No 19 (2006)

Published March 4, 2006



The Role and Significance of Soil Analyses in Plant Nutrition and Environmental Protection

Hungary has a rich history of soil analyses and soil mapping. Our main tasks today are the preservation of soil fertility as well as balancing the goals of production and environmental protection. The main requirement of agricultural production is to adapt to ecological and economic conditions.
In a series of consultative meetings in the pas...t seven years, representatives from Central and Eastern Europe have analyzed nutrient management practices in their respective countries. According to a joint memorandum agreed upon in 2000, in the countries awaiting accession, the quantity of nutrients used per hectare is considerably smaller than the Western-European usage targeted through special subsidies. The current low nutrient usage contradicts the principles of sustainability and that of the efficient use of resources, jeopardizing soil fertility.
In Hungary, the use of inorganic fertilizers underwent a dynamic development, which manifested itself in an almost tenfold usage growth between 1960 and 1985. This growth slowed down somewhat between 1985 and 1990 and then reduced dramatically after 1990, reaching record lows at the usage levels of the 60s. The nutrient supply has had a negative balance for the last 15 years.
The increasing and then decreasing usage trends can equally be detected in the domestic yield averages of wheat and corn as well as in the nutrient supply of soils. Yields were the largest when usage levels were the highest, and decreased thereafter. Draughts have also contributed to smaller yields. The dramatic decrease in the use of inorganic fertilizers when adequate organic fertilizers are lacking endangers our soils’ fertility.
About 50% of soils in Hungary are acidic. Acidity is mostly determined by soil formation, but especially on soils with a low buffering capacity, this acidity may intensify due to inorganic fertilizers. Sustainable agriculture requires the chemical improvement of acidic soils. According to their y1 values, the majority of our acidic soils need to be improved. This chemical soil remediation is required in 15% of the acidic soils, while it’s recommended for another 20% of these soils.
Results of the analyses conducted in the framework of the soil-monitoring system set up in Hungary in 1992 show that in 95% of the analyzed samples, the toxic element content is below the allowable limit. Cultivated areas are not contaminated; toxicity above the legal level was found only in specific high-risk sampling areas: in the vicinity of industry, due to local overload. The basic principle of sustainable agriculture is to preserve soil fertility without undue strain on the environment. The intensity of the production needs to be considered according to the conditions of the site; i.e.; nutrient management needs to be site-specific. It is recommended to differentiate three types of cultivated land in terms of environmental sensitivity: areas with favorable conditions, endangered areas, and protected areas, and then to adopt nutrient management practices accordingly. To meet all the above-mentioned goals is impossible without systematic soil analysis. Tests conducted by the national monitoring system cannot replace regular field measurements.

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The Importance of Environmental Research of the Great Hungarian Plain

The research of the Great Hungarian Plain has been going on for a long time and there are a lot of information could be used by environmental protection too. The connection between the two topics are diversified, that is why it is necessary to choose a few subject to explain. The chosen subjects are:
The protection of the geological media ca...nnot be solved, either practically and legally, with the protection of the separated elements of that, just if we see it as a system.
The prevention, which is the most effective (and also the most inexpensive) way of environmental protection, can be supported by the compilation of vulnerability- and risk maps (i.e. risk of inland water, erosion vulnerability, deflation vulnerability, contamination sensibility).
Survey on the environmental state containing indispensable geological information for the optimal land use and country planning of a region, county or settlement.
Marking out of the possible areas for waste depositing.

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Agronomical and Economic Evaluation of Different Soil Cultivation Systems

In the interest of profitable plant production and environmental protection we have to make an effort to protect and improve the productivity of our soils while moderating production limiting factors. Due to different soil cultivation methods, the quantity of yield and required expenses also differ.
We examined the production costs in four d...ifferent production technology systems. Overall, it can be said that farming standards are good, since cost prices were low (2001: 14-15 HUF/kg, 2002: 15-21 HUF/kg, 2003: 39-49 HUF/kg) in the case of all main products per 1 kg. Cost prices were lowest in the case of direct sowing, probably due to low machinery costs.
All economic indicators have to be compared when choosing the most suitable production technology in a specific farming environment.

