Responsible partner: »Institute of Agrophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IA)
1. Geographical description
The study site is located in the region of Podlasie, commune Trzebieszó (N 51° 59' 24", E 22° 33' 37"). Topography in the region is mostly flat, with little variation in altitudes (<20 m). The climate is continental with high temperatures during summer and long and frosty winters. The average annual air temperature is 7.3 °C. Long-term annual total precipitation is 536 mm and the vegetation period lasts 200 to 210 days. Rainfall is substantially higher during summer (212 mm) than in winter (83 mm). The highest rainfall occurs during June-July (>70 mm) and the lowest (<30 mm) between January-March.
2. Main farming systems and typical agricultural management activities in the study area
The land cover in the commune Trzebieszów consists of agricultural lands (80.5%), forest plantations (13.5%) and built-up areas (6%). Traditionally, conventional farming system are used. Arable lands with the cropping (i.e. cereals (60%), maize (35%), potatoes and others (5%)) intermixed with forest and shrub/grassland predominate. Breeding of cattle and pigs is a widespread practice. Households are also engaged in poultry breeding and milk production. Besides agriculture, a large number of residents have taken up running their own business enterprises such as mushroom farms, mills, and sawmills.
3. Characteristic soils and soil quality monitoring practice
Soils in the commune Trzebieszów are derived from loose sands, loamy sands, and loams. On average, the sand fraction is 55%, silt 32%, 13% clay, and <1% organic matter. Soils are acidic or neutral (average pH 4.3 in KCl and 4.8 in H2O) and the average value of the cation exchange capacity is 10 cmol kg-1. Soil quality is evaluated based on soil texture, organic matter content, climate and topography. Soil genesis, however is changing and evolving with time, and play a less relevant role for quantitative soil quality assessment.
4. Ongoing research and innovation actions on soil improvement and monitoring
For several years, FDR soil water content, soil temperature, meteorological parameters (air temperature, speed of wind, humidity), net radiation balance, Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density (PPFD), rainfalls, and pan evaporation have been monitored within the framework of two projects: European Space Agency Programme for European Cooperating States (PECS), No.98084 „SWEX-R, Soil Water and Energy Exchange/Research”, AO3275 and No. 4000107897/13/NL/KML „ELBARA_PD (Penetration Depth)”, AO 1-7021. Catch crops and manure and more recently biochar are used to increase soil organic matter content and water holding capacity.
5. Stakeholders included in the iSQAPER research programme
- Farmer Marek LASOCKI, 21-040 Trzebieszów 110, County Łuków, Poland,
- University of Life Science, Faculty of Agrobioengineering in Lublin, Poland,
- Commune of Mielnik (17-307 Mielnik, County Siemiatycze), Poland.