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  Subjects -> AGRICULTURE (Total: 674 journals)
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Journal Cover European Journal of Agronomy
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   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
     ISSN (Print) 1161-0301
     Published by Elsevier Homepage  [2570 journals]   [SJR: 1.191]   [H-I: 53]
  • Differential physiological and biochemical responses to drought in
           grapevines subjected to partial root drying and deficit irrigation
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): Alexandros Beis , Angelos Patakas
      The effects of two different irrigation methodologies, partial root drying (PRD) and deficit irrigation (DI), on grapevines (Vitis vinifera L., cv. Mavrodafni) physiological and biochemical parameters were studied using split-rooted potted plants. Five irrigation treatments were applied: fully irrigated (FI) at both parts of the rootzone to soil capacity; deficit irrigated (DI50 and DI25) receiving 50% and 25% irrigation water of FI plants, respectively, to the entire rootzone and partial root drying (PRD50 and PRD25) receiving 50% and 25% irrigation water of FI plants, respectively, which was successively applied to one and the other part of the rootzone. Compared with DI50, PRD50 plants exhibited higher stomatal conductance and photosynthetic rate maintaining more favorable plant water status throughout the experimental period. On the contrary, no significant differences in physiological parameters between PRD25 and DI25 plants were observed, suggesting that irrigation amount could influence different irrigation methodologies effects on plant's performance. Leaf abscisic acid (ABA) concentration at the end of the drought period was significantly higher in DI compared to PRD plants while the opposite trend was evident concerning cytokinins (Cks) concentration. Irrespective the irrigation amount applied, stomatal conductance (g s ) in DI plants exhibited the strongest correlation with leaf abscisic acid (ABA) concentration among the treatments but this relationship was significantly weakened when g s was regressed against ABA/CKs ratio. PRD plant's stomatal conductance was also strongly correlated with leaf abscisic acid (ABA) concentration but this relationship was markedly improved when ABA/CKs ratio was used. These results imply a more pronounced role of CKs in mediating stomatal responses in PRD plants. In contrast in DI grapevines ABA concentration seemed to dominate stomatal responses to drought.


      PubDate: 2014-10-29T10:12:02Z
       
  • Impact of a woody biochar on properties of a sandy loam soil and spring
           barley during a two-year field experiment
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): Victoria Nelissen , Greet Ruysschaert , Delphine Manka’Abusi , Tommy D’Hose , Kristof De Beuf , Bashar Al-Barri , Wim Cornelis , Pascal Boeckx
      Biochar is often proposed to increase soil quality and crop yield, while sequestering carbon. Despite the growing number of studies in temperate regions, the claimed positive effects are still unsure for northwestern European soils. Moreover, there is a need to upscale results from lab and pot studies in these soil types to field experiments. The objectives of this study were therefore to investigate the effect of biochar application to a temperate agricultural soil on soil chemical, physical and biological properties, and on crop growth and nutrient uptake under field circumstances. A field trial, located in Merelbeke (Belgium), was established in October 2011 and monitored until August 2013. The biochar applied was produced from a mixture of hard- and softwood at 480°C. The biochar dose was 0 (control) or 20tha−1 (on dry weight basis). Over two years, biochar addition to soil did not affect soil chemical properties, except for organic carbon content and C:N ratios. Effects on bulk density, porosity and soil water retention curves were non-consistent over time, possibly due to interaction with tillage operations. Biochar increased soil water content in 2012, although mostly not significantly. However, in 2013, when soil water content was overall lower compared to 2012, it was not affected by biochar addition. Soil temperature, as measured at a soil depth interval of 8–20cm, was not changed by biochar addition. Furthermore, biochar addition to soil did only slightly influence soil microbiological community structure during the first year after biochar application, as only certain bacterial biomarker PLFAs were significantly affected by biochar addition, but no fungal biomarker PLFAs. Hence, it was not surprising that biochar addition did not affect crop yield, N or P uptake during the first two years after biochar application.


      PubDate: 2014-10-18T08:50:40Z
       
  • Effects of nitrogen application rate on grain yield and grain nitrogen
           concentration in two maize hybrids with contrasting nitrogen
           remobilization efficiency
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): Yanling Chen , Changxin Xiao , Dali Wu , Tingting Xia , Qinwu Chen , Fanjun Chen , Lixing Yuan , Guohua Mi
      A target in crop production is to simultaneously increase grain yield (GY) and grain nitrogen concentration (GNC). In maize, nitrogen (N) and genotype are two major factors affecting GY and GNC. Both N remobilization from vegetative tissues and post-silking N uptake contribute to grain N, but their relative contributions are genotype specific, and are affected by the N application rate. It is unclear whether the responses of GY and GNC to N application differ between genotypes with different post-silking N uptake and vegetative N remobilization characteristics. We investigated the effect of N application rate on post-silking N uptake, vegetative N remobilization, GY, and GNC of two high-yielding maize hybrids, ZD958 and XY335, which have contrasting N remobilization characteristics. We tested five N application rates (0, 60, 120, 180, 240kgNha−1) in a 4-year field study (from 2010 to 2013). There was a significant year×N×genotype interaction in the amount of vegetative N remobilization and N remobilization efficiency (NRE), and residual stalk N concentration at maturity. Compared with the low-NRE cultivar ZD958, XY335 showed the same GY but higher GNC because it had higher vegetative N remobilization, NRE but lower residual stalk N concentration under the favorable weather condition in 2010. The response of GNC to increasing N levels was the same between XY335 and ZD958 and was not affected by year conditions. The N level required to obtain the highest GY was the same in the two hybrids (156±13kgha−1and 159±19kgha−1), but that required to obtain the highest GNC was greater in XY335 (216±30kgha−1) than in ZD958 (195±23kgha−1). From these results, we conclude that precise N fertilizer management as well as the selection of high-yielding hybrids with high NRE can increase GNC without negatively affecting GY or leading to surplus N storage in vegetative organs.


      PubDate: 2014-10-18T08:50:40Z
       
  • Effect of temperature and precipitation on nitrate leaching from organic
           cereal cropping systems in Denmark
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): Mohamed Jabloun , Kirsten Schelde , Fulu Tao , Jørgen E. Olesen
      The effect of variation in seasonal temperature and precipitation on soil water nitrate (NO3 N) concentration and leaching from winter and spring cereals cropping systems was investigated over three consecutive four-year crop rotation cycles from 1997 to 2008 in an organic farming crop rotation experiment in Denmark. Three experimental sites, varying in climate and soil type from coarse sand to sandy loam, were investigated. The experiment included experimental treatments with different rotations, manure rate and cover crop, and soil nitrate concentrations was monitored using suction cups. The effects of climate, soil and management were examined in a linear mixed model, and only parameters with significant effect (P <0.05) were included in the final model. The model explained 61% and 47% of the variation in the square root transform of flow-weighted annual NO3 N concentration for winter and spring cereals, respectively, and 68% and 77% of the variation in the square root transform of annual NO3 N leaching for winter and spring cereals, respectively. Nitrate concentration and leaching were shown to be site specific and driven by climatic factors and crop management. There were significant effects on annual N concentration and NO3 N leaching of location, rotation, previous crop and crop cover during autumn and winter. The relative effects of temperature and precipitation differed between seasons and cropping systems. A sensitivity analysis revealed that the predicted N concentration and leaching increased with increases in temperature and precipitation.


      PubDate: 2014-10-12T12:11:37Z
       
  • Strategic double cropping on Vertisols: A viable rainfed cropping option
           in the Indian SAT to increase productivity and reduce risk
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): V. Nageswara Rao , H. Meinke , P.Q. Craufurd , D. Parsons , M.J. Kropff , Niels P.R. Anten , S.P. Wani , T.J. Rego
      Our study suggests the possibility for transformational change in the productivity and risk profile of some of India's rainfed cropping systems. In the semi-arid regions of Southern India, farmers traditionally crop sorghum or chickpea on Vertisols during the post-rainy season, keeping the fields fallow during the rainy season. This practice avoids land management problems, but limits the potential for crop intensification to increase systems productivity. A long-term (15 year) experiment at ICRISAT demonstrated that cropping during the rainy season is technically feasible, and that grain productivity of double cropped sorghum+chickpea (SCP–SCP) and mung bean+sorghum (MS–MS) sequential systems were higher than their conventional counterparts with rainy season fallow, i.e. fallow+post-rainy sorghum (FS–FS) and fallow+post-rainy chickpea (FS–FCP). Without N application, mean grain yield of post-rainy sorghum in the MS–MS system was significantly greater (2520kgha−1 per two-year rotation) than in the FS–FS system (1940kgha−1 per two-year rotation), with the added benefit of the mung bean grain yield (1000kgha−1 per two-year rotation) from the MS–MS system. In the SCP–SCP system the additional grain yield of rainy sorghum (3400kgha−1 per two-year rotation) ensured that the total productivity of this system was greater than all other systems. Double cropping MS–MS and SCP–SCP sequential systems had significantly higher crop N uptake compared to traditional fallow systems at all rates of applied nitrogen (N). The intensified MS–MS and SCP–SCP sequential systems without any N fertilizer applied recorded a much higher median gross profit of Rs. 20,600 (US $ 375) and Rs. 15,930 (US $ 290) ha−1 yr−1, respectively, compared to Rs. 1560 (US $ 28) ha−1 yr−1) with the FS–FS system. Applying 120kg of Nha−1 considerably increased the profitability of all systems, lifting median gross profits of the sorghum+chickpea system over Rs. 60,000 (US $ 1091) ha−1 yr−1 and the conventional system to Rs. 20,570 (US $ 374) ha−1 yr−1. The gross profit margin analysis showed that nitrogen is a key input for improving productivity, particularly for the double cropping systems. However, traditional systems are unviable and risky without N application in the variable climates of the semi-arid tropics. Together, our results show that on Vertisols in semi-arid India, double cropping systems increase systems’ productivity, and are financially more profitability and less risky than traditional fallow post-rainy systems while further benefits can be achieved through fertilizer application.


