Responsible partner:
»Institute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences (IA)
Authors: Jerzy Lipiec, Magdalena Frac, Boguslaw Usowicz
iSQAPERiS editor: Jane Brandt

 

Contents table
1. Infographics and videos
2. Study site description
3. Participation of stakeholders in the iSQAPER research programme
4. Research tasks
5. Long-term impact of iSQAPER's research programme in the study site

1. Infographics and videos

Zespół odpowiedzialny za badania prowadzone w Trzebieszowie nakręcił krótkie wideo i przygotował infografiki opisujące w jaki sposób szereg lokalnych praktyk rolniczych poprawia jakość gleby.

A short video and a couple of infographics were made by the Trzebieszów study site team to describe the way in which a number of locally used management practices benefit soil quality.

  Wideo
Video
video 02 screenshot sq

»Ekologiczna uprawa chmielu w Jastkowie, PL

Rolnik Sebastian Podstawka opisuje, jak uprawia jedyną ekologiczną plantację chmielu w Polsce. Używa kompostu z resztek roślinnych oraz roślin okrywowych w celu poprawy jakości gleby, a także preparaty mikrobiologiczne i ekstrakty roślinne do zwalczania szkodników oraz nawozy z roślin uprawianych w gospodarstwie. Mówi, że plony chmielu produkowanego metodami ekologicznymi są porównywalne z plonami uzyskiwanymi w uprawie konwencjonalnej. Zwraca uwagę na to, że ekologiczna produkcja chmielu wpływa na poprawę struktury i agregacji gleby. Na plantacji nie obserwuje również podeszwy płużnej, a także zauważa poprawę regulacji wody w glebie.
(po polsku z angielskimi napisami)

»Organic hop farming in Trzebieszów, PL
Farmer Sebastian Podstawka describes how he farms the only organic hop plantation in Poland. He uses compost, vegetation chips and intercropping to improve soil quality; microbial preparations and plant extracts for pest control; and plant fertilizers grown on the farm. He says that yields from his organically grown hops are comparable to conventionally grown ones, while he also gets improvements in soil structure and aggregation. There is no tillage pan and soil water regulation is also improved.
(in Polish with English subtitles)

  Infografiki
Infographics
video 04 screenshot sq

»Gleby w Polsce - jak poprawić i oszczędzać
Lekkie, piaszczyste gleby w Polsce są zwykle używane przy ograniczonym płodozmianie. W konsekwencji niska zawartość materii organicznej, niska zdolność zatrzymywania wody i kwasowość gleby utrudniają produkcję i inne funkcje gleby. Zwiększenie zawartości materii organicznej i stosowanie zrównoważonej gospodarki glebowej pomoże zachować dobrą jakość gleby dla przyszłych pokoleń.
(po angielsku)

»Soils in Poland - how to improve and save
The light, sandy soils of Poland tend to be used with a restricted cereal crop rotation. Consequently low organic matter content, low water holding capacity and soil acidity hinder production and other soil functions. Increasing organic matter and using sustainable soil management will save the soil for future generations.
(in English)

video 04 screenshot sq »Różnorodność biologiczna w rolnictwie ekologicznym
Różnorodność gatunków roślin i zwierząt (zwłaszcza mezo i mikrofauny) odgrywa ważną rolę w produkcji żywności i biomasy, w stabilności i zdolności adaptacji ekosystemów oraz poprawia funkcjonowanie ekosystemów glebowych.
(po angielsku)

»Biodiversity in organic farming
Diversity in plant and animal species (especially meso and micro fauna) plays an important role in food and biomass production, in the stability and adaptability of ecosystems and enhances soil function.
(in English)

 2. Study site description

Location

The study site is located in the region of Podlasie, commune Trzebieszów (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.

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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.

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.

Previous 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.

3. Participation of stakeholders in the iSQAPER research programme

The local stakeholders listed in Table 1 were involved throughout the duration of iSQAPER in a number of research tasks including: providing experimental sites for the soil quality assessment and agricultural management practice evaluation; testing and evaluating SQAPP; attending demonstration workshops.

Table 1: Local stakeholders involved in the iSQAPER research programme

Stakeholder type Locations Institution  Number and gender M/F Role
Farmers, land managers Community Trzebieszów / Biszcza / Perespa / Jastków / Rogów / Krasnystaw / Kawęczyn / Koczergi - Lubelskie voivodeship   Farm 9M 1F Land owner Land worker Consumer of products Retailer of products
Farmers, land managers Rozbórz, Podkarpackie voivodeship Farm 2M Land owner Land worker Consumer of products
Advisors Trzebieszów, Podlasie - Lubelskie voivodeship Leading Polish manufacturer of fresh mushrooms 1M Provider of information/advice how to improve soil quality
Policy-makers Community Mielnik, County Siemiatycze, Podlasie Lubelskie voivodeship Commune of Mielnik 1M Land manager Consumer of services (recreation, etc.) Provider of information to the public Provider of information / advice to land managers/workers Regulation and enforcement Retailer of products Constructor (infrastructure and/or buildings)
Researchers Lublin University of Life Science, Department of Agrobioengineering, Lublin, Poland 1F Consumer of products Consumer of services

4. Research tasks

Soil quality assessment and agricultural management practice evaluation

Based on WOCAT database (www.wocat.net), iSQAPER selected 18 promising agricultural management practices (AMPs) with potential to improve soil quality (»Agricultural management practices in the iSQAPER study sites). Fifteen examples of a number of these AMPs were identified in the Trzebieszów study site that conformed to the following criteria:

  1. the promising management practice has been implemented for at least 3 years;
  2. at least 2 different soil types are represented; and
  3. at least in 2 different first level Farming Systems (arable, permanent, grazing) are represented.

