Study Site Trials

The SICS selected for trialling in this Study Site are described below:

General Treatment Category   Study Site Trials 
 Fertilization 1. Organic/inorganic N fertilization
 Soil cultivation 2. Tillage in maize-wheat biculture
General Treatmentegory Study Site Trials

Study Site poster 2018; Study Site poster 2019


SICS 1 :- Organic / inorganic N fertilization


 Organic Inorganic Nfert


  Hungary experiment factsheet 1 amendments HungarianRead this fact sheet in Hungarian here


Key findings

  • Both variants of organic amendment resulted in positive influences on soil properties as well as on productivity. Less risk for soil degradation (compaction induced by traffic while spreading) and weed infestation as well as higher economic sustainability occurred, when Straw was left on-field and recycled back into the soil.​
  • Overall, sustainability was highest when straw was left on the field. FYM application also resulted in good sustainability regarding biophysical parameters, but economically it was the least effective comparing to the no organic (control) and St variants. This statement is correct when the market price of straw is high. As soon as the price of straw decreases, another economic evaluation of using FYM will be necessary. ​
  • FYM led to the highest increases in SOM. This can be explained by better availability of fresh straw - as a labile form of organic C - for decomposition processes, than a more stable form of organic substances after a fermentation process during maturation of FYM (Hannula et al. 2021).


SICS 2 :- Mineral fertilization in continuous maize cropping


 Min fert in maize momculture


  Hungary experiment factsheet 2 front coverRead there fact sheet in Hungarian here


 Key findings

  • Minimum tillage led to reduced cereal yields. However, applying N fertiliser compensated for this reduction. When mineral N was applied, there were no significant differences in yields based on tillage practices. When maize yield is also involved in the analysis and yield data is averaged over the rotation, the SICS (reduced tillage) performed slightly better.
  • Minimum tillage had a positive effect on several soil properties including SOC, WSA, CEC and Microbial Biomass Carbon.
  • In addition, minimum tillage reduces labour costs. However, the lack of mechanical weed control can result in higher pest burdens than under conventional tillage. Consequently,minimum tillage may require more chemical weed control.  


Geographical description

The study site is located in Keszthely in the western part of Hungary (46°44’ N, 17°13’ E, 112 m above sea level). The climate is semi-continental with maritime influences, is moderately warm, moderately humid, while the number of sunshine hours per year is high. The 100-year average annual precipitation was 683 mm, the long-term annual mean temperature was 10.8 °C. The main soil type is Eutric Cambisol (WRB, 2006). The texture of the soil is dominantly clay loam with medium soil hydraulic conductivity and high water holding capacity. The bulk density of the undisturbed soil was 1.53 g cm-3. The pH of the soil is slightly acidic, the surface horizon does not contain calcium carbonate. The naturally available phosphorus content of the soil is low (ammonium-lactate [AL] soluble P2O5: 60-80 mg kg-1), the potassium content medium (AL-K2O: 140-160 mg kg-1) and the soil organic matter content fairly low (16-17 g kg-1). Land use type is arable land.

Pedo-climatic zone
Pannonian, brown forest soils. 

Cropping systems

Cropping intensity
Conventional, Conservation.

Types of crop
Crops: wheat, maize, winter and spring barley, alfalfa, red clover, rape, oat, sudan grass, vetch, pea and potato. The typical crop rotation is wheat – wheat – maize – maize.

Management of soil, water, nutrients and pests
Conventional tillage, no irrigation, different rates of organic and mineral fertilization, integrated pest management.

Soil improving cropping system and techniques currently used
Rotation, intercropping, green manure, mulching, minimum tillage.

Problems that cause yield loss or increased costs
Effect of cropping years, soil compaction, SOC decline, climatic parameters: rainfall
Coefficient of variation is 20-30% depending on the treatments.

External drivers and factors

Institutional and political drivers
The relevant and existing legislation and directives are in harmony with the EU legislation.

Societal drivers
The public opinion of farmers is positive about the improvement of farm systems and last and not least because of monetary allowance.

Bio-physical drivers
Recently it is not proved yet, but the yearly variability of yields are getting higher and higher.