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  • Author or Editor: L. Marton x
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The development of the maize hybrid Martonvásári 5 gave an enormous boost to the research institute a few years after its establishment. For decades afterwards the Martonvásár maize breeding team played a successful and dominant role both in Hungarian scientific life and in the field of practical results. In addition to breeding, great emphasis was placed on agronomic research, aimed at improving the success of maize production. Martonvásár was the first to introduce hybrid maize in Hungary and to elaborate field technologies and processing techniques for hybrid maize seed production.These successes came at a time when the need was felt to modernise the whole of Hungarian agriculture, so within a few years, the whole of the maize-growing area of the country was sown to Martonvásár hybrids.Fifty years after the registration of the hybrid Martonvásári 5, even though faced by strong international competition, Martonvásár still ranks first among Hungarian breeders, and occupies the 3 rd –4 th place compared with the multinational companies.

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The effect of rainfall quantity and distribution and of N, P, K, Ca and Mg fertilisation on the yields of rye, potato, winter wheat and triticale were evaluated in the 42 years of a long-term mineral fertilisation experiment [soil (acidic, sandy, brown forest) × fertilisation (N, P, K, Ca, Mg) × rainfall (quantity, distribution) × crop (rye, potato, winter wheat, triticale)] set up in 1962 under fragile agro-ecological conditions in the Nyírlugos-Nyírség region of Eastern Hungary. The soil had the following agrochemical characteristics: pH (H2O) 5.9, pH (KCl) 4.7, hydrolytic acidity 8.4, hy1 0.3, humus 0.7%, total N 34 mg kg-1, ammonium lactate (AL)-soluble P2O5 43 mg kg-1, AL-K2O 60 mg kg-1 in the ploughed layer. From 1962 to 1980 the experiment consisted of 2×16×4×4=512 plots and from 1980 of 32×4=128 plots in split-split-plot and factorial random block designs. The gross plot size was 10×5=50 m2. The average fertiliser rates in kg ha-1 year-1 were nitrogen 45, phosphorus 24 (P2O5), potassium 40 (K2O), magnesium 7.5 (MgO) until 1980 and nitrogen 75, phosphorus 90 (P2O5), potassium 90 (K2O), magnesium 140 (MgCO3) after 1980. The main results and conclusions were as follows: The rainfall quantities averaged over many years and in the experimental years, and during the growing season, averaged over many years and in the experimental years, were 567, 497, 509, 452 mm for rye and 586, 509, 518 and 467 mm for winter wheat. Rainfall deviations from the many years' average -3% and -13% in the experimental years and during the growing season for potato and 2% and -3% for triticale. During the vegetation period the relationships between rainfall quantity, NPKCaMg nutrition and yield could be characterised primarily by quadratic correlations. Maximum yields of 4.0 t ha-1 for rye, 21.0 t ha-1 for potato, 3.4 t ha-1 for winter wheat and 5.0-6.0 t ha-1 for triticale were recorded when the natural rainfall amounted to 430-500, 280-330, 449-495 and 550-600 mm, respectively. At values above and below these figures there was a considerable reduction in the yield. The results showed that the crop yields were strongly influenced (quadratic correlation) by interactions between N, P, K, Ca and Mg fertilisation and rainfall quantity and distribution.

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With a warmer climate, dry and excess rainfall conditions could become more frequent, severe, and longer-lasting. For these reasons, long-term study had been conducting in Eastern Hungary in the Nyírlugos Field Trial between 1973 and 1990 for obtain relationships between precipitation quantities-, soil agrochemical properties and mineral fertilization on winter wheat yield. The experimental precipitation character was formed by winter half-years (Oct.–Mar.), months (Oct.–Sep.), pre-months of sowing (Aug.), critical sequential month number in vegetation seasons (Sep.–Jul.) and critical sequential month number in experimental years (Sep.–Aug). In average rainfall years (equivalent to the 50 year rainfall mean from 1901 to 1950) without any mineral fertilization, the wheat yield stabilized at the level of 1.58 t · ha −1 . With N, P, K and Mg fertilizer input, the minimum and maximum yields were 2.29 t · ha −1 and 3.72 t · ha −1 . The yield increased to 38.5% (1.00 t · ha −1 ) with the whole NPK and Mg completed NPKMg treatment. On the control plots, the yield grew by 6% during a dry year compared to average year. At N, NP and NK combinations yields were diminished to 12%. Dry damage on yield production dropped to 11% with NPK and NPKMg applications. In dryer years compared to average years, yields were reduced with 31% on the control soils. Yields were lessened for an average year by 42% and 47% with N, NP, NK and NPK, NPKMg loadings. During wet conditions and without fertilization, the yields decreased more dramatically (82%) as compared to dry conditions. The yield was subsided by 61% with unfavorable (N, NP, NK) nutritions and the effect of excess rainfall was lowered on NPK and NPKMg treatments to 59%. Correlations between yield and precipitation during various vegetation periods (control: R = 0.59, N: R = 0.57, NP: R = 0.76, NK: R = 0.54, NPK: R = 0.67, NPKMg: R = 0.71) indicated that optimum yields developed in response to rainfall in the 450–500 mm range. Above or below this rainfall range yields reducted quadratically. Results obtained on fertilization compensation [yield loss (kg mm −1 and %) of ± 100 mm precipitation interspace (−lessening/+increasing, mm) from maximum yield (t ha −1 ) and its rainfall quantity (mm)] on negative effects of dry climate confirm that minimum and maximum yield losses had have changed among 0% (NP)–−114% (N), and in wet −46% (N)–−87% (NK). The best models were presented under dry in instance of wheat: NP (0%) and in wet N (−46%) loadings. In these fertilization systems in dry conditions the yield loss reductions had been having observed of 28% and in wet 64%, respectively.

