FARMERS in Slovakia are not particularly happy about February’s mild weather, as it means they will have to spend more money on eradicating a worse than usual outbreak of pests brought on by the warmer temperatures.
"These pests don't only include the usual field animals, such as field mice, hamsters and other types of mice, but also various maggots, eggs, caterpillars, aphids and snails,” Slovak Agricultural and Food Chamber (SPPK) spokesman Stanislav Nemec told the TASR newswire. “A serious risk is also posed by fungi, for which the current high temperatures are fertile ground.”
SPPK has not registered a significant shortage of moisture in the soil. This may emerge later, however, as snow has been scarce this winter and has melted quickly.
"If March, April and May have less precipitation, the [usual] spring snowmelt will certainly be missed in the moisture balance of Slovak fields," TASR quoted Nemec as saying.
The mild winter may also affect certain fruit trees, but nature is usually able to handle such anomalies, noted Nemec. Nonetheless, fruit growers are afraid that the warm weather may be followed by frost, which may jeopardise the future crop.
"As far as winter field plants are concerned, wheat, barley and rapeseed appear to be in a good condition, but this still needs to be verified by spring inspections," said Nemec.
The unusually warm weather is also confusing bees, who have begun to come out of hibernation prematurely. They may not be able to maintain their appropriate temperature levels on cold nights, added Nemec.
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.
26. Feb 2014 at 14:00