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Agroforum Extra 3.

Harmony between conservation tillage and crop rotation – Experience in Keszthely
(Dr. Zoltán Tóth)
In his introduction, the author assesses the importance of good soil structure. By taking practical aspects to compare crop rotation and growing in monoculture, he analyses the yields of maize and winter wheat obtained with conventional cultivation systems (spring and autumn disking, autumn ploughing) used since 1972 in Keszthely together with yield influencing factors. He concludes that, in some production sites, conventional tillage, while in other areas conservation or no-tillage may have higher priority. Crop rotation has again its greater role in reduced and conservation tillage. The author emphasises that tillage and crop rotation may form a harmonised system in order to maintain and improve both crop productivity and the condition of soils as a natural resource.

Evaluation of reduced tillage systems in maize related to farming results
(Dr. Tamás Rátonyi, Dr. Attila Megyes, Dr. János Nagy)
The authors studied the effect of conventional as well as reduced and conservation tillage on soil condition and maize yield of in the region of Csárdaszállás. In the conventional system, primary tillage was ploughing, while in the reduced ones soil loosening and disking were used. In the fourth, direct drilling system, soil was disturbed only at sowing. As compared to ploughing, measurements confirmed the good effect of loosening on soil condition and that of reduced tillage on preserving soil moisture content. It was also concluded that the compaction of the top soil was not so significant as to question the use of direct drilling, in spite of the no-tillage system used for several years. During the four years, the cropping system based on disk ripper produced similar yields as with ploughing. Yield reduction applying direct drilling is not higher than 1.4 t/ha.

Why to use conservation tillage?
(Zoltán Pethő)

The author supports the necessity of conservation tillage by showing the site conditions of the 10.000 ha farm owned by Agroprodukt Co. as well as the weather-related difficulties of farming. He does not only give an account of the equipment and methods available for conservation tillage, but also emphasises the great role of soil looseners, combined heavy cultivators and drillers not sensitive to crop residues. He evaluates his 2-year experience obtained with direct drilling. His good results with sowing in stubbles are also reported. He thinks that conservation tillage may maintain soil productivity in addition to assuring the short and long-term economic interests.

Soil conservation tillage at the Mezőhegyes Estate – long-term experience and the future
Péter Miskucza, László Pál)
At the Mezõhegyes Estate, all efforts are made to protect the naturally good soils and to maintain soil productivity. Further important issues are to improve the conditions of the irrigated soils and to farm in an economic way. Various tillage techniques in relation to rainfall are demonstrated with the examples of winter wheat and oilseed rape. The number of passages in ploughing systems is reduced by a leveller mounted to the plough and by making seedbed preparation and sowing in one pass. No-tillage systems are based on the combination of a disk and ripper elements. Instead of making several passages for seedbed preparation, one-pass seedbed preparation and sowing is done. The paper reports on different solutions which focus on pest management and are also safe for soil structure.

Necessity of conservation tillage at the catchment area of Lake Balaton
(József Feil)
The author underlines the importance of conservation tillage at the catchment area of Lake Balaton applied for maintaining water quality. Utility of the system is proved by the decrease of moisture loss in droughty years. In the Dél-Balaton Cooperative (Balatonszentgyörgy), tillage conserving soil structure with heavy cultivators has been used for several years. Ploughing and disking systems, as well as direct drilling have been studied in comparative studies. The operation costs of machines were HUF 42,772/ha, HUF 39,014/ha and HUF 33,392/ha, respectively. The author considers the various aspects of ploughless tillage (suppression of pest, pathogen and weed populations).

Running gears for soil conservation in crop production
(Dr. J. István Jóri)
In his introduction the author refers to the competition which started between the development of mechanisation for advanced crop production and the research aiming at the prevention and elimination of soil compaction caused by mechanisation. He called the attention to the application of running gears suitable for soil conservation. Based on his test results, he summarises the advantages, such as better pulling capacity and other energetic parameter data, less wheal slip and reduced soil compaction. He emphasises that soil compaction caused by heavy agricultural machines can be greatly decreased, both in its extent and depth, by the use of rubber belting with larger contact area. Farmers and companies with sufficient acreages and capitals may be in the position of making good use of the advantages of the new running gears.

Students’ page – Evaluation of the emergence and initial growth of maize in soil condition models
(Rita Ács)
The author made models of six variations of maize seedbed: too loose (0-12 cm), heavily compacted (0-12 cm), settled (0-12 cm), compacted 5-10 cm below the seed, sufficiently compacted (0-12 cm) and sufficiently compacted directly below the seed. She observed the germination and emergence of maize and, 4 weeks later, she grouped the variations of soil conditions according to plant height.

Conservation tillage and environmental protection
(dr Márta Birkás)
During the past few years, soil condition deteriorated by common tillage practice has become unsuitable both to mitigate the harmful effects of the extreme climatic conditions and to reduce the farming risks. Moreover, soil condition defects transformed into environmental damages have further increased production losses. Therefore, in the new millennium, soil tillage may be beneficial both to the environment and farming if it meets the requirements of crop production and soil conservation at the same time. Soil conservation and energy-saving tillage systems need to be applied for maintaining or improving of the land value, in a larger area and as soon as possible. The author presents the tillage-induced environmental harms, summarises the primary conditions of conservation tillage and evaluates the tillage and sowing systems suitable for soil conservation.

Weed infestation studies in winter wheat
(Erika Nagy)
Having studied the relationship between tillage, fertilizer application and weed infestation on brown forest soil at Gödöllõ, the author reports on her results. It is concluded that the lack of nutrients may increase weed infestation through less crop density. Other factors like undisturbed soil condition and the shallow, ploughless tillage contribute to increased weed infestation. Comparing the impacts of subsoiling and disking on weed infestation, a well-loosened condition provides better weed control. Ploughing was successful in controlling weeds, however, this advantage could be increased by combining ploughing with the subsoiling.

