General characteristics of IUNG activity
As one of the heirs of PINGW, the Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation – State Research Institute respects the tradition of agricultural sciences. It appreciates the importance of cooperation with advisory services and agricultural practitioners, but at the same time takes up new challenges. Currently, IUNG-PIB consists of:
- 11 scientific institutions and modern research base, and
- 11 agricultural experimental stations – AES (including 2 leased), located in different regions of Poland.
IUNG’s activities have been significantly influenced by the successive directors: prof. dr hab. Anatol Listowski 1950-1968; prof. dr hab. Stanisław Nawrocki 1968-1991; prof. dr hab. Marian Król 1991-1995; prof. dr hab. Seweryn Kukuła 1995-2010; prof. dr hab. Wiesław Oleszek 2010-ongoing.
The terms of office of individual Directors mark important stages in the development of IUNG, as a creative continuation and constant enrichment of the achievements of their predecessors (scientific teams). The main areas of IUNG’s research are as follows: soil science and soil cartography; agro-meteorological research, fertilization and fertilizer management; soil tillage and crop rotation management, crop cultivation, fodder crops, energy crops, bio-economy; organization and economics of crop production; reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; evaluation of the effects of the CAP; regulation of weed infestation of agricultural crops; hops and tobacco breeding and cultivation; selected issues from agricultural microbiology and biochemistry (phytochemistry). In 2005 IUNG obtained the status of a state research institute. In 2017, in the parametric evaluation of scientific units, IUNG received category A.
IUNG’s activity focuses on developing sustainable agricultural production and shaping the agricultural environment, and supporting the decisions of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as administrative and local authorities. Through its activities, the Institute contributes to increasing innovation and competitiveness of agriculture. It cooperates with agricultural advisory centers, universities, and agricultural schools.
IUNG-PIB’s integrated agricultural space information system is highly representative as it enables the use of several numerical maps of different scale and territorial range, which are useful for agricultural space management and carrying out evaluations and expert opinions at different management levels.
In general, it can be stated that the activities of IUNG-PIB comprise environmental and technological, as well as organizational and economic studies. The structure of IUNG-PIB’s activity is determined by various financing sources. They consist of:
- program of statutory activity;
- multi-annual programs;
- projects within the EU;
- research projects, domestic, foreign;
- country-level monitoring: drought, soil, water and air pollution;
- evaluation of the agrochemical condition of soils;
- CAP impact assessment;
- revenues from production and service activities.
The achievements of IUNG implemented in agricultural practice, supporting the development of Polish agriculture, are the result of environmental and technological research and cooperation with consulting services. The areas of environmental research in historical terms are:
- Recognition and evaluation of natural conditions of agricultural production;
- Development of principles and methods of soil protection and land reclamation;
- Determination of the role of microorganisms in shaping soil fertility;
- Recognition of the agrochemical state of the country’s soils and development of fertilization principles and techniques;
- Development of economically efficient cultivation systems that increase soil fertility;
- Assessment of the impact of human activity on the environment, designation of less-favoured areas (LFAs) and problem areas of agriculture;
- Rational use of agricultural production space, implementation of the bioeconomy concept.
The main stages of IUNG’s agrotechnical research aimed at creating technological progress in agricultural production in historical terms are as follows:
- Development of basic agrotechnical recommendations for field crops published in the form of cyclical „IUNG Agrotechnical Recommendations” (starting in the 1950s);
- Development and dissemination of comprehensive technologies of cereal and fodder plant production (1970s and 1980s);
- Adaptation of technologies to the requirements of market production, diverse economic condition of farms and environmental protection requirements, influenced by integration processes with the EU and the Common Agricultural Policy (1990s);
- Extension of research to such areas as crop quality, food safety, optimisation of agricultural production techniques and technologies (2000-2015);
- Shaping the quality of plant raw materials, implementing low-carbon technologies and decision support systems (since 2016).