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The present study aimed to determine the effect of precipitation and fertilization (NPKCaMg) on the changes in soil organic carbon (SOC) in a long-term field experiment set up in Nyírlugos (Nyírség region, Hungary: N: 47° 41′ 60″ and E: 22° 2′ 80″) on a Haplic Luvisol with popular rotation crops. Over the 40 year period, from 1962 to 2002, SOC pool values ranged between 2.32 and 3.36 mg·kg −1 . On the untreated control plots the values remained nearly constant (3.31 mg·kg −1 : ±0.29 mg·kg −1 and 0.52 mg·kg −1 ). In the 1st 20-year period (1963–1982), there was a significant ( P < 0.001) decrease (16%) on all experimental plots, which may be due to the winter half year (WHY) precipitation (228 mm), summer half year (SHY) precipitation (288 mm), the NPKCaMg fertilizer application rate (64 kg·ha −1 ), and the potato-rye-wheat-lupin-sunflower crop sequence. In the 2nd 20-year period (1983–2002) SOC pool values varied between 3.13 and 4.47 mg·kg −1 . The 16.9% significant ( P < 0.001) increase 16.9% could be attributed to the lower WHY (204 mm) precipitation, higher SHY (320 mm) precipitation, higher NPKCaMg fertilizer rate (213 kg·ha t-1 ), and the sunflower-grass-barley-tobacco-wheat-triticale cropping system. NPKCaMg fertilization resulted in a significant ( P < 0.001) decline (16.6%) in SOC in comparison to the control plots in the 1st 20-year interval, while in the 2nd 20-year period a significant ( P < 0.001) rise (up to 31.9%) was registered. During the 40 experimental years the seasonal correlations (R2) among SOC (mg·kg −1 ), WHY and SHY precipitation (mm) ranged from 0.3343 to 0.9078 (on the P < 0.001 significance level). The correlations (R 2 ) on the influence of NPKCaMg fertilization on SOC (mg·kg −1 ) and precipitation (mm) were significant ( P < 0.001): the means for WHY, SHY and over the 40 years were 0.4691, 0.6171 and 0.6582, respectively. Organic carbon reserves (mg·kg −1 ) in soils decreased linearly as precipitation increased (from 3.22 to 7.27 mm·yr −1 ). In case this trend — increasing precipitation caused by climate change reduces SOC in arable soils — will continue, and is aggravated by warming temperatures and a more altering climate (as predicted by climate change forecasts), the livelihoods of many Hungarian and European farmers may be substantially altered. Thus, farmers must take into consideration the climate (WHY and SHY precipitation), fertilization (NPKCaMg), and cropping (tuber-seed-tobacco-protein-oil-forage) changeability to optimize their SOC pool, soil carbon sequestration, soil sustainability and crop management in the nearest future.

