Country Pasture/Forage Resource Profiles

Montenegro

 

 

by
Radisav Dubljević

CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY
Topography
Geological material
Soils

3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES
Climate
Temperature
Precipitation
Agro-ecological zones

4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
Cattle production
Cattle technology
Sheep and goat production
Sheep production
Goat production

5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE
Grassland types
Improvement of natural grasslands
Sown pastures
Establishment of sown pasture
Fodder crops on arable land
Fodder crop seed production
Fodder conservation
Haymaking
Silage and haylage

6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF PASTURE RESOURCES
Improvement of livestock production
Improvement of cattle production
Improvement of sheep and goat production
Improvement of animal feed production

7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL

8. REFERENCES

9. CONTACTS


 

1. INTRODUCTION

Montenegro, an Adriatic - Mediterranean country, lies between 410 39’ and 430 32’ North and 180 26’ and 200 21’ East, with an area of 13 812 km2. To the west and partly to the north it borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the north and north-east with Serbia , south-east with Albania and to the south-west with Croatia (Figure 1). The length of the coastline (Adriatic Sea) is 293.5 km. Montenegro is divided administratively into 21 municipalities. Podgorica is the capital city and administrative centre, with a population of about 180 000 citizens.

Figure 1. Map of Montenegro (World Factbook).

Before re-establishment of statehood in 2007, Montenegro was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and then of the governmental community of Serbia and Montenegro. Centuries-long statehood, lost in 1918 (unconditional joining to Serbia), was restored in 2007 when Montenegro separated from Serbia. Geographical position and specific natural basis significantly influenced Montenegro’s historical situation.

Human history and history of cultural epochs in this area go back to the distant past. The Roman Empire left many traces of their presence and power in modern Montenegro , such as Duklja, Risan, Petrovac, Anagastum (Onogošt), Budva, Municipium S. et al. The name Montenegro is first mentioned in historical sources in 1276, and in neighbouring cities, Kotor and Dubrovnik (where Latin was used) and in Italian sources, it was in the middle of the fourteenth century (1348). The complexity of the terrain and weak links influenced the population of the area which was organized in tribal communities. Tribes increased or decreased at the expense of neighbours and this type of organization lasted until the recent past.

Many centuries of Ottoman domination marked the history of Montenegro. A tumultuous historical past was the result of continuous efforts by a sparse libertarian people to preserve autonomy and freedom. Throughout history there have been many war events (riots, revolts, and battles during World Wars I and II). Changing the impact of different civilizations and the destruction of those remaining from the previous ruler influenced the relatively poor preservation of historical monuments and cultural heritage of the past.

In 2003 Montenegro had 620 578 inhabitants with a population density of 45 inhabitants per km2. [Population in 2009 was estimated at 672 180 according to the World Factbook, with a growth rate of -0.851%]. Montenegro’s maritime-Mediterranean position provides significant advantages for the development of tourism and of maritime activities; a better road connection from the coast to inland areas allows easy access to the unspoilt landscapes of the interior. Agriculture, one of the most important branches of the economy, is expected to develop with significant increase of food production and even better provision for the increasing needs of the tourist industry. For agricultural production, Montenegro is divided into five production regions: Coastal, Zeta and Bjelopavlici, Karst region, Polimlje-Ibar and the Northern mountain region.

Agricultural land covers about 38% of Montenegro; the total agricultural area is 518 064 ha, but not all can be used because of orography and relief, as well as a significant area of shallow eroded land of low fertility.

Table 1 shows agricultural land use in the period 1995 – 2006. Meadows and pasture cover 457 200 ha or 33.1% of the territory: 88.25% of agricultural land. The area of uncultivated land is permanently increasing, while the pasture area is stable. Meadows are increasing at the expense of crop land. Arable land is around 10 – 12% of the agricultural land but has decreased from 53 000 ha in 1995 to 44 800 ha in 2006.

Table 1. Agricultural land and structure of utilization during 1995 – 2006 (000 ha)
Category/year
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
Arable land and gardens
53.3
51.0
52.4
52.3
52.5
51.2
50.0
49.8
44.8
46.9
46.2
44.9
Perennial plantations
14.3
14.3
14.3
14.3
14.3
14.5
14.6
14.6
14.6
13.4
13.4
13.4
Meadows
118.8
120.7
119.4
119.4
119.3
121.2
121.4
120.9
121.5
129.3
130.6
131.5
Pasture
326.6
326.6
326.3
326.5
327.0
328.2
328.4
328.4
327.6
325.3
326.6
325.7
Swamps
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.3
2.7
2.7
2.7
Total
517.5
517.1
517.2
517.0
517.6
519.6
518.9
518.2
512.8
517.6
518.5
518.2
Source: SGCG (Montenegro Statistical Annual Report), 2007, p 98; Montenegro/EU Strategy Report, 2006, p 36.

The Northern-mountain and Polimlje-Ibar regions are more suitable than others for fodder production and animal husbandry.

Arable area. Montenegro is dominated by natural grasslands and meadows (25%) and pasture (62%) under extensive management; only 9% is crop land. Arable land use is presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Arable land use (ha)
Year
Arable
Sown area
Nurseries
Fallows and wasteland
Total
Cereals
Industrial crops
Vegetables
Fodder
2003
44 818
32 111
6 520
201
18 133
7 257
24
12 683
2004
46 888
31 902
5 937
196
18 181
7 588
22
14 964
2005
46 179
31 370
5 218
194
18 224
7 734
13
14 796
2006
44 524
30 689
5 101
194
17 918
7 476
-
13 824
2007
44 957
31 307
5 201
159
17 988
7 959
4
13 632
Source: SGCG, 2008, p 92 [note there are some rounding errors in this Table]

Sown land is 70% of arable land, uncultivated arable land and fallows about 30%. In sown areas the main crops are vegetables 57%, followed by fodder crops 25%, cereals 17.5% and industrial crops with only 0.5%. The cereal area is decreasing, forage is increasing slightly, while the vegetable area is stable. Table 3 shows the data on area and average yield of the main crops.

Arable production is characterized by low yields as a result of lack of technology and inputs, primary fertilization etc. A small area of arable land is irrigated.

Table 3. Sown areas and average yield of main crops
Crops/year
2003
2004
2005
2006

2007

ha
t/ha
ha
t/ha
ha
t/ha
ha
t/ha
ha
t/ha
Wheat
1 448
3.05
1 123
3.09
840
3.13
808
3.09
810
2.44
Barley
1 147
1.92
1 026
1.19
759
2.06
860
2.28
868
1.22
Maize
3 366
2.55
3 217
3.00
3 059
3.16
2 782
3.26
2 756
2.52
Tobacco
201
1.98
196
2.14
194
2.14
194
2.22
159
2.25
Potatoes
10 505
10.78
10 350
11.31
10 313
12.88
10 179
13.05
10 190
10.49
Tomatoes
1 014
22.47
993
22.97
944
22.09
963
23.37
978
22.58
Peppers
799
20.57
805
19.99
763
20.52
777
21.58
802
21.54
Melons & watermelon
1 333
28.93
1 382
29.41
1 434
29.74
1 416
29.50
1 420
27.94
Cabbage
1 903
14.30
1 894
13.87
1 963
12.43
1 869
17.02
1 847
14.24
Alfalfa
2 994
3.99
3 033
3.88
3 094
4.36
3 123
4.54
3 250
3.53
Red clover
770
3.97
858
4.43
863
3.97
853
4.26
866
3.23
Source: SGCG, 2008, p 93-96.

Farm size. Natural conditions limit intensive farming, especially in hilly-mountain areas, and small and simply equipped farms lead to low average production. After the second World War nationalization set the maximum individual holding at 10 ha. Large nationalized complexes (cooperatives) were formed in which the level of technology was higher and better yields obtained. At the end of the twentieth century social property was privatized, but on most ex-cooperatives it was no longer organized for intensive production. A significant part of their land is totally abandoned and a small part converted to other uses. The problem of small holding size is very evident on arable land, where the family share has reduced the average plot to less than 0.2 ha. Average holding size for about 85% of households is under 5 ha, while a few farmers cultivate more than 10 ha, and rarely 20 ha. Bigger holdings are characteristic of hilly-mountain areas where most have poor natural grassland, unsuited to mechanization.

State of farm equipment. The average household is modestly equipped (Table 4). Lower land and hilly areas fare better than mountain areas. Most of the machinery is over 15 years old.

