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Agroforum 2005 October

The month of all saints
(Dr. László Bódis)

Changing our journal’s structure

TOPIC OF THE MONTH

Topic of the month
(
Dr. László Bódis)

Genetically modified organisms in Hungary
(Dr. Pál Pepó, Éva Erdei, Henriett Kovács Oskolás)
The authors give a brief account of the genetic engineering technique and discuss its advantages in crop production supported with examples. They provide an overview of the global spread of genetically modified (GM) crops and the legislation of this field in the European Union. Furthermore, the Hungarian situation of transgenic plant varieties is also dealt with. In Hungary genetic modification is allowed in strictly controlled environment, complying with specified conditions. Legislation has been amended in order to ensure traceability of the GMO throughout the whole chain of production and processing, and consumers’ demand has also been taken into account. At the same time, after involving GM-varieties in commercial growing, Hungary will lose her GMO-free status and with it, significant export markets in the EU.

Day for discussions at the National Fair of Agriculture and Food Industry (OMÉK)
(Tímea Vértes)
The author briefly sums up the participants’ comments to the discussion titled “Approaching genetic modification from various aspects: research, production, regulation and environmental protection”, and also points out the major conclusions of the programme.

Genetic engineering and product safety
(Dr. György Matók)
The author focuses on product safety from the point of view of risks of being mixed with GM crops. Indicating the potential sources of contamination, he emphasizes the importance of isolation distance in preventing gene flow. He mentions that the application of quality assurance systems well-proved in other areas is also useful. The second part of the article deals with the results of the trials carried out by the National Institute for Agricultural Quality Control in 2003-2004 to study pollen dispersal of GM maize. These experiences will give a sound basis for determining isolation distances in the future.

Coexistence workshop in Budapest
(Dr. Krisztina Baltay Kőszegi)
This is a report from the round-table conference about coexistence invited by EuropaBio as the organisation safeguarding the interest of the European biotech industry and ABE (Agricultural Biotechnology in Europe), an organisation for a communications programme in agriculture biotechnology. The lectures and presentations gave an account of the recent outcomes of GMO regulations, the advantages of GM-production and statistical data. The participants could get acquainted with the experience of an English farmer growing GM crops about coexistence and with the market position of his farm.

Growers are enthusiastic about biotechnology (x)
(Dr. Mihály Czepó)
Monsanto Ltd. took a public-opinion poll about farmers’ views regarding biotechnology.

TOPICALLY, UP-TO-DATE

Which is better for the soil: whether ploughed or not?
(Dr. Márta Birkás)
In the past few years, criticism on ploughing has been completed with soil conservation and environment protection aspects. The possible damages are tillage pan, dusting, erosion, deflation, carbon-dioxide emission, organic matter decrease and impoverished habitat for beneficial organisms. All the listed damages are true for wrong ploughing. The author lists and evaluates the circumstances leading to poor quality. She draws the attention to the skills resulting in professional ploughing. It is followed by presenting experimental results to support the advantages of improving ploughing in terms of agronomy, economy and soil conservation. The paper also deals with ploughing of plant protection purpose aimed at solving the problems of soil conservation and crop protection together.

Results of trials with registered cereal varieties carried out by the National Institute for Agricultural Quality Control (OMMI)
(Sándor Kovács)
Similarly to the previous years’ practice, the specialist of the Institute publishes, according to maturity groups in a tabulated form, the yields for 68 winter wheat varieties studied by OMMI.

Winter wheat seed production, 2005
(Gábor Polgár)
The report evaluates winter wheat seed production in 2005. The author analyses and illustrates with figures the Hungarian seed-growing area, the number of grown varieties and the average field sizes, also indicating yields and crop quality. Furthermore, he outlines the experience of field inspections and draws the attention to using clean certified seeds, true to type and of high genetic quality.

Current issues of using winter barley varieties and cultural techniques
(György Matók, Dr. András Tomcsányi)
Winter barley will be sown a month later, its critical points are when and which varieties to sow. The authors help in deciding the issue by sharing their experience about sowing dates obtained in the years 2001-2005. They continue with informing on the results of variety trials carried out in 2005. The paper is completed with various detailed tables to support growers’ decision.