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The natural climate variability may be masked by the anthropogenic made global warming, today. With a warmer climate, drought and excess rainfall conditions could become more frequent and longer lasting. The potential increase of the hazards result stresses and high costs in cereal production. For this reason a long-term study was conducted on a sandy acidic lessivated brown forest soil; WRB: Haplic Luvisol in the 44 year old Nyírlugos Field Trial (NYFT) in a Hungarian fragile agroecosystem in Nyírség region (N: 470 41’ 60, and E: 220 2’ 80,) on triticale (× Triticosecale Wittm.) yield between 1999 and 2006. In 1962, at the trial set up the soil had the following agrochemical properties: pH (H 2 O) 5.9, pH (KCl) 4.7, hydrolytic acidity 8.4, hyl 0.3, humus 0.7%, total N 34 mg kg −1 , ammonlactate (AL) soluble-P 2 O 5 43 mg kg −1 , AL-K 2 O 60 mg kg −1 in the plowed (0–25 cm) layer. The trial consisted of 32 × 4 = 128 plots in randomised block design. The gross plot size was 10 × 5 = 50 m 2 . The average fertilizer rates in kg ha −1 year −1 were nitrogen 75, phosphorus 90 (P 2 O 5 ), potassium 90 (K 2 O), calcium 437.5 (CaCO 3 ) and magnesium 140 (MgCO 3 ). The groundwater table had at a depth of 2–3 m below the surface. During drought conditions the respective yield of the control areas was −25% less than for average years. The application N alone or NP and NK treatments led to yield reduction of −19.7%, while that of NPK, NPKCa, NPKMg and NPKCaMg caused an −28.3% yield drop. In the wet years the yield decreased by −22.2% on the unfertilized soils; in case of the N, NP and NK nutrition the yield dropped with an −14.1%; and the yield increased at 13.8% on NPK, NPKCa, NPKMg and NPKCaMg treated plots. Yield dropped in the very wettest year −43.1% on control soils; −39.3% of N, NP and NK loadings, and −35.8% on NPK, NPKCa, NPKMg and NPKCaMg treatments to those in the average year. The relationship between rainfall quantity during the vegetation period and N, P, K, Ca, Mg nutrition and yield was characterised by polynomial correlation (control: R = 0.7212***, N: R = 0.7410***, NP: R = 0.6452***, NK: R = 0.6998***, NPK: R = 0.5555***, NPKCa: R = 0.5578***, NPKMg: R = 0.4869**, NPK CaMg: R = 0.4341**). However, total regression coefficients ranged from 0.43 to 0.74 in depence on the different nutrient application. Maximum yields of 5.8–6.0 t ha −1 were achieve in the rainfall range of 580–620 mm. At values above and below this domain of the precipitation the grain yield reduced quadratically. So, it can be stated that both drought and excess rainfall conditions resulted dramatically significant negative effects between fertilization (N, P, K, Ca, Mg) and triticale yield.

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The effect of rainfall on crop fertilization factors, such as macronutrients and yield, were studied during a long-term field experiment on a calcareous sandy soil with low humus content in North Hungary at the Örbottyán Experimental Station of Research Institute for Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences from 1961 to 2004. At the time of the set-up of the experiment, in 1959, the soil’s ploughed layer had the following characteristics: pH (H2O) : 7.5–7.8, pH (KCl) : 6.9–7.1, humus content: 0.6–1.0%, clay content: 5%, CaCO 3 content: 3–7%, AL soluble P 2 O 5 and K 2 O content: 40–60 and 50–100 mg·kg −1 . The experiment included ten treatments in five replications, giving a total of 50 plots (35 m 2 each) arranged in a Latin square design. From the 1st to the 25th year the fertilization rates were 0, 50 and 100 N kg · ha −1 · year −1 ; 0 and 54 kg P 2 O 5 ha −1 · year −1 ; 0 and 80 kg K 2 O ha −1 · year −1 and their combinations. From the 26 th year on these rates were 0 and 120 kg N ha −1 · year −1 ; 0, 60 and 120 kg P 2 O 5 ha −1 · year −1 and 0, 60 and 120 kg K 2 O ha −1 · year −1 and their combinations. The major findings can be summarised as follows. At average rainfall years on the control plots without any mineral fertilization the rye yield in monoculture stabilised at a level of around 0.8 t · ha −1 (Table 3). The yield doubled (1.8–1.9 t · ha −1 ) in the N, NP and NK treatments while the full NPK doses gave the maximum yield of 2.1 t · ha −1 significantly (mean: 1.7 t · ha −1 ). Without mineral fertilization on the control plots in droughty and dry years yields of 0.7 t · ha −1 and 0.8 t · ha −1 were harvested. This was a 13% yield reduction in droughty years as compared with an average year. Yield depressions of 33, 16, 21 and 20% were caused by drought (dry and droughty years) in the N, NP, NK and NPK treatments. In wet year the yield was 0.9 t · ha −1 in the control plots, representing a yield grown of 12.5% compared with average years (0.8 t · ha −1 ). In the case of N, NP, NK nutrition the increase in the harvested main yield was 43.1% while NPK treatments led to yield increment of 36.9% only. In the very wet years the rye yield declined even more than in case of drought. The unfertilised plots yielded 25% less than in the average years. In the case of unfavourable nutrition (N, NP, NK) the decrease in the main grain yield was 32.8% and in the case of NKP plots the negative effects was 26.2%. Rye in monoculture has approx. 29.4% less tolerance of very wet years than to dry. This yield depression is in line of Márton et al. (2007) statement whereas the over-wet conditions could be resulted oxygen deficiency in the crop’s root zone. Depending on the nutrient supplies, significant quadratic correlations were observed between the rainfall quantity and the yield (Control: R=0.7489***, N: R=0.8974***, NP: R=0.8020***, NK: R=0.7370***, NPK: R=0.9047***, mean R2=0.8180; 66.9%) during the vegetation period. The increase in grain yield per mm rainfall ranged from 3.0 to 6.4 kg·ha −1 in the case of optimum rainfall supplies, while the quantity of rainfall during the vegetation period required for the production of 1 kg air-dry yield ranged from 1529 to 3360 litres in the case of maximum yield. Based on the meteorological database for the 44 years of the long-term experiment (1961–2004) the frequency of years in which the rainfall was optimum for various levels of nutrient supply was as follows: control: 2%, N: 7%, NP: 7%, NK: 9%, NPK: 7%, giving an average of 6% over the treatments. This suggests that the occurrence of optimum rainfall supplies and the possibility of achieving optimum yields in the rye production will decline in the future. Under two different arable site plant ecological conditions (rainfall quantity, NPK fertilization) the yield average of rye in monoculture on calcareous sandy soil (Őrbottyán) was 86% less than that achieved in a biculture (rye and potato) on acidic sandy soil (Nyírlugos).