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The Effect of Sunburn on Fruit Quality of cv. Idared Apple

The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of sunburn injury on fruit quality parameters (colour-coverage, depth of affected tissue, fruit flesh firmness, soluble solids content) of apple.
The symptoms of sunburn injury appeared in concentric ring shape, differed from each other and surface colour-coverage. This can be due to the of the injury. The authors observed the following colours on the fruit surface (from the epicentre of the blotch on the transversal diameter of the fruit) dark brown (strongly affected), light brown (moderately affected), pale red transition (poorly affected), red surface colour-coverage (not affected).
Sunburn of apple fruits is a surface injury caused by solar radiation, heat and low air relative humidity that in the initial phase results in a light corky layer, golden or bronze discolouration, and injuries to the epidermal tissue, in the surface exposed to radiation. Thus it detracts from its appearance, but in most cases, it would not cause serious damage to the epidermal tissue. The depth of affected tissue is not considerable, its values are between 1.5-2.0 mm generally. It is commonly known that the tissue structure of apple fruit is not homogeneous. Accordingly, the degree of injury shows some differences under the different parts of the fruit surface.
On the basis of flesh firmness research, the authors established that the measure of flesh firmness of the affected part of apple fruit increases with the effect of sunburn. The consequence of this is the suffered plant cells will die, the water content of this tissue decreases and the fruit gets harder. This water-loss caused the increase of soluble solids content.

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Spatially Discrete GIS Analysis of Sampling Points Based on Yield and Quality Analysis of Sugar Beet (Beta vulgaris L.)

Fulfilment of the increasing quality requirements of sugar beet production can be analysed with sampling of plants and soil at the cultivated area. Analyses of the spatial characteristics of samples require exact geodetic positioning. This is applied in practice using GPS in precision agriculture. The examinations were made in a sample area loc...ated in north-western Hungary with sugar beet test plant. According to the traditional sample taking procedure N=60 samples were taken in regular 20 x 20 m grid, where besides the plant micro and macro elements, the sugar industrial quality parameters (Equations 1-2) and the agro-chemical parameters of soils were analysed. Till now, to gain values of mean, weighted mean and standard variance values, geometric analogues used in geography were adapted, which correspond to the mean centre (Equation 3), the spatially weighted mean centre (Equation 4), the standard distance (Equation 5), and the standard distance circle values. Robust spatial statistical values provide abstractions, which can be visually estimated immediately, and applied to analyse several parameters in parallel or in time series (Figure 1). This interpretation technique considers the spatial position of each point to another individually (distance and direction), and the value of the plant and soil parameters. Mapping the sample area in GIS environment, the coordinates of the spatially weighted mean centre values of the measured plant and soil parameters correlated to the mean centre values showed a northwest direction. Exceptions were the total salt and calcium-carbonate contents, and the molybdenum concentration of the soil samples (Table 1). As a new visual analysis, the spatially weighted mean centre values of the parameters as eigenvectors were projected to the mean centre values as origin. To characterize the production yield, the raw and digested sugar contents of the sample area, the absolute rotation angles of the generated vectors were determined, which indicate numerically the inhomogenity of the area (Figure 2). The generated spatial analogues are applicable to characterise visually and quantitatively the spatial positions of sampling points and the measured parameters in a quick way. However, their disadvantage is that they do not provide information on the tightness and direction of the spatial correlation similarly to the original statistical parameters.

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Botanical Survey of a Seminatural Saline Meadow

We made a botanical survey of a seminatural meadow situated in the vicinity of Hajdúnánás-Tedej in Hungary, using traditional phytocenological methods. The habitat, based on its soil-, and botanical characteristics, can be classified into the category of saline meadows. One of the landscape ecological values of this area is its mosaic-like s...tructure and, as a consequence, this habitat can be divided into six characteristic associations with blurry borderlines and characteristic overlaps. Because of its rare plant species and species richness this area can be considered to be a valuable „seed bank” and a „stepping stone” in the ecological network among the larger, intensively cultivated fields. The area can be evaluated as moderately recovered, the natural species are dominant, but there are few disturbance tolerant species. Except for the two saline associations, the high grass associations, which make up about two-thirds of the habitat, are cut once a year; therefore, the agricultural utilisation of the area and its prevention against weediness are being assured at the same time.

