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  • Potential impact of the European Green Agreement on EU and Hungarian crop production

    European arable farming, including Hungarian arable farming, faces a huge dilemma: how to contribute to and maintain the global food supply while reducing greenhouse gas emissions while main taining biodiversity, but reducing inputs that are potentially damaging to society and the environment while ensuring that no more land is taken out of production? Not to mention that the increasingly urgent need to tackle climate change is also placing additional demands on EU agricultural decision-makers. Under the European Green Deal (GD), the 'From Farm to Fork' (F2F) strategy will help achieve climate neutrality by 2050, with a target of a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Achieving this will require significant changes in food production, a shift in crop health strategies and accelerated innovation in the agricultural sector. The study addresses these issues. Our first hypothesis (A1) is that the GD and F2F strategies can be implemented without problems and without losses. Our second assumption (A2) is that the know-how solutions and the technological conditions for precision agriculture that are already available exist, and that all of these already justify the feasibility of A1. In order to prove this, we have reviewed recent and up-to-date literature on DG and F2F. For A1, we found that there are pro and con findings in the literature. However, the summary finding is not positive. The conclusion of the studies, based on data calculations, is that EU agriculture faces huge additional costs if it is to maintain production and reduce environmental pressures. Their calculations suggest that more people will be disadvantaged by the decisions, and that millions of euros could be lost to the public. However, the article also shows that there are many cases where positive results can be achieved even with reduced chemical use. Facts and figures from international and Hungarian technological and know-how solutions and their trials at plant level show that the DG's objectives are already partially achievable. It has been established that the systematic use of precision technologies allows to increase the natural and at the same time the economic efficiency. In our work we have used the results of primary and recent secondary research. We have shown the downsides of GD, but also that with targeted support, the objectives of sustainability and GD can be approached. Changes in 2022, drastic price increases for inputs including fertilizers and pesticides, inflation at a 20-year high, energy prices spiraling out of control, and an almost unprecedented drought affecting crop production and horticulture, point to the need for a radical change in technology, thinking and regulation. And all this to ensure that there is enough affordable food in Hungary, that there are export products within and outside the Community, and that those working in agriculture have a decent living.


    Elements of precision farming, such as auto-steer navigation, section control and variable rate application, can have a positive impact on farming performance, yet the uptake of these technologies has been slow and farmers are not convinced that they can achieve ad- ditional benefits by switching to them. Therefore, the authors considered it important to examine the impact of precision farming on winter wheat yields based on data from Hungarian farms. Yield data from farms with a yield map in the MyJohnDeere database from 2018-2022 and yield and cost data from 48 farms with Variable Rate Application (VRA) from 2018-2022 were evaluated and compared to the national average. MyJohnDeere and VRA farms had significantly higher yields in all years. Despite the cost saving from the introduction of precision farming, such as non-overlapping input application, the total costs of the examined VRA farms were higher, which can be explained by more intensive production beyond precision farming. It can also be argued that the additional inputs of the VRA farms were outweighed by the additional production value, with their specific incomes being higher than the national average in all years. In conclusion, the profitability of winter wheat production - and thus its resilience to a changing economic environment - can be increased at farm scale by adapting preci- sion farming. Technological change by farmers, in particular the widespread adoption of variable rate application, could also increase the sustainability of winter wheat production at the farm scale.

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