Agriculture plays a significant role in the North Great Plain Region. Organic farming is a sustainable farming method controlled by regulations. Active environmental protection and conservation play significant roles in organic farming, along with food quality and safety, originality and the monitoring of products. Organic farming offers opportunities to create employment, social safety and high profitability. As a result of these characteristics, organic farming could become one of the most important means of developing our region in the future.
In the last two decades, the prevailing ecological conditions and climate change have caused negative effects. Therefore, a paradigm shift is needed in the field growing of plants. The latest inventions, digital technologies, precision cultivation are not enough, the mentality of the farmers is more important. For this reason, not only big financial sacrifices, but adequate receptivity are needed on behalf of farmers. Adequate skills and continuous self-education are necessary. The yield of plant growing farms is determined by ecological conditions to a 40% extent, genetic background of the seed has a 30% share and the applied agricultural technology has a proportion of 30%. In different agroecological conditions, bred varieties of plants have bigger tolerance to unfavorable factors of the regions and significant yield stability. Farmers, who buy and sow seeds, can only contribute to the genetic potential of the seeds with cultivation technology. Plant breeding provides stable genetic background and good quality seeds. Breeding activity – choosing variety proposants, breeding them, selection work, classical breeding process for 8-10 years – must create new landraces, which can produce balance, high yield and have good quality parameters in extreme ecological conditions, yearly excursion and have higher tolerance to unfavorable factors of the region giving significant production stability for farmers. In Karcag GIS technology, precision cultivation elements and soil-friendly agrotechnical methods have been introduced which largely support the aims of breeding and can also provide optimal cultivation conditions in extreme years. Because of the specificity of breeding the main aim is not only to increase yield but to provide harmonic growing for bred materials, to decrease the number and the cost of cultivation and to be punctual. In this study, applied new methods and technologies are introduced.
The paper deals with the soil biological research and its contribution to the changed cropping strategy and to the sustainable and environmentally friendly farming and management. The paper emphasizes the importance of biodiversity, as one of the most important ecological functions of soil. The organisms, populations and communities living in the soil play a key importance in the preservation of soil fertility. The most important research areas are presented dealing with in the last decades the national researchers and the challenges we face regarding the current soil biological problems. We have to prepare to examine the soil biological effectiveness of the more widely spread bio-preparations, bacterium preparations, and bioregulators. The prerequisites are the versatile knowledge of the biological state of soils and monitoring examination of the different effects soils had (including the mentioned preparations).
Nearly a quarter of the agricultural utilized area of our country is made up of sandy soils. Sandy soils are poor in nutrients, and, therefore, the effectiveness of farming is basically determined by the method of maintaining soil fertility and the fertilization practice.
The hairy vetch called Vicia villosa Roth (Sandy Roth.), also known as a sand pioneer, plays a significant role in the exploitation of sandy soils. Its cultivation was started in Hungary in the late 1800s. It is primarily used as green fodder, most recently as a green manure and as a soil protection plant. The lupine is grown mainly as a supportive plant, which was previously rye, and today it is triticale. The ratio of the two plants to each other and the spatial location of plants depend on the method of sowing.
The aim of our work was to present the yields of some of the grain grown in different sowing methods and some of its crops.
Farming methods supporting the ecological function of agriculture will play an even more dominant role in the near future than they do now, as much in Hungary as in the rest of the EU.
Several farming techniques supporting sustainable development have already evolved, and in this essay, I deal with integrated production i.e. integrated fruit production in Hungary and its perspectives. I analyze both European and Hungarian regulations on integrated production and their development.
It is obvious that in the orchards of Europe, integrated production is gaining ground. We can expect the increased spread of this western trend to Hungary, too, because one of the conditions for remaining on the market will be a product from integrated production. However, we cannot expect any rapid increase in the future. In my opinion, there are three ways to propagate integrated production:
− changes in the approach of farmers;
− vocational training of farmers because of the greater „knowledge-demand”; improving the consultant network;
− strict monitoring of the production process.
