Semberija, and the territory of the City of Bijeljina has continental climate with rather cold winters and warm summers. Frosts start at the end of October, and last until the mid April. This makes this area suitable for growing agricultural plants typical for this area, considering that spring sowing and awakening of vegetation start in mid March. The total heat sum for the period from March to October is over 3,400 degrees Celsius, which is enough for growth of all important plants, including the production of tobacco, which is a plant very sensitive to heat sum.
Apart from favourable climate, the most important resource for agriculture is good quality land. Overview of agricultural land according to category and ownership is shown in the following table:
Table 2: Categories of agricultural land and forests
Source: Department of Economy and Agriculture
This means that 59,831 hectares of agricultural land and forests, or 94%, is privately owned, while 3,919 hectares, or 6%, is state owned.
Structure of agricultural land and forests
Source: Department of Economy and Agriculture
According to the census of 1991, the number of agricultural households was 15,818. This means that the average size of an agricultural holding is 3.3 hectares per household.
According to the information dated 8 May 2015 of the Agency for Intermediary, IT and financial services, authorised, among other things, for the registration of agricultural holdings, there are 5032 registered agricultural holdings in the territory of the City of Bijeljina. Of the total number of registered holdings, 38 are legal entities, 4,994 are family agricultural holdings, out which 309 are commercial and 4,685 non-commercial. One part of agricultural producers has not been registered yet, mainly due to the size of the farms and an obligation to pay contributions for health and pension insurance.
In the part of the territory of the City of Bijeljina where land consolidation and hydro-land reclamation works have been performed the agricultural situation is much more favourable. Consolidation covered total of 31,724 ha of the most fertile land, out of which on 19,000 ha hydro-reclamation works were performed. By regulating water regime on 19,000 ha of land a well-timed sowing was possible. The sowing structure was changed in favour of industrial plants and vegetables which demand for intensive production, so with the current sowing structure it is possible to have two harvests per year on about 10,000 ha of land.
After building 24 anti-hail stations in the territory of the City of Bijeljina, conditions were created to protect crops from hail, contributing to decrease of damage caused by this natural disaster, which is becoming more and more frequent in this region and the rest of Europe, due to climate changes.
Different agricultural plants are produced on all 50,037 hectares of arable land, from highly intensive plants such as some kinds of vegetables and industrial plants to crops.
Within the plant production, crops have the largest share in sowing; vegetables are next, and then fodder and industrial plants. By starting the food industry in the area of Semberija, it is expected to increase the area covered with vegetables and industrial plants which would result in more favourable crop rotation.
Depending on the applied agro-technical measures, as well as the weather, between 150 and 215 thousand tons of crops with an average yield of 5 to 6 tons of corn per hectare and 3.5 to 4.8 tons of wheat per hectare are produced per year. On the land which is intensively cultivated it is possible to realize much greater yield: 8 tons of wheat per hectare, and 13 tons of corn per hectare.
Production of vegetables is between 53,000 and 65,500 tons per year. Average yield of fodder is between 12,000 and 23,500 tons.
Current livestock is mostly on the private farms with increasing specialization of farmers for breeding individual types of cattle and certain production (production of milk, fattening of cattle, etc.). In the territory of the City of Bijeljina there are 20 mini farms of dairy cows with the capacity of 20 plus animals, around 30 pig farms with the capacity of 100 to 300 animals, as well as a number of farms for fattening chicks.
Orcharding is one of traditional and very successful branches of agriculture in the south of Semberija in the area under Majevica Mountain. Orchards cover 2,752 hectares or 6% of agricultural land. The most common fruit is plum – 64%, followed by apple, pear, cherry, walnut, etc.