Bulgarian Farmers Brace for Early Harvest as Heatwave Accelerates Crop Ripening

Industry | April 22, 2024, Monday // 10:19|  views

In a sign of the changing climate's impact on agriculture, Bulgarian farmers are gearing up for an early start to the wheat and barley harvest this year as soaring temperatures hasten crop ripening.

Reported by Bulgarian national television, the unseasonably warm weather has pushed forward the harvesting timeline by a month, catching farmers in southern Bulgaria off guard. However, despite the earlier start, concerns loom over reduced yields and the financial strain it may bring.

The prolonged drought coupled with record-high temperatures in March and April has spurred rapid growth in wheat and barley crops. Yet, this accelerated growth comes at a cost, with the scorching heat taking a toll on crop health and productivity.

Professor Dr. Ivan Yanchev from the Agrarian University in Plovdiv elucidated on the phenomenon, attributing the expedited ripening to "temperature stress" induced by dehydration of the green mass, which hampers photosynthesis and slows down vital life processes within the plants.

For grain producer Angel Vukodinov in the town of Saedinenie, the effects of climate change are palpable, with dwindling yields posing a significant challenge to his production. Anticipating substantial losses, Vukodinov laments the grim prospect of harvesting no more than 50% of the usual yield, citing geopolitical factors and climatic uncertainties as compounding challenges.

With each acre projected to yield at least 150 kilograms less than average, grain producers are bracing for diminished returns and grappling with the implications of reduced quality amidst warm and dry weather conditions.

While there may be instances of enhanced quality amid lower yields, Vukodinov warns of the financial strain faced by farmers, potentially resulting in price hikes for end consumers.

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Tags: Bulgaria, agriculture, climate, harvest


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