Research Team 01 - Integrated Crop Nutrition

Team leader: Ing. Pavel Růžek, CSc.

Position and specialization: 
Senior Researcher - crop nutrition, cultivation technologies

Framework and objectives of this research team:
Integrated plant nutrition is based on effective use of nutrients from different sources (soil, fore-crops + crop residues, fertilizers) by plants in connection with other argotechnical measures (soil treatment, field crops growth establishment, etc.). Plant nutrition and fertilization is solved as a part of sustainable cultivation technologies leading to the sustainable agricultural production under favourable and unfavourable conditions and under anticipated climate change. Main aim of the research is to improve the use of nutrients from natural sources and from fertilizers by cultivated crops for desire yields while minimizing adverse effects on the environment. Different ways of fertilizer application (surface broadcast, local, zonal) in combination with soil tillage are studied, both in terms of nutrient utilization by plants (isotopic techniques), as well as the influence of fertilization on nutrients and carbon sequestration in soil, CO2, NH3 and NOx emissions, stability of soil aggregates, water infiltration into soil, diversity of soil microorganisms, etc. are studied. In connection with the obtained results, new technological procedures are developed and tested for the establishment of the field crops growths and their fertilization. Plant nutrition systems are optimized by utilization of diagnostic methods of soil chemical and biological status and innovative fertilization practices and are integrated into environmentally friendly soil management systems at different input levels. 

Specification of activities:

Research activities

  • evaluation of nutrients from various sources (soil, fore-crop and post-harvest residues, manure, and mineral fertilizers), their role in the formation and stability of yields, as well as production quality in long-term field trials in different locations and at different levels of agricultural technology (organic farming system, various tillage intensities, different intensities of manure and mineral fertilizers use)
  • optimal utilization of nutrients from post-harvest residues at different levels of tillage and fertilization (utilization of isotopic techniques)
  • alternative sources of nutrients and their application in plant nutrition, especially in systems of land management with low inputs
  • stability of yields and quality of production in systems with intensive inputs, with the application of mineral fertilizers in both favourable and unfavourable environmental conditions, including the influence of abiotic stresses caused by climate changes
  • analysis of soil and plant nutritional status at various levels of inputs using existing and innovative diagnostic methods
  • identifying the diversity and activity of soil microorganisms, while using molecular and biochemical methods at different intensities of tillage and fertilization
  • identification of agronomic risk measures, which may negatively affect the stability of yields, as well as the quality of production, soil, water, and air
  • the use of chemical and biological agents and agro-technical measures to regulate the behaviour and movement of nutrients in the soil in order to increase the use of nutrients by plants, as well as to limit the negative impacts on the environment, particularly on water and air quality
  • development and validation of new fertilizers with regulated release of nutrients; methods to improve the efficiency of mineral fertilizers and new environmentally-friendly technological practices in plant nutrition
  • innovations in tillage technologies, establishment of field crop stands and their fertilization, with the aim to improve soil properties, including an increase in carbon sequestration, reduction of erosion, and increase of rainwater retention in the soil

Other activities

  • coordination of long-term international field trials of IOSDV (since 1983) for the Czech Republic, leading long-term field experiments with different soil treatment at different study sites (since 1995)
  • contract research and expert activities for the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic and other public institutions
  • pedagogical activities at agricultural universities (CULS, JU, MENDELU)
  • tutoring of bachelor, diploma and doctoral theses
  • organizing of professional seminars, workshops, field days, practical trainings, lectures for agricultural practice and state administration
  • advisory and consulting activities
  • work on legislation on fertilizers, water protection (nitrate directive) and good agricultural and environmental condition (GAEC) 

Other activities (services)

  • soil and plant analysis, including following recommendations
  • testing of new mineral fertilizers and substances for increasing of their effectiveness
  • organizing field comparison experiments (fertilizers, biologically active substances, varieties, etc.)
  • expert activities for companies  


Other team members:
Helena Kusá, Ph.D: Research Scientist - agricultural chemistry and plant nutrition.
Gabriela Mühlbachová, Ph.D: Research Scientist - diagnosis of chemical and biological soil condition issues including risk elements.
Radek Vavera, Ph.D: Research Assistant - growing technologies at different input intensities.
Martin Káš, Ph.D.: Research Assistant (post-doc) - systems of land management at different fertilization intensities (including organic agriculture, and coordination of international long-term IOSDV field experiments for the Czech Republic).
Miroslava Pechová, MSc.: Leader of the laboratory of soil and plant analysis.
Dana Hejnová: Technician, Laboratory Assistant.
Kateřina Marková, MSc: Technician, Technologist.

