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Assessment of Environmental Susceptibility/Vulnerability of Soils
Published December 10, 2002
62-74

Soils represent a considerable part of the natural resources of Hungary. Consequently, rational land use and proper soil management – to guarantee normal soil functions – are important elements of sustainable (agricultural) development, having special importance both in the national economy and in environment protection.
The main soil fu...nctions in the biosphere are as follows: conditionally renewable natural resource; reactor, transformer and integrator of the combined influences of other natural resources (solar radiation, atmosphere, surface and subsurface waters, biological resources), place of „sphere-interactions”; medium for biomass production, primary food-source of the biosphere; storage of heat, water and plant nutrients; natural filter and detoxication system, which may prevent the deeper geological formations and the subsurface waters from various pollutants; high capacity buffer medium, which may prevent or moderate the unfavourable consequences of various environmental stresses; significant gene-reservoir, an important element of biodiversity.
Society utilizes these functions in different ways (rate, method, efficiency) throughout history, depending on the given natural conditions and socio-economic circumstances. In many cases the character of the particular functions was not properly taken into consideration during the utilization of soil resources, and the misguided management resulted in their over-exploitation, decreasing efficiency of one or more soil functions, and – over a certain limit – serious environmental deterioration.
Soil resources are threatened by the following environmental stresses:
– soil degradation processes;
– extreme moisture regime;
– nutrient stresses (deficiency or toxicity);
– environmental pollution.
Environmental stresses caused by natural factors or human activities represent an increasing ecological threat to the biosphere, as well as a socio-economic risk for sustainable development, including rational land use and soil management.
The stresses are caused by the integrated impacts of various soil properties, which are the results of soil processes (mass and energy regimes, abiotic and biotic transport and transformation and their interactions) under the combined influences of soil forming factors. Consequently, the control of soil processes is a great challenge and the main task of soil science and soil management in sustainable development.
The efficient control of these processes necessitates the following consecutive steps:
• registration of facts and consequences (information on land and soil characteristics, land use, cropping pattern, applied agrotechnics, yields, with their spatial and temporal variability);
• evaluation of potential reasons (definition and quantification of soil processes, analysis of influencing factors and their mechanisms);
• assessment of the theoretical, real, rational and economic possibilities for the control of soil processes (including their risk-assessment and impact analysis);
• elaboration of efficient technologies for the „best” control alternatives (best management practice).
Scientifically based planning and implementation of sustainable land use and rational soil management to ensure desirable soil functions, without any undesirable environmental side-effects, require adequate soil information. In the last years such data were organized into a computer-based GIS soil database in Hungary, giving opportunities for the quantification, analysis, modelling and forecasting of the studied environmental stresses and for the efficient and scientifically based prevention, elimination or reduction of environmental stresses and their unfavourable ecological and economical consequences.
Special attention was paid to the assessment of various soil degradation processes, as: (1) soil erosion by water or wind; (2) soil acidification; (3) salinization and/or alkalization; (4) physical degradation (structure destruction, compaction); (5) extreme moisture regime: drought sensitivity and waterlogging hazard; (6) biological degradation; (7) unfavourable changes in the plant nutrient regime; (8) decrease of natural buffering capacity, (9) soil (and water) pollution.
The actions against undesirable environmental stresses and their unfavourable consequences are important elements of sustainable, efficient, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound crop production and agricultural development. These are joint tasks of the state, decision makers on various levels, the land owners, the land users and – to a certain extent – of each member of the society.

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Findings on the cultivation of potatoes in organic farming
Published November 20, 2011
113-116

This paper explores the effectiveness of organic and plastic mulching for potato production in the Czech Republic. The mulching with chopped grass (GM) and black textile mulch (BTM) were compared to non-mulching control variant (C) with mechanical cultivation. Especially in plots with BTM were first formed ridges and covered by the black polypr...opylene non-woven textile and then they were planting. During vegetation the infestation of Colorado potato beetle (CPB), weeds biomass, course of soil temperature and soil water potential were assessed. The results showed that surface of GM had a positive effect on soil temperature reduction, soil water potential depression. This study also indicated a positive effect of GM on the larvae of CPB diminution, on the other hand higher incidence of larvae and higher defoliation was observed in BTM. GM had a significant effect on the yield of potatoes. The yield of ware potatoes was higher by 27 % higher on plots with GM and by 16 % lower on plots wit BTM in comparison with C. NeemAzal T/S decreased statistically significantly % of defoliation and increased yield of ware potatoes by 35 % in comparison with control.

