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Agronomy, Volume 11, Issue 4 (April 2021) – 202 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The use of conventional drones in viticulture is an inexpensive and accessible way for the farmer to acquire spectral data from the vine cultivation. In this work, UAV RGB imagery was used to obtain spectral information related to the quality parameters of the grape. It was shown it was possible to know how variables related to berry ripening and vine vigor were spatially distributed using indices formed by RGB bands. In addition, two indices developed by the authors include the blue band showed correlations with variables related to productivity and polyphenol content and could also be related to leaves chlorophyll content. These results suggest the potential of using conventional images to monitor harvests and to zone different sections of the vineyards for specific treatment or management. View this paper.
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17 pages, 1764 KiB  
Article
Soil Productivity Degradation in a Long-Term Eroded Olive Orchard under Semiarid Mediterranean Conditions
by Manuel González-Rosado, Luis Parras-Alcántara, Jesús Aguilera-Huertas and Beatriz Lozano-García
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 812; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040812 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2657
Abstract
Olive groves are one of the most important agro-systems in the Mediterranean basin, and the Andalusia region produces the highest quantity of olive oil in Europe. The aim of this work was to evaluate the long-term (15 years) influence of two management practices [...] Read more.
Olive groves are one of the most important agro-systems in the Mediterranean basin, and the Andalusia region produces the highest quantity of olive oil in Europe. The aim of this work was to evaluate the long-term (15 years) influence of two management practices in olive orchards—conventional tillage (CT) and no tillage with bare soil and herbicide application (NT + H)—on soil physical properties, infiltration capacity, erosion rates, and soil productivity. In addition, the short-term (2 years) influence of no tillage with cover crop management (NT-CC) on these parameters was also assessed. In the study area, CT and NT + H management practices showed unsustainable erosion values, 9.82 and 13.88 Mg ha−1 year−1, respectively, while NT-CC inclusion decreased the erosion rates (2.06 Mg ha−1 year−1). The implementation of NT-CC not only reduced erosion rates but also caused a change in the trend of soil productivity loss observed under CT and NT + H. In this sense, NT-CC showed a positive influence on soil quality. However, tillage removal led to a significant reduction in the infiltration capacity of soils under NT + H and NT-CC, which will be a serious handicap for water storage in an environment with continuous processes of water deficit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Tillage in Sustainable Agro-Ecosystems)
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11 pages, 863 KiB  
Article
Effect of Harvest Date on Mango (Mangifera indica L. Cultivar Osteen) Fruit’s Qualitative Development, Shelf Life and Consumer Acceptance
by Giuseppe Gianguzzi, Vittorio Farina, Paolo Inglese and Maria Gloria Lobo Rodrigo
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 811; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040811 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3554
Abstract
The qualitative characteristics of mango fruits change throughout their development process and are also influenced by their duration. Harvesting at different times after the fruit set affects external and internal quality and the post-harvest behavior and management possibilities of the fruits. The objective [...] Read more.
The qualitative characteristics of mango fruits change throughout their development process and are also influenced by their duration. Harvesting at different times after the fruit set affects external and internal quality and the post-harvest behavior and management possibilities of the fruits. The objective of this study was to assess the evolution of the most important physicochemical and organoleptic parameters of cv. Osteen fruits concern the length of their stay on the plant and also to their post-harvest management. For this reason, fruits were harvested progressively in ten pickings. The study showed that mango fruits that are kept on the tree reach the best quality traits, corresponding to their physiological maturation. The length of the storage period needed to reach the consumption point varies greatly according to the harvesting moment and to the different environmental parameters, which also affect the organoleptic and physicochemical quality of the fruits. The number of days after full flowering were confirmed to be the primary information to consider when planning harvest with commercial use of the fruit, but interesting indications can be acquired through the definition of non-destructive (hardness, color) or destructive (dry matter) parameters. The data collected help improve mango fruit′s post-harvest management practices, to provide a product with constant quality and homogeneity to the consumer. Full article
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11 pages, 15062 KiB  
Article
Experimental Study and Design of Biomass Co-Firing in a Full-Scale Coal-Fired Furnace with Storage Pulverizing System
by Xuebin Wang, Zia Ur Rahman, Zhaomin Lv, Yiming Zhu, Renhui Ruan, Shuanghui Deng, Lan Zhang and Houzhang Tan
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 810; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040810 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3391
Abstract
Co-firing coal and biomass in existing power plants facilitates influential advancement in the use of renewable energy resources and carbon emissions reduction. Biomass is intended as a CO2-zero net emission because, during its rise, it uses the same fraction of CO [...] Read more.