Table 4. Number of tractors and most important implements
Machine
Total number
Lowland
Mountain
Number
%
Number
%
Two axle tractors
3 913
2 295
59
1 618
41
Single axle tractors
11 139
8 284
74
2 855
26
Combine harvesters
50
26
52
24
48
Mowers
2 000
1 500
75
500
25
Ploughs
5 700
3 500
61
2 200
39
Rotary hoes
2 064
1 904
92
160
8
Sprayers
1 334
1 148
86
186
14
Pump for irrigation
10 266
7 993
78
2 273
22
Source: Section for Agricultural Mechanization, Biotechnical faculty, University of Montenegro. Unpublished data

Tractor availability depends on farmers’ capital assets; the average is one tractor for 18 ha arable land with a lower ratio in coastal regions and Zeta – Bjelopavlici region (17 ha), while in the karst region of Polimlje – Ibar and Northern– mountain region is from 47 to 81 ha (Table 5).

Table 5. Tractor distribution through the agricultural area
Region
Cultivated land (ha)
Double axle
Single axle
Ha/two axle tractors
Costal
15 863
859
3 219
18
Zeta-Bjelopavlici
18 692
1 111
3 357
17
Karst
15 498
330
1 708
47
Northern-mountain
58 609
727
1 780
81
Polimlje-Ibar
57 405
891
1 075
64
Montenegro
166 067
3 918
11 139
42
Source: Section for Agricultural Mechanization, Biotechnical faculty, University of Montenegro. Unpublished data

If the ratio of tractors is about one to 40 ha of arable land, tractors in Coastal and Zeta–Bjelopavlici are underused, while in other areas (especially in Polimlje–Ibar and Northern–mountain region) the lack of tractors is evident.


2. SOILS AND TOPOGRAPHY

Topography

Montenegro's relatively small area is characterized by a diversity of geomorphological shapes and forms. Only 10% of the territory is below 200 m above sea level, 35% from 200 to 1 000 m, 40% from 1 000 to 1 500 m, while about 15% is above 1 500 m (Radojicic, 2002).

Figure 2. Canyon of the River Mrtvica

The Coastal (southern) region changes rapidly into hilly mountain terrain which ends in the peaks of the mountain massifs of Rumija, Lovcen and Orjen (1 600 – 2 000 m altitude). To the north and north-east of those massifs the terrain changes into the karst region of West Montenegro. Wider area of Niksicko province, Bjelopavlice and Zeta plain, together with Scadar Lake make the Central region. The Northern region includes the Piva river basin, the upper course of the rivers Moraca and Cehotina then Tara, Lim and Ibar rivers and extends to the north-east end or to the border with neighbouring countries. In this region the relatively narrow valleys are suitable for agriculture, with deeper and more fertile soils formed on deposits characteristic of karst or glacial and riparian erosion.

The hydrographic, hydrological and hydro-geological characteristics of Montenegro have a great influence on land use. These features provide benefits manifested by outlet to the sea (river basins drain to both the Adriatic and Black Sea), the biggest rivers are the Tara, Piva, Lim, Ibar, Moraca, Zeta and Cehotina. The greater part of Scadar Lake belongs to Montenegro, and the mountain areas there have more than 30 glacial lakes, which have tourist interest, and very often are the only watering place for livestock. In the second half of last century seven reservoirs were built, of which Piva Lake is the biggest (42 km long).

Geological material

Montenegro comprises rocks of different ages and composition. The north-eastern areas are predominantly of clastic rocks and silicate and the south-western of carbonaceous rocks. Palaeozoic sandstone and shale are the oldest rocks and the commonest in the north and northeast. At higher, colder elevations on sandstone and schist, humus-silicate ranker type soils have formed.

Limestone and dolomite are the most widespread rocks, mostly in the north-west and less in the north-east. Different forms of flysch are present in the coastal area and on the southern slope of Durmitor mountain and surrounding massifs (’Durmitor flysch’). Eruptive rocks and neogenic sediments are rarer and mostly of local significance. Fluvioglacial and fluvial alluvium are common in mountain areas. Under steep mountain faults on the slopes of limestone and eruptive rocks, sipari have developed (masses of rough rock fragments and sand). Quaternary clays are widespread in the part of the Niksic province, Bjelopavlici plain and Ljeskopolje province. Alluvial deposits are widespread in river basins, partly mixed with diluvium and prolivium which usually cover the bottom of the hills and slopes.

Soils

Natural grasslands, especially pasture, cover poorer land, unsuited to intensive exploitation. They are mostly on steep slopes, shallow soils and with many large stones; in river basins in the Zeta–Bjelopavlici plain there are swampy, flooded and periodically flooded areas. Meadows are on deeper soil, flatter and fertile, especially in river basins and plateaux of hilly – mountain areas. According to the soil fertility the commonest are of classes III and IV, on karst areas IV, V and VI class while hilly – mountainous areas are of V to VII.

In Montenegro, under the influence of ecological factors, geological substrate, terrain, vegetation and human activity, soils of different properties formed. The most important are (Fustic and Djuretic, 2000):

- Rocky ground (Lithosol) and Regosol cover about 38 500 ha. These are the young soils on solid rock and weathered regolith,

- Calciferous-dolomite dark soil (Kalkomelansol) is the commonest soil type in Montenegro covering 660 000 ha.

- Rendzinas cover 31 000 ha. They are similar to Kalkomelansol, but formed on weathered carbonate; they contain more gravel and stones than soil; the arable areas are in depressions, hollows, plateaux and karst fields.

- Humus - silicate soil (Rankers) occupies about 7 000 ha, formed on a silicate foundation above 1 500 m They are characterized by very low pH and high humus content.

- Brown acid soils (Dystric cambisols), covering an area of 395 000 ha, are the second major type of soil, and are especially characteristic of the north-east of Montenegro.

- Brown eutric soils (Eutric cambisol), cover an area of 118 000 ha, and occupy the lowest land of river basins (old river terraces), ravines and karst fields.

- Brown soils on the limestone (Calc cambisol), cover an area of 35 000 ha and are a transitional form between limestone dark soil to the red soil.

- Red soils (Terra rossa), 84 000 ha, are distributed in the coastal area and in the basin of Scadar lake up to 500–600 m.

Figure 3. Some soil types (3) from mountain areas.

1. Dark fertile soil on limestone
2. Rendzina on morena
3. Rendzina on dolomite

- Diluvium, alluvium and swamp land of 4 000 ha, occupies the lowest terraces, bottom of the hills, alluvial plains by streams and the shore of Scadar, Plavsko and Sasko lakes.

- Dark fertile soils on limestone: Rendzina on morena; Rendzina on dolomite.

Very pronounced differences in relief and climate influenced the great heterogeneity of land and production regions (agro-ecological zones). The coastal part of the country has a significant share of deep and relatively fertile alluvial-deluvial land, while terraces and the plateaux represent brown anthropogenic land. In the Ćemovsko province on the banks of rivers and the Bjelopavlici plain brown soils are dominant. Most arable land in the Polimsko-Ibar region consists of alluvial, talus and brown soil on old terraces - lake sediments. Rolling terrain and steep land have moderately acid and acid brown soils and rendzinas.


3. CLIMATE AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONES

Climate

Montenegro’s climate is greatly influenced by its proximity both to the sea and mountains, which are divided by river valleys, canyons and mountain massifs with micro-relief, valleys, karst fields and plateaux. Because of this varied relief within a relatively small geographic area there are climatic zones, from the Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean through continental to sub Alpine and mountain.

Figure 4. Climatic regions of Montenegro according to W. Koppen

According to the German climatologist W. Koppen, climatic zones are ranked in three levels: climate, types and subtypes. All the climates, according to the average values of air temperature, are divided into five climates or grades: A, B, C, D and E. B characterizes dry climates, and C have moderate warm rainy climates. Types were determined on the basis of the rainfall regime and subtypes according to the values and duration of certain air temperatures. On the basis of the data from 1961-2000, zones present in Montenegro are C - moderately warm (in lower areas) and D - moderately cold (at an altitude above 1 000 m) climates. C climate occurs in two types, Cs (Mediterranean type) and Cf (moderately warm and humid climate). In Cs there are two subtypes Csa and Csb, and Cf type is represented in Cfb subtype. D climate is represented with one type – Df - humid boreal (snow - forest) climate. The Df type is represented in two subtypes, Dfb - at altitudes up to 1 500 m, and Dfc - at altitudes above 1 500 m.

Temperature

Temperature data for the main cities are given in Table 6. Average monthly temperatures are lowest in January and highest in July. Average annual temperature varies from 6.1 0C in Zabljak to 16.7 0C in Herceg Novi.

