SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION IN WESTSIK’S CROP ROTATION EXPERIMENT PUBLISHEDJ. Lazányi
The best known and most remarkable example of continuous production in Hungary is the Westsik’s crop rotation experiment established in 1929, which is still in use to study the effects of organic manure treatment, develop models and predict the likely effects of different cropping systems on soil properties and crop yields. Such experiments are costly to maintain, but their cost can easily be justified if they serve a number of different objectives and provide data to improve agricultural practice. The aim of this study is to examine the potential for sustainable agriculture in Hungary, and to draw attention to the importance of long-term field experiments in the study of agronomic sustainability. Current concerns about soil and water quality deterioration, the limited availability of fossil fuels, the loss of biodiversity, the viability of rural communities, and in general the sustainability of modern agricultural production practices, all point to the need to work out methods of sustainable agriculture. The goal of sustainable agriculture is to bring together people and resources, to promote an agriculture that is efficient, profitable, socially acceptable and environmentally sustainable for the indefinite future. The primary objective is to provide a model where the agricultural system and community are taken into account as a whole, in which agriculture is not separated from the natural ecosystem of a region. The most critical challenge is to consider the needs of agriculture and society, and to provide an educational environment for local inhabitants. In order to meet this challenge, we need research that examines the principles of sustainable agriculture. In this respect, Westsik’s crop rotation experiment provides data of immediate value to farmers concerning the applications of green, straw and farmyard manure. The experiment also provides a resource of yield, plant and soil data sets for scientific research, whether into plant and those soil processes which control soil fertility, or into the sustainability of production. Moreover, maintenance of Westsik’s crop rotation experiment can also be used to illustrate the value of long-term field experiments.
Long-term crop rotation experiment; Sustainable agriculture