      PubDate: 2014-10-09T11:53:18Z
       
  • Assessing nitrate leaching in cropping systems based on integrated weed
           management using the STICS soil–crop model
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): C. Bécel , N.M. Munier-Jolain , B. Nicolardot
      Agriculture in Europe and other parts of the world is currently under strong pressure to reduce its reliance on pesticides. Regarding arable crops, strategies based on integrated weed management (IWM) combine several agronomic practices aimed at reducing herbicide use, but these strategies can generate negative collateral effects, such as increased nitrate leaching. An evaluation of nitrate leaching in a long-term experiment set up in 2000 was performed for five tested cropping systems: four IWM-based systems and one reference system. After the validation of the predictive performance of the STICS soil–crop model, nitrate leaching was simulated for the five cropping systems tested over the 12 years of the experiment and over 12 years of implementing alternative scenarios (i.e. the introduction of early sowing for winter cereals, ceasing deep tillage and the introduction of a mustard catch crop). The results showed that the total amount of nitrate leaching varied between cropping systems and was lowest in the cropping system using no herbicide and that with no tillage, two systems combining several agronomic practices. Alternative scenarios based on both early sowing of winter crops and the introduction of catch crops can reduce the total amount of nitrate leached by 25 to 43% over the 12 years of simulations, although early sowing can, in some cases, increase nitrate leaching. This study contributes to the multi-criteria evaluation of innovative cropping systems.


      PubDate: 2014-10-04T11:04:18Z
       
  • Effect of depth of fertilizer banded-placement on growth, nutrient uptake
           and yield of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.)
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): Wei Su , Bo Liu , Xiaowei Liu , Xiaokun Li , Tao Ren , Rihuan Cong , Jianwei Lu
      A better understanding of crop growth and nutrient uptake responses to the depth of fertilizer banded-placement in the soil is needed if growth and nutrient uptake responses are to be maximized. A two-year field study covering two rape seasons (2010–2011 and 2011–2012) was conducted to examine the effect of banded-placement of N–P–K fertilizer at various depths on growth, nutrient uptake and yield of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.). The results showed that fertilization at 10cm and 15cm soil depth produced greater taproot length and dry weight than fertilization at 0cm and 5cm. 0 cm and 5cm deep fertilization significantly increased the lateral root distribution at 0–5cm soil depth, while 10cm and 15cm deep fertilization induced more lateral root proliferation at 5–15cm soil depth. At 36 days after sowing (DAS), 5cm deep fertilization produced better aboveground growth and nutrient uptake than 10cm and 15cm deep fertilization. However, reversed results were observed after 36 DAS. 10 cm and 15cm deep fertilization produced more rapeseed than 0cm and 5cm deep fertilization, moreover, the yield difference was more significant in drought season (2010–2011) than in relatively normal season (2011–2012). In summary, these results preliminarily suggest that both 10cm and 15cm are relatively proper fertilizer placement depth when the practice of banding fertilizer is used in oilseed rape production. But from the viewpoint of diminishing the production cost, 10cm deep fertilization should be recommended in actual farming. Because 15cm deep fertilization may require higher mechanical power input, and thus resulting in higher cost of production.


      PubDate: 2014-10-04T11:04:18Z
       
  • Using indicators to assess the environmental impacts of wine growing
           activity: The INDIGO® method
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): Marie Thiollet-Scholtus , Christian Bockstaller
      Environmental assessment methods are needed by agronomists working on the enhancement of cropping systems to meet the demand for more sustainable farming practices. A growing number of operational methods based on a set of indicators have been designed, more for arable crops and livestock than for perennial crops like viticulture. Among them, the INDIGO® method, originally developed for arable crops, offers a compromise between feasibility and predictive quality. Here we present a modified and expanded version of INDIGO® for viticulture. The development of new indicators specific to viticulture and the adaptation of existing ones followed a five step approach: (i) preliminary definition of the objectives and identification of the end-users, (ii) construction of the indicator, (iii) selection of a reference value, (iv) sensitivity analysis and (v) validation. Stakeholders from professional institutions and winegrower organizations were closely associated with step (i) to define the framework and step (ii) to supply technical databases. We designed INDIGO® indicators with all available scientific and expert knowledge which was aggregated into expert systems associating fuzzy subsets or, when possible, quantitative equations. Four indicators; pesticides, nitrogen, energy and soil organic matter, were directly adapted from the initial INDIGO® method, whereas soil cover and frost protection management were new indicators. Potentialities of their use are highlighted by examples of implementation on different scales and for various purposes.
      Graphical abstract image

      PubDate: 2014-10-04T11:04:18Z
       
  • Validity of the pineapple crop model SIMPIÑA across the climatic
           gradient in Réunion Island
    • Abstract: Publication date: January 2015
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 62
      Author(s): Elodie Dorey , Patrick Fournier , Mathieu Lechaudel , Philippe Tixier
      Models used for designing cropping systems and for responding to cropping problems caused by climate variations must generate accurate predictions. Here, we describe the SIMPIÑA model, which simulates the development and growth of the ‘Queen Victoria’ pineapple cultivar and which accounts for stress resulting from nitrogen and water deficiencies. We present the calibration and the validation of SIMPIÑA with 15 independent data sets derived from experiments carried out on Réunion Island and covering wide ranges of climatic conditions and management practices. Comparison of simulations with data sets shows that the predictive accuracy of SIMPIÑA is very good, with relative RMSE values ranging from 0.06 to 0.19 for plant fresh biomass; such precision is sufficient for informing management decisions. Interestingly, there was no bias between observed and simulated values. A process-removal approach allowed us to determine how stress processes resulting from water or nitrogen deficiency influence the predictive capacity of the model across a broad range of climatic conditions. There was no clear trend for the effect of climate on model error in comparisons of the model with stress processes removed. When stress processes were partially removed from the model, fruit biomass error was particularly high when the effect of stress was removed from the radiation conversion efficiency and from biomass remobilization. Given its ability to correctly predict crop dynamics under contrasting conditions, SIMPIÑA appears to include the essential processes at the correct level of complexity.


      PubDate: 2014-10-04T11:04:18Z
       
  • Coupling a sugarcane crop model with the remotely sensed time series of
           fIPAR to optimise the yield estimation
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 61
      Author(s): Julien Morel , Agnès Bégué , Pierre Todoroff , Jean-François Martiné , Valentine Lebourgeois , Michel Petit
      The objective of this study was to assess the efficiency of the assimilation of the fraction of intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (fIPAR) data derived from Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre SPOT images into the MOSICAS sugarcane crop growth model for estimating the yield at field scale on Reunion Island. Over 3 years, time series of SPOT satellite imagery were used to estimate the daily evolution of NDVI for 60 plots located on two climatically contrasted farms. Ground measurements of the fIPAR were performed on 5 reference fields and used to calibrate a relationship with the corresponding NDVI values. Forced and not forced simulations were run and compared with respect to their ability to predict the final observed yield. Forcing MOSICAS with fIPAR values derived from SPOT images improved the accuracy of the model for the yield estimation (RMSE=12.2 against 14.8tha−1) closer to the 1:1 line. However, underestimations of the yield by the forced model suggest that some of the model parameters were not optimal. The maximal radiation use efficiency parameter (RUE m ) was optimised for each field, and an analysis of variance showed the significant effect of the ratoon number of the field, of its cultivar and of the farm where it is planted. Accordingly, the RUE m was recalibrated for each cultivar for the number of ratoons and farms. New RUE m values ranged from 3.09 to 3.77gMJ−1, and new computations were run using the optimised values of RUE m . The results indicate that recalibrating the maximal radiation use efficiency according to the number of ratoons improved the yield estimation accuracy by as much as 10.5tha−1 RMSE. This study highlights the potential of time series of satellite images to enhance the estimation of the yield by a forced ecophysiological model and to obtain better knowledge about the ecophysiological processes that are involved in crop dynamics with the recalibration method.


      PubDate: 2014-09-23T08:30:52Z
       
  • Genetic gain in yield and changes associated with physiological traits in
           Brazilian wheat during the 20th century
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 61
      Author(s): Eduardo Beche , Giovani Benin , Cristiano Lemes da Silva , Lucas Berger Munaro , José Abramo Marchese
      The objective of this study was to characterize physiologically wheat cultivars released in different decades and identify selection criteria for the continued genetic progress in Brazil. Ten cultivars released from 1940 up to 2009 were tested during 2010 and 2011 crop seasons. The following traits were evaluated: grain yield (GY), thousand-kernel weight (TKW), grain number per m−2 (GN), plant height (PH), harvest index (HI), above-ground biomass (BIO), relative Chlorophyll content and leaf gas exchanges. The increase in grain yield was 29kgha−1 yr−1 a genetic gain of 0.92%, annually. Grain yield improvement was largely associated with HI (0.94**), number of grainsm−2 (0.93**), BIO (0.88**) and reduced PH (−0.93**). The post-anthesis Chlorophyll content, stomatal conductance and pre/post-anthesis photosynthetic rate were positively correlated with GY. Genetic gains of Brazilian wheat are mainly related to the increases of HI, GN, and BIO. These improvements were achieved by reducing PH and raising gas exchanges and chlorophyll content.


      PubDate: 2014-09-18T07:58:46Z
       
  • ‘Fingerprints’ of four crop models as affected by soil input
           data aggregation
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 61
      Author(s): Carlos Angulo , Thomas Gaiser , Reimund Paul Rötter , Christen Duus Børgesen , Petr Hlavinka , Mirek Trnka , Frank Ewert
      The spatial variability of soil properties is an important driver of yield variability at both field and regional scale. Thus, when using crop growth simulation models, the choice of spatial resolution of soil input data might be key in order to accurately reproduce observed yield variability. In this study we used four crop models (SIMPLACE<LINTUL-SLIM>, DSSAT-CSM, EPIC and DAISY) differing in the detail of modeling above-ground biomass and yield as well as of modeling soil water dynamics, water uptake and drought effects on plants to simulate winter wheat in two (agro-climatologically and geo-morphologically) contrasting regions of the federal state of North-Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) for the period from 1995 to 2008. Three spatial resolutions of soil input data were taken into consideration, corresponding to the following map scales: 1:50000, 1:300000 and 1:1000000. The four crop models were run for water-limited production conditions and model results were evaluated in the form of frequency distributions, depicted by bean-plots. In both regions, soil data aggregation had very small influence on the shape and range of frequency distributions of simulated yield and simulated total growing season evapotranspiration for all models. Further analysis revealed that the small influence of spatial resolution of soil input data might be related to: (a) the high precipitation amount in the region which partly masked differences in soil characteristics for water holding capacity, (b) the loss of variability in hydraulic soil properties due to the methods applied to calculate water retention properties of the used soil profiles, and (c) the method of soil data aggregation. No characteristic “fingerprint” between sites, years and resolutions could be found for any of the models. Our results support earlier recommendation to evaluate model results on the basis of frequency distributions since these offer quick and better insight into the distribution of simulation results as compared to summary statistics only. Finally, our results support conclusions from other studies about the usefulness of considering a multi-model approach to quantify the uncertainty in simulated yields introduced by the crop growth simulation approach when exploring the effects of scaling for regional yield impact assessments.


