“Abnormal” winter to help future harvest in Tatarstan

“Abnormal” winter to help future harvest in Tatarstan
Photo: Maksim Platonov

The beginning of the year in Tatarstan has been marked by the invasion of bitter cold weather. On some days, the minimum air temperatures in various regions of the republic reached 29 below zero, and sometimes up to 40 degrees below zero. January has brought Tatarstan residents not only frosty weather but also heavy snowfalls. . Experts told Realnoe Vremya how dangerous such frosts and heavy precipitation are for agriculture, including winter crops.

Frosts are receding

According to the Hydrometeorological Centre, warming is expected in Kazan by the beginning of next week — the air will warm up to 0 degrees. The maximum cooling is predicted only on Thursday-January 21, when the thermometer will drop to 19 degrees below zero.

Besides, precipitation is expected in the republic by the end of this week. It's going to snow for days. For example, on January 22, it will be cloudy. There will be light snow, in the afternoon — at times. West wind, north-west, moderate. The minimum air temperature at night is — 13..18 degrees below zero, maximum daytime temperature — 11..16 degrees below zero. There is ice on the roads. On January 23, there will also be precipitation in the form of snow, at times — blizzard. At night, it will get colder to 15..20 degrees below zero, in the east of the Republic of Tatarstan — up to 24 degrees below zero, in the afternoon it will warm up to 1 above zero..4 degrees below zero, in the east of the Republic of Tatarstan — to 9 degrees below zero, according to Tatarstan meteorologists.

Glaze ice is main problem

Chairman of the Association of Farmers and Peasant Farmsteads of Tatarstan Kamiyar Baytemirov assured in the conversation with Realnoe Vremya that no weather anomalies are currently observed.

“We welcome heavy snowfall," said the head of the association. “And a frosty January is doubly good. There will be fewer mice in the fields, and fewer trees will get sick. Cold fruit trees need to pass the phase of natural rest.

Baytemirov is sure that the weather regime established on the territory of Tatarstan is favourable for successful wintering of plants. The main thing is that in the spring the uneven melting of snow does not begin. Otherwise, the plants will come to life, and the snow will prevent them from entering the growth phase.

“Nature is unpredictable," he concluded, “but we are satisfied with the weather today.”

Another thing is glaze ice, which the chief farmer of the republic considers the main problem of this January: “Dozens of cars crash on snow-covered roads. Carriers of agricultural products bear losses.”

Deposits of moisture should be enough for spring and summer

The ministry of agriculture and food of Tatarstan explained that snow well protects winter crops from excessively low temperatures. Plants do not suffer from cold.

“Closer to spring, it will be clear what to expect from spring flood," added the press secretary of the ministry, Roza Lotfullina. “In the settlements of Tatarstan, snow is regularly removed. There should be no flooding there. In any case, the problems of floods are successfully solved at the level of the districts and the agricultural enterprises themselves.”

The expert is sure that the excess snow in the fields will only benefit the plants: “It will melt and completely absorb into the soil. The crops will be provided with a supply of moisture for both spring and summer.”

According to Lotfullina, at the moment, the fields of the republic are threatened with only one attack: sharp short-term temperature changes. It is difficult for plants to adapt to unstable environmental conditions.

“Snow is regularly removed in the settlements of Tatarstan. There should be no flooding there," said Roza Lotfullina. Photo: Maksim Platonov

Winter crops feeling fine

Lyubov Zanina, the deputy head of the branch of the Russian Agricultural Centre in the Republic of Tatarstan, said that the specialists of the institution conduct weekly surveys of winter crops throughout the republic:

“We have winter grain crops sown on an area of 552,000 hectares," the expert explained. “Monoliths with plants are taken, the viability of crops is determined. We record the amount of sugars in plant's body, the depth of soil freezing, and the temperature at the tillering node level.”

At the moment, the condition of winter crops is estimated as good. On agricultural fields, there is snow with a thickness of 35-60 cm. The crops are covered, they feel normal.

“If closer to spring there is a freezing of the soil or a prolonged occurrence of snow, the plants will weaken," says Zanina. “Rotting diseases are possible, such as snow mold, sclerotinia.”

The transition from frost to sudden thaw and slush also does not bode well. On the snow cover, an ice crust can form, under which the plants will suffocate and die: “But, fortunately, there is nothing to fear yet," the interlocutor of the publication summed up.

Moving towards spring

Yuri Perevedentsev, Professor of the Department of Meteorology and Climatology, Atmospheric Ecology of the Institute of Environment and Nature Management at the Kazan Federal University, believes that this winter there have been no severe frosts in Tatarstan:

“A week ago, there was only a single short-term case of cold snap. The average air temperature remains within the normal range.”

The expert said that in January, one-and-a-half-month norm of snow fell in the Republic of Tatarstan. The 50-centimetre height of snow cover is typical for the end of winter, which occurs in early March. “This is a very favourable factor for plant overwintering," said the professor. “It is warm and comfortable for them.”

It was also possible to avoid rotting. Snow this year laid on the cooled ground, and there has not been a single thaw since November.

“I suppose that the first half of winter has not caused damage to winter crops. And in February, we do not have severe frosts as a rule," Perevedentsev said. “We survived December and January. The movement towards spring begins. There will be more light and warmth every day.”

By Yelena Simakova