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The use of genetic markers allows the study of polymorphism and genetic distances between maize lines in greater depth than can be achieved on the basis of phenotype and DUS traits. The analysis of polymorphism between 46 maize inbred lines with known genetic background and the classification of these lines in related groups was carried out by means of morphological description, isoenzyme analysis, RAPD analysis, and identification using gene-linked microsatellite (SSR) markers. The genetic distance or degree of relationship between the lines was determined using cluster analysis. Only a very limited extent of allele polymorphism could be detected in isoenzyme analyses; the 46 lines formed only 18 gel electrophoresis groups. Nevertheless, on the basis of RAPD and SSR markers, all the lines could be distinguished from each other. This was reflected by the PIC (polymorphism index content) values, which ranged from 0.04 to 0.55 (mean 0.27) for the various enzyme loci, while far higher values were obtained for RAPD and SSR markers (0.20–0.91, mean 0.61, and 0.54–0.90, mean 0.73, respectively). Due to the large number of lines, two lines, derived from each other or from common parents, were chosen from each related group as the basis for grouping the lines according to genetic background. It was found that, while the individual marker systems only partially reflected the actual relationships between the lines, a joint processing of the genetic markers, supplemented with morphological data, revealed a close correlation between the groups formed on the dendrogram and the genetic background.

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The analysis of polymorphism between 46 maize inbred lines with known genetic background and the classification of these lines in related groups was carried out by means of morphological, isoenzyme and genetic markers. The degree of relationship between the lines was determined using cluster analysis. Only a very limited extent of allele polymorphism could be detected in isoenzyme analyses. Nevertheless, on the basis of RAPD and SSR markers, all the lines could be distinguished from each other. Grouping lines into related groups it was found that, while the individual marker systems only partially reflected the actual relationships, a joint analysis of genetic markers and morphological data revealed a close correlation between the groups formed on the dendrogram and genetic backgrounds.

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In earlier studies the inheritance of chilling tolerance in maize was investigated using the joint scaling test on six genotypes forming a systematic genetic series - P1, P2, F1, F2, B1, B2. The values of some genotypes (P1, P2, F1) were overestimated by the model, while those of the other genotypes (F2, B1, B2) were underestimated. It was thought that this could be due to the effect of the level of heterozygosity in the female parent. The level of heterozygosity of the female parent in the P1, P2, F1 genotypes is 0%, while in the F2, B1, B2 genotypes it is 100%. In addition to the m, [d] and [h] parameters, a new parameter, [fh] (female heterozygosity) was thus introduced. Analysis carried out with the new model confirmed a significant female heterozygosity effect.

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The climatic conditions in Hungary and in the countries to which seed is exported makes the study of maize cold tolerance and constant improvements in the cold tolerance of Martonvásár hybrids especially important. An improvement in the early spring cold tolerance of maize would allow it to be grown in more northern areas with a cooler climate, while on traditional maize-growing areas the profitability of maize production could be improved by earlier sowing, leading to a reduction in transportation and drying costs and in diseases caused by Fusarium sp. The recognition of this fact led Martonvásár researchers to start investigating this subject nearly four decades ago. The phytotron has proved an excellent tool for studying and improving the cold tolerance of maize. The review will give a brief summary of the results achieved in the field of maize cold tolerance in the Martonvásár institute in recent decades.

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