Table 6. Temperature data of more important places in Montenegro
Location
Average January temperature
Average July temperature
Average annual temperature
Bar
8.4
23.0
16.6
Herceg Novi
8.2
24.3
16.7
Podgorica
5.1
26.1
15.9
Niksic
1.3
20.3
11.4
Cetinje
0.9
19.9
11.1
Kolasin
-1.9
15.8
7.7
Zabljak
-4.5
13.9
6.1
Pljevlja
2.6
17.5
8.8
Bijelo Polje
1.3
17.9
10.0
Berane
1.5
18.4
9.1
Source: Annual Bulletins of Hydro-meteorological Department of Montenegro (1985-2006)

There are Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean climates in the littoral area and the Zeta and Bjelopavlic plain with average annual temperature around 15-17 0C. Summers are long, sunny and warm with little rainfall, while winters are mild and rainy.

The climate of Niksic province and Cetinje make the transition from sub-Mediterranean and mountain with lower average annual temperature (10-12 0C). In valleys and ravines of north-east Montenegro a moderate continental climate predominates, with great influence of mountain climate and average annual temperature of 8-10 0C.

Mountain areas, highlands and the high mountains have a mountain climate influenced by elements of Mediterranean climate. Winters are long, cold and snowy, while summers are short and fresh. Rainfall varies from 1 500 to 2 000 mm. Average annual temperature is up to 8 0C.

Precipitation

Precipitation data for main sites are presented in Table 7. From total precipitation it can be concluded that Montenegro has humid and per-humid climates but irregular distribution of precipitation during the year and soil water-holding capacity very often limit intensive plant production by shorter or longer dry periods. Precipitation irregularity is more pronounced in the south-west and central compared to the north-east part of the country.

Table 7. Precipitation data of more important places in Montenegro (mm)
Location
Total annual precipitation
Period May-September
Bar
1 244
295
Herceg Novi
1 940
355
Podgorica
1 653
280
Niksic
1 993
270
Cetinje
3 393
665
Kolasin
2 128
530
Zabljak
1 462
437
Pljevlja
796
320
Bijelo Polje
906
235
Berane
948
254
Source: Annual Bulletins of Hydro-meteorological Department of Montenegro (1985-2006)

As well as the average annual temperatures, annual precipitation and the sum during the growing season (May-Sept) are highest in south-western and western part of Montenegro and decrease toward the northeast.

Agro-ecological zones

There is big variation and complexity of natural conditions for development of agriculture in Montenegro . On the basis of the influence of agro-ecological factors, primarily climate and soil, as well as the way and level of exploitation, Montenegro is provisionally divided into five production regions: Coastal, Zeta and Bjelopavlici region, Karst region, Polimlje-Ibar region and Northern mountain region.

Table 8 shows the layout of agricultural land, meadows and pasture in these production regions. The largest agricultural areas are on the Northern - mountain region on 184 000 ha or 35.6% respectively, and the least in the Littoral –Ibar region with 50 800 ha (9.8%). The largest meadow areas are in Northern – mountain (40.2%) and Polimlje – Ibar (36.25) regions, while the smaller in coastal region, 4.5%. More than a third of all pasture is in Northern – mountain region (36.58%), while in Polimlje – Ibar region, 19.69%, and in karst region of Zeta and Bjelopavlici 16.35% and in coastal region 9.86%.

The Coastal region covers 11.5% of the national territory and includes 9.8% agricultural, 9.8% arable land and 14.36% of meadows and pasture land. Approximately 20 000 ha of arable, relatively fertile land is only partially used; most of the area is under used, neglected and degraded natural pastures. This area is influenced by Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean climate, and is suitable for sub-tropical fruit, olive and vegetable production, both protected and open field.

Table 8. Agricultural land, meadows and pasture according to production regions (000 ha)
Region Municipalities
Total territory
Agric. land
Arable land
Meadows
Pasture
ha
%
ha
%
ha
%
ha
%
ha
%
Littoral Herceg Novi, Kotor, Tivat, Budva, Bar and Ulcinj
159.1
11.5
50.8
9.8
19.4
9.8
5.94
4.5
32.12
9.86
Zeta-Bjelopavlici Podgorica and Danilovgrad
194.2
14.0
79.0
15.3
29.0
15.3
14.12
10.7
53.24
16.35
Karst Cetinje and Niksic
297.5
21.5
74.3
14.3
15.9
8.3
11.04
8.4
57.26
17.58
Polimlje-Ibar Andrijevica, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Plav and Rozaje
284.2
20.5
129.8
25.0
62.4
32.2
47.59
36.2
64.13
19.69
Northern-mountain Pljevlja, Kolasin, Mojkovac, Zabljak, Pluzine and Savnik
446.2
32.5
184.5
35.6
63.1
33.2
52.83
40.2
118.9
36.58
Total
1381.2
100
518.1
100
189.7
100
131.52
100
325.69
100
Source: Montenegro/EU Strategy Report, 2006, p 36.

Zeta-Bjelopavlici region is the main plain of the complex (Zeta, Malesia, Bjelopavlici plain, Cemovsko province, etc.). Most is at an altitude of 45 - 60 m but is on the rim of plains up to 200 m. Thanks to its sub-Mediterranean climate this region can very successfully produce most crops ­ vegetables, fruits and vines. Zeta and Malesia had long been an important centre for early vegetables, but recently due to falling demand interest in their production is reduced. Irrigation is essential for achieving high yields because of a pronounced dry period in summer. During the time of social enterprises land was better and more rationally used, but in the last 20 years, with privatization of social assets, most of the area is covered by tumble-down fallow.

The Karst region covers the south-west of Montenegro and over 20% of the total territory, but has a very meagre stock of arable, particularly cultivated land. Most cultivated land is in valleys and depressions; most of the territory consists of rocky terrain, very unfavourable for plant production. Previously this area was known for breeding small ruminants, mainly goats, but now livestock is much reduced due to migration from the villages.

Polimlje – Ibar region covers the territory that gravitates to the river valleys of Lim and Ibar, with one quarter of agricultural and one third of arable, relatively fertile land. Although the amount of rainfall is lower compared to other regions, it is better distributed making conditions much more favourable for crops and livestock.

The rim of the valley region has the characteristics of mountain areas, with less favourable natural conditions.

The Northern-mountainous region has the largest territory, with one third of the agricultural and arable land. Most of the area is covered by shallow soil on slopes with deeper and more fertile land on plateaux and depressions. The fertile part of the area is suitable for growing potatoes, cabbage, small grains and forage plants. This region is best suited to livestock production.


4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS

Livestock has always been the most important branch of agriculture as it is well adapted to the environmental conditions; the animal husbandry sector is gradually adapting to the market economy. Development of animal husbandry has been greatly influenced by natural resources. Dominant natural grasslands and meadows, compared to the insignificant more fertile arable soils, influenced development of cattle and sheep production compared to pigs and poultry. In Table 9 data on livestock numbers and production are presented.

Table 9. Numbers and output of animal products 1998-2007 (1995-2004 for eggs and milk).
Indicators
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
Number of livestock (000)
Cattle (total)
176
178
180
179
178
183
175
166
169
169
Cows and heifers
123
124
128
121
120
124
127
117
122
121
Pigs
24
23
22
19
21
22
12
11
13
10
Sheep
392
333
306
293
244
241
252
255
249
222
Poultry
750
813
745
791
817
838
890
785
740
778
Horse
15
14
12
11
10
10
8
7
6
5
Production (liveweight)
Cattle (000 tonnes)
12.2
12.2
12.0
12.6
13.5
13.3
11.6
11.8
11.2
11.1
Pigs (000 tonnes)
4.9
4.8
4.4
4.5
4.8
5.2
2.1
4.8
4.9
4.6
Sheep (000 tonnes)
9.2
7.9
7.9
7.3
7.4
7.1
6.6
6.4
6.1
5.8
Poultry (000 tonnes)
1.8
1.7
1.8
2.0
2.0
2.1
2.0
2.0
1.9
2.1
 
 
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
Eggs (million)
69
71
62
60
67
60
62
62
63
104
Milk (mil.litres)
137
141
153
163
177
195
197
194
198
203
Source: SGCG (Montenegro Statistical Annual Report, 2008, p 99-102; Montenegro/EU Strategy Report, 2006, p 46

[COMMENT: It is noted that there are differences between data in this Table and data for 2007 on FAOSTAT. Probably because of the recent separation of Serbia and Montenegro it may be some years before data sets can be harmonized.]

