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ATK organized a conference to celebrate the 70th anniversary of creating the first European hybrid corn in Martonvásár


The Agricultural Institute of the ELKH Centre for Agricultural Research (ATK MGI) organized a scientific conference on May 24, 2023 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the birth of the first European hybrid corn in Martonvásár named Mv 5. The conference paid a tribute to the breeder of the hybrid, Endre Pap (1896-1991), and to discuss the progression of hybrid corn breeding and seed production in Hungary. Furthermore, there is a temporary exhibition dedicated to the topic, which is available for visitors to explore at Agroverzum until the end of November.


Dr. Endre Pap (1896–1991)

"The playfulness and curiosity are inherent to the character of a breeder.
Scientificness and playfulness are highly intertwined."

The hybrid of Martonvásár named Mv 5 received state certification in 1953, quickly making its way in the spread of hybrid corn not only in Hungary but throughout Europe. The development was so groundbreaking that within just seven years, it replaced previous corn varieties and hybrid varieties across the entire corn cultivation area of the country. This happened because, when calculated per unit area, Mv 5 yielded one-third more crops, leaving no doubt for farmers to replace their old varieties. Martonvásár was the pioneer in developing field technology and seed processing for hybrid corn seed production. To enhance the efficiency of the breeding program, the testing base was expanded, and every element of the breeding process, from sowing to harvesting and data processing, was mechanized.


The Mv 5 hybrid corn can still be found today
in the National Biodiversity and Gene Conservation Center.

The birth of the Hungarian hybrid corn was Endre Pap’s achievement, recognized worldwide as one of the greatest performance in Hungarian plant breeding. He began breeding the inbred lines necessary for hybrid production during his time in Mindszent, and completed his work at the Martonvásár research institute. The development of Mv 5 provided tremendous momentum for the then newly established research institute. For decades, Martonvásár's corn breeding efforts dominated both the scientific and practical realms, yielding continuous successes.

Hybrid corn spread in Hungary in just seven years, and by 1983, sales of these hybrids provided enough seeds to cover a cultivated area exceeding 20.3 million hectares. Numerous other hybrids received registration abroad, satisfying the seed demand for approximately 25 million hectares in total sales.

As of today, a total of 243 hybrids bred in Martonvásár are available, among which 55 have been certified by NÉBIH (National Food Chain Safety Office) or its predecessor, OMMI (National Institute for Agricultural Quality Control). This includes well-known and widely cultivated hybrids such as Mv 204, Mv 214, Mv 272, Danietta and Mv Admirasil for silage production. The intellectual products born in ATK MGI, in this case, the corn hybrids, receive state certification that is necessary for commercialization, while their parent lines undergo patent procedures and receive variety protection, which is essential for their sale and contractual use. Currently, the Maize Breeding Department of ATK MGI holds the patent recognition for 69 inbred lines, and over the past thirty years five procedural patents have been granted.

The breeding program has always been characterized by extensive international collaboration, which has facilitated the development of hybrids for domestic use as well as hybrids for export. As part of this, over 50 hybrids have received state recognition in several European countries. The cultivated area outside Hungary for the hybrids developed in Martonvásár and in cooperation has exceeded 12 million hectares to this day.

At the conference held on the occasion of the anniversary, after the welcoming speech by Gyula Vida, the Director-General of ATK, Tamás Petőházi, the President of the Hungarian Grain Producers’ Association, provided an overview of the current situation of the most important cultivated crops. Subsequent speakers then presented the development of domestic hybrid corn breeding and seed integration, research on cultivation technologies related to Martonvásár corn, and new directions in breeding. They discussed the initial challenges of hybrid breeding, the challenges of the present, the combination of traditional and modern breeding methods, the changes in new and old requirements, and the possibilities of breeding hybrids that adapt to the rapidly changing scientific and commercial demands in the world. In addition to breeding, the rational and proper utilization of agrotechnical tools, the development of irrigation, and the use of renewable energy sources are also crucial. In the future, there will be an increasing emphasis on the introduction of lower energy-consuming systems and the breeding of hybrids suitable for extensive cultivation techniques (organic farming, green-deal trends).


Wreath laying and a moment of silence in front of the statue of Endre Pap,
on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the birth of the Mv 5 hybrid corn, on May 24, 2023.

At the end of the conference the participants laid wreaths at the statue placed in front of the Brunszvik Manor in the park, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Endre Pap.