Profitability of cereal production expected for 2006, depending on yields
(Dr. Gyula Buzás, Dr. Béla Kántor, József Szczaurski)
In these days, growers face difficult tasks, because it is now when they have to decide on the structure of their next year’s cereal growing and on the main elements of the crop management programme to be applied. Now they need to define the cropping area, soil cultivation, quantity and kinds of seeds and fertilizers to be purchased. The authors wish to present a basis for these non-easy decisions by trying to forecast the costs, incomes and profits, expected for next year, of the two most important cereals, wheat and maize. Furthermore, they are seeking the answer to the question, demonstrating with tables, how the profitability of cereal growing changes by implementing a management programme of different intensity.

In-crop desiccation of maize could be necessary in autumn of 2005
(László Szentey, Dr. István Mózer, Antal Oszvald, György Zoványi, Dr. Zoltán Szabó)
The growing season of the major field crops has substantially prolonged due to this year’s unusually rainy weather. We need to prepare for delayed ripening and late harvesting. This is especially adverse for maize where the significant cost of drying will likely to decrease profitability of production. Desiccation and acceleration of ripening are also gaining importance in the current situation. Though various products are registered for use, this operation has not become a common practice in maize growing as e.g. in sunflowers. The official of the national plant protection organisation gives an account of this technique and professionals also share their experiences with readers.

Autumn wash-off spraying to control powdery mildew
(Teréz Dula)
The phytopathologist of the Plant Protection and Soil Conservation Service of County Heves draws the attention to introducing a new element of the pest management programme, wash-off spraying against one of the most severe epidemic diseases of grapes, powdery mildew. The Service established laboratory and field trials to find the answer to questions such as “How efficient are and what is the mode of action of products registered for use also for wash-off spraying in grapes, if applied in autumn, during the development and maturing of cleistothecia? The results of the trials are tabulated, and finally the author sums up her conclusions.

Autumn wash-off spraying in orchards
(Gábor Mező, Ágoston Tóth)
Wash-off spraying in autumn is a more and more spreading element of crop protection, it is already included in the plan of high-standard pest management programmes. Of course, carrying out the treatments is based on the pest situation in the particular year and the reasonable foresight. Washing-off spraying in autumn is the starting point of preparing for the next year. In a certain sense, it is a kind of preventive treatment. Its aim is to keep the foliage in good conditions as long as possible in order to support lignification of shoots, ready for wintering, and to protect branches and the trunk from late infections and development of cankers. On the other hand, the incidence of overwintering structures on diseased plant parts (leaves, fruits, branches and trunk) need to be reduced and hiding of the pests for overwintering shall be prevented in the current year.

Controlling the dieback of branches and early decline in peaches (x)
(András Mándoki, Dr. András Horn)
This is Summit Agro Hungary’s article about the comparative trials with different fungicides against the dieback of branches and early decline in peaches.

MECHANISATION, MACHINES

Väderstad clinic. There are no good results without good machines … (x)
Dr. Gyula Kádár, the owner of Helvécia Protein Ltd. shares his experience about the advantages of using Väderstad machines.

Structure of fertilizer broadcasters (8). Operating fertilizer broadcasters
(Dr. Zoltán Csizmazia)
Precision growing suited to local conditions and requirements within the field can hardly be carried out without the precise adjusting of fertilizer broadcasters. Up-to-date construction and optimal setting however, cannot guarantee good working quality, as everything can go wrong by inappropriate operating. In order to ensure even fertilizer distribution, the machine shall be operated by overlapping that can be accurately determined only on a test track. Errors in working quality of spinning fertilizer broadcasters are mostly attributed to deviating from optimal working width. It is worthy dealing also with the preservation of fertilizer broadcasters, because working quality is considerably getting worse if the technical data of the machine differ from those recorded at the time of releasing from the factory. This difference can be a deformation of the broadcaster that can be provoked by a wrong filling of the machine or wearing and damaging of the blades.