On the basis of numbers cattle and poultry are relatively stable while there has been a decrease in pigs, sheep and horses. There are no data on goats but it is estimated that there are 50-55 000 head. The volume of total livestock production shows positive trends. The highest increase compared to 1995 was in cattle production (average annual rate of 2.6%), while the sheep production decreased by an average annual rate of 2.6%.

Cattle production

Cattle production is the most important branch of animal husbandry with a total of 170 000 head and 121 000 cows and breeding heifers; it achieved an annual output of about 200 million litres of milk and more than 11 000 tonnes of meat. Although present on all farms, cattle are not evenly distributed. The northern–mountain and Polimlje–Ibar regions with about 60% of agricultural land have about 62% of all cattle. However, the number of cattle in those two regions decreased recently because of depopulation of the villages. At the same time, in Karst region, Zeta–Bjelopavlici and the coastal region, numbers have slightly increased due to the proximity of processing plants and bigger consumer centres.

Figure 5. Mini farm of Simmental cattle in Polimlje – Ibar region (Vrbica)

Breed structure of cattle is unfavourable because about 50% are cross-breeds, Tyrol-gray form about 15%, while high-bred productive breeds such as Holstein and Brown represent about 32%. Simmental form only 3%. Artificial insemination covers about 25% of the population.

Productivity is low for both meat and milk (80-100 kg of meat and about 2 000 – 2 200 litres of milk per head), mostly due to poor nutrition, but also other factors (management, care, breed structure, veterinary protection etc.).

Table 10. Number of cattle, regional structure of production (000 head)
Region
1978
1988
1998
2004
Coastal
20
15
14
19
Zeta-Bjelopavlici
22
23
20
24
Karst region
27
22
20
23
Northern mountain
51
60
56
54
Polimlje-Ibar
74
69
63
55
Total
194
189
173
175
Source: SGCG (Montenegro Statistical Annual Report, 1979-1989); Montenegro/EU Strategy Report, 2006, p 47

The largest number of cattle is in Polimlje–Ibar and the Northern-mountain regions and the lowest in the Coastal region. Cattle numbers in the Karst region, Zeta-Bjelopavlici and the Coastal region show slow growth, while Polimlje–Ibar and the Northern-mountain region is declining.

Cattle technology

The commonest cattle system is a housed and combined holding. In farms with more than five dairy cattle, animals are usually tied in stalls. Most new stables are built to plan and offer optimal environmental conditions with both dry and liquid systems of manure management. On farms with fewer than five animals the combined system is common, with grazing for 4 - 6 months; depending on natural conditions and organization of the farm. Stables on smaller farms are a bit older, but of good quality, adapted, and often reconstructed and modernized. Environmental conditions in these facilities are a bit poorer, because there is often a problem of ventilation and weak and inadequate system for manure removal. In waterless areas there is a problem of lack of water for the farm, so concrete tanks are built to store water. These are expensive facilities that significantly increase the costs for the farm.

Sheep and goat production

Sheep production

Sheep rearing comes next to cattle production from the economic point of view. Sheep are mainly kept in northern Montenegro (Northern- mountain about 37% and Polimlje- Ibar region about 32%), where most of the meadow – pasture land (about 60%) is found.

The breed make-up is 60% of local breeds (Pivska and Sjenicka pramenka) with local strains, and various cross-breeds about 40%. Presence of highly productive breeds is very small and of no economic or productive importance.

Table 11. Number of sheep, regional structure of production (000 head)
Region
1978
1988
1998
2004
Coastal
40
34
26
15
Zeta-Bjelopavlici
58
39
31
17
Karst region
68
62
50
33
Northern mountain
213
197
158
98
Polimlje-Ibar
152
157
127
89
Total
489
489
392
252
Source: SGCG (Montenegro Statistical Annual Report), 1979-1989; Montenegro/EU Strategy Report, 2006, p 49

Formerly sheep production was triple purpose (meat, milk and wool), but nowadays wool has lost its economic importance, resulting in expense for shearing with no income. Sheep production is commonest in the areas where there is rapid depopulation (less favourable conditions for living and farming) which is the main reason for the pronounced trend of long term decreasing numbers.

Figure 6. Part of the flock of sheep and pasture of a mountain area sheep farm (Pisce)

Sheep are managed in a combined system; in the winter they are housed, in the spring and autumn they graze natural pasture in the meadows around the farm, while during summer they migrate up to the ‘katun’ (settlement for temporary residence in the centre of a pasture complex). Nutrition of sheep is almost exclusively based on the pasture, summer is a grazing period, and in winter they eat hay with natural meadows and less frequently, sown pastures. They are sometimes fed granular food and concentrate during lambing.

Goat production

Goat production is on a much smaller scale compared to sheep but has great significance, especially in rocky areas where the conditions for cattle and sheep are much poorer (Karst region). The goat population is about 50 000. Breeds can be divided into three groups, namely: the noble race (mostly alpine and less frequently ‘sanska’), crosses between the two, and domestic Balkan goats.

There is a recent noticeable increase in the number of larger flocks (over 100 head), but most animals are still on small farms (up to 30 head). The present situation in goat production is a consequence of the earlier (post-war) legal ban on keeping goats and partly more interest in sheep when wool was a valuable product. Average production per head is about 140 kg of milk and 15 kg of meat. The main reason for this low production is the genetic potential of the existing breed and malnutrition.


5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE

Natural grasslands ­ meadows and pasture ­ are the most important sources of bulky feed in Montenegro, especially in hilly-mountain areas where they provide the only feed for cattle. In winter cattle are mainly fed hay collected from natural meadows and in summer graze the pastures and the meadows after mowing. 

Grassland types

Meadow – pasture vegetation, which is created and changed under the influence of natural conditions and by human activity, is characterized by complex floristic composition, low yields and low quality forage. Vegetation is a very reliable indicator of ecological conditions; on low acidity soils dominant species adapted to these conditions are (Rumex sp., Ranunculus sp., Plantago sp. etc.). Shallow and eroded soils have xerophytic vegetation; in the extreme conditions of the mountain area only species with high tolerance of cold, drought and low soil acidity survive.

Figure 7. Some types of grasslands in hilly – mountain areas.

Pastures: Poetium violaceae
Agrostietum vulgaris

Variability of ecological conditions influences creation of more specific associations of more complex plant cover, rich in species and endemics. However, having in mind the botanical and ecological importance of vegetation, emphasis here is on the aspect of feed as a basis for the development of livestock production. The basic properties of the most important meadow-pasture vegetation and dominant associations of valley, hilly, mountain and karst grasslands follow.

Lowland – valley grassland covers a significant region of the Zeta-Bjelopavlici plain, lower parts of Niksic province and narrow areas of the lower course of Lim, Ibar, Cehotina and Tara rivers. Usually they were formed in lowland, river basins and other level and less sloping areas, on deeper and more fertile types of alluvium and alluvial-diluvial soils, rarely on brown soils and rendzina. They reach up to 300 m; in the north even up to 600 m above sea level. Part of the area is periodically flooded but only during severe and prolonged rain. They are managed in combination, firstly mowing then grazing in the second part of the growing season; average yield is 2-3 tonnes/ha of medium quality hay. Plant cover is variable, depending to the conditions of habitat, primarily soil fertility, quantity and distribution of precipitation. Well drained swards have better floristic composition with many legumes and fewer weeds; on heavier soils low quality grass and grasslikes characteristic of boggy areas dominate, grow well but have little nutritional value. On better pastures grass associations of Arrhenatheretum elatioris, Cynosuretum cristatii and Agropyretum repens dominate, while on boggy land the association Molinietum coeruleae is dominant. Many of the more fertile pastures have been ploughed, especially on the best soils, for arable crops and perennial plantations.

Hilly grasslands are found on large areas of terrain above 500 – 800 m and in areas with favourable climate and more fertile soils up to 1 000 m above sea level. They were formed under less favourable ecological conditions with severe climate, on poor, more acid soils and consequently with lower productive properties than lowland pastures. Most are on shallow, eroded and less fertile acid soils (rendzina, ranker, brown acid soil, etc.). Natural meadows of hilly- mountain areas give an average yield of about 2 – 2.5 tonnes/ha of medium nutritive value. On fertilized meadows higher yields of hay are obtained, 3 – 3.5 tonnes/ha and even more in favourable climatic conditions. Droughts are frequent due to irregular precipitation, poor water retention properties of soils, porous base and steeper slopes. In these conditions these pastures do not meet the level of yield and quality of forage.