      PubDate: 2014-09-08T05:58:06Z
       
  • No-tillage permanent bed planting and controlled traffic in a maize-cotton
           irrigated system under Mediterranean conditions: Effects on soil
           compaction, crop performance and carbon sequestration
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 61
      Author(s): Patricio Cid , Inmaculada Carmona , José Manuel Murillo , Helena Gómez-Macpherson
      Under irrigated Mediterranean conditions, no-tillage permanent bed planting (PB) is a promising agriculture system for improving soil protection and for soil carbon sequestration. However, soil compaction may increase with time up to levels that reduce crop yield. The aim of this study was to evaluate the mid-term effects of PB on soil compaction, root growth, crop yield and carbon sequestration compared with conventionally tilled bed planting (CB) and with a variant of PB that had partial subsoiling (DPB) in a Typic Xerofluvents soil (Soil Survey Staff, 2010) in southern Spain. Traffic was controlled during the whole study and beds, and furrows with (F+T) and without traffic (F−T), were spatially distinguished during measurements. Comparisons were made during a crop sequence of maize (Zea mays L.)—cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)—maize, corresponding to years 4–6 since trial establishment. After six years, soil compaction was higher in PB than in CB, particularly under the bed (44 and 27% higher in top 0.3- and 0.6-m soil layers, respectively). Around this time, maize root density at early grain filling was 17% lower in PB than in CB in the top 0.6-m layer. In DPB, the subsoiling operation was not effective in increasing root density. Nevertheless, root density appeared to maintain above-ground growth and yield in both PB and DPB compared to CB. Furthermore, at the end of the study, more soil organic carbon was stocked in PB than in CB and the difference increased significantly with a depth down to 0.5m (5.7Mgha−1 increment for the top 0.5-m soil layer). Residues tended to accumulate on furrows, and this resulted in spatial and temporal differences in superficial soil organic carbon concentration (SOC) in the permanent planting systems. In PB, SOC in the top 0.05-m layer increased with time faster in furrows than on beds, and reached higher stable values (1.67 vs. 1.09% values, respectively). In CB, tillage homogenized the soil and reduced SOC in the top 0.05-m layer (average stable value of 0.96% on average for beds and furrows).


      PubDate: 2014-09-08T05:58:06Z
       
  • Phenological development of East African highland banana involves
           trade-offs between physiological age and chronological age
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 60
      Author(s): Godfrey Taulya , Piet J.A. van Asten , Peter A. Leffelaar , Ken E. Giller
      The phenology of East African highland banana (Musa acuminata AAA-EA, hereafter referred to as ‘highland banana’) is poorly understood. We tested three hypotheses: (1) the physiological age at flowering is independent of site effects, (2) there is no difference in threshold size at flowering between sites with different growth potential, and (3) morphological and physiological components of highland banana relative growth rate (RGR) contribute equally to mitigate growth reduction in response to limiting supply of water, K or N. The physiological age of highland banana plants from field trials at Kawanda (central Uganda) and Ntungamo (south-western Uganda) was computed from daily temperature records. Growth analysis was conducted using RGR, net assimilation rate (NAR), specific leaf area (SLA) and leaf mass ratio (LMR) estimated from allometry. Growth response coefficients were used for quantifying the relative contribution of NAR, SLA and LMR to RGR. Physiological age at flowering was delayed by 739°Cd at Kawanda compared with that at Ntungamo whose chronological age at flowering was in turn 51d older. At both sites a threshold total dry mass of 1.5kg per plant was required for flowering. Faster absolute growth rate and NAR fostered by wet conditions, K input and cooler temperatures enabled plants at Ntungamo to attain the threshold total dry mass sooner than those at Kawanda, hence the phenotypic plasticity in age at flowering. Net assimilation rate contributed at least 90% to RGR increase due to wet conditions at both sites. The contribution of NAR to RGR increase in response to K at Kawanda reduced to 38% while that for SLA increased to 49%. Net assimilation rate contributes more to highland banana RGR modulation than SLA except when warmer conditions reduce NAR. Differences in crop growth rate cause phenotypic plasticity in highland banana rate of phenological development.


      PubDate: 2014-09-03T05:25:18Z
       
  • Emergence and performance of volunteer oilseed rape (Brassica napus) in
           different crops
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 60
      Author(s): Ernst Albrecht Weber , Sabine Gruber , Wilhelm Claupein
      Volunteer oilseed rape (OSR, Brassica napus L.) causes various agronomic problems in crop rotations and can contribute to gene dispersal by pollen and by seed admixture. A 4-year field experiment (2008–2011) was set up in south-west Germany to investigate the performance of volunteers derived from two OSR cultivars with different levels of seed dormancy. Volunteers of a high-dormancy (HD) and a low-dormancy (LD) OSR cultivar were deliberately generated by spreading 10,000seedsm−2 on a field in August 2008 and 2009. Four different crops were grown on that area in the first year following the seed rain: winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), winter turnip rape (Brassica rapa L.), spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and field pea (Pisum sativum L.). In the second year, maize (Zea mays L.) was sown uniformly across all plots. Numbers of OSR seedlings emerging in early autumn shortly after seed rain were not connected with the size of the soil seed bank in early spring of the following year. The seeds of the HD-cultivar formed a much greater soil seed bank (up to 14% of the initially spread seed number) compared with the LD-cultivar (up to 1.3%) in the soil layer of 0 to 30cm in early spring 2009 and 2010). Across all crops, considerably more volunteers of the HD-cultivar than of the LD-cultivar were present at several survey dates in the first year following seed rain. The highest number of volunteers originated from the HD-cultivar with up to 11volunteersm−2 in winter turnip rape compared with a maximum of 0.48plantsm−2 in the other crops. Cultivar-specific differences in volunteer density were observed as well in maize two years after OSR seed rain. Flowering and seed setting volunteers were only present in 2010 and the flowering time was crucially overlapping with that of sown winter OSR. The reproductive ability (seedsproducedm−2) of the LD-volunteers was five times lower in winter turnip rape than of the HD-volunteer; a similar trend was observed for the OSR volunteers in the other host crops. Strategies to definitely reduce unwanted effects of OSR volunteers, such as gene flow, should include the use of LD-cultivars with a low potential to form a soil seed bank, particularly if selective herbicides are not available, for instance in broad-leaved crops, or if the volunteers are herbicide-tolerant.


      PubDate: 2014-09-03T05:25:18Z
       
  • Response of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) to nitrogen fertilization and
           soil water availability in semi-arid Mediterranean environment
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 60
      Author(s): Salvatore Luciano Cosentino , Danilo Scordia , Emanuele Sanzone , Giorgio Testa , Venera Copani
      The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effect of soil water availability and nitrogen fertilization on yield, water use efficiency and agronomic nitrogen use efficiency of giant reed (Arundo donax L.) over four-year field experiment. After the year of establishment, three levels for each factor were studied in the following three years: I0 (irrigation only during the year of establishment), I1 (50% ETm restitution) and I2 (100% ETm restitution); N0 (0kgNha−1), N1 (60kgNha−1) and N2 (120kgNha−1). Irrigation and nitrogen effects resulted significant for stem height and leaf area index (LAI) before senescence, while no differences were observed for stem density and LAI at harvest. Aboveground biomass dry matter (DM) yield increased following the year of establishment in all irrigation and N fertilization treatments. It was always the highest in I2N2 (18.3, 28.8 and 28.9tDMha−1 at second, third and fourth year growing season, respectively). The lowest values were observed in I0N0 (11.0, 13.4 and 12.9tDMha−1, respectively). Water use efficiency (WUE) was significantly higher in the most stressed irrigation treatment (I0), decreasing in the intermediate (I1) and further in the highest irrigation treatment (I2). N fertilization lead to greater values of WUE in all irrigation treatment. The effect of N fertilization on agronomic nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) was significant only at the first and second growing season. Giant reed was able to uptake water at 160–180cm soil depth when irrigation was applied, while up to 140–160cm under water stress condition. Giant reed appeared to be particularly suited to semi-arid Mediterranean environments, showing high yields even in absence of agro-input supply.


      PubDate: 2014-09-03T05:25:18Z
       
  • Estimation of past and recent carbon input by crops into agricultural
           soils of southeast Germany
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 61
      Author(s): Martin Wiesmeier , Rico Hübner , Rene Dechow , Harald Maier , Peter Spörlein , Uwe Geuß , Edzard Hangen , Arthur Reischl , Bernd Schilling , Margit von Lützow , Ingrid Kögel-Knabner
      In agricultural soils, the formation of soil organic matter largely depends on the carbon (C) input by crop residues and rhizodeposition, which is thus of decisive importance for the management and prediction of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks in cropland and grassland. However, there is a remarkable lack of reliable, crop-specific C input data. We used a plant C allocation approach to estimate the C input of major crops and grassland into agricultural soils of Bavaria in southeast Germany. Historic and recent plant C allocation coefficients were estimated and C inputs were calculated for a 60-year period (1951–2010) using long-term agricultural statistics. The spatial distribution of C inputs within Bavaria was derived from county-specific statistical data. The results revealed increases of the C input by 107–139% for cereals, 173–188% for root, forage and leguminous crops and 34% for grassland in the last 60 years. This increase was related to linear yield increases until 1995 despite significant changes of plant C allocation. However, from 1995 onwards, crop yields and related C inputs stagnated, which allowed a robust estimation of recent crop-specific C input values. A total C input of 3.8–6.7tha−1 yr−1 was estimated for cereals, 5.2–6.3tha−1 yr−1 for root, forage and leguminous crops and 2.4tha−1 yr−1 for grassland. These amounts were partly higher compared to estimations in the literature. A generally high spatial variability of C inputs was detected within Bavaria with differences of up to 40% between adjacent counties. The results of this study could be used to optimize the C input of crop rotations and thus promote the formation of soil organic matter and C sequestration in agricultural soils on the basis of a soil carbon model. Moreover, recent estimations of C inputs could be used to model the future development of agricultural SOC stocks. A further stagnation of crop yields and the related C input under an ongoing temperature increase bears the risk of a future decrease of SOC stocks in cropland soils of Bavaria.