For each AMP plot, nearby control plots were also identified where the practice has not changed.

Table 2: AMPs identified in the Trzebieszów study site. Climatic region: northern and southern sub-continental

Plot number Farming system  Farming system detail Soil type AMP general description AMP number*
9.1 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Maize Podzols Manuring & composting 7
9.2 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Cereals Podzols Manuring & composting 7
9.3 Permanent Fruit trees and berry plantation Cambisols Integrated pest and disease management incl. organic agriculture 12
9.4 Permanent Fruit trees and berry plantation Cambisols Integrated pest and disease management incl. organic agriculture 12
9.5 Permanent Fruit trees and berry plantation Luvisols Integrated pest and disease management incl. organic agriculture 12
9.6 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Legumes Podzols Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition 9
9.7 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Maize Podzols Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition 9
9.8 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Legumes Leptosols Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition 9
9.9 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Oil crops Luvisols No-till 1
9.10 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Cereals Luvisols No-till 1
9.11 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Cereals Cambisols Crop rotation / Control or change of species composition 9
9.12 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Oil crops Cambisols Manuring & composting 7
9.13 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Cereals Podzols Manuring & composting 7
9.14 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Legumes Podzols Leguminous crops 5
9.15 Arable Non irrigated arable land - Oil crops Podzols Manuring & composting 7

*Note: see »Assessing effect of management practices on soil quality - experimental framework for the full list and descriptions of the 18 promising agricultural management practices.

A first field campaign was conducted in 2016 to evaluate the soil quality in each of the paired AMP-control plots, using visual soil assessment methods (»Visual soil and plant quality assesment). The results from this and all the other study sites were combined to determine which AMPs can be shown to have a proven positive effect on soil quality, see »Assessing effect of management practices on soil quality - experimental results.

Those practices that are innovative for Poland were also described and added to the WOCAT database

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The soil assessment campaign was repeated in 2018 on the two paired plots highlighted in green in Table 2 (9.1: Manuring and composting and 9.3: Integrated pest and disease management incl. organic agriculture) with laboratory-based measurements added to the visual soil assessments. The aim was to investigate

  • how measurements of soil quality parameters obtained from the visual assessments compared to those obtained from laboratory measurements;
  • if different AMPs affected different soil quality parameters in different ways;
  • and what impact the AMPs had on the principal soil threats.

For details of the assessment analysis methods and the results from this and all study sites see »Impact of promising agricultural management practices.

As a result of this extended analysis, the example of manuring and composting that was exemplified in Plot 9.1  (which used spent mushroom substrate under maize) was finally selected to demonstrate the positive impact management practice can have on soil quality (see »Demonstrations of recommended agricultural management practices in the study sites).

Poland 9.1
Soil properties
Poland 9.1 threat
Soil threats

This practice addresses organic matter depletion under maize cropping. The VSA total scores were higher under the AMP; individual soil structure quality indicators were higher apart from top soil compaction, which was the same as the control. Measured soil properties show that the AMP had higher organic matter content (almost three times that of the control), a much better nutrient status, higher microbial C and pH. Electrical conductivity was higher under the AMP, but still within the threshold for good quality.

SQAPP development, testing and evaluation

Of the 90 stakeholders who took part in the evaluation of the beta version of SQAPP, 20 were from the Trzebieszów study site. Participants were asked a series of questions relating to their expectations of SQAPP and the relevance of the soil parameters included in SQAPP, the assessment of soil threats and the suitability of the app's recommendations to their local context. The feedback and comments were combined with those from the other study sites and used in the further development of SQAPP. For details of the responses from all study sites see »Stakeholder feedback and SQAPP development

Presentation of the Soil Quality Mobile App (SQAPP) usefulness for farmers and other stakeholders on June 6, 2019, at Białka, Lublin Region during 3rd Regional Field Day "Lublin's granary" and the conference "FROM TRADITION, THROUGH MODERNITY, TO INNOVATION".

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Demonstration workshops

On 25th October 2019 a demonstration event was organised on a local farm in Trzebiezów to present the major findings of iSQAPER to stakeholders and to the use of spent mushroom substrate as a management practice of proven benefit to soil quality. The event was attended by 28 participants.

The results from this demonstration event and those held in the other study sites are summarised in »Demonstrations of recommended agricultural management practices in the study sites.

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4. Long-term impact of iSQAPER's research programme in the study site

Taking account discussions with the stakeholders and feedback from the various research tasks and events in which they took part, it is anticipated that the iSQAPER research programme could have a lasting legacy in the Trzebieszów study site as indicated in Table 3.

Table 3: Activities in which iSQAPER's research programme could potentially have a lasting impact in the Trzebieszów  study site

Activity Impact level: 0 - no impact, 1 - barely noticeable to 5 - important visible impact     
0 1 2 3 4 5
Research results influencing farming practice         x  
Uptake of recommended AMPs         x  
Regular use of SQAPP     x      
Development of new or enhancement of existing stakeholder networks   x        
The involvement of new stakeholder types in existing networks     x      
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