Figure 8. Sown grasslands in valley areas (Zaton)

 

The floristic composition of most pastures is unfavourable, with a tendency to further undesirable changes. Poor grasses and herbs predominate, while the participation of better grasses and legume presence is very low. Low quality, harmful and even poisonous plant species are increasing. The biggest influence on floristic changes are ecological conditions, scientific farming methods – and pasture management. The commonest associations of hilly pastures are of: Agrostidetum vulgare, Chrysopogonetum grylli, Festucetum vallesiaca, Agrostidetum albae, and on dry and rocky soils also Brometum erecti. On level terrains with deeper and more fertile soil the associations of Alopecuretum pratensis, Poo Alopecuretum pratensis and Cynosuro cristati-Alopecuretum pratensis were found.

Mountain pastures, which make up the majority of the natural grasslands, are of great importance for production of animal feed and protection against soil erosion on steep and rocky terrain. Better pastures at altitudes of 1 000 to 1 500 m on deeper and more fertile soil are used for both mowing and grazing, but shallow and eroded sites are only grazed. At higher altitudes there is a zone of montane pastures which are less used due to inaccessibility and distance unless they are near larger summer settlements (as emphasized by many authors, including Dubljevic, 2005; 2007). Although the mountain region can be seen as a unique area of mountain and high mountain pastures, there are substantial differences between localities. These are characterized by varied floristic composition and grass cover influenced by differences in climate, relief and soil. The best pastures are on flat, less rocky terrain with permanent mountain settlements and higher altitude summer settlements. Beside natural conditions, human activities have had a big influence on the floristic composition and productivity of these pastures, by manuring (moving sheepfold) and more intensive exploitation. These are the main source of animal feed for both summer and winter. On terrains up to 1 200 m associations of Poetum violaceae, Festucetum ovinae, Festucetum rubra-falax, Festucetum valesiaca, Nardetum strictae, Brometum erectistrictae etc. predominate. Presence of legumes in the yield is very low, below 5%; it is somewhat higher on fertilized areas. On pastures fertilized by manure (moving sheepfolds) the amount of weed in green cover in the first year is higher, but later falls to about 20-30%. 

The commonest types of pastures are on rolling terrain at altitudes above 1 500 m. Compared to the previous, these pastures have a less favourable floristic structure, caused by the lack of any improvement measures, presence of rocks (50% of the area, sometimes more) and harsh climate. Xerophytic vegetation covers very rocky slopes of mountain peaks and hillsides of steep bare mountainous and rocky ground. Part of these pastures on lower terrain were important in the past, but recently, due to the decrease of animal stocks in mountain regions, are hardly used for feed. However, the future importance of these regions may be higher due to their contribution to environmental protection.

Figure 9. Dominant types of mountain grasslands (Jezera near Zabljak)

Pastures: Nardetum strictae

Poo violaceas - Nardetum strictae

In areas bordering forest complexes there are forest pastures. These are even better than the previous pastures but due to irregular use and lack of care these pasture are changing into forest through encroachment by bushes and shrubs. According to the floristic structure they are similar to pastures on higher hilly and lower mountain areas. The commonest associations of high mountain pastures are: Nardetum strictae, Brometum erecti, Festucetum vallesiacae, Poetum violacea, Poo violaceae-Nardetum strictae etc.

Yields of mountain meadows vary significantly depending on the soil, climate, but mainly distribution of precipitation and the level of management applied. On most areas no type of care is applied, which results in low yield especially in drought years. Irregular utilization and lack of fertilization cause unfavourable changes in floristic composition resulting in presence of worthless and harmful species in the yield of these pastures. On meadows of dry, sunny areas regularly mown a specific problem is the spreading of worthless, harmful and poisonous plant species. Average yield on non fertilized meadows on shallow, skeletal soils is about 1.5 tonnes/ha, on deeper and more fertile soils about 2.0 tonnes/ha of hay (0.9-1.2 tonnes/ha Nutrition Units), while the yield on fertilized meadows is almost as on hilly areas.

Improvement of natural grasslands

Most natural grasslands, especially in hilly-mountain areas, are in poor condition, give low yield, moderate or more often poor quality of fodder and have unfavourable floristic composition with a tendency to further degradation. Having in mind the role and importance of pastures for development of livestock production and their environmental value, the task of applying proper measures to improve their state is most important. Adequate improvement of natural pastures would require engagement of researchers, experts and local farmers, supported by the Government within its agricultural policy.

Figure 10. Sub sowing of grassland

According to Dubljevic and Mitrovic (2009) natural potential for pasture yield is variable, mostly influenced by agro-ecological conditions and floristic composition. At lower altitudes, on deeper, flat, more fertile soils with favourable climate, meadows have better floristic composition and higher potential, while in hilly – mountain areas due to the less favourable conditions the yield is lower. Production can be raised by rehabilitating existing pastures, establishing better management and replacing of old grass with sown pasture. Grassland improvement techniques include application of better agronomy and management, but the most effective is fertilizer application. Quantities and types of fertilizers should be adapted to the specific conditions according to the results of soil analyses (rarely practiced so far). Most soils under pasture are poor in nitrogen, very low in phosphorus and modestly supplied with potassium. Most soils are rich in humus but often very acid because of unfavourable conditions for mineralization, especially in hilly-mountain areas.

The best results are obtained by application of all three basic macro elements (N, P, K), while fertilization by dual combination give lower results. Application of phosphorus and potassium increase participation of legumes in plant cover, but the change does not influence increment of total pasture production, because the legumes spread have rather low yield. Fertilization of pastures with nitrogen is more important, as a condition for obtaining of high and stable production. Bearing in mind that natural conditions of hilly – mountain areas of Montenegro are not favourable for significant increment of legume participation in the total yield, nitrogen application is more important due to his role to speed plant growing and clustering, prolongation of vegetation and amplifies the assimilation (photosynthesis). However, while planning fertilizer application (especially nitrogen), the negative effects of high dose application on the environment and floristic composition of pastures must be taken into account.

Figure 11. Grassland harrowing

Botanical composition of grasslands depends on environmental conditions and human influence. Most Montenegran pastures have poor floristic composition, in which species of low productivity and poor nutritive value predominate, with an increase of worthless, harmful and poisonous species. Fertilizing during shorter or longer periods brings about changes of floristic composition. The speed and intensity of changes, beside the natural conditions and management, influence the type of pasture and their status. Application of higher doses of phosphorus and potassium with reduced nitrogen increases the proportion of legumes and decreases grasses and other plants, while strong fertilization with nitrogen favours grasses and ‘weed’ species. For that reason application of NPK mixtures only and regular use can cause favourable changes of floristic composition. Such a regime of fertilization and utilization, influences the change of the majority of plant associations in hilly – mountain areas (Nardetum strictae, Festucetum vallesiaca, Poetum violacea etc.) into associations of Agrostietum vulgaris or rarely Festucetum rubra – fallax. Such changes are faster and more intense with higher rates of nitrogen.

Changes in floristic composition affect yield and of nutritive value. Adequate fertilization provokes more productive and valuable species in the pasture and decrease participation of worthless and harmful plants. Only in the first year is there an increase of weed species, but useful plants and legumes predominate longer.

Natural potential of pasture yields varies in a range of 1.5 – 3.0 tonnes/ha on lower quality pastures to 5.0 – 7.0 tonnes/ha of dry mass on better meadows of hilly and plain areas. Without fertilization and application of other agronomic measures, about a third of the potential is reached, while in rare cases, with application of small doses the rate is up to 50%. Previously high increments of yield and rapid changes of floristic composition were achieved by moving sheepfolds, during which the flock stays a couple of nights on one place. However this method of fertilization has several limits: only a small area can be fertilized during the warmer part of the year; decrease in sheep numbers, big efforts needed to move sheepfolds etc. Manuring is very rare because of the lack of proper mechanization, and because almost all the manure is used for crops.

From several years research on the influence of fertilization on productive properties of pastures on the most important productive areas of Montenegro, some general recommendations about doses of fertilizers to improve the production without harmful effect on environment, can be given. Biogenic elements (NPK) should be applied in close rate of 2 – 2.5: 1: 1, with doses of 50 – 120 kg/ha of nitrogen and 30-50 kg/ha of phosphorus and potassium, depending on status of the pasture, planned method and intensity of utilization, possible irrigation and so on. Fertilizers should be applied in spring, once, before vegetation growth starts. Applied fertilizers should assure rational production on pastures; increasing of doses is needed only if it is followed by an increase in yield.