Seen heard, read. Robot-pilot or tractor driver?
(Dr. Gábor Princzinger)
Together with displaying machines, KITE Co. held a press conference titled “Green breakthrough” – automatic steering with unprecedented accuracy during the time of the National Fair of Agriculture and Food Industry (OMÉK) in Sződ on 1 September. The invited special correspondents of technical journals had the opportunity to examine closely the recent technical developments of John Deere, automatic steering, including its every-day practice.

AXIÁL Ltd. again with its complete product range at the National Fair of Agriculture and Food Industry (OMÉK)
(Dr. György Demes)
Axiál Ltd. presented its whole range of products on a total area of 2235 m2 on the Fair, this year organised between 27 August and 4 September. Among the representatives of the company present there, we asked a manager of the company, Mr Zsolt Harsányi to answer certain questions put on behalf of our readers.

WORTHY OF ATTENTION

Recommendations and precautions for cultivation and sowing in a wet soil
(Dr. Márta Birkás)
The author deals with a topical issue, the sustainable cultivation of wet soils. She points out that it is the interest of the grower to perform tillage operations at a due time, before sowing in late summer and autumn. The long-term interest, however is to prepare the soil with the minimum damage possible, because problems caused this autumn will reoccur at an increased rate under new extreme conditions. The first part of the article deals with the cultivation damages and the options to reduce them. It is followed by recommendations for soil cultivation at different moisture levels, emphasizing the importance of knowing the conditions of our soils. Good as it would be for various crops to achieve a duly loose soil condition up to 30-40 cm depth, this year it is better to bear in mind not to increase the damages caused during the harvest.

Book review. Péter Halmai: Economy of the reform
(Dr. Gábor Szabó)
This review gives an analysis of Gábor Halmai’s book.

LOOKOUT

Bio-fuels in France
(Dr. Norbert Somogyi)
Read the article to get to know about the steps made by France to give more opportunities to the use of bio-fuels, following the Brazilian, American and German practice. The government plans to increase the share of renewable resources (bio-diesel, ethanol) to 7 % within a year. However, this could be accomplished only if bio-fuels will become tax-free, as their production is not profitable at the moment. The author also tells that it is not a problem for the French agriculture to triple the current area of bio-fuel production in order to achieve the set goal.

OTHER COMMUNICATIONS

Novofosz 50 EC (x)
Novofosz 50 EC (dichlorvos) is a proven, old active substance under a new name, offered by Plant-Pharma Ltd. for controlling different insects, among them storage pests.

Seeking the way…
(Dr. István Csíbor)
Thoughts in connection with the meeting titled “Energy from plants” organized in September as a part of the series of “Seeking the way”.

To the jubilee of a column in our journal
(Dr. Princzinger Gábor)
A short glance backward to the series titled “Written anno…” launched by Dr. Péter Inczédy a decade ago.

DNV – ISO 22000: introduction of a new international standard for food safety (Press release)
The International Organization for Standardization supports food industry with introducing a new, important standard. ISO 22000 “Food safety management systems – Requirements for any organization in the food chain” is expected to be published in 2005.

What is the value of GrowHow fertilizers? (x)
(Dr. Erik Czinege)
Information is provided about the advantages of certain POWER fertilizers distributed by Kemira GrowHow.

Note for growers. About the rights and obligations of cooperative members
(Miklós Kurucz)
This part of the series gives an account of the natural rights and minimal obligations of cooperative members.

Agri-communication as a branch of study at Gyöngyös
(György Bálint)
The article informs on the two-semester education programme of agri-communication launched at ‘Károly Róbert’ College in Gyöngyös.

Seen heard, read. K+S company’s press conference during the National Fair of Agriculture and Food Industry
(Dr. Gábor Princzinger)
Report from the partner-meeting organised by K+S KALI GmbH on the occasion of the 74th National Fair of Agriculture and Food Industry (OMÉK).

Seen heard, read. Results of the proposals called for by the International Potash Institute
(Zoltán Molnár)
Brief information on the awards ceremony of the International Potash Institute organised in Kecskemét in the frame of the meeting titled “Harmonic nutrient supply in vine-growing”.

Written anno…
(Dr. Péter Inczédy)