Despite new cultivation methods, the proportion of conventionally cultivated land is still very high in Hungary.
Although these technologies demand more time, labour and fuel, they are still attractive to users because they require less professional skill and simple machinery. In Hungary, conventional tillage methods usually lead to soil det...erioration, soil compaction and a decrease in organic content. These side effects have caused gradually strengthening economic and environmental problems.
The technologies for those plants which are dominant on Hungarian arable lands use (winter wheat, maize, sunflower and barley) need to be improved both in the interest of environmental protection and the reduction of cultivation costs.
The Department of Land Use at Debrecen University is cooperating with KITE Sc. to carry out soil tillage experiments at two pilot locations to prove tillage technologies already used in the USA.
The aim of our examination is to adapt new technological developments and machinery, and to improve them on Hungarian soil for local environmental conditions. With these improved machines, the field growing of plants could be executed by less manipulation and better suited to economic and environmental needs. The most significant task is to investigate and improve the conventional cultivation replacing, new soil-protecting tillage technologies, and to apply no-till and mulch tillage systems.
On the basis of the experiments’ survey data, we established that the looseness and moisture content of the soil using reduced tillage is more favourable than after using conventional technologies. The results of no-till and shallow spring tillage are behind those of winter plough or disk ripper cultivation in corn yield and production elements.
To preserve moisture content in the soil, the ground clearing and sowing while simultaneously performing no-till method presents the most favourable results. The surplus moisture gained using no-till technology is equal to 40 mm precipitation.
Regarding the yield of winter wheat we established that the tillage methods do not affect plant yield. Both disk ripper and conventional disc cultivation showed nearly the same harvest results (5.55 or 5.5 t/ha), where the difference is statistically hardly verifiable from the no-till method. From the individual production of corn and the number of plants planted in unit area, calculated results prove that no significant difference can be detected between the production of winter plough and disk ripper technology. Although the yield achieved with the no-till method is less than with the previously mentioned technologies, the difference is only 9-10%. We received the lowest production at shallow spring tillage.
Evaluations have shown a 1.1 t/ha (13%) difference in the yield of maize, between winter tillage and the disk ripper method, in this case the traditional method resulted in higher yield. In winter tillage, the yield of maize was 1.9-2.1 t/ha (23-25%) higher than in the case of direct sowing and cultivator treatments. No significant difference could be noted between the yields of direct sowing and cultivator treatments.
Our research so far has proved the industrial application of reduced tillage methods in crop cultivation technologies.
The effect of fertilization on the yield of maize was examined on chernoem soil with lime deposits at the experimental station at Látókép of the Center for Agricultural Sciences, University of Debrecen. The yields of maize were evaluated using quadratic regression function, in three years – between 2000 and 2002 – in non-irrigated and ir...rigated treatments. After calculating the regression equations, by derivation of the functions, we have determined the amount of fertilizers needed for maximum yield.
In the non-irrigated treatments, maximum yield and the active substance amount of fertilizer was as it follows: in 2000, yield of 9,133 t/ha with the application of 384 kg/ha mixed active substance, while in 2002 a yield of 6,289 t/ha with the application 236 kg/ha NPK active substance was achieved. In 2001, due to the favourable precipitation, a yield of 9,864 t/ha was achieved with the application of 245 kg/ha fertilizer. In the case of maximum yield, compared to the unfertilized control, the yield increase was 2,5-5 t/ha. The average increase for 1 kg of NPK fertilizer was 13-19 kg.
We also determined the necessary fertilizer dosage for maximum yield in irrigated treatments. In 2000, 10,003 t/ha with a dosage of 423 kg/ha, in 2001, 11,542 t/ha with a dosage of 277 kg/ha and in 2002, 8,596 t/ha of maximum yield could be achieved with a fertilizer treatment of 277 kg/ha in the examined three years. The yield increase, in irrigated treatments, varied between 3,9-5,9 t/ha so it was greater than in the case of non-irrigated experimetal plots. The yield increase for 1 kg fertilizer varied between 12-21 kg.
In a long-term field experiment set up at the Látókép experimental station of the Center of Agricultural Sciences of Debrecen University, the data of the last five years (1995-1999) were analyzed to determine the crop production factors with the greatest influence on maize production and the relationship and interactions between irrigation a...nd fertilization.
In the extremely dry year of 1995, fertilization was found to cause substantial yield depression in the absence of irrigation. According to results of analysis of variance, fertilization significantly reduced the maize yield by 40-90% compared to control plots. Under irrigated conditions, there was a considerable increase in the maize yield, the yield surplus being 4.4-9.4 t ha-1, depending on the nutrient supply level.
During the period from 1996-1999, when rainfall conditions were favorable for maize, fertilization significantly increased the maize yield even without irrigation over the average of the four years. The yield surplus due to fertilization was 3.9-4.6 t ha-1, depending on the fertilization rates. The maximum yield surplus was obtained on plots fertilized with 120 N kg ha-1, while at the rate of 240 N kg ha-1 the maize yield did not differ significantly from this value. During the period examined, corn yield was significantly higher at all three nutrient supply levels as the result of irrigation than in the non-irrigated treatment. As in the case of non-irrigated conditions, the highest fertilizer dose did not result in a substantial yield increase. An analysis of the interaction between fertilization and irrigation indicated that the yield-increasing effect of fertilization was not significantly different under irrigated and non-irrigated conditions. The significant year x irrigation interaction was confirmed by the fact that the yield surplus (1.3-2.3 t ha-1) differed greatly from the irrigation effect recorded in 1995.
The cultivation technology for those plant, that play a key role in arable land production need to be renewed in order to reduce production costs and to protect arable land. The modernisation of technologies can only be achieved by applying appropriate tillage systems. Our measurements were carried out on chernozem soil with lime deposits at th...e Látókép Experimental Station of the Center for Agricultural Sciences, Debrecen University, in long term tillage experiments set up in 1989. We examined the typical physical parameters, the albedo, field capacity, the bulk density of the soil, organic carbon content (humus %) and the measured pH-values in the water solution within the two tillage variations. We have also modelled nitrogen cycle formation in different treatments.
A significant difference occured between the albedos of the two soils, which may be the result of significant amounts of stem remaining on the surface in the case of the reduced tillage method. The yellow, waxy stem of maize reflects 21% of the sun’s rays, especially at the beginning of the vegetation period, when its decomposition has only just started. This delys the warming up in early spring, which delays the sowing time of maize and reduces evaporation. In the two tillage variations, the water management characteristics do not differ practically, the wilting point field capacity are in accordance. In reduced tillage methods, the so-called „plough-pan” can be well measured at 15-20 cm, while in winter ploughing it is at 30 cm. The humus % of the soil does not differ in the two tillage variations, but due to the difference in bulk density this means a different humus and organic nitrogen content. The organic nitrogen content is greater in the reduced tillage method. On the basis of pH value evaluations, we could not detect significant differences in the two tillage variations. The organic nitrogen content of areas where reduced tillage method was applied is higher than in areas where conventional winter ploughing was applied.