Results and possibilities in soil conservation tillage on heavy soils
(Lajos Blaskó, Lajos Forgács)
Analysing the physical and chemical properties, as well as workability of heavy soils – meadow chernozem, meadow and meadow solonetz – at the Tiszántúl region (eastern Hungary), the authors outline the necessity of soil conservation tillage. The depth of ploughing is limited by the alkalinity of the deeper layers. Both soil puddling and crusting are unfavourable physical properties, which may be mitigated by soil conservation. Basic elements of soil conservation are mulching, improving root zone condition by loosening, shallow disturbing, direct drilling and, from time to time, chemical improving. These factors may moderate the natural disadvantages of the particular soils, decrease soil crusting and drying and increase crop production stability.

Soil tillage
(Dr Márton Jolánkai)
By citing the classics in the literature, the author emphasises the importance of tillage in basing crop production. The water, air and temperature conditions, as well as stable structure and good workability of the soils are all important factors. Human culture stemmed from the cultivation of the land, and even today, cultivated land is considered to be in good cultural conditions.

Managing the environment with tillage
(Dr. Csaba Gyuricza)
The author studies the relation between tillage and the release of carbon dioxide. He points out that soils are more loosened and have better air availability if intensive tillage is applied. The increased oxygen content helps to speed up microbiological processes, organic matters start to degrade and carbon dioxide is released to the air. Ploughing systems greatly reduce the content of soil organic matters and produce carbon dioxide. The author provides data to confirm that moderate soil disturbing and mulching slow down the cycling of carbon because thus it is available for less number of micro-organisms, degrades more slowly, produces more stable humus compounds and releases less CO2 to the atmosphere.

Long-term studies on soil compaction problems with Westsik’s sandy soil improving crop rotations
(István Szőllősi)
The author studied the effect of 5 typical variations of crop rotations improving sandy soils developed by Westsik 74 years ago (fallow, green manure, root manure, straw manure and farmyard manure) on soil conditions. He pointed out the adverse effect of fallowing as well as the positive impact of organic matter (straw manure, farmyard manure and green manure) applied to the regularly cultivated layer on the particular layer. It is found in the study that the extent of compaction in the fallowed soil exceeds the extent of compaction below the regularly cultivated layer of the sandy soil improving crop rotations. The author proved the soil improving effect of the biological loosening on the deeper layer and confirmed the importance of using organic matters in maintaining good soil conditions.

Measuring water infiltration with Infiltronik
(Sándor Daróczi)
First the author overviews the methods for measuring water infiltration as a significant parameter of irrigation. Then he describes and illustrates how Infiltronik operates including the conditions of measurements and the utility of the results. The equipment can control the quantity of water discharged at irrigation, the rate of infiltration and the intensity of water flow.

Soil conservation running gears adapted to agricultural machines
(Gábor Antos)
Trampling damages may be prevented by the improvement of running gears, the geometrical and structural development of power machines and implements equipped with wheels and by using running gears with rubber belt similar to caterpillar band. As far as soil conservation is concerned, it is important for each running gear to have the lower possible internal air pressure, larger contact area and low soil pressure. The advantages of tractors with rubber-belt running gears against running gears with blown tyres are: larger contact area, low soil pressure, less wheel slip, greater pulling capacity and smaller turning radius.

Ideas for surviving: go ahead in applying soil conservation tillage systems
(József Széles)
The author draws the attention to the conditions hindering safe crop production at present: soil compaction, loss of moisture content, damages to soil structure, “over-tillage” of soils. Then he gives an account of soil improving and conservation tillage systems, i.e. mid-deep loosening, use of mulching cultivator and reduced tillage. He calls the attention to the advantages and the things to consider with direct drilling. He thinks that Hungarian farmers may be good competitors of growers in the European Union, if they make all efforts to be qualified, to observe requirements of crop management programs, as well as to optimize farming conditions.

John Deere machines in soil conservation tillage
(Dr. István Sörös)
Demonstration of the most reliable JDs – V-Ripper, Disk-Ripper, Chisel Plow, Mulch Tiller, Mulch Finisher, JD 740A Mulch Planter, JD 750A Direct Planter – suitable for Hungarian soils.

Monsanto for conservation tillage in Hungary
(Mihály Czepó)
Conservation tillage trials and their promising results carried out in Hungary are demonstrated with figures and costs.

Recommendation on tillage from Väderstad, or more profit with fewer problems
(Tibor Kalmár)
The most successful Väderstad machines -Rapid drill, Rollex/Rexius roll, Carrier Disc, Crossboard leveller – are presented together with their use in tillage systems.

Horsch Airseeder planting system (x)
Horsch Airseeder drill and the related tillage system are demonstrated.

„Total” change of attitude (x)
(István Oláh)
The herbicide “Total” distributed by Cassis Co. is recommended for use in new-concept tillage systems.

Practice of reduced tillage with Simba machines (x)
(Attila Nyárádi)
Implements recommended by the company Simba with 6 years’ presence in Hungary, especially for those who use reduced tillage.

Fewer passes – less expenses – higher profit with Amazone machines! (x)
(Tamás Kovács)
IKR. Co. shares its experience obtained with Centaur 6000 (heavy-duty cultivator) and Cirrus 8000 (mulch planter) of the company Amazone.

Conservation tillage with Komondor mulch cultivators (x)
The AGRO + MASH-awarded Komondor mulch cultivators developed by the Hungarian AGRIKON KAM Ltd. and Seed-Imex Ltd. are recommended.