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Gene Bank Developed by Induced Mutation for Selection

Heterosis breeding in maize caused gene erosion by using uniform inbred lines. In order to strengthen the genetic base, we established a gene bank containing lines with broad genetic variability, resistance and adaptability. The maize gene bank is a result of our work in the past two decades.
The gene bank originated from treatments of maize... seeds of hybrids and inbred lines with fast neutrons. The 1500 maize lines have great genetic variability which can be exploited after strict assessment and selection. As a result of the past several years, P 26, P 61 and P 62 lines have been released after DUS investigation in 2001.

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Experiences of Waste Management at Agricultural Enterprises in Hajdú-Bihar County

The general tendency of the last few years has been that besides large agricultural Ltd.’s and firms, smaller agricultural enterprises also have to correspond to stricter environmental regulations.
This process suits the EU’s environmental and waste management regulations. Recently, manure, liquid manure and addle are registered as non h...azardous agricultural waste in waste management in Hungary.
In the case of the amount of these wastes is larger than 200 t/year, one has to make an individual waste management plan.
Accordingly, several small agricultural enterprises have to make individual waste management plants in Hajdú-Bihar County.
This article is based on the results of these companies experiences.

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Congruency Analyses in Agricultural Organizations

Management is one of the ancient activities. Managerial behaviour helped humans to become sociable creatures. The aims and roles of management have continually changed along with social and economic changes. Some management theories in the early literature interpret the managerial function as „to instruct” and „to control” subordinates.... The manager – having the appropriate authority – unilaterally appoints the expected activities in accordance with the objectives of the organization and his/her own wish. Its form is the instruction or the command.
Later, organizations and management theories defined the managerial function rather as the impact on the employees than (or instead of) a unilateral manifestation of will. These focus on collaboration and imitation instead of on obedience. These theories were based on the fact that the employees work hard to succeed in meeting organizational goals because they want to meet their own needs, desires and wishes.
Today, management means being in a relationship with colleagues, effective and successful working methods and, last but not least, commitment and liability for the company. The responsibilities of directors are to estimate the employees’ competences and to apply the workforce expediently.
In our opinion, the two most important questions of human resource management (HRM) will be:
• the expectations made of the manager by the subordinates,
• the expectations made of the subordinates by the manager.
The expectations of management have continuously evolved along with the social, political and economical improvement. We consider the most important requirements will be the following:
• the exploitation of employees’ abilities (especially the leaders’),
• the exploitation of human resource,
• aim-oriented leadership related to different management levels.
The actual research covers only the examination of managerial requirements. We experienced that the expectations are affected by many factors starting with the fulfillment of a specific task to the social environment as a whole. Managements of the last century did not require such self-reliance, creativity and broad knowledge from their subordinates as they do today. Employees have to be able to adapt to new tasks, technology and methods; have to react quickly against the problems; and be loyal to the company and the manager.
We plan to expand our research backwards as well, in which we will search for the answer what kind of expectations are formulated by subordinates on the manager. Thus, we can approach and reveal the expectations (the examined factors) from two sides.
Due to this method, we would like to work out such coherences which can help us to demonstrate the opinions of the differently qualified employees of the organisations. The applied method provides us facilities to carry it out in various organisational parameters, such as functional form, size, effectiveness, range of activity.

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Labour Efficiency of Dairy Farms with Different Types and Sizes in Hajdú-Bihar County

Questions and uncertainties characterised the accession period of Hungary to the European Union. It is evident that only those producers can compete on the market who produce good quality products. Therefore, only dairy farms with extra high quality raw milk production will be successful. Furthermore, on this basis, rural areas will be able to ...keep their inhabitants one of the most important problems presently. The author examined the process of milk production and the labour efficiency of 18 dairy farms in Hajdú-Bihar County. Mechanization, the quality of the work force and the system of incentives were assessed. Data of produced milk quality were collected too. Because of farms with different types and sizes the circumstances of milk production differ greatly. As a result of data analysis it was found that the working schedule of small and large farms often differed. The most important working processes (milking, feeding, harvesting) are done by family members. In order to increase the efficiency and improve working atmosphere the improvement of wage and incentive systems would be desirable. Labour efficiency indexes show that the efficiency of tie-stall systems is lower than the efficiency of similar size loose-housing systems. It can also be stated; that labour efficiency of similar size loose housing dairies differs greatly so the importance of work-studies should be increased.

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