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Water availability is one of the major physiological factors influencing plant growth and development. An assessment study has been done at the Szent István University, Gödöllő to evaluate and identify the water footprint of protein yield of field crop species. Twelve field crop species (Sugar beet Beta vulgaris, spring and winter barley Hordeum vulgare, winter wheat Triticum aestivum, maize Zea mays, sunflower Helianthus annuus, peas Pisum sativum, potato Solanum tuberosum, alfalfa Medicago sativa, oilseed rape Brassica napus, rye Secale cereale and oats Avena sativa) were involved in the study. Evapotranspiration patterns of the crops studied have been identified by the regular agroclimatology methodology and physiologically reliable protein ranges within crop yields were evaluated.

The results obtained suggest, that water footprint of cereals proved to be the lowest, however maize values were highly affected by the high variability of protein yield. Oilseed crops had considerably high protein yield with medium water efficiency. Alfalfa, potato and sugar beet water footprints were in accordance with their evapotranspiration patterns.

Protein based water footprint assessment seems to be more applicable in crop species evaluations than that of yield based methodologies.

Open access

The Westsik’s long-term crop rotation experiment was set up in 1929 at the Nyíregyháza Experimental Station (NE Hungary) on a slightly acidic Arenosol. Besides fallow crop rotation (CR), effects of different organic amendments (lupine as green manure, lupine as main crop, straw manure, and farmyard manure (FYM) were studied with or without N or NPK-fertilizers. The crop rotation consisted of rye, potato, lupine, and oat with common vetch. The soil of potato plots was analysed in 2019 at the 90th anniversary of Westsik’s crop rotation experiment.

The following chemical and microbiological soil parameters were determined: soil pH, available nutrient contents, organic carbon (OC) and nitrogen (ON) contents, microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and nitrogen (MBN), soil respiration, net nitrification, and activity of some soil enzymes.

In the CRs, the soil pHH2O varied from acidic to weakly alkaline and it largely differed from pHKCl. The results showed a significant increase in the content of nitrate, available phosphorus and potassium in most of the fertilized plots. Applying straw, green manure, or FYM significantly increased the OC and ON contents. The total count of cultivable bacteria increased upon the application of the organic manures. Combined application of straw manure and N-fertilization heavily improved the abundance of the microscopic fungi.

While all the applied organic manures significantly enhanced the MBC, the MBN increased only by the green manure amendment. Our results revealed higher soil respiration rate in the plots receiving straw or FYM than in the control. Both green manure and FYM elevated the net nitrification rate. Phosphatase, saccharase, urease, and dehydrogenase enzymes showed a hesitating response to the manure application in the different CRs.

The soil respiration and dehydrogenase activity correlated to most of the measured chemical parameters. Among microbiological properties, the MBC and MBN, as well as dehydrogenase and other enzyme activities displayed a positive correlation. Results proved the need for the exogenous application of organic matter in the form of organic manures to enhance the nutritional status and health of the soil.

Open access