      PubDate: 2014-09-03T05:25:18Z
       
  • Durum wheat quality prediction in Mediterranean environments: From local
           to regional scale
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 61
      Author(s): P. Toscano , B. Gioli , L. Genesio , F.P. Vaccari , F. Miglietta , A. Zaldei , A. Crisci , E. Ferrari , F. Bertuzzi , P. La Cava , C. Ronchi , M. Silvestri , A. Peressotti , J.R. Porter
      Durum wheat is one of the most important agricultural crops in the Mediterranean area. In addition to yield, grain quality is very important in wheat markets because of the demand for high-quality end products such as pasta, couscous and bulgur wheat. Grain quality is directly affected by several agronomic and environmental factors. Our objective is to determine the general principles underlying how, in Mediterranean environments, grain protein content (GPC) is affected by these factors and provide a system model with high predictive ability. We initially evaluated the capability of the Delphi system to simulate GPC in the major Italian supply basins (Basilicata, Capitanata, Marche, Tuscany) for 9 years (1999–2007) a month ahead of harvesting and we then analyzed relations between Delphi system errors and selected environmental variables during flowering and grain filling stages. The results were evaluated on the basis of regression with observed GPC, while errors were calculated performing a linear correlation analysis with environmental variables. The model showed a high capability to reproduce the inter-annual variability, with important year to year differences, with better performance in the southern study areas (Basilicata and Capitanata). In this study the highest overestimation occurred in conjunction with the year (2004) characterized by the lowest quality in terms of GPC, lowest average temperature in May and highest yield production for the whole study period.


      PubDate: 2014-09-03T05:25:18Z
       
  • Interference between red kidneybean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars and
           redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.)
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 60
      Author(s): Rouhollah Amini , Hassan Alizadeh , Alireza Yousefi
      Field experiments were conducted in 2006 and 2007 to evaluate the competitive ability of bush type red kidneybean (RKB) (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) cultivars against redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.). Three cultivars of RKB (Akhtar, Sayyad and D81083) and five A. retroflexus densities (0, 4, 8, 16 and 32plantsm−2) were established in a factorial arrangement. A. retroflexus had a greater plant height and growth rate (GR) but a lower leaf area index (LAI) than RKB cultivars in almost all treatments. Higher densities of A. retroflexus increased LAI and GR but decreased yield of RKB cultivars. The cv. Sayyad and D81083 had the greatest and lowest LAI and GR, respectively, in competition with A. retroflexus. The maximum intercepted photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) at noon by A. retroflexus was 90.4 and 66.0% in competition with cv. D81083 and Sayyad, respectively. The seed yield and pod number per plant of RKB cultivars decreased severely with increasing A. retroflexus density. A. retroflexus seed numberm−2 was the highest and lowest in competition with cv. D81083 and Sayyad, respectively. The competitive ability of RKB cultivars was compared using parameters estimated through two-parameter yield loss-relative leaf area model. The relative ranking of the RKB cultivars examined for their competitiveness, supported by modeling results, was Sayyad>Akhtar>D81083.


      PubDate: 2014-08-17T04:34:45Z
       
  • Energy crops: Prospects in the context of sustainable agriculture
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 60
      Author(s): Luis López-Bellido , Jacques Wery , Rafael J. López-Bellido
      The objectives of this review are to analyse the potential of bioenergy crops development in European agriculture and to identify research objectives based on transformation technologies. Bioenergy is the chemical energy stored in organic material, which can be directly converted into useful energy sources by biological, mechanical or thermochemical processes. The substitution of food crops with energy crops and the demand for agricultural raw materials for liquid biofuel production will affect agriculture over the next decade and possibly beyond. It is expected that both second-generation biofuel production technology and energy crops used will be more efficient than first-generation. Nonetheless, there are still technical limitations for crop growth and fuel production from second-generation technology. In general, many of the crops that could supply the raw materials for second-generation biofuels are largely undomesticated and are in the first stages of development and management. The development of specific crops dedicated to energy has been proposed as a strategy to produce energy without affecting food security and the environment. The research seeks to develop enzymatic systems for the cost-efficient decomposition of cellulose into its molecular sugar components, which can then be fermented to produce ethanol. This biorefinery of crops into multiple products, including energy, chemical products and materials, will augment the overall value of the biomass. Clearly, multidisciplinary research is necessary to address sustainable biofuel production.


      PubDate: 2014-07-30T02:30:41Z
       
  • Contrasting the spatial management of nitrogen and phosphorus for improved
           water quality: Modelling studies in New Zealand and France
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): R.W. McDowell , P. Moreau , J. Salmon-Monviola , P. Durand , P. Leterme , P. Merot
      Critical source areas (CSAs) define areas of a farm or catchment that emit the majority of water quality contaminants but account for a minority of the area at a field, farm or catchment scale. Using process based modelling we tested the hypothesis that the definition and management of CSAs would decrease losses of phosphorus (P) in two New Zealand catchments and nitrogen (N) in a French catchment. In the New Zealand catchment, CSAs of P loss were isolated to small areas within fields commensurate with surface flow pathways, while in the French catchment, CSAs for N loss were influenced by factors (inputs and land use) relevant at a field (or multiple field) scale. Scenarios were tested that examined the management of CSAs versus whole field management for P, and decreasing N loss within CSAs by increasing the proportion of grassland fields and changing their location relative to cropland. The results showed that N losses decreased by up to 25% as more grassland was incorporated into the catchment, especially in wet areas near valley bottoms due to a longer growth period and better utilisation/storage of N than cropland. For P, focusing mitigation on CSAs decreased catchment losses to a similar degree as mitigations applied across the whole catchment, but was on average 6–7 times more cost-effective. Therefore, the definition and management of CSAs at an appropriate scale is recommended to improve water quality and minimise the impact on farm profitability.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Agroecological principles for the redesign of integrated
           crop–livestock systems
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): Thierry Bonaudo , Amaury Burlamaqui Bendahan , Rodolphe Sabatier , Julie Ryschawy , Stéphane Bellon , François Leger , Danièle Magda , Muriel Tichit
      Combining crops and livestock within integrated crop–livestock systems (ICLS) represents an opportunity to improve the sustainability of farming systems. The objective of this paper is to analyse how agroecological principles can help farmers to redesign and improve the resilience, self-sufficiency, productivity, and efficiency of ICLS. Relying on case studies from Brazil and France, we examine how the transformation of two conventional, specialised systems into more integrated-production systems illustrates the different dynamics towards agroecological ICLS. The French case study, based on self-sufficient farming systems belonging to a sustainable agriculture network, highlights that cost-cutting management led to a win–win strategy comprising good economic and environmental performances. The farms decreased their dependence on external inputs and had only a limited loss of production. The past trajectories of the farms illustrate how increasing the interactions between subsystems improved the self-sufficiency and efficiency of the farms. The Brazilian case study compares slash-and-burn agriculture in the Amazonian region with the recovery of degraded grazing area by ICLS. A small increase in chemical inputs linked to a diversification of productions led to a large increase in production and a large decrease in environmental impacts (deforestation). The Brazilian case study also illustrates how the diversification of production increased the resilience of the system to market shocks. Reconstructing the links among soil, crops, and animals following agroecological principles could improve the different performances of ICLS. New agroecological ICLS, benefiting from diversified productions and increased interactions between subsystems, are likely to offset the trade-off between agricultural production and environmental impacts observed in current ICLS.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Exploring integrated crop–livestock systems in different ecoregions
           of the United States
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): R. Mark Sulc , Alan J. Franzluebbers
      Large-scale, energy-intensive, specialized production systems have dominated agricultural production in the United States for the past half-century. Although highly productive and economically successful, there is increasing concern with unintended negative environmental impacts of current agricultural systems. Production systems integrating crops and livestock have potential for providing additional ecosystem services from agriculture by capturing positive ecological interactions and avoiding negative environmental outcomes, while sustaining profitability. A diversity of ecologically sound integrated crop-livestock systems have been and can be employed in different ecoregions: sod-based crop rotations, grazing cover crops in cash-crop rotations, crop residue grazing, sod intercropping, dual-purpose cereal crops, and agroforestry/silvopasture. Improved technologies in conservation tillage, weed control, fertilization, fencing, and planting, as well as improved plant genetics offer opportunities to facilitate successful adoption of integrated systems. This paper explores the use and potential of integrated crop-livestock systems in achieving environmental stewardship and maintaining profitability under a diversity of ecological conditions in the United States.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Evolution in crop–livestock integration systems that improve farm
           productivity and environmental performance in Australia
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): Lindsay W. Bell , Andrew D. Moore , John A. Kirkegaard
      Australian farming systems have an enduring history of crop–livestock integration which emerged in the face of high climate variability, infertile soils and variable landscapes. Ley farming systems with phases of shorter annual legume pasture phases with cereal crops predominate but, emerging sustainability issues and the need to manage risk is driving ongoing innovation in crop–livestock integration. We discuss the recent evolution of selected innovations that integrate crop and livestock production and their impacts on farm productivity, sustainability and business risk. Dual-purpose use of cereals and canola (Brassica napus) for forage during the vegetative stage while still harvesting for grain is now practiced throughout southern Australia's cropping zone. This practice provides risk management benefits, diversifies crop rotations, reduces pressure on other feed resources and can significantly increase both livestock and crop productivity from farms by 25–75% with little increase in inputs. Sacrificially grazing crops when expected grain yield is low and/or livestock prices are attractive relative to grain provides further flexibility in crop–livestock management systems vital for business risk management in a variable climate. Replacing annual pastures with perennial pasture phases in rotation with crops can provide a range of benefits including improved hydrological balance to reduce dryland salinity, subsoil acidification and water-logging, provide a management tool for herbicide-resistant or problem weeds, improved soil nutrient and carbon stocks as well as increased livestock productivity by filling feed gaps. In some environments, integration of perennial forages in mixtures with cropping, such as alley cropping and inter-cropping, also provide options for improving environmental outcomes. These practices are all innovations that provide flexibility and enable tactical decisions about the mix of enterprises and allocation of land and forage resources to be adjusted in response to climate and price. We discuss these innovations in the context of the emerging constraints to crop–livestock integration in Australia including the continuing decline in labour availability on farms and increasing management skill required to optimise enterprise profitability.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Integrated crop–livestock systems in the Brazilian subtropics
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): Anibal de Moraes , Paulo César de Faccio Carvalho , Ibanor Anghinoni , Sebastião Brasil Campos Lustosa , Sérgio Ely Valadão Gigante de Andrade Costa , Taise Robinson Kunrath
      In the subtropical region of Brazil, integrated crop–livestock systems (ICLSs) are characterized by the annual rotation of pastures and crops in a no-till system where the pasture component is used to produce either meat or milk. These systems focus on integration within the farm rather than between farms, being characterized by alternating cropping and pasturing in the same area. Independent of the crop rotations possible in a subtropical environment, the main integrated farming system found was rotation or succession of summer crops (Glycine max, Zea mays, Phaseolus vulgaris or Oryza sativa) with winter annual grazing grasses (mixed or solely Avena strigosa and Lolium multiflorum) or successive natural pastures. The high variability of crop yield in the Brazilian subtropics (due to climate extremes) as well as associated high costs and low prices has encouraged farmers to integrate livestock into their enterprises as a low-risk diversification option. Long-term experiments have demonstrated the benefits of crop–livestock integration with respect to many aspects of the soil–plant–animal system. There is evidence that such a system is not only a livestock–agriculture combination but also a unique system reaching a new complexity threshold, resulting in emergent properties with novel functionalities, some of which have yet to be investigated. In addition to greater environmental gains with less vulnerability, there are higher yields and more financial gain by the farmer, compared to that in the use of monocultures or non-integrated livestock farming. We conclude that ICLSs in Subtropical Brazil provide the opportunity for intensification with sustainability.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Toward agricultural sustainability through integrated crop–livestock
           systems. II. Production responses
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): Alan J. Franzluebbers , Gilles Lemaire , Paulo César de Faccio Carvalho , R. Mark Sulc , Benoît Dedieu



