Geographical description

Site: Prague – Ruzyně latitude 50°05’ N; longitude 14°20’ E; altitude 345 m; area 110 ha
Climatic region: T2, annual precipitation 472 mm; annual average temp. 7.9°C
Soil: brown earth modal, clay-loam, loess on, partially on the Cretaceous clay slate with a higher content of coarse dust and a lower content of clay particles; Orthic Luvisol (IUSS/ISTRIC/FAO (2006); clay-loamy texture, pH (KCl) 7.0, pH (H2O) 7.8; SOC 1.4%;
The site is a beet production area; available nutrients (extracted by Mehlich III method): P – 62 mg kg-1; K - 171 mg kg-1; Ca - 3446 mg kg-1; Mg – 114 mg kg-1; CEC – 227.6 mmol kg-1 ).

Pedo-climatic zone
Continental climate, brown soil (Luvisol)

Cropping systems

Cropping intensity
Conventional (production area)
Traditional (crop rotation, different fertiliser levels…)
Organic (without fertilizers and pesticides, improving crop rotation)

Types of crop
1. Tillage trial: 50% winter whet, 25% winter oilseed rape, 25% peas; sequence: rape-wheat-rape-wheat-peaswheat-peas-wheat
2. Fertilizer Long-term Trial: “Cereal Crop Rotation” (67% cereals, 11% root crops and 22% legumes in the crop rotation). The crop sequence was alfalfa, alfalfa, winter wheat, winter wheat, spring barley, potatoes, winter wheat, winter wheat and spring barley with alfalfa under-sowing.
3. Trial on Organic Farming: 33% legumes, 33% cereals, 33% buckwheat

Management of soil, water, nutrients and pests
There is no irrigation at this site.
1. Tillage trial: since 1995 three tillage practices: conventional tillage (CT = ploughing down to 22 cm), reduced tillage (RT = chisel ploughing of the surface soil layer to a depth of 10 cm), and no-tillage practices (NT = with crop residues left on the soil surface). All crop residues and side products are left on the field. Mineral fertilizers containing phosphorus (50 kg P2O5/ha, in Ammophos) and potassium (80 kg K2O/ha in Korn-Kali) were applied on the soil surface every year after harvest. Nitrogen fertilizers are applied during spring vegetation. Nitrogen dose is given with view to previous crop, Nmin. content in soil, expected production yield and required quality. Conventional pesticides are applied as needed in a given year.

2. Fertilizer Long-term Trial: Deep ploughing (28 cm) is applied before seeding of each crop in the autumn. Pesticides are used only if necessary, and growth regulators have never been used. In the experiment nitrogen mineral fertilizers are applied in four different levels (40-80 kg N/ha), phosphorus and potassium ones at two levels (26 and 35 kg P ha−1; 90 and 124 kg K ha−1). Two organic fertilizers were also used, straw and pig slurry mixed with straw (pig slurry + straw). Pig slurry was applied in the autumn before planting the root crops. The straw of cereals and the residues of other crops are removed from the plots.

3. Trial on Organic Farming: no fertilisers, no pesticides, soil improving crops are used.

Soil improving cropping system and techniques currently used
Soil improving operations and techniques used at study site:

  • Conservation tillage such as reduced or no-tillage. Leaving crop residues (or its part) on the soil surface e.g. limits soil erosion and water evaporation. These soil treatments lead to elevation of soil organic carbon content in the surface layer, improve soil structure etc.
  • Water infiltration and compaction of soil under different tillage has been measured in last years for estimation of risk of water erosion of soil.
  • If it is possible, convenient crop rotation systems are used, which include legume and other soil improving crops. Byproducts (post-harvest residues) are almost leaving on the fields owing to nutrients and organic matter recovery for sustainable soil fertility
  • Pesticides used with view to pests and diseases appearance in given year, in minimum needed dose not according to long-term planned methodology. 
  • Tillage trial only: new developed fertilizers are used; optimal term, dose and application method is tested for maximum nutrient efficiency and minimal losses and environmental impact.

Problems that cause yield loss or increased costs
There is a risk of unexpected climatic extremes in given year (e.g. drought, thunderstorm with hail, heavy rains) those can limit yields. Using improper technique leads to soil compaction. Decrease liming and organic fertilization in recent years causes decrease SOC and deterioration of the soil structure. The consequence of these effects is limited water infiltration into the soil, which results in erosion, water run-off

LTEs
 Long term experiments

External drivers and factors

Institutional and political drivers

  • Act No 156/1998 Coll., on fertilisers (+ Execution Decrees)
  • Act No 242/2000 Coll., on ecological farming
  • Government Regulation No 262/2012 Coll., on vulnerable zones (Nitrate directive)
  • Act No 334/1992 Coll., on agricultural fund protection

Societal drivers
Are there negative public views on "using of soil for non-food production (rape, maize - bio fuels)". Increasing public opposition elevates under oilseed rape. Pollen causes allergies, large quantities of pesticides used and the odour when rape freezes after winter bothers people. Despite this, yet there are no restrictions on oilseed rape in the CR.

Bio-physical drivers
Increasing frequency of droughts cause changes in the used varieties of crops, the intensity of tillage and nitrogen fertilization – application methods, doses, dates, fertilizer types.