Team contacts (phone, mobile, e-mail) can be found here.


Members of Integrated crop nutrition research team - from the top left: Helena, Pavel, Dana, Radek, Mirka, Gábina; down Martin and Katka

The most important current team results:

1. Scientific publications

1.1 Identification of long-term soil contamination by risk elements at different soil organic matter levels using microbiological tests and evaluation of the toxicity of individual risk elements
Results from the Pribram locality long-term contaminated with heavy metals showed the importance of organic matter for the interrelationship between the microbial characteristics and the high content of risk elements in the soil, as well as the complexity of interpreting the obtained results. Soil organic matter can effectively prevent the identification of soil contamination by risk elements using microbial parameters. The obtained data must be multifactorially assessed by statistical methods. Soil contamination in the natural habitat of the given locality must therefore be assessed in a comprehensive manner. The dehydrogenase activity was identified as the most sensitive parameter for the determination of soil contamination, the zinc affected the microbial activity the most of all elements contained in the soils, although its concentration in the soil was on average lower than the lead, which is the main contaminating element of the area. The results were published in a publication with a high IF.
Reference:
Mühlbachová, G., Sagová-Marečková M., Omelka M., Száková J., Tlustoš P. 2015. The influence of soil organic carbon on interactions between microbial parameters and metal concentrations at a long-term contaminated site. Sci.Tot. Environ, 502: 218–223

1.2. Effects of different soil cultivation technologies on bulk density, organic carbon content, microbial biomass and yields of cultivated crops
New results from long-term field trial after 20 years of different soil tillage treatments are described in the paper. Three methods of soil cultivation - conventional plowing up to 22 cm, minimal soil cultivation up to 10 cm, and technology without treatment, leaving the post-harvest residue on the surface were compared. The results of bulk density, Corg., microbial biomass and the obtained yields achieved in two successive crop rotation cycles 2007-2010 and 2011-2014 were evaluated, at the same time the soil characteristics were evaluated at three depths 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm, 20 -30 cm. The observed soil characteristics under the conventional treatment were well balanced in the soil profile of 0-30 cm. Minimum soil tillage and no-tillage lead to the accumulation of both organic carbon and microbial biomass in the top soil layer. The bulk density of soil has increased with minimum and no-tillage technologies, however the negative effect of higher bulk weights on soil characteristics has not been established. Crop yields were comparable using conventional and minimum soil tillage. The no tillage technologies led, in particular for winter wheat and pea, to lower yields. The soil moisture was better preserved under minimum and no-tillage technologies, but in the dry years it did not usually lead to higher yields.
Reference:
Mühlbachová G., Kusá H., Růžek P. (2015): Soil characteristics and crop yields under different tillage techniques. Plant, Soil, Environ., 61(12): 566-572

1.3. Availability of phosphorus and potassium in soil in a long-term field trial with mineral and organic fertilization
The paper describes the influence of various mineral and organic fertilization and their combinations on the availability of phosphorus and potassium for winter wheat in a long field trial. The availability of phosphorus and potassium was assessed at two sites (Lukavec u Pacova and Ivanovice na Hané) with two different types of soils - Cambisol and degraded Chernozem. The type of fertilization has influenced the yields of winter wheat as well as the winter wheat uptake by the plants. Higher yields and phosphorus and potassium uptake were found under mineral nitrogen fertilization, which negatively affected the nutrient balance especially in the more fertile soil in Ivanovice na Hané (degraded chernozem). Fertilization with mineral nitrogen fertilizers negatively influenced especially easily available fractions P and K, which are preferentially taken by plants. Their proportion decreased compared to the results achieved by use of Mehlich 3 method. The mineral fertilization with nitrogen increased the availability of P for plants simultaneously with decreasing pH in alkaline soils from Ivanovice na Hané. The results show the need for sufficient nutrient fertilization in soils with expected higher yields.
Reference:
Káš M., Mühlbachová G., Kusá H., Pechová M. (2016): Soil phosphorus and potassium availability in long-term field experiments with organic and mineral fertilization. Plant Soil and Environment, 62: 558-565