      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Effects of planting soybean in summer fallow on wheat grain yield, total N
           and Zn in grain and available N and Zn in soil on the Loess Plateau of
           China
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 58
      Author(s): Ning Yang , Zhaohui Wang , Yajun Gao , Hubing Zhao , Keyi Li , Fucui Li , Sukhdev S. Malhi
      Dryland wheat is the major contributor to wheat production in the world, where water deficiency and poor soil fertility are key factors limiting wheat grain yields and nutrient concentrations. A field experiment was carried out from June 2008 to June 2011 at Shilipu (latitude 35.12°N, longitude 107.45°E and altitude 1200m above sea level) on the Loess Plateau (a typical dryland) in China, to investigate the effects of rotation with soybean (Glycine max) green manure (GM) on grain yield, total N and total Zn concentrations in subsequent wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and on nitrate-N and available Zn in the soil. The benefits of crop rotation with soybean GM on wheat grain yields became more evident with time. In the second and third years, the grain yields of wheat rotated with soybean GM reached 4871 and 5089kgha−1 at the 108kgNha−1 rate. These yields were 21% and 12% higher than the highest yields of wheat under a fallow-winter wheat (FW) rotation. Rotation with soybean GM reduced the amount of N fertilizer required to obtain wheat grain yields and biomass levels similar to wheat grown in the FW rotation by 20–33%. In the first 2 years, average grain N concentrations over all N rates increased by 6% and 12%, and those of Zn increased by 26% and 14% under the soybean GM-winter wheat (SW) rotation, compared with the FW rotation. The increased grain N and Zn concentrations were found to be related to the increased concentrations of nitrate-N and available Zn in the soil, particularly at the sowing of winter wheat. However, grain N and Zn concentrations were not improved by rotation with soybean GM in the third year. This was attributed to the dilution effect caused by the more grain yield increase than its nutrient export. In conclusion, planting soybean for GM in fallow fields reduced the need for N fertilizer to enhance wheat yields in this dryland region. Change in wheat grain N and Zn concentrations was related to soil nutrient concentrations, and to the balance between increased grain yield and its nutrient export.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Intercropping soybean and palisade grass for enhanced land use efficiency
           and revenue in a no till system
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 58
      Author(s): C.A.C. Crusciol , A.S. Nascente , G.P. Mateus , C.M. Pariz , P.O. Martins , E. Borghi
      Integrated no-till crop and livestock production systems may help rejuvenate degraded pastures, increase land use efficiency (LUE), and increase enterprise revenue. Our objectives were to evaluate: (1) planting date effects on seed yield and nutrient concentration of an early-maturing, no-till system (NTS) soybean (Glycine max) when intercropped with palisade grass (Brachiaria brizantha); (2) dry matter production and protein concentration of the grass pasture after soybean harvest; and (3) overall revenue and LUE for the intercrop system. Experiments were performed during two growing seasons in Botucatu, Brazil using a randomized complete block experimental design. When palisade grass and soybean were sown simultaneously, soybean yield averaged 3.28Mgha−1. Similar seed yields were observed when palisade grass was planted either 30d after soybean emergence (DAE) (3.29Mgha−1) or at the soybean reproductive stage R6 (full seed) (3.50Mgha−1). Monocrop soybean yield averaged 3.50Mgha−1. First cut dry matter forage production was greater when palisade grass was sown at the same time as soybean or 30 DAE of soybean. This indicates that interseeding palisade grass with soybean does not significantly affect soybean nutrition or yield. Intercropping did increase LUE and resulted in 1.6 times more revenue than soybean alone. However, sowing palisade grass at the soybean reproductive stage R6 (full seed) significantly reduced the forage yield compared to early planting.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Pasture grazing intensity and presence or absence of cattle dung input and
           its relationships to soybean nutrition and yield in integrated
           crop–livestock systems under no-till
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): Francine Damian da Silva , Telmo Jorge Carneiro Amado , Christian Bredemeier , Carolina Bremm , Ibanor Anghinoni , Paulo Cesar de Faccio Carvalho
      In integrated soybean–beef cattle systems, the pasture grazing intensity affects the grain crop performance in succession. In addition, the dung cattle input influences the soil nutrients distribution in the field affecting the grain crop yield. This experiment aims to evaluate the effects of winter pasture heights and cattle dung input in soybean crop performance in succession. Main soil macronutrient content, soybean plant population, dry shoot biomass, plant height, plant nutrient content, soybean yield and yield components were assessed in the 10th experimental year. The experiment was conducted in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil, in a long-term integrated crop–livestock systems implemented in 2001. Treatments were arranged in a split plot design with four pasture heights (0.10, 0.20, 0.30, and 0.40m) and two levels of dung input (with or without). For all the variables analyzed, there was no interaction between pasture heights and cattle dung input (P >0.05). The pasture height management had only effect in soil P content, soybean dry biomass production, plant height and number of grains per pod. The increase in grazing intensity was associated to the rise in soybean plant height and dry mass production but was without effect on grain yield. The presence of grazing animals in the integrated soybean–beef cattle systems, and the resultant augmentation of dung input increased by 122% and 38% the availability of soil K and P, respectively in relation to the absence. Thus, the content of such nutrients in the plant were increased in 41% and 7%, respectively. The improvement in soybean nutrition increases the amount of pods per plant by 20%, and resulting in a 23% increase in soybean yield. These results indicate that cattle dung input resulting from grazing animals in the pasture phase increased soybean grain yield due to better plant nutrition. Although, the occurrence of cattle dung was very concentrated in some spots of the field and thus future studies should address strategies to improve spatial distribution of cattle dung input.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Italian ryegrass establishment by self-seeding in integrated
           crop–livestock systems: Effects of grazing management and crop
           rotation strategies
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): Armindo Barth Neto , Jean Victor Savian , Radael Marinho Tres Schons , Olivier Jean François Bonnet , Marcos Weber do Canto , Aníbal de Moraes , Gilles Lemaire , Paulo César de Faccio Carvalho
      We evaluated the re-establishment of an Italian ryegrass pasture by self-seeding on a no-till integrated crop–livestock systems (ICLS) in the southern region of Brazil. This work is part of a long-term experimental protocol initiated in 2003. We tested the effects of various management practices, such as summer crop systems (soybean vs. maize–soybean rotation), stocking methods (continuous vs. rotational) and grazing intensities (low vs. moderate), on Italian ryegrass pasture establishment. In addition, we tested resilience of the system by testing pasture's ability to re-establish following a year without seed head production. The experiment consisted in the rotation, on the same area, of Italian ryegrass pasture grazed by sheep during the winter and up to the end of the grass production cycle, and soybean or soybean–maize grain crops rotation cultivated during the summer. The pasture established itself by self-seeding since 2005. Data were collected in 2011 and 2012 stocking season. The soybean summer crop, continuous stocking and low grazing intensity, all positively affected the production of reproductive tillers in 2011. Grazing intensity in 2011 strongly influenced early vegetative tiller densities (before crop harvest) in 2012. However, none of the grazing intensity or the stocking method treatments affected herbage mass at the end of pasture establishment in 2011 or 2012. On the other hand, the soybean summer crop positively affected pasture establishment, both in term of tiller densities and herbage mass at the end of pasture establishment. The removal of all seed heads in 2011 (preventing seed production) resulted in the total failure of pasture establishment in 2012. Overall, Italian ryegrass establishment by self-seeding relies on the annual replacement of the soil seed bank. This experiment demonstrated that under various stocking methods, moderate grazing intensity and maize or soybean summer crop, Italian ryegrass pasture establishment by self-seeding remains successful even when the stocking periods extended up to the end of the grass production cycle. Self-seeding with moderate grazing intensity ensures successful pasture establishment, reduces labour and costs and allows to increase the stocking period and so animal live weight gain over the grazing season.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Management targets for continuously stocked mixed oat×annual ryegrass
           pasture in a no-till integrated crop–livestock system
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): Taise Robinson Kunrath , Mónica Cadenazzi , Daniel Martins Brambilla , Ibanor Anghinoni , Anibal de Moraes , Raquel Santiago Barro , Paulo César de Faccio Carvalho
      Feeding livestock with cover crops can improve the efficiency and sustainability of integrated crop–livestock systems under no-till. However, no-till systems are based on permanent soil cover by organic material, so grazing livestock can compete for soil cover. Hence, managing stocking rates during the grazing period of the cultivated forage species is a key factor to assure enough herbage mass for maintaining long-term sustainable no-till systems. In this context, the objective of this study was to determine sward management targets for a continuously stocked mixed oat (Avena strigosa)×annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) pasture in rotation with soybean in a no-till integrated crop–livestock system to determine the optimum balance between animal production and herbage mass for soil cover. The effects of sward height management on animal performance and herbage mass covers were evaluated. Treatments corresponded to four sward heights: 10, 20, 30 and 40cm, maintained throughout the experimental period through continuous stocking and variable stocking rate, plus a no-grazing control area. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Herbage mass and animal performance increased linearly with sward height, but weight gain per hectare decreased. Grazing efficiency fitted to a quadratic regression and conversion efficiency a logarithmic model. Equilibrium between grazing and conversion efficiencies was reached on swards managed at 20cm, indicating that this sward height provided enough herbage mass to allow both animal performance and no-till crop demand for soil cover.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Crop and cattle production responses to tillage and cover crop management
           in an integrated crop–livestock system in the southeastern USA
    • Abstract: Publication date: July 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 57
      Author(s): Alan J. Franzluebbers , John A. Stuedemann
      Integrated crop–livestock systems can help achieve greater environmental quality from disparate crop and livestock systems by recycling nutrients and taking advantage of synergies between systems. We investigated crop and animal production responses in integrated crop–livestock systems with two types of winter cover cropping (legume-derived N and inorganic fertilizer N), two types of tillage [conventional disk (CT) and no tillage (NT)], and whether cover crops were grazed by cow/calf pairs or not. The 13-ha field study was a modification of a previous factorial experiment with four replications on Ultisols in Georgia, USA. Recurring summer drought severely limited corn and soybean production during all three years. Type of cover crop had little influence and grazing of cover crops had minor influence on crop production characteristics. Cattle gain from grazing of winter cover crops added a stable component to production. No-tillage management had large positive effects on corn grain (95 vs. 252gm−2 under CT and NT, respectively) and stover (305 vs. 385gm−2) production, as well as on soybean grain (147 vs. 219gm−2) and stover (253 vs. 375gm−2) production, but little overall effect on winter wheat grain (292gm−2) and stover (401gm−2) production. Our results suggest that robust, diversified crop–livestock systems can be developed for impoverished soils of the southeastern USA, especially when managed under no tillage to control environmental quality and improve resistance of crops to drought.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Agricultural sciences in transition from 1800 to 2020: Exploring knowledge
           and creating impact
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): Huub Spiertz