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Energy crops on less favoured (alkaline) soil
Published November 13, 2012
115-118

The reduction in fossil energy and row material sources induces growing demand for renewable resources. The growing demand for herbal raw materials has land use impacts as well. One way to reduce the conflict between the food and energy crops can be the utilization of less favored areas by growing energy crops. Among the potentially available a...reas for this purpose the salt affected soils (SAS) occupy a significant territories. SAS with structural B-horizon (meadow solonetz soils) represent the most wide spread group of SAS in Hungary. About half of these soils have been reclaimed and used as arable land and the remaining 50% are used as grassland. Sweet sorghum production for manufacturing of alcohol production was investigated in a long term amelioration and fertilization experiment on a salt affected soil (meadow solonetz). By means of regression analyzes the effect of sodium content of the soil and increasing mineral fertilizer doses were studied. According to the multiple regression analysis only the effect of nitrogen fertilizer was significant. On the solonetz type salt affected soil the effect of water soluble salt content of the soil was not significant, but there was a closer correlation between the ammonium-lactate sodium content and the yield of sweet sorghum. The maximum green mass was 45–50 t ha-1, in the case of low Na content and high level of nitrogen fertilization.

In order to quantify the potential yield of natural grass vegetation the relationship between the soil forming processes and the grass vegetation
was investigated. Beyond the different forms of Na-accumulation, the spatial pattern (mosaic-like characteristic) is also an inseparable feature of salt affected soils. The difference in the water regime, caused by the micro-relief is the main cause of variability. The run-on water keeps the deeper parts of the catena position wet longer. The wet situation causes more intensive leaching. In the low-laying parts of salt affected soils species preferring wet situations (mainly Alopecurus pratensis) are in majority. On the higher parts of the micro-relief species tolerating dry situations (mainly Festuca  pseudovina) are dominant. The yearly grass production of low laying areas can be 4–7 t ha-1 but because of prolonged wet  conditions the grass is not grazed and mowing can only be in old state. This old grass is not proper for feeding, but it may be suitable as energy plant. 

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The impacts of spring basal and side dressing on maize yield
Published April 23, 2014
83-86

The yield potential of maize is very high. According to Tollenaar (1983), maize yield potential is as high as 25 t ha-1 (absolute dry yield) which is the highest among all cereals. In order to fully utilise this high yield potential, proper nutrient replenishment is of chief importance among all agrotechnical factors.

The aim... of research was to examine the effect of nitrogen fertiliser applied as basal and side dressing on maize yield.

The measurements were performed at the Látókép experiment site (47° 33’ N, 21° 26’ E, 111 m asl) of the Centre for Agricultural Sciences of the University of Debrecen on mid-heavy calcareous chernozem soil with deep humus layer in an established experiment in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The trial design was split-split-plot with two replications.

Based on the experiment results, it can be established that the nutrient uptake of maize is greatly dependent on the amount of water store in the soil. From the aspect of the development of the maize plant and water supply, the most determinant factor was the distribution of precipitation over the growing season and not the amount precipitation. This is shown by the fact there was only 276 mm precipitation – which was favourably distributed – in 2012 to increase the availability of nutrients and the main average was the highest in this year (14.394 t ha-1).

Spring basal dressing helped maize development in all three years even on chernozem soil which is well supplied with nutrients. Although the effect of side dressing did not result in any yield increase, it could still contribute to mitigating the stress effects caused by environmental factors. Altogether, nutrient supply adapted to the various development stages of maize can favourably affect the success of maize production.