1.4. Nitrogen use by potato plants after mineral fertilizers application into different positions of the ridge
The effect of band application of various mineral fertilizers to potato cultivated in technology with stone separation has been studied in Valečov in 2008-11. 15N-labelled dissolved fertilizers (ammonium sulphate = SA, urea with nitrification inhibitor = MOn, urea with urease inhibitor = MOu) were applied in band side of tubers at planting. The soakage groove was made on top of the ridge (in treatments with MOn and MOu) for the retention of more rainwater, improving moisture conditions within the ridge and increasing nitrogen use efficiency from applied fertilizers. The obtained results were affected by weather conditions of year strongly. The highest tuber yields and nitrogen uptakes in mineral fertilized treatments (73 t/ha and 207 kg N/ha) were reached in humid year 2011, the lowest ones (41 t/ha a 161 kg N/ha) in 2008. The efficiency of mineral fertilizer nitrogen varied from 42 % (in 2008) to 70 % (in 2011). The significant effect of soakage groove was observed only in more arid year 2008: nitrogen efficiency elevated from 40 to 48 % and from 33 to 44 % for MO and MOu respectively.
Reference:
Kusá, H., Růžek, P. & Kasal, P. 2012. Effect of mineral nitrogen fertilizers application into the ridge on potatoes yield and nitrogen efficiency. Vědecké práce: (Scientific Studies Potato Research Institute Havlíčkův Brod), 20: 101-112.

1.5. Grain yields and quality of winter wheat varieties at different level od soil tillage, fertilization and plant protection
The four - year experiments with 13 varieties of winter wheat (Akteur, Bardotka, Barroko, Baryton, Biscay, Cubus, Darwin, Eurofit, Florett, Globus, Illias, Merrito, Rheia ) were carried out at the two experimental sites in the Czech Republic (Praha - Ruzyně, Chrášťany u Rakovníka). Two different tillage systems were compared: conventional with ploughing and reduced tillage to a depth of 8-10 cm at two levels of nutrition and plant protection intensity. Grain yield, protein yield and grain quality parameters were evaluated. The effect of soil tillage intensity on the observed characteristics was generally lower than that of the locality, variety and input levels. The protein content, wet gluten and Zeleny sedimentation volume reached the highest values under the conventional ploughing system and high input levels, while gluten index, falling number and test weight were not significantly affected by the tillage system. The decisive factor affecting protein yield was the tillage intensity. The high input reduced tillage system resulted in a significant grain yield advantage over the high input conventional tillage system (4.6%). It was confirmed that reduced tillage may help to stabilize production especially on soils prone to water stress. The tested varieties of winter wheat did not respond differentially to the cultivation systems. Their high productivity and adaptability to different environmental conditions is a prerequisite for the good application of varieties in different cultivation systems.
Reference:
Šíp, V., Vavera, R., Chrpová, J., Kusá, H. & Růžek, P. 2013. Winter wheat yield and quality related to tillage practice, input level and environmental conditions. Soil and Tillage Research, 132: 77-85.

2. Applied results

2.1. A new method of weeding broad-leaved crops with fertilization limiting water erosion and improving the use of nutrients from applied fertilizers
The novelty is in the original solution of working unit and its tools (protected by 3 industrial designs) developed in cooperation with company P&L. The shape, arrangement and sequence of working tools create suitable structure of the soil surface and soil profile for optimal movement of rainwater to the roots of plants. Created rough soil structure on the soil surface and accumulating spaces for water near plant roots increase the retention of rainwater, slowing down its surface runoff and reduce water erosion. The inter-row cultivation together with the application of liquid fertilizers with controlled nutrients release to the plant roots increases the efficiency fertilization, stability of crops yields and resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses. It also limits erosion. The original working tools were used in the construction of the inter-line cultivator with fertilizers “MeKy12” resulting from the project of TAČR No. TA02021392 and was created in cooperation with the company P & L, CULS and RISWC. The Professional Evaluation Committee of the International Fair of Agricultural Technology TECHAGRO 2014 nominated it for the GRAND PRIX Prize (Figures 1 and 2).
Reference:
Růžek, P. & Šedek, A. 2014. Working unit of interrow cultivator. Utility Model No. 27213, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic
Růžek, P. & Šedek, A. 2015. Tools for soil treatment. Three Industrial Designs No. 36443, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic


Fig. 1: Inter-row cultivation of sugar beet using cultivator „MEKY 6“: Creation of rough soil structure on the soil surface + formation of the „ridge“ under sol surface, that leads rain water to the plants roots and fertilizer 


Fig. 2: Inter-row cultivator MEKY 12 awarded at the International Fair of Agricultural Technology TECHAGRO 2014