      Transitions in agricultural sciences are brought about by incorporating new findings and insights emerging from biological, chemical and biophysical sciences, by more advanced ways of experimentation and last but not least by quantitative methods and models for data analyses and processing. Major breakthroughs occurred from 1800 onwards when new insights on photosynthesis and mineral nutrition were incorporated in the theory on the growth of crops. It took almost half a century before the humus theory was replaced by a more sound theory on mineral nutrition. The publication by Darwin on domestication in 1868 and the rediscovery of Mendel's laws in 1900 gave a boost to genetics underlying classical plant and animal breeding, which was mainly based on crossing and selection. A major accomplishment of the evolutionary synthesis was the compatibility of Mendelian inheritance with Darwinian natural selection. The discovery of the DNA-structure in the mid-fifties of the 20th century on modern plant breeding showed already impact within some decades. To assess the wide diversity of plant traits for the performance of plants in yield and quality of the produce advanced phenotyping method under controlled conditions has become popular. Genome-wide selection for environments with multiple stresses, however, does require phenotyping in situ. Since 1800 the transition from observations on the plant, field and farm towards dedicated experimentation took place. During the 19th and 20th century the methods for experimentation and data analyses were strongly improved. It took until the mid-20th century before the importance of experiments under controlled conditions was recognized. Studies of plant processes under controlled conditions provided the building blocks for mechanistic modelling of crop growth and production. A systems approach combining knowledge at different scales and incorporating cutting-edge findings from the basic sciences into applied sciences will become important for making a great leap forward in developing agricultural science with impact. Transitions in agricultural research will continue to depend on progress made in the related basic sciences and the capacity for agricultural research and innovation. Therefore, an adequate public funding is required to maintain or even accelerate progress in sciences. This requires the support of the public at large. Public–private partnerships will be needed to bridge the gap between science and innovation.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Evaluation of optical sensor measurements of canopy reflectance and of
           leaf flavonols and chlorophyll contents to assess crop nitrogen status of
           muskmelon
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 58
      Author(s): Francisco M. Padilla , M. Teresa Peña-Fleitas , Marisa Gallardo , Rodney B. Thompson
      Nitrogen losses from intensive vegetal production systems are commonly associated with contamination of water bodies. Sustainable and optimal economic N management requires correct and timely on-farm assessment of crop N status to detect N deficiency or excess. Optical sensors are promising tools for the assessment of crop N status throughout a crop or at critical times. We evaluated optical sensor measurement of canopy reflectance and of leaf flavonols and chlorophyll contents to assess crop N status weekly throughout a muskmelon crop. The Crop Circle ACS 470 was used for reflectance measurement, the SPAD 502 for leaf chlorophyll, and the DUALEX 4 Scientific for leaf chlorophyll and flavonols. Four indices of canopy reflectance (NDVI, GNDVI, RVI, GVI), leaf flavonols and chlorophyll contents and the nitrogen balance index (NBI), the ratio of chlorophyll to flavonols contents, were linearly related to crop N content and to crop Nitrogen Nutrition Index (NNI) throughout most of the crop. NBI most accurately predicted crop N status; in five consecutive weekly measurements, R 2 values were 0.80–0.95. For NDVI during the same period, R 2 values were 0.76–0.87 in the first three measurements but R 2 values in the last two measurements were 0.39–0.45. Similar relationships were found with the three other reflectance indices. Generally, the relationships with NNI were equal to or slightly better than those with crop N content. These optical sensor measurements provided (i) estimation of crop N content in the range 1.5–4.5%, and (ii) an assessment of whether crop N content was sufficient or excessive for optimal crop growth for NNI ranges of 0.8–2.0. Composite equations that integrated the relationships between successive measurements with the optical sensors and crop N content or NNI for periods of ≥2 weeks (often 2–3 weeks) were derived for most indices/parameters. Overall, these results demonstrated the potential for the use of these optical sensor measurements for on-farm monitoring of crop N status in muskmelon.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Which farmers benefit most from sustainable intensification' An
           ex-ante impact assessment of expanding grain legume production in Malawi
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 58
      Author(s): A.C. Franke , G.J. van den Brand , K.E. Giller
      Legume technologies are widely promoted among smallholders in southern Africa, providing an opportunity for sustainable intensification. Farms and farming strategies of smallholders differ greatly within any given locality and determine the opportunities for uptake of technologies. We provide an ex-ante assessment of the impact of grain legumes on different types of farms and identify niches for grain legumes in Malawi. After creation of a farm typology, detailed farm characterisations were used to describe the farming system. The characterisations provided the basis for the construction of simplified, virtual farms on which possible scenarios for expanding and intensifying grain legume production were explored using the farm-scale simulation model NUANCES-FARMSIM. Observed yields and labour inputs suggested that maize provides more edible yield per unit area with a higher calorific value and greater labour use efficiency than groundnut and soybean. Crop yields simulated by the model partly confirmed these yield trends, but at farm level maize-dominated systems often produced less food than systems with more grain legumes. Improved management practices such as addition of P-based fertiliser to grain legumes and inoculation of soybean were crucial to increase biological nitrogen fixation and grain yields of legumes and maize, and created systems with increased area of legumes that were more productive than the current farms. Improved legume management was especially a necessity for low resource endowed farmers who, due to little past use of P-based fertiliser and organic inputs, have soils with a poorer P status than wealthier farmers. Economic analyses suggested that legume cultivation was considerably more profitable than continuous maize cropping. Highest potential net benefits were achieved with tobacco, but the required financial investment made tobacco cultivation riskier. Grain legumes have excellent potential as food and cash crops particularly for medium and high resource endowed farmers, a role that could grow in importance as legume markets further develop. For low resource endowed farmers, legumes can improve food self-sufficiency of households, but only if legumes can be managed with P fertiliser and inoculation in the case of soybean. Given that low resource endowed farmers tend to be risk averse and have few resources to invest, the ability of poorer farmers to adopt legume technologies could be limited.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Elytrigia repens population dynamics under different management schemes in
           organic cropping systems on coarse sand
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 58
      Author(s): Ilse A. Rasmussen , Bo Melander , Margrethe Askegaard , Kristian Kristensen , Jørgen E. Olesen
      Elytrigia repens is a rhizomatous perennial weed prevalent in organic cropping systems in Scandinavia. This study analysed the population dynamics of E. repens in a long-term crop rotation experiment on coarse sand in Denmark in order to gain insights into the factors influencing its population changes, especially those important for outbreaks of E. repens infestations. Data were obtained from three cycles of four-year crop rotations with various cash crops and annual grass–clover subjected to four treatment combinations: with and without animal manure and with and without catch crops. E. repens was controlled by different tillage and mowing strategies between and within crops. Pulses and spring cereals caused the highest population increases, especially when preceded by grass–clover. Potatoes grown in ridges and winter rye suppressed the E. repens population, but tillage between crops was necessary to decrease the population. Manuring generally reduced E. repens growth by 28%. Thus there are crops that need particular attention when designing crop sequences, provision of sufficient nutrients is important to strengthen crop suppression of weeds, and mechanical interventions are needed to manage E. repens satisfactorily.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • MIMYCS.Moisture, a process-based model of moisture content in developing
           maize kernels
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): Andrea Maiorano , Davide Fanchini , Marcello Donatelli
      Moisture content influences harvest timing and the consequent drying process and drying costs, and the development of spoilage fungi during pre- and post-harvest phases. Maize kernel development in the field can be partitioned into three phases: i) lag phase, ii) grain filling and maturation drying, and iii) post-maturity dry-down. A model simulating maize kernel moisture content during maturation can help either monitoring or foreseen maize kernel humidity during the harvest period. Also, it would be useful in simulation studies via crop models to estimate the infield feasibility of harvest but also the interaction with diseases responsible for mycotoxin production, against weather scenarios. A process-based model was developed, called MIMYCS.Moisture. When the hybrids were analyzed all together, MIMYCS.Moisture showed a good general predictive capability with an average error in moisture estimation of ±3.28% moisture (considering the root mean square error – RMSE). The model efficiency (EF) was positive (0.85) and the model was able to explain the 89.7% of variation. When the two sub-models were analyzed separately, the RMSE remained approximately at the same level of the general model, while the other indicators changed revealing the different characteristics of the two models. The developmental moisture sub-model has a slight tendency to overestimate, while the dry-down sub-model tended to underestimate final moisture content. However, when the model was analyzed separately for each hybrid, both calibration and validation results suggested that more data are needed to improve the model likely with respect to kernel characteristics of hybrids. Finally, the equilibrium moisture content equation used, taken from industrial drying models, might not be adequate for simulating the field conditions where temperature is well below the one in dryers and environmental air humidity may vary considerably across sites and harvest periods.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Evaluation of WARM for different establishment techniques in Jiangsu
           (China)
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): Valentina Pagani , Caterina Francone , ZhiMing Wang , Lin Qiu , Simone Bregaglio , Marco Acutis , Roberto Confalonieri
      WARM is a model for rice simulation accounting for key biotic and a-biotic factors affecting quantitative and qualitative (e.g., amylose content, chalkiness) aspects of production. Although the model is used in different international contexts for yield forecasts (e.g., the EC monitoring and forecasting system) and climate change studies, it was never explicitly evaluated for transplanting, the most widespread rice establishment method especially in tropical and sub-tropical Asia. In this study, WARM was tested for its ability to reproduce nursery growth and transplanting shock, using data on direct sown and transplanted (both manual and mechanical) rice collected in 24 dedicated field experiments performed at eight sites in Jiangsu in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The agreement between measured and simulated aboveground biomass data was satisfactory for both direct sowing and transplanting: average R 2 of the linear regression between observed and simulated values was 0.97 for mechanical transplanting and direct sowing, and 0.99 for manual transplanting. RRMSE values ranged from 5.26% to 30.89%, with Nash and Sutcliffe modelling efficiency always higher than 0.78; no notable differences in the performance achieved for calibration and validation datasets were observed. The new transplanting algorithm – derived by extending the Oryza2000 one – allowed WARM to reproduce rice growth and development for direct sown and transplanted datasets (i) with comparable accuracy and (ii) using the same values for the parameters describing morphological and physiological plant traits. This demonstrates the reliability of the proposed transplanting simulation approach and the suitability of the WARM model for simulating rice biomass production even for production contexts where rice is mainly transplanted.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Use of soil and vegetation spectroradiometry to investigate crop water use
           efficiency of a drip irrigated tomato
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): S. Marino , M. Aria , B. Basso , A.P. Leone , A. Alvino
      An agronomic research was conducted in Tuscany (Central Italy) to evaluate the effects of an advanced irrigation system on the water use efficiency (WUE) of a tomato crop and to investigate the ability of soil and vegetation spectroradiometry to detect and map WUE. Irrigation was applied following an innovative approach based on CropSense system. Soil water content was monitored at four soil depths (10, 20, 30 and 50cm) by a probe. Rainfall during the crop cycle reached 162mm and irrigation water applied with a drip system amounted to 207mm, distributed with 16 irrigation events. Tomato yield varied from 7.10 to 14.4kgm−2, with a WUE ranging from 19.1 to 38.9kgm−3. The irrigation system allowed a high yield levels and a low depth of water applied, as compared to seasonal ET crop estimated with Hargraves’ formula and with the literature data on irrigated tomato. Measurements were carried out on geo-referenced points to gather information on crop (crop yield, eighteen Vegetation indices, leaf area index) and on soil (spectroradiometric and traditional analysis). Eight VIs, out of nineteen ones analyzed, showed a significant relationship with georeferenced yield data; PVI maps seemed able to return the best response, before harvesting, to improve the knowledge of the area of cultivation and irrigation system. CropSense irrigation system reduced seasonal irrigation volumes. Some vegetation indexes were significantly correlated to tomato yield and well identify, a posteriori, crop area with low WUE; spectroradiometry can be a valuable tool to improve irrigated tomato field management.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Evaluation of pixel- and object-based approaches for mapping wild oat
