.

But back to the harvest for a moment. It's only July 11, and the harvest is very advanced in the western and southern regions. In some districts, there is no trace of rapeseed anymore, wheat sown not only in September but also in early October is being cut. A few days of heat and in the vicinity of Wrocław, before July 20, we would probably have finished the harvest. The situation is different, for example, in the northern regions, Warmia and Mazury or in Podlasie, where reports say that many rapeseeds are not yet suitable for mowing.

A storm near Wrocław interrupted the harvest on Wednesday evening, but the rainfall was heavy in places. Photo Karol Bogacz A storm near Wrocław interrupted the harvest on Wednesday evening, but the rainfall was heavy in places. Photo Karol Bogacz

Such a quick harvest is, of course, a result of the exceptionally high dynamics of spring vegetation, especially at the beginning of spring. Later it slowed down, but a drought appeared, which accelerated the harvest. Unfortunately, it has significantly worsened the situation not only in cereals and rapeseed, which generally yield less than a year ago, but also in other crops.

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Corn needs rain every day now

The condition of corn in Lower Silesia, the Opole region, southern Greater Poland and the Lubusz Voivodeship has been poor for several weeks, although this term does not reflect the level of drought that affected plantations in numerous locations. In general, corn is not easy this year. We can see this in plantations established, for example, for silage, which are often less than half a meter high, and the leaves are heavily curled, almost two months after sowing. But corn sown at the optimal dates in the region did not fare well, and was now already under strong abiotic stress related to drought. And let's remember that at the moment corn has the highest water demand – up to 60%. water demand is associated with the peri-flowering period, i.e. before, during and just after flowering. We have already written about this. With a population of 80,000 plants per square meter in these development phases, 160 – 240 liters of water should appear per square meter.

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Lack of water threatens all crops, one rain will not change that

Not only corn needs a lot of water. During flowering, a sunflower takes up to 6 – 8 liters of water per square meter during the day. Although it is quite tolerant to water shortages, there are no drought-resistant plants. If there is a lack of water during the flowering and achene formation period, a reduction in yield will be more than certain.

In the photo below we see sugar beets. The photo was taken around 7:30 p.m. The temperature was still almost 30 C. Let's see what condition the plants are in – they are rotting, the leaves have completely lost their turgor. Sugar beet is not a plant that "likes" high temperatures. Combined with low water supply, such heat poses a significant problem. The situation is similar in corn, which is a plant that responds positively to heat, but only when there is a good water supply. Meanwhile, the heat during panicle sprouting and flowering, combined with water shortages, "cooks" the plant, which then, in extreme cases, has problems with tying the cob.

Sugar beets - drought. Photo Karol Bogacz.jpg Sugar beets – drought. Photo Karol Bogacz.jpg

The water demand of plants is currently exceptionally high due to the development phases and temperatures. Please note that the mercury is above 30 C, while in the vicinity of Wrocław yesterday even 35 C was recorded. These are temperatures at which plants completely lose turgor.

Drought may, to some extent, affect the yield of all crops that are still growing. In which? It's hard to say at the moment because rainfall may still save the situation. But these are needed in large quantities. And calm rains will be better than heavy rains, and unfortunately the latter appear more often. On the other hand, we also have some risks. In regions where crops are largely fully ripe, a series of rains may promote sprouting. At the moment, there is no such risk, but if there is a lot of rainfall, and what is more, it lasts for a long time, the chance that the grain will grow in the ear will increase.

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