At risk the planting of corn and all other arable crops, problems for the growth of wheat, barley stopped
TREVISO. It hasn’t rained for two months and the autumn-winter crops are suffering. The planting of maize seedlings and all other arable crops is at risk. The growth of wheat, already sown, is worrying. If this situation were to persist, the development of the seedlings could even stop and, consequently, the shoots would wither.
The first maize planting is expected in about ten days, but drought permitting. The water reserves in the basins and lakes are scarce, the rivers are almost dry and the advance of the saline wedge has already appeared. The Livenza basin suffers less rainfall of –37%, the Piave basin of –35%. If the rainfall deficit already accumulated since the beginning of the hydrological year (-151 mm), therefore from the month of October, is now 151 mm, in order to rebalance the balance, and therefore to avoid drought, in March it is necessary about 218 mm – affirms the regional councilor for the environment Giampaolo Bottacin, based on Arpav estimates – that is more than three times the average precipitation in March (which is equal to about 67 mm, period 1994-2021). To date, in March now almost halfway through, not a drop has fallen yet.
The journey to the hills
With Bottacin we travel along the Unesco road, from Valdobbiadene to Miane. From the hills of Soligo he sees two columns of smoke rising. Alert the Avab. “It’s all dry here. Auction a cigarette butt, and these woods go up in flames, ”he warns, turning left. We stop, we pick up a handful of earth, under a Cartizze vine, it is arid. «In fact, at least a slight precipitation would be welcome – says Innocente Nardi, winemaker from Farra di Soligo – At the moment there are no problems for Prosecco or other wines. There is an old saying that says that in the month of March it is good that it does not rain so as not to make the vines sprout early in order to avoid the damage of any late frosts. But the problem can arise in late spring and summer due to the lowering of the aquifers ».
Flaps and water bombs
Nardi is a DOCG producer. But for the Doc territories, the consideration is the same. “The drought is worrying in perspective, for the layers that are lowering excessively” admits the president Stefano Zanette. “Indeed, the concern is twofold: that it is not raining or that it rains too much; water bombs and storms caused 50 million in damage last year in the province of Treviso ». «The drops of the aquifers in the Marca in February varied between –32 cm in Castelfranco and –19 cm in Castagnole)», informs Bottacin.
“The persistent drought at the moment does not create problems for the vineyards – explains Paolo Casagrande, of the Anpa union – because they are still in vegetative rest, the bud enlargement phase has not yet begun also due to the persistence of low temperatures, but in the face of a rise in temperature starts the vegetative recovery of these buds which in the presence of water shortage find lymphatic circulation limited and therefore they would suffer in development ».
On the other hand, autumn winter cereals are certainly suffering, especially barley sown in the Treviso area which – argues Casagrande – has stopped growing due to lack of water. The drought, together with the increase in the costs of energy and raw materials – diesel, fertilizers, seeds – makes it difficult for farms to make crop choices and destabilizes the balance of supply chains, in particular those of all kinds of farms. With corn at 44 euros per quintal (conventional costs more than organic), soy at 68, wheat at 55, farmers operate at a loss. The poultry after the slap of the avian is delaying the settlements (heating and feed to the stars). And here is the risk of running out of white meat. All this in a situation of widespread suffering due to supply problems from war zones, for the agri-food sector but not only for that. –