           (Avena sterilis) weed patches in wheat fields using QuickBird imagery for
           site-specific management
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): Isabel Luisa Castillejo-González , José Manuel Peña-Barragán , Montserrat Jurado-Expósito , Francisco Javier Mesas-Carrascosa , Francisca López-Granados
      This paper compares of pixel- and object-based techniques for mapping wild oat weed patches in wheat fields using multi-spectral QuickBird satellite imagery for site-specific weed management. The research was conducted at two levels: (1) at the field level, on 11 and 15 individual infested wheat fields in 2006 and 2008, respectively, and (2) on a broader level, by analysing the entire 2006 and 2008 images. To evaluate the wild oat patches mapping at the field level, both pixel- and object-based image analyses were tested with six classification algorithms: Parallelepipeds (P), Mahalanobis Distance (MD), Maximum Likelihood (ML), Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM), Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Decision Tree (DT). The results showed that weed patches could be accurately detected with both analyses obtaining global accuracies between 80% and 99% for most of the fields. The MD and SVM classifiers were the most accurate for both the pixel- and object-based images from 2006 and 2008, respectively. In the broad-scale analysis, all of the wheat fields were identified in the imagery using a multiresolution hierarchical segmentation based on two scales. The first segmentation scale was classified using the MD and ML algorithms to discriminate wheat fields from other land uses. Accuracies greater than 85% were obtained for MD and 88% for ML for both imagery. A hierarchical analysis was then performed with the second segmentation scale, increasing the accuracies to 93% and 91% for 2006 and 2008 imagery, respectively. Finally, based on the most accurate results obtained in the field-level study, pixel-based classifications using the MD, ML and SVM algorithms were applied to the wheat fields identified. The results of these broad-level analyses showed that wild oat patches were accurately discriminated in all the wheat fields present in the entire images with accuracies greater than 91% for all the classifiers tested.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Global warming over 1960–2009 did increase heat stress and reduce
           cold stress in the major rice-planting areas across China
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): Zhao Zhang , Pin Wang , Yi Chen , Xiao Song , Xing Wei , Peijun Shi
      Increasing extreme temperature events have raised concerns regarding the risk of rice production to extreme temperature stress (ETS). However, across China what places were exposed to higher ETS during rice-growing period and how ETS has changed over the past five decades, remain unclear. Here, we first compared two indexes for characterizing ETS on rice crop, including Duration-based ETS index (DETS) and Growing Degree Days (GDD). Then, based on the better-performing index and an improved dataset of rice phenological records, we comprehensively assessed the spatio-temporal patterns of ETS at county scale in the major rice-planting areas across China during 1960–2009. The results showed that GDD had an advantage over DETS in characterizing ETS, due to fully consideration of both the specific intensity and duration of extreme temperature events. Based on GDD, we found that ETS on rice crops had significantly changed in both space and time over the last five decades. Spatially, single rice in Northeast China (Region I) and late rice in southern China (Region IV) saw high exposure to cold stress, especially during the heading-flowering stage. The hot spots of heat stress were found for single rice in the Yangtze River basin (Region III) (2.25°C) during the booting stage, and for early rice in Region IV (4.42°C) during the heading-flowering stage. During 1960–2009, global warming did increase heat stress (0.04 and 0.12°Cyear−1 for the stages of booting and heading-flowering, respectively) and reduce cold stress (−0.03 and −0.21°Cyear−1 for the stages of booting and heading-flowering, respectively) in the major rice-planting areas across China. Some particular areas, such as Yunan Province (P4) with increasing cold stress and Zhejiang Province (P13) with increasing heat stress, should be priorities for adaptations to cope with the rising risk of ETS under climate warming.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Assessment of insurance coverage and claims in rainfall related risks in
           processing tomato in Western Spain
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): A. Castañeda-Vera , L. Barrios , A. Garrido , I. Mínguez
      An extension of guarantees related to rainfall-related risks in the insurance of processing tomato crops has been accompanied with a large increase in claims in Western Spain, suggesting that damages may have been underestimated in previous years. A database was built by linking agricultural insurance records, meteorological data from local weather stations, and topographic data. The risk of rainfall-related damages in processing tomato in the Extremenian Guadiana river basin (W Spain) was studied using a logistic model. Risks during the growth of the crop and at harvesting were modelled separately. First, the risk related to rainfall was modelled as a function of meteorological, terrain and management variables. The resulting models were used to identify the variables responsible for rainfall-related damages, with a view to assess the potential impact of extending insurance coverage, and to develop an index to express the suitability of the cropping system for insurance. The analyses reveal that damages at different stages of crop development correspond to different hazards. The geographic dependence of the risk influences the scale at which the model might have validity, which together with the year dependency, the possibility of implementing index based insurances is questioned.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Carbon assimilation, leaf area dynamics, and grain yield in contemporary
           earlier- and later-senescing maize hybrids
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): Horacio A. Acciaresi , Eduardo A. Tambussi , Mariana Antonietta , María S. Zuluaga , Fernando H. Andrade , Juan J. Guiamét
      Maize breeding during the past 50 years has been associated with a delay of leaf senescence, but it is not clear whether this trait is likewise associated with higher grain yield in modern hybrids. Post-silking growth, leaf area dynamics, photosynthetic parameters and yield were compared in modern maize hybrids differing in canopy senescence rate. In the first two experiments, four hybrids were grown in the field at Balcarce, Argentina (37°45′ S, 58°18 W). In spite of differences in chlorophyll retention and photosynthesis of the ear leaf, post-silking growth and grain yield were very similar in all four hybrids while kernel N concentration was lower in the later-senescing hybrids. In a third experiment, a later-senescing (NK870) and an earlier-senescing (DK682) hybrid were grown to analyze the potential photosynthetic contribution of delayed leaf senescence. Leaf area and chlorophyll content were larger in NK870, especially at the lower canopy level (0.75m above the ground). However, hybrids did not differ for canopy light interception. Because photosynthetic photon flux density below 1m above the ground was less than 10% of incident radiation and photosynthesis quantum yield did not change during senescence, the potential photosynthetic output of lower leaves below 1m was very low. Lower leaves of NK870 had N concentrations higher than those needed to sustain photosynthesis at the light conditions below 1m. Therefore, we show that delayed senescence does not necessarily improve post-silking C accumulation because: (i) canopy light interception is not reduced by senescence except at very late stages of grain filling; (ii) contrasting hybrids show more pronounced senescence differences at canopy levels receiving less than 10% of incident radiation; (iii) delayed senescing hybrids present lower kernel N concentrations while extra N is retained in leaves exposed to a light limiting micro-environment. Delayed senescence at lower canopy levels may be unproductive, at least under non-stressing conditions.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Assessment of irrigation scenarios to improve performances of Lingot bean
           (Phaseolus vulgaris) in southwest France
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): H. Marrou , T.R. Sinclair , R. Metral
      In the context of climate change, producing the same amount of food with less water has become a challenge all over the world. This is also true for the Lingot bean production in the area of Castelnaudary of southwest France where market competition with imported bean has made it crucial to achieve high yields to maintain production in the area. The use of an appropriate and robust crop model can help to identify crop management solutions to face such issues. We used SSM-legumes, a crop model generic to legume species, as well as field observations recorded over five years on eight farms of the Castelnaudary area to assess the effect of different irrigation scenarios on bean yield and water consumption. First, it was demonstrated that the SSM-legumes model is robust in simulating the development and growth of Lingot bean in non-stressed or moderately stressed conditions of this region regarding water and nutrient availability. Then, the use of the model to compare irrigation scenarios provided guidance on how to improve irrigation management for Lingot bean production. These results showed that farmers could achieve slightly higher yields with less water by basing irrigation decisions on the water content of the soil.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Application of pig slurry—First year and residual effects on yield
           and N balance
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): Klaus Sieling , Kang Ni , Henning Kage
      Crops generally utilize nitrogen (N) from slurries less efficiently than from mineral fertilizers. In order to compare the effects of slurry and mineral N application on yield and residual fertilization effects, a long-term field trial was established in autumn 1994, where pig slurry was applied to oilseed rape (OSR), winter wheat and winter barley at the same application dates as mineral N fertilizer. N amounts ranged from 0 to 240kg total Nha−1. The same treatment regimes were applied to the same plots in each year. Starting in 2010 (2011), wheat (barley) received no N fertilization in order to allow for testing residual fertilizer effects. Every year seed yield and N offtake by the seeds were determined. Accounting only for ammonia N of pig slurry, similar seed yields in OSR and slightly higher grain yields in wheat and barley compared to mineral N fertilizer were achieved. This indicates that mineralization of organically bounded slurry N compensated gaseous ammonia losses. In plots without N fertilization, OSR showed no yield trends during the experimental period, whereas wheat (barley) yield started to decrease after 10 (13) years without N fertilization. In the highly fertilized treatments, no significant trend in seed yield or N amount required for maximum yield could be detected. In the subsequent unfertilized wheat crop, accumulated slurry effects increased grain yield more than those of mineral N fertilizer. Barley grown in the second year without N supply remained unaffected by the previous slurry N application.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Low yield gap of winter wheat in the North China Plain
    • Abstract: Publication date: September 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 59
      Author(s): Kenan Li , Xiaoguang Yang , Zhijuan Liu , Tianyi Zhang , Shuo Lu , Yuan Liu
      The yield gap (YG) between the potential yields (Yp) and the average on-farm yields (Ya) is an indicator of the potential improvement for crop production. Understanding how large the current gap is and how this gap has changed over the past few decades is essential for increasing wheat production to meet increased food demand in China. This paper describes a study conducted using an APSIM-Wheat model and farm-level crop yield to analyze the spatio-temporal distribution of the yield gap of winter wheat from 1981 to 2010 in the North China Plain. Nine varieties were calibrated and evaluated based on the data from 16 agro-meteorological experimental sites and then potential yields were estimated considering cultivar replacement. In addition, a trend pattern analysis of on-farm yields for the period 1981–2010 was conducted. Results revealed an estimated yield gap across the entire North China Plain region of 1140–6810kgha−1, with a weight average of 3630kgha−1 in 1981–2010. Expressed as a relative yield (yield gap % of potential yields), the range was 15–80%, and the weight average was 45%. Despite the negative effects of increasing temperature and decreasing radiation, the potential yields significantly increased by 45kgha−1 per year due to cultivar improvement. On-farm yields increased even more notably because of new cultivar selection, increased fertilizer application and other management improvements, but were stagnating in 32.3% of wheat areas, located mainly in Hebei province, Shandong province, Beijing and Tianjin. The improvement of on-farm yields have substantially contributed to yield gap spatio-temporal variation. As a result, the yield gap decreased from 4200kgha−1 (56%) in 1981–1990 to 3000kgha−1 (35%) in 2001–2010 at a rate of −69kgha−1 per year. However, yields stagnation will expand to the northern Henan province without cultivar potential productivity improving, where yield gap was close to or less than 20% of the potential yields and proved difficult to reduce. To further improve the total production of winter wheat in the coming decades, efforts should be paid to break the potential ceiling and reduce the yield gap by breeding higher yield variety and introduction of new agricultural technology.