Nowadays, IUNG-PIB in cooperation with agricultural advisory services is taking up new challenges. The new challenges for learning, consulting and agricultural practice are:
- regional diversification of natural and organisational and economic conditions of agricultural production,
- the current state, level, structure and regional diversity of agricultural production,
- CAP principles and changes in agriculture,
- the bioeconomy concept,
- reducing the adverse impact of human activities on the environment,
- increasing the innovation and competitiveness of agricultural production,
- implementing technological progress,
- improving the efficiency of the transfer of research results into agricultural practice,
- regionalization of support policy and advisory activities,
- developing alternative activities in rural areas.
The results of the IUNG research have been the basis for the implementation of innovations in agriculture at successive stages of its development.
The institute has a modern laboratory base, the Innovation and Scientific Center for Agricultural Research – INCBR, commissioned to use in 2015, where all laboratories and modern equipment are located. It is authorised to assess and issue opinions on all fertilizers, including those placed on the market. It cooperates with the fertilizer, machinery, and processing industries.
The Monitoring of the condition of soils and waters and the Agricultural Drought Monitoring System, commissioned by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, are of great practical importance.
Innovations proposed by IUNG-PIB include: new techniques and systems of crop management; new environmentally friendly and economically efficient technologies; plant production organisation and management systems; new varieties of hops and tobacco; electronic advisory (fertilizer and technology) systems; use of new fertilizers; production of bacterial vaccines; use of plant-specific substances in agriculture and industry. Innovative solutions are disseminated in collaboration with advisors from all Agricultural Advisory Centers in Poland. These activities include workshops and conferences organized in various regions of the country as part of multi-annual programs and research projects.
Agricultural Experimental Stations constitute an integral part of IUNG-PIB. They function as IUNG-PIB’s regional centers of innovation and progress in agriculture through: conducting work in the field, adaptation and implementation of agricultural practices, testing new production technologies and other innovations in practice; conducting business activities under specific, varied organizational, economic and habitat conditions, in line with advancement in agricultural science, agricultural production technology and economics; performing the role of agricultural culture centers, promoting the principles of good agricultural practice and disseminating the achievements of agricultural science in the immediate vicinity and region of their operation. The Agricultural Experimental Stations cooperate with Agricultural Advisory Centers in the regions. The research of IUNG-PIB, including the experiments conducted in AAC , serves to create knowledge bases.
The main objectives of the knowledge resources created and constantly developed by IUNG-PIB staff are:
- identifying new challenges for science, advisory services, and agricultural practice.
- objective, multi-faceted assessments of the current state and regional diversity of agriculture;
- adaptation of technological recommendations to the regional diversity and specificity of different farm groups;
- indicating ways of rational, optimal use of resources and improvement of production quality;
- reduction of threats to the natural environment and human and animal health, increasing innovativeness and competitiveness of Polish agriculture.
IUNG’s extensive activity is directed towards the needs of agricultural advice and practice. These needs are changing very dynamically, making it necessary to improve methods and forms of knowledge transfer to advice and farming practice in the broadest sense. Forms and types of the transfer of research results are as follows:
- expertise (opinions);
- publishing activities (Polish Journal of Agronomy, Monographs and Scientific Papers IUNG-PIB, Studies and Reports IUNG-PIB, publishing implementation instructions, leaflets and information materials;
- promotion, dissemination and popularisation of scientific achievements (organisation of international and national conferences, scientific training workshops, seminars);
- making scientific publications, information materials, and research results available on the Institute’s website (www.iung.pulawy.pl) and the Institute’s information services and portals;
- expert and training activities (conducting doctoral studies, Postgraduate Studies „Integrated Plant Production”, Postgraduate Studies „Soil Science, Soil Classification and Soil Cartography”, trainings conducted by the Institute staff at the invitation of AAC and other centres; providing individual advice during various business meetings, as well as during farmers' stay in IUNG-PIB Puławy and by phone, establishing the National Practical Training Centre (KOPS) in Grabów, near Zwoleń, in cooperation with the Agricultural Advisory Centre in Brwinów. IUNG-PIB cooperates with agricultural schools subordinate to MRiRW and universities. It also conducts multi-directional scientific cooperation with other countries. It attaches great importance to the development of its scientific staff.