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Agroforum 2004 August

Introduction

The August issue of the journal is a special one, as instead of dealing with the seasonal topics informing on crop management as usually, we have prepared a “theoretical” number. The leading experts in the different fields of agriculture are seeking the answer to such questions as: what kinds of challenges does Hungarian agriculture have to face at the beginning of the 21st century, in connection with the EU accession? Where is Hungarian agriculture now and what may or what will be the main trends in agriculture of the future? The articles focus on situation analysis, developmental tendencies and farming practice in the forthcoming decades. They do it without striving for completeness, as this scope is almost endless (not as our journal, the size of which is limited for typographical reasons).

 

GENERAL ISSUES

Land use (facts and prospects) (Dr. Tamás Németh)

One of the main principles of sustainable agricultural development is to ensure natural resources in the long run. The environmental conditions of Hungarian agriculture, especially the quality of our soils in cultivated lands are more favourable than in European countries with developed industry. Among the available natural resources, renewable soil is the most important one. Therefore the protection, conservation and reasonable management of soil resources are the common task of every user, farmer and owner getting in contact with soils. Protecting soil quality is far more than taking care of soil fertility, it expresses how suitable soils are for their basic functions, ensuring environment for physical, physico-chemical and transport processes. Therefore, in the development of Hungarian agro-economy it must be considered as a comparative advantage and market factor that growers apply environmentally friendly techniques during growing, processing, storage and sales and by that the international agro-environmental regulations, becoming ever stricter, be implemented in the whole agricultural sector.

Soil management systems (Dr. Márton Jolánkai, Dr. János Nagy)

Reviewing international literature, the article calls the attention to the core point of former and current soil management systems: to establish the optimal or almost optimal soil conditions not only just after the tillage operation, but it is desired that such conditions remain for the longest time possible, preferably during the whole crop production cycle, but at least decrease the least possible. The authors give a brief account of the major tillage systems developed by foreign and Hungarian researchers. The turning of the millennium gave rise to various novel techniques („minimum tillage”, „conservation tillage”, „slot planting”, „strip tillage”, „no tillage”), allowing to create land management systems („extensive”, „low input”, „mid-tech” and „intensive”). They basically aim at meeting two criteria: the requirements of economy and ecology. These methods and systems are characterized by the least number of operations and passes in the field in order to ensure that land management be the most cost efficient and at the same time the load to natural environment be the least possible.

What is the future of Hungarian agriculture? (Dr. Lajos Gockler)

That was the question to which the document titled “The national strategy of agricultural and rural development” aims to answer. This is the result of several months’ work of about 300 specialists commissioned by the Round Table for National Agro-environmental Development. The document was accepted on the closing plenary session held in Budapest in late May. The objective of the study was to base further policy of the agricultural government. Now readers have the author’s comments on that document. He thinks that the above study, together with mentioning the problems, even, in spite of them, shows fairly promising future prospects for Hungary. However, the actual situation of Hungarian agriculture, compared to the countries becoming EU members earlier, is extremely adverse. One the one hand, the conditions of our agriculture are much worse than theirs, and on the other, our country will get considerably less subsidy than they still for a long time. In this situation competition takes place under rather unequal conditions, which can be compensated by much more work than before, lower wages and, if they still exist, by more professional skills, as well as by increasing the size of fields and farms, allowing users to increase efficacy of operating their machines.

Transforming land ownership (Dr. István Szűcs)

As a consequence of privatization of agricultural land in Hungary, 5.7 million hectares got in the possession of some 2.5 million private persons. It has created a structure of ownership splitter than ever before. The majority of owners, not bound to agriculture anymore, lease their land. Land ownership and land use are separated due to privatization. In addition to presenting current situation, the article deals with the objectives and tasks of property policy, the possible types of undertakings (e.g. profit-oriented, extensive, producing for family supply, the so-called “retirement agriculture”). The author believes in the importance of strengthening the land-lease system. He discusses the current regulations on acquiring land and those recommended for the future, and he also deals with the role of the state in land ownership policy. Development of conditions for land ownership needs to be linked to the objectives of rural development and environmental protection, as well as the establishment of different kinds of companies for land use must be supported.

Notes for farmers. About expressive statistical data (Miklós Kurucz)

Various interesting data are shown from two recent publications on agriculture of the Central Statistical Office.