      PubDate: 2014-07-25T01:01:29Z
       
  • Integrated crop and livestock systems in Western Europe and South America:
           A review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 March 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy
      Author(s): Jean-Louis Peyraud , Miguel Taboada , Luc Delaby
      For many years, we have seen an increasing specialization of agricultural systems and territories, with a clear separation between territories with very high animal densities and those devoted to the growing of annual crops. This development is explained by market and sector economic logic and has been reinforced by the availability of low-cost inputs and animal housing systems based on direct grazing not requiring straw. It has, however, also involved negative environmental impacts and, in some cases, the impoverishment of soil fertility, a loss of biodiversity, and excesses of N and P, leading to eutrophication and hot spots of ammonia emission in livestock-breeding territories. Having recapped the mechanisms behind the specialization of systems and territories, we examined the extent to which the development of innovative mixed-farming systems that reconnect livestock and crop production on various territorial scales (farm, district, region) can reduce the negative impacts of agriculture on the environment, produce valuable ecosystem services and achieve acceptable economic efficiency for farming enterprises. Examples from temperate regions will be used to show that mixed-farming systems increase the possibilities of better recycling of nutrients within systems, limiting recourse to the purchase of increasingly expensive inputs and safeguarding the biodiversity of agricultural ecosystems.


      PubDate: 2014-04-28T17:21:07Z
       
  • Corrigendum to “Comparing an empirical crop model with a functional
           structural plant model to account for individual variability”
           [Europ. J. Agronomy 53 (2014) 16–27]
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 26 April 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy
      Author(s): Lu Feng , Jean-Claude Mailhol , Hervé Rey , Sébastien Griffon , Daniel Auclair , Philippe De Reffye



      PubDate: 2014-04-28T17:21:07Z
       
  • Agronomic performance of an IR64 introgression line with large leaves
           derived from New Plant Type rice in aerobic culture
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 58
      Author(s): Midori Okami , Yoichiro Kato , Nobuya Kobayashi , Junko Yamagishi
      Aerobic culture is a promising water-saving technology in irrigated rice ecosystems, but the vulnerability of plants to fluctuations in soil moisture constrains leaf expansion and yield. The objective of this study was to examine whether an aboveground architecture with large leaves and reduced tillering is associated with vigorous leaf growth in aerobic rice culture. In a series of field experiments, we evaluated the agronomic performance of an IR64 introgression line, YTH323 (IR84640-11-27-1-9-3-2-4-2-2-2-B), with fewer tillers and larger leaves than IR64, derived from New Plant Type rice, under various water and nitrogen conditions. In flooded culture, YTH323 yielded the same as IR64 and 38% more than IR65564-44-51 (a New Plant Type rice) (9.0 vs. 6.6tha−1). In aerobic culture, in contrast, it yielded 81% more than IR64 in slightly dry soils (5.1 vs. 2.8tha−1). YTH323 had a higher leaf area index than IR64 and IR65564-44-51 under slightly dry soil conditions and under a range of nitrogen conditions. The higher and more stable yield of YTH323 in aerobic culture was attributable to greater early vigor, high specific leaf area, a high ratio of leaf weight to total biomass, and larger leaves, along with the characteristics of high-yield cultivars such as high responsiveness to fertilizers and good grain filling. We conclude that genetic modification of the aboveground architecture of IR64, a typical tropical lowland rice cultivar, to reduce tiller and leaf number improves adaptation to aerobic culture.


      PubDate: 2014-04-28T17:21:07Z
       
  • Changes in the morphological traits of maize genotypes in China between
           the 1950s and 2000s
    • Abstract: Publication date: August 2014
      Source:European Journal of Agronomy, Volume 58
      Author(s): D.L. Ma , R.Z. Xie , X.K. Niu , S.K. Li , H.L. Long , Y.E. Liu
      Maize (Zea mays L.) morphological traits influence light attenuation within the canopy, and, ultimately, yield. The objectives of this 3-year field study were to: (i) examine the morphological characteristics of specific genotypes using varieties of maize that were widely used in Chinese agriculture from the 1950s to the 2000s; (ii) assess the canopies and yields of maize populations in relation to changes in their morphological characteristics. There were significant decrease on the ear ratio, center of gravity height and leaf angle with improved genotypes regardless of plant density. However, the ear leaves and adjacent leaves appeared to be longer in improved maize varieties. The mean leaf orientation value (LOV) and individual LOVs increased considerably during the time series of the genotypes, but more obvious changes in LOV occurred in the uppermost leaves. The average leaf area (LA) per plant and LA on the ears increased significantly from the 1950s to the 2000s. At the optimum density, current hybrid's canopy architecture was more compact, having short plant height and more upright leaf. The SDLA above or under ear significantly increased with improving genotypes, mainly due to new hybrids allowing the use of more individuals per area and thus increasing leaf area index (LAI). At the highest plant density, new hybrids had the rates of light transmittance (0.04–0.05), low attenuation coefficient (K =0.47) and gained the highest yield. Leaf angle and LOV were highly correlated with TPAR/IPAR on ear, K, grain yield. Consequently, yield improvement in maize was probably a result of increased plant density tolerance through dependence on changes in leaf orientation characteristics.


      PubDate: 2014-04-28T17:21:07Z
       
 
 
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