By rational application of fertilizers, especially with combined fertilizers (manure + mineral fertilizers) utilization of natural pasture potential would increase to 50 – 70%, with yield of 1.5 – 2.5 tonnes/ha on poor, 4 – 4 tonnes/ha on medium and 4 – 6 tonnes/ha of dry mass on the best pastures.

Sown pastures

Interventions to improve natural pastures often have a limited effect, especially in less favourable natural conditions in hilly-mountain areas, because of slow changes in floristic composition and yield. In such situations cultivation of the existing pasture is justified with sowing more of productive and better quality grasses and legumes. In addition to the larger yield and better nutritional value, sown grasslands compared to natural have better yield distribution during the growing season (more cuts), secure the source of animal feed and are a significant factor in cost-effective livestock production. Cultivation of existing pastures is only recommended on level terrains or gentle slopes, where it will not cause soil erosion.

Despite significant advantages compared to natural grassland, sown pasture has little importance in Montenegro because of their relatively small area and low average yield. The total area of about 4 800 – 5 000 ha gives an average yield of 4 tonnes/ha of hay, which is not much better than that of good natural meadows. About a third of these pastures are more than 10 years old, so their yield is much lower than in those in full production. Another, probably more important reason, for low yield of sown pastures is the level of technology applied, primarily insufficient fertilizer or lack of fertilizer gives low yields, so farmers did not establish larger areas. Besides insufficient training of farmers, the reason for the small area under sown pasture is a lack of proper mechanization and high prices for machinery hire. Farmers improvise and often make big mistakes, especially in the selection of seed mixture and sowing methods.

Figure 12. Alfalfa field in the area of Niksic (Slivlje)

In the past complex mixtures were used (6 - 8 or more species); recently increasingly simple mixtures of a few species of grass and legumes, sometimes only two are used (Trifolium pratense and Lolium italicum, Medicago sativa and Dactilys glomerata etc.). Sown pastures are usually both mown and grazed; the larger part of the herbage is made into hay, then to the end of the vegetative season for grazing.

Determination of species and their relation in the mixture is important and requires good knowledge of their biological properties and requirements toward environmental conditions. Grasses are more tolerant than legumes regarding the level of technology and management and can better adapt to environmental conditions. The best adapted to hilly – mountain areas are the grasses: Phleum pratense, Dactylis glomerata, Festuca pratensis, Festuca rubra, Poa pratensis, Arrhenatherum elatius, Agrostis vulgaris etc. As expected, the least tolerant to these climatic conditions are Lolium italicum and Lolium perenne.

Choice of the legumes and their share in the mixtures depends on agro-ecological conditions and planned ways of management. In the lowland and mountain areas, on slightly acid or neutral soils, the mixture should include alfalfa (Medicago sativa), on drier and acid terrains Lotus corniculatus, while on colder and more humid areas red clover. Lotus corniculatus and Trifolium repens have a high degree of adaptability to environmental conditions and way of exploitation, suitable for almost all types of soil. Large-leaved Ladino white clover should be more included in the production, because it has many advantages compared to small leaf types.

Natural conditions of the hilly – mountainous areas are more favourable to grasses than legumes, which soon thin out and disappear from pastures. Legume cover and its contribution to yield, decreases rapidly, even after the second year of exploitation, especially if higher doses of nitrogen are applied. Legume presence in the pasture improves forage quality and soil fertility, but sometimes limits the productive potential of grass, which increases the yield only when high doses of nitrogen are applied. Grass only mixtures may be used on more acid soils which, with proper fertilization and adequate utilization can give high yield of good quality. Usually grass-legume mixtures are sown with approximately 30 – 35% of legumes. Gaps arising from the gradual decline of legumes are filled by grass; a greater proportion of legumes would cause bigger gaps into which weeds could spread. The choice of species and preparation of mixture for grassland should be harmonized with environmental conditions, but should take into account the manner and period of use and the type of livestock.

Establishment of sown pasture

Sown pastures in Montenegro are on small areas, usually of 0.5 – 1.0 ha; occasionally on larger areas, such as social complexes of cattle farms. The commonest preceding crops for sown pastures are stubble cereals and field crops in hilly – mountain area, and vegetables in Zeta – Bjelopavlici region, where they are less used because there alfalfa is more commonly grown. Pasture requires relatively good land, which can be worked easily, with adequate soil depth and not on steep slopes.

Figure 13. Sowing

The commonest method of establishing pastures is by classical, conventional cultivation, ploughing at 20 – 25 cm and seedbed preparation. In hilly –mountain areas, where most soils have a favourable mechanical composition tillage is easier, compared to the more difficult soils of the Bjelopavlicka plain and coastal regions of Skadar lake where establishment is less successful. Seedbed preparation is crucial for sowing because the seeds are small and are sown at little depth. The best is to prepare a fine and firm seedbed and sow by drill; rotary hoes should be avoided because they damage the soil structure and give an excessively fine tilth which can form a crust. Establishment of pasture with minimum tillage is very rare, although it would probably give good results on the developed lots, after small grains, potato and other crops (see Mitrovic et al., 2009a).

Seedbed fertilization when establishing a pasture is of great importance to provide nutrition for the first year; use of manure provides a prolonged effect into the second and third year and improves physical-chemical properties of the soil. In practice manure is often used on preceding crops, which reduces weed infestation; if applied at establishment 30 – 35 tonnes/ha of mature manure are incorporated into the soil. Mineral fertilizers should be added before seedbed preparation; depending on the fertility of soil, approximate doses of 45 -60 kg/ha are applied. However, only a few farmers follow these recommendations, because most use small doses of NPK fertilizers, only 20-30 kg/ha. The same is the case in the later years of pasture utilization, and on some lots fertilizers are not applied. Use of liquid manure and slurry is rare due to the lack of suitable machinery and inadequate facilities for storing manure on most farms. The small number of better equipped farms where liquid manure is used for pasture fertilization obtain good productive results and savings in consumption of fertilizers. Fertilization is important for maintenance and modification of floristic composition of pasture. It is therefore very important to harmonize the quantity and type of fertilizers with the demands of species, trying to keep the legume longer in the mixture but not to inhibit the productive potential of grass. Sown pastures are established with the aim of achieving high yield and good forage quality, and this is possible only with the application of adequate fertilizer.

Sowing is usually done manually at high seed rates of 40-50 kg/ha and sometimes more. When establishing new pasture sowing machinery should be used as it uses less seed, gives faster and uniform germination and better spatial distribution of seeds.

Spring sowing is usual, even in warmer areas where there are significant advantages of sowing in late summer and early autumn. One of the reasons for less sowing in the autumn is the lack of irrigation which it is necessary for successful and even crop emergence. In hilly – mountain areas early spring sowing is recommended because autumn sowing entails a high risk of frost damage to the young crop.

Figure 14. Sown grassland
Figure 15. Alfalfa seed

Weed control in young crops is most important because strong weed growth significantly reduces yield, and in extreme cases deterioration of crops may occur. Broadleaved weeds that occur in the year of sowing are most effectively suppressed with mechanical measures such as high mowing, proper fertilization and exploitation. Herbicides should only be used when mechanical measures fail.

Fodder crops on arable land

Montenegro’s cultivated area has fallen by 10 000 ha in the last 10-15 years. Uncultivated arable land overgrown with wild vegetation turns into weedy meadows and pastures.

Table 12 the gives the area of arable land under fodder crops. Fodder crop production on arable land in Montenegro is characterized by the small number of species grown, their small and in some species symbolic areas and low yield (Dubljevic, 2004; Dubljevic and Eric, 2005). Even in the past, arable fodder was unimportant except for alfalfa which was grown on a larger area. By the middle of the past century 10 000 ha were grown, later the area was reduced and for a long time was about 6 500 – 8 000 ha. Recently the alfalfa area is some 3 000 to 3 300 ha, with a tendency to increase. The South and South-east of Montenegro have a very long tradition of alfalfa production.

Table 12. Area and average yields of major species of arable forages
Year
Alfalfa
Red clover
Fodder beet
Fodder maize
ha
tonnes/ha
ha
tonnes/ha
ha
tonnes/ha
ha
tonnes/ha
2003
2 994
3.99
770
3.97
290
15.52
103
10.19
2004
3 033
3.88
858
4.43
272
12.69
58
8.45
2005
3 094
4.36
863
3.97
267
15.28
110
14.28
2006
3 123
4.54
853
4.26
245
15.40
124
27.56
2007
3 250
3.23
866
3.23
234
8.31
113
12.54
Source: SGCG (Statistical Annual Report of Montenegro) 2008, p 96.

