The ÖMKi organized Expert Day took place on March 29, 2017 in Mezőberény, in the vicinity of which are found several organic growers. Around 50 participants took part. The event, which was opened by ÖMKi director Dr Dóra Drexler, was attended by representatives of growers, integrators and retailers related to organic farming. Peter Hertelendy, an expert on plant protection, presented his experiences over the last few years protecting plants and the utmost important defining prevention in organic farming.He went into detail about crop rotation, soil tillage, species selection and the role of agro-techniques in plant-health. Cereal production, for example, leaves chaff on the soil surface that affects not only on its own soil table, but also on neighboring soils, which can endanger the coming year’s cereal prospects, which untilled soil and the imperfect stem-crushing only increase. Experts are well aware of the harmful effects pentosan produces, while at the same time diseases caused by pathogens are more and more common, like the symptoms (fading, staining) that appear on leaves in early spring, which is often linked to the state of enzyme shortage caused by the lack of micro-nutrients. A species’s susceptibility to or resilience against diseases requires constant watch because of new pathogen races appearing year after year, as could have been seen in the case of the yellowrust-infection last growing season. When talking about cereal crop rotations, the danger of blight rises, while in corn crop-rotation the danger of fusarium infestations increase, especially in the case of spring wheat. The presenter also called attention to the fact that toxin quantity is rarely connected to the extent of the infection. On the topic of harmful organisms, it has also come up that the soil reclamation plants containing brassica (canola, mustard) have a part in maintaining the psylloidea, which presents potential danger to the neighboring table. Protection against this can be incorporating it in time and nursing the stubble. In the last few years the common vole has been an increasing problem, whereas putting up 2-3 m high T-trees (4-6/ha) can be a way to counteract them.
Mihály Földi reported on ÖMKi’s tests of cereal ear types and varieties, particularly the importance of harmonizing yield results and yield quality in the different growing areas. Dr. Éva Hunyadi Borbélyné spoke of the role of protein crops in organic farming. She summarized the results of ÖMKi’s soy crop experiments and future prospects for these plants. The lack of irrigation meant that the season was a limiting factor, but choosing the correct variety for the growing area and appropriate agricultural techniques (seed handling, soil grooming, weed control) could have a strong stabilizing effect on cultivation.
Dr. Dóra Drexler presented the practice-centred research carried out on organic growing fields within the framework of ÖMKi’s international project (HealthyMinorCereals, Diversifood, OK-Net Arable), which included raising cereal crops of einkorn wheat, emmer, and spelled chaff, as well as the possible role of remote sensing in organic growing and breeding. She highlighted how the experiments were open to participation and there are possibilities to join.
Representing Tradisco Kft. Melinda Szabó relayed their experience with organic growing and retail in the last few years. She called attention to the significant German, French and Austrian markets, as well as dynamic growth in the Austrian processing sector in the last few years. She also highlighted the importance of the marketable plants – mainly as animal feed – from the second year fallowed areas. These can already be marked as a fallowed crop, and so in the given proportion can be introduced into the organic feed. She confirmed that organic products sell at almost twice the conventional price in the cases of sunflower, rape, wheat for both human consumption and animal feed, and corn, even though the potential in the growth of the Russian and Ukrainian market.
The Expert Day attracted exhibits from several companies, including Agrárin LLC, Karintia LLC, Terragro LLC, Naturgold LLC, Organic World LLC. The companies gave short introductions about themselves before the afternoon program of the professional day, and the representatives answered questions as well.
After lunch the event continued with free-flowing conversations on professional topics, in which problems were discussed that connected with the certification bodies and research coordinated by ÖMKi on arable fields are worth keeping in mind for future professional events.