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 past 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.
Regulating the use of waste water and sewage sludge in agriculture in such a way as to prevent harmful effects on soil, vegetation, animals and man.
In European Union there is a Council Directive (86/278/EEC) on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture.
In the enlargement process of the European Union the Hungarian Government created a new rule (50/2001. (IV. 3.) Government regulation) which regulate using of waste water and sewage sludge in agriculture. This Hungarian rule is legal and reconcilable with the Council Directive.
The Regulation lays down limit values for concentrations of heavy metals in the soil, in waste water, in sludge and for the maximum annual quantities of heavy metals which may be introduced into the soil.
Waste water, sludge and soil on which it is used must be sampled and analysed.
Sewage sludge must be treated for six months before being used in agriculture.
The use of waste water and sludge prohibited on grassland, on nature reserved areas, in ecological farming, and soil in witch fruit and vegetable crops are growing, with the exception of fruit trees.
The states soil conservation authority must keep records registering the following:
– the quantities of waste water and sludge produced;
– the composition and properties of sludge;
– the type of treatment carried out;
– the names and addresses of the recipients of the sludge and places where the sludge is to be used.
The Government every four years must prepare a consolidated report on the use of sludge in agriculture, specifying quantities used, criteria followed and any difficulties encountered. This report must be forwarded to the Commission.
Last but not least in the light of Member States reports, the Commission will if necessary submit appropriate proposals for increased protection of the soil and the environment.
necessary to ensure the livelihoods of those leaving the agricultural sector and to supplement the incomes of those working in agriculture. I research rural development in four settlements in Hajdú-Bihar County, in Balmazújváros, Hortobágy, Tiszacsege and Egyek, all bordering Hortobágy National Park.
There are many alternative income sources in settlements in the Hortobágy area, such as organic farming, production herbs, hungaricums, small animals and arts and crafts, as well as rural tourism. Rural tourism is not for subsistence, but a supplementary income source, mainly available during the summer time. I made a survey of rural hosts in the four examined settlements, and according to my results, I constructed a model reflecting the cost-benefit relation, as well as the payment period conditions of rural tourism. I am going to show whether it is worth dealing with rural tourism, and if yes, under what conditions. Rural tourism contributes to the maintenance of rural modes of living, in this way it has significant cultural, economic, ecological and social aspects, as well. It is crucial for settlements to create the appropriate conditions needed for joining rural tourism, if it is worth joining at all, and to realise investments for all these. Rural tourism has strict requirements for the levels of environment, infrastructure and services. Studying the Western-European practices, Hungary is lagged behind in the conditions of rural tourism and rural hosts have done their activities mainly out of necessity and not to maintain traditions. Rural tourism may result in success only by co-operation and over the long-run.
There is a mutual dependence between nature conservation activity and agriculture in Hungary, as the management of the protected areas cannot be achieved without ecological farming methods. Moreover, viable economic activity can be only imagined through the harmonization of agricultural and nature conservation interests. From a nature conservation point of view, grass management systems play the greatest role in domestic agricultural systems. Yet, due to the prohibition of certain management methods and the spatial and temporal restraints on grazing, nature conservation activities have priority on protected grasslands. While nature conservation activity is still of prominent importance, it is not equally suitable for the economical management of protected grasslands per se. With our examinations, we would like to emphasize the common interests of these mutually dependent activities and to promote bilateral cooperation. Our aim is to model the production of grass on the great pastureland of Hajdúbagos. Potential grass production levels are easily calculable with a computer model based on data collected through a series of test harvests, as well as by factoring in changing climatic factors and by simulating the effects of grazing animal species and stocks. This model is not only useful for determining the optimal number of the grazing animal stock and grazing method, and therefore the most suitable management strategy, but it also supports local farmers to be able to plan their activities. In this way, both nature conservation and economic aims can be easily harmonized, which would be an important factor for the sustainable development of rural areas.