2.2. New technology sowing sets of compensating varieties and crops species to stabilize yields and quality of production
Original Czech technology was developed in cooperation with company Farmet and is based on the parallel sowing of two different compensating varieties (eg. Tobak and Annie) or species (eg. rape and clover), two different seeded doses (eg. for hybrid wheat) and sowing depths (eg sliced or swollen soil) when setting up crops. The aim of the technology is to increase the year-to-year stability of production yields and quality, especially when abiotic (frost, drought, etc.) and biotic stresses (diseases, pests, etc.) occur. The technology won the main prize GRAND PRIX of the International Fair of Agricultural Technology TECHAGRO 2014 as part of the exhibit "Modular Sowing Machine Farmet Falcon 6". The possibility of parallel sowing of two varieties of the same crop by even and odd sowing shoes was marked by the Professional Evaluation Committee as a very promising crop cultivation technology (Figure 3). In 2016, the technology was awarded the Prize of the Director of the CRI for new knowledge and product.
Reference:
Růžek, P., Kusá, H. & Vavera, R. 2014. New technological procedure for establishing growth of agricultural crops. Verified technology. Crop Research Institute


Fig. 3: Presentation of sowing of the sets of compensating varieties on International Fair of Agricultural Technology TECHAGRO 2014 with the participation of the Minister of Agriculture of the Czech Republic M. Jurečka. The exhibit was awarded the main prize GRAND PRIX


Fig. 4: Set of two different compensating varieties of winter wheat


Fig. 5: Mixture of oilseed rape and clover incarnate

2.3. Soil conserving packets for potato planters for anti-erosion shaping of ridges and furrows and variable application of fertilizers
Soil conserving packets for potato planters are protected by 9 industrial designs and one utility model. They were developed in cooperation with company P&L in frame of project supported by TACR and MA CR. Their efficiency was verified in cooperation with Potato Research Institute Havlíčkův Brod and Research Institute for Soil and Water Conservation. Soil conservation packets are solution for soil conserving potato growing with stones reduction on slightly sloping fields according GAEC 5 standards. The packet creates original shape of ridges in combination with a narrower and shallower non-rail furrow. Formation of pits and dams significantly improves the retention of rain water, reduces water flow on surface and the risk of water erosion. Better and more stable moisture conditions in the ridge together with variable fertilizer application into different locations in the ridge contribute to the higher utilization of nutrients from applied fertilizers by plants, reducing water pollution and stabilize yields tubers in dry years (e.g. 2015). In 2016, four soil protection packets were tested in combination with different potato planters in four farms planting over 400 hectares. In 2016 soil conserving packets were awarded at the International Farming Fair TECHAGRO (GRAND PRIX nomination) and Agrosalon Bread Basket (awarding the Golden Ear with a Flower Prize). In 2017, the technology was awarded the Prize of the Director of the CRI as an extraordinary applied result.
Reference:
Růžek, P., Kusá, H., Kasal, P., Kobzová, D., Horký, T., 2015: Innovated potato planter with a packet on anti-erosion treatment of ridges and furrows and variable application of fertilizers. Functional sample, CRI Prague
Růžek, P., Kusá, H., Horký, T., Šerejch, Z., 2016: Tools for soil treatment. Nine Industrial Designs No. 36766, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic
Růžek, P., Kusá, H., Horký, T., Šerejch, Z., 2017: Working unit of potato planter. Utility model No. 30399, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic


Fig. 6: Anti-erosion shaping of ridges and furrows: Infiltration grooves on top of the ridge and narrower and shallower non-rail furrow with pits and dams


Fig. 7: Soil conserving anti-erosion packets for potato planters were awarded at the International Farming Fair TECHAGRO (GRAND PRIX nomination; left) and Agrosalon Bread Basket (awarding main prize the Golden Ear with a Flower Prize; right)

2.5. Methodology for the use of technological waters on agricultural land
The certified methodology evaluates the production of technological waters from farm stables, in particular dairy cows. The methodology also describes the relevant legislation governing the storage and use of technological waters. There are described individual activities, which create technological waters such as sanitation and cleaning of milking facilities, waiting spaces, corridors or other stable spaces for animal transfer. The characteristics of technological waters, in particular the dry matter content and nutrient content (max. 1.5 % dry matter and 0.1 % N), including the potential risks arising from their application to agricultural land, are evaluated. The influence of technological waters on the plant growth and soil microbial biomass was also verified. On the basis of the results achieved, a single dose of technological waters can be recommended at grassland for a maximum of 20 t / ha, with the possibility of repeating in longer intervals, i.e. after cut off.
Reference:
Mühlbachová G., Svoboda P., Klír J., Vegricht J. 2016. Methodology for the use of technological waters on agricultural land. Methodology for practice. Prague, Crop Research Institute, v.v.i., ISBN 978-80-7427-219-6: 39 p.
 