Landraces adapted to less favourable natural conditions, but of good quality and persistence, were grown on small plots. As part of the activities in the Plant Genetic Resources Project the most important genotypes were collected and placed in the Gene bank at the Biotechnical faculty. Other arable forages are only grown on small areas, except for some of Red clover in Polimsko – Ibar region and less in the valley of the river Cehotina. In the region of the Zeta – Bjelopavlici plains farmers have grown stubble maize which is used fresh, while in the last 15 years better organized farms sow feed peas, vetch and Sudan grass. In relation to the overall feed needs of livestock, the contribution of arable forage plants is almost symbolic.

Figure 16. Cultivated forage crops

Previously most branches of agriculture in Montenegro were characterized by extensive and non economical production, with low yields and a big input of human labour. Characteristics of the relatively undeveloped agriculture are: poor mechanization, low use of fertilizers, unfavourable breed composition of livestock and plant varieties and poor education. In the plains, with plenty of areas suitable for growing forage plants, there is a lack of systems for irrigation, while in the hilly – mountainous region, on large areas, machinery use by small number of farmers was limited. Reduction in livestock numbers has greatly influenced the decrease of the already small area under arable fodder, especially in the hilly – mountainous region. In Mediterranean and sub Mediterranean climates there are great possibilities for feed production by growing winter fodder catch-crops (cole crops [brassicas], mixtures of pulses and cereals, etc.) as a second crop on the same plot.

There is no work in Montenegro on breeding and selection of forage plants, thus there is no local choice nor organized seed production of these plants.

Henceforth the production of fodder on plough land should be given much more importance, especially in the higher valley and plain areas, with favourable conditions, although increasing altitude narrows the range of arable crops. In the hilly – mountain area the priority should be one-year forage mixture (fodder peas, and vetch with white straw crops) and alfalfa and red clover pure or in mixture with grasses. The more intensive forms of land use on the lower damp terrains in production should include short duration but very productive mixtures of Trifolium pratense and Lolium multiflorum which produces a high yield of very high quality (protein rich) forage. Growing arable fodder plants would significantly improve feed production, but also contribute to a better and more rational land use by sowing in crop rotation with other annual and perennial crops. On acid and very acid soils manure should be applied, with liming if necessary.

On the lower fields with favourable conditions, there is more possibility for production of arable fodder crops. These are areas with early growth where annual fodders should be sown not only as main, but as catch crops and by sowing after vegetable harvest.

Alfalfa will probably be grown on larger areas in the future. Increased production should be directed in two ways: to improve technology of production and utilize existing stands; and to establish new alfalfa fields. In addition to the application of scientific farming methods, when establishing new alfalfa fields better selection of land is needed, because good soil is a precondition of successful production. Alfalfa should be mown at the optimal stage (beginning of blossom), and not in full bloom, as often happened in practice. Such exploitation gives more cuts and slightly better feed quality, but lower yield.

Winter forage intercrops should ensure fresh feed – green forage in spring and in areas with Mediterranean and sub Mediterranean climate during most of winter. Cole crops (brassicas) should be grown (sowing in late August and early September) and winter forage peas and vetch in mixture with cereals. Cultivation of these crops has special importance because it contributes to a better utilization of land, due to their growing in autumn-winter with plenty of rainfall (except in September) and favourable temperatures for successful production.

Spring (subsequent) crops have a special significance for providing feed in summer and autumn, and for silage. Corn silage, which was rarely made, should have significant participation in the diet of ruminants, because with high yield and nutritive value it improves the economy of livestock production. In the main period late cultivars should be sown; in subsequent sowings mid late and mid early and in stubble crops early hybrids. For silage proper machinery is required, which should be provided through farmer associations because of better machine utilization and less financial burden.

Sudan grass and forage sorghum are crops for the warm climate of the Zeta – Bjelopavlici plain and the reason for their production on much larger areas than the current is that it would provide some fresh forage for summer and autumn and part can be used for silage. Unlike the hilly – mountain areas where there is plenty of summer pasture, in the plains summer is a period of harsh drought. Therefore it is particularly important to produce fresh feed – green forage. These crops allow high production on relatively small areas, if suitable varieties are used under irrigation. They regrow well and provide several cuts. Besides growing in main sowing terms, they give excellent results even as consequent and stubble crops. Spring subsequent crops and winter forage intercrops, along with alfalfa and grassland make the basis for successive (continuous) production of fresh feed in the conveyor system of green forage.

Fodder crop seed production

In Montenegro there is no organized seed production of forage plants, but relatively good imported seeds are used. Scientific research institutions cannot deal with selection of forage plants, so production is based on foreign cultivars.

Fodder conservation

The commonest way of conserving herbage is as hay. Silage is very rare, despite its significant advantages. Pastures are mostly mown by tractor mounted cutter-bars and rotary mowers; in mountain areas mostly by self-propelled hand mowers (Figure 9) of poorer performance (Mitrovic et al., 2009b). On small, poorly equipped farms and in areas unsuitable for the machinery, but with good grasslands, manual mowing is still practiced.

Haymaking

Hay on natural and sown pastures is prepared by the natural drying, on the ground, with or without turning the swath. On smaller fields swath turning is done manually but on bigger areas by machine. Faster drying of fresh forage reduces losses of nutrients, which is why conditioning is necessary for preparation of good quality hay, but mowers are not fitted with conditioners, which considerably prolongs the drying process. In addition to mowing methods the stage of development affects hay quality. Too early mowing gives high quality but low yields and late mowing gives high yield and low nutrient value. In the quest to provide sufficient feed farmers often ignore quality, which is often the reason for the late mowing; also due to poor machinery availability a larger area cannot be mown in a short time.

Nutrient losses occur during haymaking due to breakage of the best quality parts. By turning wilted swaths these losses would be considerably less, especially if the collecting is done more carefully. Only in small areas in the plain and valley region are the racks (fences, ‘Swedish riders’, pyramids, etc.) used for faster drying.

In mountain areas hay is still mostly stacked/stored outdoors. Much smaller amounts are baled and stored under the eaves or indoors. In the plains most of the hay is baled and kept outdoors or stacked, or stored in special facilities. Because of the losses that arise in haymaking, that applies on most farms, the hay is of medium and often poor quality. Removing the aforementioned defects would significantly improve the quality of hay, which would affect the more productive results in animal husbandry.

Silage and haylage 

There is no tradition of silage and haylage preparation in Montenegro although this method of conservation has great advantages compared to hay. In the earlier period maize silage was made on larger social farms; now silage is only made by a small number of well-organized farms. Beside the lack of habits and knowledge about its benefits, preparing of silage and haylage is somewhat hampered by the lack of appropriate machinery and facilities.

Recently a couple of farms started making silage and haylage using rotary balers, which make small bales of about 60 to 80 kg. These machines are suitable for rough terrain and fragmented properties in hilly - mountain areas. Besides the great advantages of silage and haylage for livestock, this approach in forage conservation avoids the current problems of drying hay (especially the first cut) due to frequent storms.


6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF PASTURE RESOURCES

Improvement of livestock production

The most important reasons for the present state of livestock production and its limited further development are:

- rural depopulation and deterioration of abandoned farms,

- poor infrastructure (the situation is improving),

- state of the available agricultural land resources and their productive potential,

- holding size and land tenure,

- technological level,

- insufficient investment in rural development and improvement of agricultural production,

- poorly regulated market purchase of surplus agricultural products,
- weak links, and common problems between primary production and processing industry.

These reasons relate to agriculture as a whole, but livestock, especially cattle and sheep production are its most important branches. Removal, or mitigation of adverse factors should encourage the development of livestock in rural areas, where the natural and other conditions for life and work are less favourable.

Improvement of cattle production

Increased cattle production can be achieved in two ways, by increasing production per head and by increasing numbers. Increase in production will be based on increase per head and less by increase in their number. This increase should be by breed improvement and better nutrition.

Some specific measures that would directly affect the improvement of cattle production are highlighted:

Improving animal feed production:

- renovation of existing pastures and alfalfa fields and establishing new ones,

- increased production of arable forage, especially in the plain and valley area,

- growing winter forage intercrops (annual legumes and cole forage),

- improved fodder conservation (silage, haylage and good quality hay),

- greater use of fresh feed in cut-and-carry systems, etc.

Measures of selection in livestock breeding:

- livestock shows (former regional festivals should be extended to local level),

- improve breed composition,

- increase the number of yield-recorded dairy cattle,

- implementation of appropriate testing.

Improvement of professional services in the field:

- increasing the number of professional staff (to reach smaller communities),

- better infrastructure services,

- educational programmes.