 

FOOD SAFETY

Food safety – a new challenge in agrochemicals use (Dr. Ottó Pálmai)

The author calls the attention to that, after the second world war the major issue for the Western European countries was to produce sufficient amount of foodstuff, by now it has also become essential to satisfy the requirements of agro-environment and food safety. At the current, advanced level of social development, the standards for food or quality of food bases have also increased. The role of consumers in this process has substantially changed and become more important. Food safety is a basic human right and it is the responsibility of the state to guarantee it. Food safety basically means the safety of the whole process of food production. Biological, chemical and physical risk sources may restrict food safety, among them the article deals with the consequences of using fertilizers and pesticides. Similarly as the developed western countries, we must grow crops more efficiently and apply less pesticide, but at the same time farmers must bear more responsibility (e.g. the issue of using non-registered products and rates). In Hungary the intensive use of agrochemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) began at least 10-15 years later (late ‘60s, early’70s), than in our competitors, the countries being EU Member States before 2004, and after the social change in 1990, the applied volume has radically decreased. This situation involves an enormous advantage from food safety aspect, as our agricultural environment is “much cleaner” that can provide a good basis for the production of competitive foodstuff of excellent quality.

About the EUREPGAP system or “Global partnership for safe and sustainable agriculture” (Zoltán Hajdú)

As food safety requirements need to be satisfied not only within the food industry facility, recently the processors and retailers involved in the food chain have laid increasing emphasis on the quality of raw materials during production, processing and trade. This is why in 1997 the system called EUREPGAP was created, in the frame of which the standard allowing the global trade of vegetables and fruits was developed. It was followed by the standard for flowers and ornamentals, later the one for integrated farm insurance was also established. The system is based on the principles of Good Agricultural Practice, GAP, expected to guarantee the quality and safe growing of agricultural products.

 

CROP PRODUCTION

New trends in plant breeding (Dr. László Heszky)

In the 21st century tremendous development and change are expected to take place in the plant breeding sciences, that will involve the appearance of new types of plant varieties (GMOs) and a considerable increase of the variety choice in Hungarian crop production. The former will be the consequence of the molecular revolution, i.e. biotechnology of the past few decades, while the latter one will result from the EU accession. The sciences of molecular approach allow that people (plant breeders) change the genetic programme controlling the operation of plants according to the needs of mankind (agriculture). Plant breeding applying molecular and biotechnological methods will be the science that will be able to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. It can be divided to three fields: cell and tissue culturing methods (in vitro plant breeding), application of molecular markers (molecular plant breeding) and genetic engineering (transgenic plant breeding). The article gives an account of the above, mentioning the achieved results.

The position of the Association of Hungarian Plant Breeders in genetically modified plant varieties

It informs on the declaration of Association of Hungarian Plant Breeders accepted on 18 June 2004.

Possibilities for agri-environment in crop production (Dr. Tamás Németh, Dr. Ottó Pálmai)

In the Western European countries with developed agriculture, measurements and farming systems aiming at the mitigation and elimination of adverse processes involved in agricultural production recently have gained more importance. To ensure this, each EU member state had to develop and operate its national agri-environment programme to implement the Council Regulation 2078/92/EEC. In Hungary the Government Decision 2253/1999 (X. 7.) provided for the introduction of the National Agri-environment Programme (NAKP). Such programmes have been operating in the country since 2002. In the frame of the programme, environmentally friendly practice can be followed in field crop production, grassland management in the areas suitable for that. The article deals with nutrient supply from the point of view of environmental protection. It gives an account of the adaptation of a method for calculating nutrient balance that is an effective tool for tracing nutrient deficiency or nutrient loss and for optimising nutrient management in a farm.

Grassland management and its expected role after the EU accession (Dr. Ferenc Dér)

Grassland management has been one of the sectors of Hungarian agriculture being in the most difficult situation for a long time. After the adverse effects on grassland and its management in over the half of the last century (decreasing area, use of the high quality grassland areas for field crop production, etc.) it can be expected that the agricultural policy of the European Union, favouring to natural animal keeping and feeding will help grassland management. Presenting and evaluating certain characteristic data and analysing the current situation, the article calls the attention to the potentials in the sector and what needs to be done to exploit them.

Seen, heard, read. Discussion about the utilization of algae (Gyula Kettinger)

A short report from the International Symposium on Algae held in the West-Hungarian University in Mosonmagyaróvár on 1 and 2 July 2004.

 

NUTRIENT SUPPLY

A new and cost-efficient advisory system for fertilizer application in field vegetables (Dr. Péter Csathó et al.)

The 14 authors of the research team inform on that they have developed a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly fertilizer system of macro- and microelements based on a new concept for 38 vegetable field crops. During the work they considered the challenges in nutrient management of the past 10-15 years, the termination of subsidizing fertilizer purchases, the stricter economic environment, and also relied on the values of earlier advisory methods. The new advisory system following environmentally friendly and cost-saving principles gives advice at four fertilizer application levels: 1) minimum; 2) environmentally friendly; 3) balance-approach and 4) integrated nutrient supply. Tables illustrate the textual explanation of the advisory system.