Current research projects:

  • MZe RO0417: Sustainable Systems and Technologies, Improving Crop Production for Higher Quality of Production of Food, Feed, and Raw Materials, under Conditions of Changing Climate. Phase no. 1: Integrated nutrition of field crops as a part of cultivation technology.
  • TH02010706: Development and innovation of machines for efficient technologies of subsurface application of slurry and digestate into the soil (2017-2020)
  • QJ 1530171: Expandability and updating of categories to determine the content of accessible macro and micronutrients in soil in order to ensure sustainable fertility and production capacity of agricultural land (2015-2018)
  • MZe FT: Verifying soil conserving technology at potato cultivation (2016-18)
  • FNSNF (Switzerland) IZ74Z0_160486: Improving the knowledge-base and infrastructure to enhance the efficiency of nutrient use in agriculture and to reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment (2015-2018)
  • Horizont 2020: 677407: Soil Care for profitable and sustainable crop production in Europe (2016-2021)

List of selected publications from 2012:

  • Káš M., Mühlbachová G., Kusá H., Pechová M., 2016. Soil phosphorus and potassium availability in long-term field experiments with organic and mineral fertilization. Plant Soil and Environment, 62: 558-565
  • Kusá, H., Růžek, P. & Kasal, P., 2012. Effect of mineral nitrogen fertilizers application into the ridge on potatoes yield and nitrogen efficiency. Vědecké práce: (Scientific Studies Potato Research Institute Havlíčkův Brod), 20: 101-112
  • Mühlbachová G., Čermák P., Vavera R., Káš M., Pechová M., Marková K., Kusá H., Růžek P., Hlušek J., Lošák T., 2017. Boron availability and uptake under increasing phosphorus rates in a pot experiment. Plant Soil Environ., 63: 483-490
  • Mühlbachová, G., Čermák, P., Vavera, R., Lošák, T. & Hlušek, J., 2016. The effect of phosphorus applications on changes in the soil content of P and yields of barley biomass. Agriculture & Food, 4: 564-570
  • Mühlbachova G., Sagová-Marečková M., Omelka M., Száková J., Tlustoš P., 2015. The influence of soil organic carbon on interactions between microbial parameters and metal concentrations at a long-term contaminated site. Sci.Tot. Environ, 502: 218–223
  • Mühlbachová, G., Száková, J., Tlustoš, P., 2012. The heavy metal availability in long-term polluted soils as affected by EDTA and alfalfa meal treatments. Plant, Soil and Environment, 58(12): 551-555.
  • Mühlbachová G., Kusá H., Růžek P., 2015. Soil characteristics and crop yields under different tillage techniques. Plant, Soil, Environ., 61(12): 566-572
  • Růžek, P. & Kusá, H., 2016. Plant nutrition and fertilization in the strip tillage systems. In: Brant, V. (ed.). Soil treatment strip tillage) classic, intensive and modified. Profi Press s.r.o., Praha 2, pp. 56-60. The book was awarded in 2017 by the Rector of the CULS in Prague
  • Šíp, V., Vavera, R., Chrpová, J., Kusá, H. & Růžek, P. 2013. Winter wheat yield and quality related to tillage practice, input level and environmental conditions. Soil and Tillage Research , 132: 77-85.

List of selected applied results from 2012 (all of them are in Czech languague only):

  • Kasal, P., Růžek, P., Kusá, H., Kobzová, D. & Svobodová, A. 2016. Methodological procedures for soil conservation technologies in potato growing, PRI Havlíčkův Brod, 31 pp.
  • Mühlbachová G., Svoboda P., Klír J., Vegricht J. 2016. Methodology for use of technological waters on agricultural land. CRI Prague, ISBN 978-80-7427-219-6: 39 pp.
  • Růžek, P. & Šedek, A. 2014. Working unit of interrow cultivator. Utility Model No. 27213, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic
  • Růžek, P., Kusá, H. & Vavera, R. 2014. New technological procedure for establishing growth of agricultural crops. Verified technology. Crop Research Institute
  • Růžek, P. & Šedek, A. 2015. Tools for soil treatment. Three Industrial Designs No. 36443, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic
  • Růžek, P., Kusá, H., Kasal, P., Kobzová, D. & Horký, T. 2015. Innovated potato planter with a packet on anti-erosion treatment of ridges and furrows and variable application of fertilizers. Functional sample, CRI Prague
  • Růžek, P., Kusá, H., Horký, T., Šerejch, Z., 2016: Tools for soil treatment. Nine Industrial Designs No. 36766, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic
  • Růžek, P., Kusá, H., Horký, T. & Šerejch, Z. 2017. Working unit of potato planter. Utility model No. 30399, Industrial Property Office of the Czech Republic


Fig. 8: The awards from CRI director to team members

All publications and results of team members can be found here.

__________________________
Updated on December 9, 2017

 

Message
close