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Innovative tillage system with the creation of a biological soil food web to maintain and improve soil fertility

Project identifier: 1924228035
Support document identifier: 3023457172



The aim of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) is to make the agricultural and forestry sectors more productive and sustainable, and to better adapt to current challenges such as fierce competition, variable market prices, climate change and strict environmental protection rules.
Within the framework of the EIP-AGRI research project, we have organized a consortium in which the three agricultural producer members implement the experiments according to the strategy with the help of the professional knowledge of soil experts and consultants. The goal of the 6-player consortium is to develop and apply a regenerative humus-forming method of field crop cultivation, which stops soil erosion and ensures favorable stable quality and crop yields.

Beneficiary's name: Agrofutura Magyarország Kft.
The amount of the contracted support: 237,98 million HUF
Rate of support: 60%
End of the project: 31 December 2022

Consortium members:

  • Agrofutura Magyarország Kft., konzorcium vezető, tanácsadó

  • Homokkert Nonprofit Közhasznú Kft., kutatóhely

  • Sztahura Erzsébet, szaktanácsadó

  • Agro-Lehel Mezőgazdasági Kereskedelmi és Szolgáltató Kft., mezőgazdasági termelő

  • Felsőszentgyörgyi Mezőgazdasági Kft., mezőgazdasági termelő

  • Zagyvamenti-2001 Mezőgazdasági Termelő és Szolgáltató Zrt., mezőgazdasági termelő


The strategic objective of the Hungarian Government is to supply our population with healthy food and to solve the serious problems of rural employment at the national level. Large-scale production methods require artificial fertilizers and chemicals, as a result of which the quality and vitality of our fertile soil and the stock of our pure living water base are rapidly deteriorating. The emphasis placed on increasing yields and productivity has in most cases adversely affected the sustainability of the environment. In many cases, these consequences could not be foreseen, as they appeared only later, and some appeared outside of conventional agriculture. 9.3% of the territory of our country is weakly eroded, 9.6% is moderately eroded and about 6% is strongly eroded. About 1 million hectares are affected by deflation. According to calculations, the humus topsoil carried down from sloping areas and blown by the wind exceeds 80,110 tons on average every year. Along with this, approximately 1.5 million tons of organic matter is lost annually.

The Consortium has set itself the goal of developing an innovative arable farming system that maintains and improves soil productivity by creating a biological soil nutrient network. The research and development project that took place between 2019 and 2023 reached its goal.

The basic conditions for a high level of functioning of the biological soil food web are minimal soil intervention, the use of composts and compost tea made from natural materials instead of synthetic fertilizers and plant protection carts. High level mechanical weed management. The use of cover crops ensures continuous soil coverage and live root activity between two main plants. The basic condition of the technology was the compliance with the conditions of biological farming, therefore all areas have switched to ecological certification. As an additional outcome condition, we set the expected decrease in yields to reduce the total cost of production, thus equalizing or ensuring higher profitability for the project technology compared to the "traditional" intensive farming technologies carried out in the control areas.


In tillage technology, we have regularized ultra-shallow tillage, which only works at a depth of 2-3 cm, and weed management was implemented by setting up several weed comb systems. Nutrient and microbiological supplementation was carried out using the humus compost produced in the project and the compost tea produced from it. We also examined the composts independently: overall, it can be concluded that the microbiological composition of the composts made over the three years is diverse, but among them all of them contain the most important groups of microbes that are beneficial for plant cultivation.

The quality of the soil food web improved significantly in the test plots compared to the control. SFW can be called well-developed if they contain a sufficient number of not only bacteria and microscopic fungi classified as soil flora, but also tiny creatures (protozoa and nematodes) belonging to the soil fauna. By 2023, the number of bacteria increased by an average of 40%, the number of fungi increased by 26%, the number of protozoa increased by 140%, and the number of nematodes increased by 210% in the test tables compared to the control tables.

We checked the physical condition of the soils and the supply of chemical nutrients by digging and analyzing test sections, taking soil samples and performing a traditional extended soil test. The results from 2019 to 2022 show that the bulk density of the soil decreased, i.e. the test soil became more porous and had a higher water retention capacity compared to the control. We did not measure any significant differences in the chemical content indicators.

The content analysis of the cultivated plants was carried out in the 3rd year, where we compared the content of chemical residues and the content of nutrients. In the test-control relationship, the results show that plants without chemical residues were grown in the test areas, while the active ingredients of the used herbicides and pesticides could be measured in all cultures in the control fields.


The economic comparative analysis of research cultivation technology and control plots shows that the effectiveness of conventional farming, i.e. control plots, is better than the effectiveness of test plots. The yield is higher in the control fields, but the specific cost of production is lower in the experimental fields. However, the yield is able to compensate for this additional expenditure compared to the conventional costs of control plots.

The sectoral impact is wide-ranging: in addition to traditional field cultivation, the technology can be used in both vegetable and fruit cultivation, we also included grassland areas in the experiments, thereby having an impact on grassland growers and livestock keepers as well. For livestock farms, we have provided a practical solution for composting manure treatment, thus providing them with quality organic matter in plant cultivation.

With composting, we provide an example of the successful implementation of biomass-based circular farming.

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