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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

International Conference in Prague 22th to 24th June 2005

The Role of Long-term Field Experiments

The Research Institute of Crop Production Prague organized in collaboration with theMinistry of Agriculture Czech Republic, Czech University of Agriculture Prague, Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry Brno, Agricultural Research Institute Kromeriz, Ltd, Martin-Luther Universitat Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), UFZ Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig – Halle (Germany), International Working Group of Soil Fertility in the IUSS an International conference on The Role of Long-term Field Experiments in Agricultural and Ecological Sciences together with Practical Solutions for Managing Optimum C and N Content Agricultural Soils III On the occasion of the 50 th anniversary of the long-term field experiments in the Czech Republic.

On this conference 100 scientists from 14 different countries participated. Altogether 39 lectures were held and shown 46 poster.

The main topics of the conference were:

  • Long-term field experiments, crop yields and yield stability
  • Dynamics of the soil organic matter, possibilities to optimize the soil organic matter content in agricultural soils
  • Long-term field experiments, nutrient balances, nutrient cycles
  • Methods for determination of the decomposable part of SOM
  • Evaluation of the productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems
  • Assessment of soil quality and fertility

Meeting place was the Czech University of Agriculture in Prague Suchdol. The conference was excellent organized by the Czech colleagues and their co-workers. Many thanks from all the visitors of the conference particular to Jan Lipavski, who chaired the conference and Jaromer Kubat, who guided through the field trials. During a half day excursion the experimental field in Prague-Ruzyne was visited. The excursion on the last day of the conference led to South Bohemia. It was dedicated to the inspection of the research station Humpolec, the Monastery Zeliv and the Gothic castle Cesky Sternberk. The conference showed again that Prague is a most exiting place in many respects, so also cultural and scientific.

In the lectures and discussions during the conference the meaning of long-term field experiments for soil science and environmental research was emphasized. Many problems that have not been sufficiently clarified yet can be only solved by using long-term field experiments. In this connection the clearing-up of the questions of the supply of soils with organic matter and the elaboration of suitable methods to determine optimal humus contents has a special meaning, not only for the agriculture, but in particular for the environment.

Thus many contributions were concerned with the evaluation of long-term field experiments regarding this emphasis. The meeting row “Practical Solutions……”, in this year one part of the conference constituted, concerns themselves with priority with this range of topics. The first meeting took place 2001 in Prague. The next conference “Practical Solutions…..IV” is regular organized in June 2007 again in Prague Ruzyne. The experiences of the past years showed an increasing interest in this conference. This is on the one hand because of the urgency of the topic and the necessity to compile solutions for practice, on the other hand Prague Ruzyne as meeting place offers best conditions for a creative work and the city Prague is an ideal surrounding field for such meetings.

It is a great deficiency, that optimal values for all macro- and micronutrients in the soil are well-known, also limit values for pollutants, and this since many decades, but optimal values for the most important elements, carbon and nitrogen, are more or less missing up to now. Thus these tasks will have a great importance also in the future, not least because the problem cannot be solved without long-term experiments.

Martin Kirschens, University Halle

Wolfgang Burghardt, University Duisburg-Essen