Irrigation as a climate change impact mitigation measure: An agronomic and economic assessment of maize production in Serbia
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Maize is the most important agricultural product in Serbia, providing the largest revenue stream. Maize production in Serbia is largely rainfed and dependent on weather conditions. In the past four decades, the area of Zemun (Vojvodina Province) registered an upward air temperature trend, a decrease in summer rainfall, and a downward maize grain yield trend. Since Serbia is faced with climate change and increasing drought, the aim of the paper is to examine the agronomic and economic impacts of shifting maize production from rainfed to irrigated. An experimental study was carried out in the most important agricultural region of Serbia (Vojvodina), where maize was grown in both rainfed and irrigated conditions (2002-2010). Maize grain yields and climate parameters were recorded. The results showed that each year during the growing season, the crops were exposed to some degree of water deficit. The average water deficit in June, July and August was 48 mm, 98 mm and 88 mm, respectively. D...uring that period maize underwent phenological stages in which its sensitivity to drought was high. Rainfed maize grain yields varied considerably from year to year, ranging from 8.57 t ha(-1) to 12.73 t ha(-1) (average 10.46 t ha(-1)). Irrigation increased yields by 4.8-48% (average 18.7%). This increase depended on weather conditions; the highest increase was noted in a dry and very warm season. The economic assessment confirmed higher profitability of irrigated maize (841.79(sic)/ha vs. rainfed 699.35(sic)/ha). Irrigation increased overall costs by 10.75% and profits by 21.4% (142.44(sic)/ha), compared to rainfed conditions. The estimated average annual loss incurred in Serbia due to a lack of irrigation in maize production is 122,161,287(sic). Considering the results of this research, as well as predictions of increasing drought in South East Europe, irrigation appears to be essential for successful maize production in Serbia and the entire region.
Keywords:Maize / Irrigation / Rainfed / Yield / Profit
Source:Agricultural Water Management, 2014, 139, 7-16
- Elsevier Science Bv, Amsterdam