The practice of precision nutrient management at IKR company (Dr. Zsuzsanna Pecze, Dr. József Horváth)

The topic has been a major developmental task at IKR company. The authors begin with the background and the objectives of the development. They present the elements of precision technology (yield mapping, soil sampling, preparation of fertilizer recommendation, advisory practice), and provide the necessary related information. Finally they discuss the expected advantages of applying the method and the requirements essential for their implementation.

 

CROP PROTECTION

The present and future of research and practice in plant protection (Dr. Zoltán Király)

The author believes that the future of plant protection lies in integrating chemical and non-chemical techniques that will be an important part of sustainable agricultural practice. He expresses his ideas under the following headings: the development of plant protection in the last century; chemical and non-chemical plant protection; forecasting the high increase of insect populations and the epidemics; medicines and plant protection products; if there will be silent springs; new trends in resistance studies; agro-zoological research and investigations in pesticide chemistry.

Perspectives of precision weed control in Hungary (Dr. Péter Reisinger)

Precision weed control aims at carrying out the old wish, every responsible professional strives for: to perform a treatment within a field or area only at a particular place where it is necessary and only with the herbicide providing the best efficacy. The article gives an account of the conditions of precision weed control (accurate geographical positioning, DGPS; data collection, data processing and automatic field work), and discusses the forms of organizing precision weed control. In the near future the new technique may allow post-emergence control in spots of annual weeds remaining in the field after successful pre-emergence treatments.

Seen, heard, read. 50 years in the service of plant protection and soil conservation (Zoltán Molnár)

Report on the event celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Plant Protection and Soil Conservation Service of County Fejér.

Basis, possibilities and problems of integrated pest management in orchards (Dr. Klára Balázs,Dr. Gábor Jenser)

One of the most important elements of integrated fruit production is integrated pest management based on self-control, focusing on quality and optimised for ecological targets, using less and less non-natural substances. It combines the control of pests and diseases with respecting natural enemies, their introduction and supporting their activity. It is not simply a method but an approach that was established throughout Europe during long decades. The authors take the essential elements of integrated plant protection, (e.g. economic threshold, the use of selective pesticides, monitoring of crops and pests, trapping). They discuss the results of the most important Hungarian studies and experience related to integrated protection in apples, pears and sour cherries.

Integrated protection of vegetables (Dr. Béla Pénzes)

Though in Hungary the research and application of the methods of integrated protection obviously began earlier in fruits than in vegetable crops, the environmentally friendly techniques of IPM can be easily introduced also in vegetable growing. The methods of integrated and biological control in greenhouse vegetable production have been developed for the major pests and diseases. Their application in practice is prevented by partly the lack of due professional skills and partly by the greenhouse conditions not meeting requirements for air conditioning. The article informs on the techniques for using in integrated control based on crop growing characteristics.

What are the requirements for the integrated protection of field crops? (Dr. Katalin Kárpáti Győrffy, Dr. Miklós Nádasy)

Hungarian agriculture has annually applied some 20 million kg pesticides in a value of over 50 thousand million HUF in the past few years. So that the use of this huge amount of plant protection products serve for environmentally friendly, sustainable development, the subsistence and financial improvement of growers, it is necessary to develop integrated production scheme for field crops. It will allow that the final product of integrated production can be successfully placed on the Hungarian and international markets. The article considers the points of view and arguments that cannot be neglected in the integrated plant protection of field crops.

Chronicle. The second class of the Plant Protection Technical School in Keszthely finished studies 40 years ago (Iván Murányi)

We are looking back to the years and persons taking part in Hungarian plant protection education four decades ago.

 

SEASONAL RECOMMENDATIONS OF DISTRIBUTORS

Leading DEKALB® rapes also in 2004! (x)

It is Monsanto’s recommendation for rape varieties for the forthcoming season.

Saaten-Union’s programme for winter rape varieties and hybrids in 2004 (x) (Zoltán Blum)

A brief outlook to global rape market and the company’s offer for varieties and hybrids.

Horsch Tiger and Pronto – a good choice (x)

Professional farming also in areas of poorer conditions (x)

In the publicity report with László Szelestey, the crop production manager of Celli-Sághegyalja Co. in Celldömölk he speaks about successful rape growing and proved KWS varieties.

„Pays off its cost in two production years” (x)

Growers tell their opinion about the successful use of Vädersdtad Rapid drills in peas growing.

Horsch Tiger and Pronto – a good choice (x)

The advantages of the Horsch Tiger field deep cultivator and the Horsch Pronto drill are presented.

