Murska Sobota – The extremely severe drought that has hit Slovenia this summer has resulted in up to 80% lower corn yields than expected, according to director Branko Virag from the Panvita food group, the largest corn producer in Slovenia.
The group grows corn on an area of over 1,200 hectares, with an average yield of 15,000 tonnes a year. Part of it is used for fodder and part goes to Slovenian mills.
Panvita also purchases another 15,000 tonnes of corn from its farmers subcontractors.
In spring, they still hoped for abundant crops, but the weather situation changed at the end of June with the first heat wave, which was followed by a very long heat wave in July and another three in August, Virag, director of Panvita Kmetijstvo, told the press in Murska Sobota on Thursday.
On the very light, sandy soils, harvesting is already complete and yields are between three and five tonnes per hectare, or 70-80% below expectations.
The situation is worse on heavier soils, which will produce 60-70% of the average yield, Virag said on the company’s Corn Day, dedicated to presenting the annual crops and the market situation.
He hailed Panvita’s decision to invest in two irrigation systems, saying that if irrigated, the land could give by 50% more abundant crops in dry periods and up to 80% more in extreme droughts.
He warned that corn too was a commodity with its price significantly rising due to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis.
If corn sold at EUR 215-220 per tonne last year, the price now tops EUR 300, which is the price at which Panvita will be buying corn from farmers.
However, this will make animal husbandry catastrophically expensive, Virag said, urging the government to take action to ensure the country’s self-sufficiency in food.
He said the current crisis with rising prices of energy and other inputs “has shown the true meaning of self-sufficiency and food safety”.