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Examination of the Effect of Cropyear on the Yield Potential and Yield Stability of Winter Wheat Varieties
Published December 6, 2005
62-67

Variety selection is one of the most important, determinative elements of sustainable winter wheat production. Yield potential, and yield stability are the most important elements in the variety selection of winter wheat, but baking quality parameters play an important role, too.
Several winter wheat varieties were tested for yield and yield... stability on chernozem soil in the Hajdúság (in the eastern part of Hungary), in the 2001-2002-2003-2004 cropyears. The management factors were the same for all cropyears. 15 varieties in early the maturity group, 14 varieties in the middle maturity group and 4 varieties in the late maturity group were tested in the above mentioned cropyears. The climatic conditions were average in 2001, dry in 2002, extremely dry in 2003, and very favourable in 2004.
We obtained 5298-6183 kgha-1 yield from early maturity varieties, 5683-6495 kgha-1 from middle, 5694-6031 kgha-1 from late ones in the average of four years. The cropyears had strong influence on the yields, even on chernozem soil, and were characterized by excellent water – and nutrient – husbandry. Averaging of cropyears and genotypes, we obtained 6984 kgha-1 in 2001 (average cropyear), 5452 kgha-1 in 2002 (dry cropyear), 3120 kgha-1 in 2003 (extremely dry cropyear) and 8400 kgha-1 in 2004 (optimum cropyear), respectively. The yield differences between the minimum and maximum yields were 885 kgha-1 in early varieties, 812 kgha-1 in middle and 337 kgha-1 in late maturity varieties, respectively. The varieties characterized by high yield potential and the varieties characterized by good yield stability were different, so in variety selection we have to take both genetic traits into consideration. There were positive, significant correlations among the yields of winter wheat varieties (early, middle, late), the temperature of spring months. (March-April), and the rainfall of spring months (March-April) (R2=0,703**-0,768** and R2=0,681**-0,749**, respectively). We found a high negative correlation between the temperature of early summer months (May-June) and the yields of wheat varieties (R2= -0,856**- -0,918**).
According to the results of our experiment, it is very important to harmonize yield potential and yield stability in the variety selection of winter wheat.

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Supplementary botanical examinations for modelling the grass production of the great pasture of Hajdúbagos
Published October 10, 2008
17-21

Our botanical survey at the great pasture of Hajdúbagos is a part of a broad research that aims to predict the production of the grass at the given area. As the mentioned pasture is a nature conservation area, the usage of artificial fertilizers or other classic grassland management methods in its handling are prohibited. Thus grazing is an im...portant tool for the management of this area, however the not suitably regulated grazing order and the poorly calculated carrying capacity cause serious problems at some parts of the pasture. The prediction of the grass yield is essential to
avoid both over- and both under-grazing and for determining the optimal number of the grazing animal stock and the grazing method, thus the most suitable management strategy.
The potential grass yield is easily calculable with a computer model that will be established as a basis for determining the grass production. For the sake of getting an accurate view of the plant associations of the pasture, we created examination quadrates and determined all plant species found in the quadrates. After plant determination, we compiled a coenological table in which we marked besides the scientific name and families, the life forms of each species that refer to the structure, morphology and thus the adaptability of plants to their environment. We determined the
TWR, so the thermoclimate, water and soil reaction values, the nature conservation values, as well as the covering values of each plant species (DB), and the total coverage of the examination quadrates (B%).
According to the covering values, grasses proved to be characteristic plants at the examined pasture, thus we need to consider them influential in calculating the animal carrying capacity and with the rest of the information, we need to supply the model.
The life forms and TWR indicators, all together with the nature conservation values provide further important data to the development of the management suggestion of the protected pasture. By examining these values to different parts of the area, we could get an exact view on the measure of the degradation effects. This promotes the determination of grazing methods and the forming of the boundaries of certain pasture sections, to avoid  those harmful anthropogenic effects that seriously endanger this extensive sandy pasture. 

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The effect of water supply and crop year on the yield potential of sweet maize (Zea mays L. convar. saccharata Koern.) hybrids with different genotypes
Published December 16, 2012
203-210

The successfulness of crop production is significantly affected by not only the the average yields that provide cost effectiveness, but also the success of striving for yield safety, therefore, varieties and hybrids tolerant to environmental stress factors are worth being included into the sowing structure. Our aim was to further the decision m...aking of producers in prepaering the right sowing structure by the evaluation of sweet maize hybrids’ tolerance to excess rainfall.
We performed our examinations in an extremely wet year (2010) on chernozem soil on three sweet maize hybrids (GSS 8529, GSS 1477, Overland) in 12 replications. Comparing the yields of 2010 with those that can be expected under optimal rainfall conditions, we showed that the examined hybrids react to the amount of rainfall higher than their needs with yield depression. The excess rainfall tolerance of the examined hybrids is different in the case of each hybrid.

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