Free way to red copper – NORDOX 75 WG (x)

The copper-oxychloride fungicide is recommended for use in fruits, grapes, vegetables and field crops.

GrowHow’s solutions for winter rapes (x)

Kemira company’s recommendations for nutrient supply in rapes.

Safe rape growing along with Hungarian Kwizda also in 2004/2005! (x)

It is already the sixth time, Hungarian Kwizda Ltd. announces its compensation programme on winterkilling in rapes, to improve production and financial safety of rape growing.

Written anno… (Dr. Péter Inczédy)

 

OTHER ISSUES

Use of agricultural land withdrawn from producing basic materials for food (2002-2003) (Dr. Miklós Neményi et al.)

In Hungary the quality of land is so poor on some 700 thousand hectares that conventional agriculture (foodstuff production) could not be sustained even under economic conditions much better than the current one. Therefore, on the poorest areas we must reckon with the gradual retreating of cultivation and finally, with the extensive use of the land. A further solution can be scientifically basing the growing of plant species for industrial raw materials (from genetics to technical developments). By this, in addition to land use, replacing the plastics, mineral and fossil raw materials of environmentally friendly packaging, insulating, covering, construction and other industrial products can be produced. The article informs on the results of the related R&D programmes.

Soil conservation and the related legislation in the European Union and Hungary (Gabriella Szabó Kele, Dr. Judit Berényi Üveges, Béla Pirkó)

With the increasing environmental awareness, more and more attention has been paid to soil, that can be especially related to its multifunctional role. Soil as an environmental element is damaged by various degradation processes by both nature and human activity. The increase of degradation processes has contributed to the creation of national soil conservation regulations. In the European Union there is a single piece of legislation, the Council Directive 86/278/EEC on the protection of the environment, and in particular of the soil, when sewage sludge is used in agriculture. The EU member states have more and ore intensively expressed their expectation for shaping soil conservation policy and outlining soil conservation strategy of the Community. As a result of such endeavours, the authorization for developing the thematic soil conservation strategy was announced in 2002. The article also discusses the Hungarian rules related to soil conservation.

Current state and prospects of ecological production (Dr. Péter Roszik)

Supported by figures, the article presents the current European and Hungarian situation and developmental trends in ecological farming.

 

TOPICAL COMMUNICATIONS

Snapshot about the plant protection situation in certain Hungarian vineyards (Zsuzsa Györök)

Critical situation in vineyards. Report (Zsuzsa Györök)

This year, fungal diseases with higher incidence due to weather conditions, considerably affecting vineyards cause severe problems. We asked for the opinion of professionals engaged in grapevine growing about the severity of diseases, success of treatments and the general state of vineyards from various wine-growing areas of the Transdanubian region (western part of Hungary) and summarised them in the first article.

The second one is on the round-table discussions about the current issues of grapevine protection, taken place in counties Tolna and Baranya.

A new undertaking of Bóly Co.: energy grass programme (Dr. Sándor Balikó)

In September 2003 the Agricultural Co. in Bóly announced the launching of a new programme, growing of energy grass. In the frame of the project, energy grass seeds of variety Szarvas 1 are grown on some thousand hectares, processed and certified. Furthermore, cooperation is organized for growing energy grass and utilizing the final product. Especially on areas with adverse conditions, less suitable for field crop growing, this programme will offer a new opportunity for obtaining income, jobs and workplaces in a way to be in the closest relation also with the requirements of sustainable development. The article informs on the cultural operations of energy grass growing, as well as on the possible uses of energy grass for producing energy, paper and feedstuffs.

How can computers help in decreasing administration load? (István Földesi)

The article presents how effective computer softwares can help in organizing the tasks of farm management, financial activity, plant protection, work phases and purchasing of materials in an agricultural company.

Seen, heard, read. Hungarian and international competition in ploughing in 2004 (Dr. György Demes)

Report on the schedule of Hungarian ploughing competitions in 2004.

Seen, heard, read. A new, combined tillage implement from KÜHNE Co. (Dr. György Demes)

KÜHNE Co.’s new KTG 4.3 combined tillage implement is introduced.

 

Key quality parameters of wheat (Attila Réther)

The article briefly informs on the characteristics determining wheat quality.

 

Photos

Perspectives of precision weed control in Hungary (Dr. Péter Reisinger)

1. GPS aerial and manual data recorder

2. Poppies (Papaver rhoeas) in a 32-hectare wheat field (Baracska, 2002).
Blue colouring indicates weed-free area, while the green one shows infested spots. In the left bottom corner of the field a larger weedy area can be seen. This map confirms that sampling sites need to be designated and sampling carried out according to a grid, otherwise results may mislead users.

3. Humus map of the experimental field

4. Soil texture map of the experimental field