Improvement of sheep and goat production

Negative trends in sheep production are mostly the consequence of population migration to urban areas; this is most pronounced in the mountains. Sheep keeping requires more labour, so for elderly households (the majority in villages) small cattle herds (2 - 3 animals) are more suitable and do not entail migration to summer settlements.

Stopping the reduction and eventually increasing sheep numbers is related to the revival of villages and return of active workers to neglected farms, but revitalization of these farms needs significant investment which would require favourable credit terms.

Better nutrition is essential for increased sheep production. It is particularly important to improve mechanisation of fodder conservation due to lack of labour and to reduce production costs.

The existing breed composition is directed to meat-milk-wool, although none of these segments yield well. Appropriate crossing of indigenous breeds with others with better production traits should be made, and farmers oriented to one product (meat or milk), depending on their conditions and organization of the farm.

Problems in goat production are similar, so improvement methods are the same as for sheep.

Improvement of animal feed production

The production of forage is a part of livestock production; its future development is closely associated with the development of animal husbandry. The improvement of fodder production should be based on the rational use of existing resources and directed in several directions:

Increased production on natural pastures. Meadows and pastures constitute the majority of agricultural land and are the basic source of feed for summer and winter. Agronomic measures to rehabilitate pasture must be economically justifiable; it is necessary to establish priorities and determine those pastures suited for renovation. The agronomic measures are given in section 5 above. Theoretically, existing grassland potential is sufficient to provide feed for current livestock but much is in inaccessible areas and the feed is of medium and often poor quality. Therefore, it is rational to organize the production of forage on smaller, improved areas, where a higher yield and nutritive value can be attained.

Increased production of sown pastures would be achieved by increasing yields on existing and establishment of new sown pastures. With better fertilization the yield of sown pasture would increase by 50 - 100%, and with irrigation even more. Significant participation of production on sown pastures in total forage production would be achieved by doubling of the current area and consistent application of production technology. For new areas the land should be developed by growing of some field crops.

Increasing production of plough land has greater significance in the Zeta-Bjelopavlici and Polimlje-Ibar regions, where arable area predominates compared to other regions. Measures to improve production should be carried out in two directions, in order to provide fresh forage for silage and haylage.

In colder areas spring crops of forage legumes should be grown, while in lower, warmer areas winter catch-crops. The same system should also produce cole fodder.

Where there are good conditions for alfalfa it should be grown on larger areas, but it is necessary to implement measures for increasing production on existing alfalfa fields.

Production of other field fodder plants, which give good yields and quality of forage and are appropriate for the natural conditions, should be introduced.

Improving conservation of animal feed is as important as production for quality winter feed; quality feed can be prepared from quality forage, if is properly conserved and stored.

The obstacles to making haylage and silage should be removed; these are primarily scarcity of suitable equipment and inadequate training of farmers in these technologies and their advantages.

Of special importance is stored forage, because the quality and proper preparation of forage can be wasted through poor storage and handling and sometimes there may be a partial or complete loss. When possible, it is best to avoid storing forage in bulk in the open and use more appropriate structures (eaves, haylofts etc.).


7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL

The production and preparation of fodder crops in Montenegro was neglected for a long time, not only development but also scientific and research aspects. Personnel who are directly or indirectly involved in scientific research and professional work in the field of production and preparation of forage plants are:

Name and surname
Institution
Related field of work
Contact
Dr Radisav Dubljević Biotechnical faculty  Forage production ratod@ac.me
Mr Mirjana Damjanović Biotechnical faculty  Animal nutrition mirjanadam@t-com.me
Dr Dragoljub Mitrović
Biotechnical faculty  Agricultural mechanization drd_mitrovic@yahoo.com
Dr Mirjana Radulović Biotechnical faculty  Soil management and plant nutrition mirrad@t-com.me
Dr Miomir Jovanović
Biotechnical faculty  Management in agriculture miomirj@t-com.me
Dr Bozidarka Markovic Biotechnical faculty  Sheep and goat production bmarkovic@t-com.me
Mr Vukota Stanišić Extension service Farmer education vukotas@t-com.me
Gojko Babović dipl. ing Animal selection service Implementation of selection service programme goleb@t-com.me

8. REFERENCES

Bulletins of Hydro-meteorological Department of Montenegro (Annual for years, 1985-2006), Podgorica.

Dubljević, R. (2004): Possibility of growing of winter forage intercrops in the area of Zeta – Bjelopavlici plain. Acta Agriculturae Serbica, Vol. IX, 17,str. 377 – 381, Čačak.

Dubljević, R. (2005): Influence of fertilization on producing properties of degraded mountain grassland type of Nardetum strictae. Agroznanje, Vol. 6., br.4, str. 31 – 38, Banja Luka.

Dubljević R. (2007): Nitrogen fertilization influence on producing properties of meadow of type Agrostidetum vulgaris in hilly area of Polimlje. Zbornik radova, Institut za ratarstvo i povrtarstvo, Novi Sad, Vol. 44, No.I, str. 361 – 367. Novi Sad.

Dubljević, R. & Erić, P. (2005): Forage quality of winter fodder intercrops grown in Zeta – Bjelopavlici plain. Agroznanje, vol. 6., br. 4, str. 39 – 44. Banja Luka.

Dubljević, R. & Mitrović, D. (2009): Productive properties of mountain pasture of type Agrostietum vulgaris under fertilization of different nitrogen doses. XIV Međunarodno naučno – stručno savjetovanje agronoma Republike Srpske. Trebinje, 23-26 mart 2009.god.( in press - Agroznanje).

Fustic, B. & Djuretic, G. (2000): Soils of Montenegro, University of Montenegro, Biotechnical faculty, p.115-122, Podgorica.

Mitrović D., Dubljević R., Raičević D., Fuštić B. (2009a): Influence of application of cultivator sowing machine on effects of recultivation of degraded soils. XIV Međunarodno naučno – stručno savjetovanje agronoma Republike Srpske. Trebinje, 23-26 mart 2009. god. ( in press - Agroznanje).

Mitrović, D., Dubljević, R. & Babović, G. (2009b): Investigation on technical and technological parameters of different choice of tractor mower and preparation of stodgy animal feed. XIV Međunarodno naučno – stručno savjetovanje agronoma Republike Srpske. Trebinje, 23-26 mart 2009.god.( in press - Agroznanje).

Montenegro/EU Strategy Report (2006): Montenegro and EU, Strategy for food production and rural development, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Montenegro, Podgorica, 2006.

Radojicic, B. (2002): Geography of Montenegro, DANU (p.191-254), Podgorica.

SGCG, Statistical Annual Report of Montenegro (1979, 1989, 2007, 2008), Statistical Department of Montenegro, MONSTAT, Podgorica.

Unquoted References:

Dubljević, R. & Mitrović, D. (2009): Productive properties of populations of alfalfa Medicago sativa from coastal and central region of Montenegro. XIV Međunarodno naučno – stručno savjetovanje agronoma Republike Srpske. Trebinje, 23-26 mart 2009.god. (in press - Agroznanje).

Senija Alibegović-Grbić, Pero Erić, Savo Vučković, Branko Ćupina Radisav Dubljević, Petre Ivanovski, Tatjana Prentović, Đorđe Gatarić and Branislav Nedović (2005): IMPROVEMENT OF FORRAGE PRODUCTION ON NATURAL GRASSLANDS, University Book, University of Sarajevo, Agricultural faculty, Sarajevo, 2005.

Vučković, S., Simić, A.,Ćupina, B., Stojanović Ivana,Vojin, S. & Dubljević, R. (2004a): Influence of nitrogen fertilization on production of pasture Cynosuretum cristati on Sjenica – Pester plateau. Acta Agriculturae Serbica, Vol. IX, 17, str, 279 – 287, Čačak.

Vučković, S., Simić, A., Ćupina, B., Stojanović Ivana,Vojin, S. & Dubljević, R. (2004b): Influence of first swath mowing time on the yield of alfalfa seed in agro-ecological conditions of Western Srem. Acta Agriculturae Serbica, Vol. IX, 17, str. 123- 127,Čačak.


9. CONTACTS

Dr Radisav Dubljević

Biotehnical faculty
University of Montenegro
Mihaila Lalića br. 1
81000 Podgorica
Montenegro

Tel: +382 20 268 438
Fax:+382 20 268 432
e-mail: ratod@ac.me

[The profile was prepared by Dr Radisav Dubljević between May and October 2009, translated by Dr Biljana Lazovic and edited by J.M. Suttie and S.G. Reynolds in October 2009].