The chair, as its name suggests, combines applied agronomic fields, which are among the essential knowledge of agronomists at all levels of study. Professors, assistants and other associates of the chair carry out extensive pedagogical work in the fields of phytomedicine, field crops production, grassland and pasture management, and agricultural engineering, both for students of agronomy and students of related studies. As these are applied science related fields, teaching is strongly linked to our research and professional work.
In the field of phytomedicine we study environmentally acceptable methods of controlling plant pests and diseases. Our goal is to develop effective new methods of plant protection, useful in the production of food, feed, ornamental plants and sports lawns. We place great emphasis on biological control and biotechnical plant protection, i.e the control of harmful organisms with natural enemies, with pheromone baits and sticky plates, plant extracts etc. We also study the influence of inert dusts on storage pests, the influence of biostimulants on pests and pathogens of field crops and vegetables, and the factors of natural resistance of plants to pests. At the same time, we are still testing the effectiveness of plant protection products, as they are, and will continue to be, an important component of integrated crop production. For the rapid transfer of new knowledge into practice, we provide training for responsible persons and lecturers in phytomedicine, and we offer professional support to the Administration for Food Safety, Veterinary Sector and Plant Protection, mostly in the field of biological control, and we also participate in special survey of quarantine pests. We also lead the Plant Protection Society of Slovenia, the central professional organization of domestic phytomedical experts.
In the field of field crops production our research focuses on the expansion of cereal crop rotation and increasing its biodiversity in fields in Slovenia, with emphasis on the study of neglected and alternative crops (millet, buckwheat) and the introduction of legumes such as soybeans, lupins, beans and peas. Using field and pot experiments, we evaluate the ameliorative, phytosanitary and fertilizing effects of crops in rotation. Using a new methodological approach, root nodulation examination and the application of inoculants to seeds prior to sowing, we are gaining new insights into the process of nitrogen fixation and its contribution to the overall soil nutrient balance. In recent years, we have put a great emphasis on the research of Cannabis sativa, both industrial and medicinal, where we use different breeding techniques to obtain new varieties. At the Laboratory Field of Biotechnical Faculty we also maintain the gene bank of maize and participate in education and practical training of seed growers of native pea and bean varieties, who learn here the importance of quality control of seeds in the field and in the laboratory. Together with collaborators on targeted research projects, projects of European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) and other projects, and involving our students and graduates, we present new research results on agrotechnical and other crop traits to agricultural advisors and farmers in the form of lectures and practical demonstrations at workshops, conferences and symposia. Our researches are published in domestic and foreign scientific and professional journals.
Research in the field of grassland and fodder production is in part focused on solving technological issues related to fodder production and grazing of karst and hilly grassland, as well as studying the efficient use of growth resources, conservation of permanent grassland and nature protection. In the second part, they are focused on the study of ecological relations in grassland and arable field agroecosystems and the relationship between the development of fodder plants and the quality and quantity of the yield. We have put into practice innovative ways of coexistence of grazing livestock and large carnivores and we are the pioneers of studying the outwintering of some farm animals. We participate in the Slovenian plant gene bank in the preservation, description and evaluation of autochthonous populations of grasses and legumes. The Slovenian Grassland Society is also based at our address, the purpose of which is to connect agricultural experts, farmers and others who are interested in grassland and fodder management.
In the field of agricultural engineering we are dealing with the development of new agricultural machines and new technologies. In cooperation with other Slovenian research institutions, we have developed several new agricultural machines, such as shell crushing machine for walnuts and hazelnuts, cultivation tine, manure spreader for hilly terrain, machine for simultaneous planting of potatoes and final ridge formation, and a weed-burning machine. The area of our research are various agricultural machines in use, soil cultivation techniques, plant care and plant protection technologies, and the operation of biogas station. The most important part of our professional work is the inspection of devices for plant protection.