The actions of authorities to prevent floods can lead to a shortage of irrigation water in the summer. Given this risk, farmers are preparing to reduce sowing areas.
And first of all, we are talking about potatoes. As a result, in the fall the harvest of the “second bread” will be more than modest, and prices will set new records.
The largest agro-farming in the Karaganda region Shakhterskoye LLP is planning spring sowing on an area of 37 ha. Most of the arable land will, of course, be wheat. The rest is oilseeds, legumes, and forage crops. Also three years ago several hundred hectares of irrigated land were introduced here, on which potatoes are grown.
Director of the farm George Prokop says that winter turned out to be meager in precipitation. Snow in the fields was two, and somewhere, three times less than last season. Therefore, the strategy of this spring is to preserve meltwater in the soil. To do this, you will have to use all the possibilities of modern agricultural technologies. The main thing is to do an intermediate processing of the fields, the so-called "moisture closure". Plus, carry out pre-sowing chemical treatment of arable land to prevent the development of weeds that can draw water out of the ground. This is a chance to get good strong shoots.
“Building forecasts is a thankless task,” says George Prokop. - There are many factors, both positive and negative, for crop prospects. For example, it is encouraging that in the fall it rained, and some kind of moisture recharge of the soil occurred. Another question is whether the water did not freeze during the winter, because the temperatures were low and the snow cover was not high. Much depends on how the melting snow will take place in the fields. We hope that the meltwater will not leave, but will be absorbed into the ground. It’s getting warm gradually now, and that’s good. But the minus is that at night the temperatures are still negative, and the moisture accumulated during the day freezes out during the night. So, it is not yet clear what conditions will be in place at the beginning of sowing.
Of course, farmers remain optimistic and look forward to a better outcome. Moreover, weather forecasters give a good forecast: in April they promise good precipitation, in May, although it is not heavy, it rains. As for June and July, they are predicted to be cool and rainy. This gives hope that an average crop can be obtained - subject to agricultural technologies. And of course, it is important to take into account which cultures can show themselves in the current conditions.
As for the legumes (in the "Miners" cultivate chickpeas), it is encouraging that May is promised warm. This is very important for the shoots to be strong. Last year, six months the peasants failed, it was cold until June 10. This led to the fact that chickpea shoots were sparse, development at the beginning of growth was inhibited. The plants grew low, and the harvest did not please - only about 6 centners per hectare. That is, he did not even reach the average.
For oilseeds, the situation may be different. At Shakhtar, safflower is grown; it is more resistant to lack of moisture. But flax may suffer from drought, because it needs more precipitation.
For potatoes, the weather forecast is favorable in the sense that the cool start of summer will allow tubers to develop. After all, in extreme heat, they hibernate and do not grow.
As for irrigation, there are doubts - it is important that the reservoirs accumulate a sufficient supply of water.
- We water our irrigated fields from Nura, - says George Prokop. - It is replenished from the Samarkand reservoir. But even if there is not enough water there, we can hedge and take water from the Irtysh-Karaganda canal. But in the Abay district there are no options, they depend on the Zhartassky reservoir. If he is not recruited, they simply will not be poured from where.
But the thing is: to minimize the risk of flooding of nearby villages, the task was set to keep the water bodies at the minimum acceptable level during the period of active snowmelt.
The largest Samarkand reservoir in the Karaganda region causes the greatest concern of the authorities during the flood period. Now, the reservoir’s water body discharges into the Nura River in the amount of 33 cubic meters per second, but can be increased to 50–60. At the same time, the reservoir’s replenishment during the flood is expected to be a little more than 500 million cubic meters. This is half as much as last season, when snowmelt ensured an influx of 1 billion cubic meters. In this regard, the peasants are afraid that the authorities will be able to drain the water in the spring from the reservoir. And will it then be filled with anything from the minimum (170 million cubic meters) to the optimal level (250 million)?
The same goes for other reservoirs on which irrigated lands are tied. The greatest fears are among the farmers of the Abay district. The main potato producers of the region are concentrated here. And they have one source of water for irrigation - the Zhartassky reservoir.
The largest potato farm in the Karaganda region, KH Chance, last year planted tubers per 1000 hectares. A good harvest was made - 320 centners per hectare with an average regional level of 250 c / ha. In general, the region received a little more than 300 thousand tons of potatoes with its own needs of about 100 thousand tons. Such a “surplus” allowed deliveries both to other regions of the country and for export to Uzbekistan.
However, this season promises to be difficult. Firstly, one cannot count on high yields. Secondly, the closer the spring strada, the stronger the farmers think about reducing the area.
- The lack of moisture for potato growers is even more dangerous than for grain, - says Igor Zhabyak, head of the Chance farm. - A snowy winter raises questions for us: will the reservoirs be sufficiently replenished so that in summer we have enough water for irrigation. We need only water for the crop. And everything else we have - seeds, technology, technology. But if we see the risk of lack of water for irrigation, we will be forced to hedge and dramatically reduce the area. To plant so that it dries in the summer, no one will.
According to Igor Zhabyak, the Abay district during the summer consumes 35–40 million cubic meters of water from the Zhartassky reservoir for irrigation. This season needs the same amount. Whether it will depend on how the flood season will go.
- How many potatoes will we get in case of problems with watering, I can’t guess and don’t want to, - says Igor Zhabyak. - But it is clear that the crop will be below average. And of course, that a decrease in volume will affect the price - it will increase. These are the laws of supply and demand. Now wholesalers take potatoes from us for 80–85 tenge per kilogram. What price will be in the fall, I can not predict.
In the Karaganda branch of Kazvodkhoz they say that so far the situation with the passage of the flood season is unclear. High water will begin in early April, when night temperatures become positive. The exact volume of meltwater and filling of reservoirs can be discussed only in the middle of spring.
A source: https://forbes.kz