Useful properties accumulated in chernozem for thousands of years. Intensive farming does not allow the soil to rest, therefore, despite the application of fertilizers, the level of humus decreases from year to year. So, the maximum content of humus does not exceed 13-14%. In the chernozems of our ancestors, this figure was above 16%.
Another issue is the climate change. In the southern region of Russia there is a lack of precipitation, especially in some areas. So, in one of the farms we visited; from the beginning of January to March of this year, only 60-70 mm of precipitation were registered. Old-time farmers say that even 20-30 years ago winters were much snowier, and precipitations were more abundant. It is too early to talk about global changes, but weather forecasters talk about a higher tendency for long-lasting droughts or, on the contrary, for periods with heavy rains washing out topsoil.
Another problem are sudden changes in temperature. So, during spring temperatures can be displayed at +5°C in the morning, while the temperature could rise to +35°C in the afternoon. In addition to that, the transition from winter to summer and from summer to winter is quite short and sudden.
Thus, the rich composition of chernozems and large areas for agricultural needs are compensated by unsustainable climatic conditions with insufficient precipitation. Despite the large potential, Russia’s agricultural production could remain limited by climatic factors.