Co-firing coal and biomass in existing power plants facilitates influential advancement in the use of renewable energy resources and carbon emissions reduction. Biomass is intended as a CO2-zero net emission because, during its rise, it uses the same fraction of CO2 from the air as that released during its combustion. In addition, the content of nitrogen and sulfur in biomass is lower than in coal. Therefore, the emissions of NOx and SOx can be minimized by co-firing it with coal. In general, the effect of biomass direct co-firing on safety, pulverizing system performance, furnace efficiency, and NOx emission in full-scale furnaces is rarely studied. In this study, biomass direct co-firing was carried out in a 55 MW tangentially fired pulverized coal furnace. The effects of biomass co-firing on safety, the performance of the pulverizing system, furnace efficiency, and pollutant emissions (unburned carbon and NOx) are studied. The results show that the blending of biomass fuel with less than 20% of coal has no issue with respect to auto-ignition and safety. The performance of the pulverizing system is affected up to a certain limit due to the difficulty of grinding the biomass particles into required fineness. The biomass co-firing up to 20% is feasible, but greater than this percentage will severely affect the furnace efficiency. The co-firing of biomass enhanced the NOx reduction significantly and further improved the performance of the SNCR process. This study could provide guidance for the application of biomass co-firing in industrial furnaces. Full article
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19 pages, 5791 KiB  
Article
Identification and Analysis of Strawberries’ Consumer Opinions on Twitter for Marketing Purposes
by Juan D. Borrero and Alberto Zabalo
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 809; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040809 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3270
Abstract
Data are currently characterized as the world’s most valuable resource and agriculture is responding to this global trend. The challenge in that particular field of study is to create a Digital Agriculture that help the agri-food sector grow in a fair, competitive environment. [...] Read more.
Data are currently characterized as the world’s most valuable resource and agriculture is responding to this global trend. The challenge in that particular field of study is to create a Digital Agriculture that help the agri-food sector grow in a fair, competitive environment. As automated machine learning techniques and big data are global research trends in agronomy, this paper aims at comparing different marketing techniques based on Content Analysis to determine the feasibility of using Twitter to design marketing strategies and to determine which techniques are more effective, in particular, for the strawberry industry. A total of 2249 hashtags were subjected to Content Analysis using the Word-count technique, Grounded Theory Method (GTM), and Network Analysis (NA). Findings confirm the results of previous studies regarding Twitter’s potential as a useful source of information due to its lower execution and analysis costs. In general, NA is more effective, cheaper, and faster for Content Analysis than that based both on GTM and automated Word-count. This paper reveals the potential of strawberry-related Twitter data for conducting berry consumer studies, useful in increasing the competitiveness of the berry sector and filling an important gap in the literature by providing guidance on the challenge of data science in agronomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worldwide Trends in Agronomy Research: Bibliometric Studies)
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16 pages, 1152 KiB  
Article
Integrated Effect of Deficit Irrigation and Sowing Methods on Weed Dynamics and System Productivity of Maize–Cowpea Sequence on Vertisols
by Hanamant M. Halli, Sanganabasappa Angadi, Prabhu Govindasamy, Raghavendra Madar, Manjanagouda S. Sannagoudar, Ahmed M. El-Sabrout, Abed Alataway, Ahmed Z. Dewidar and Hosam O. Elansary
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040808 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2126
Abstract
The aim of this study was to explore the effect of sowing methods and deficit irrigation on weed dynamics, yield and water-use efficiency (WUE) of the maize–cowpea system during the summer and monsoon seasons, respectively. The field experiment was carried out for two [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to explore the effect of sowing methods and deficit irrigation on weed dynamics, yield and water-use efficiency (WUE) of the maize–cowpea system during the summer and monsoon seasons, respectively. The field experiment was carried out for two years (2015 and 2016) using a split design with three replicates under irrigated (maize) and rainfed (cowpea) conditions on vertisols of a semi-arid region. Treatments included three sowing methods [i.e., broad bed and furrow (BBF), corrugated furrow (CF) and ridges and furrow (RF)] and four irrigation levels [i.e., irrigation once in 10 days (I10D), irrigation at 40% (I40), at 50% (I50) and at 60% (I60) depletion]. The results indicated that, regardless of weed flora (monocots, dicots and sedges), the RF method produced higher weed density (2.09–2.98 No. m−2) compared to CF (2.00–2.80 No. m−2) and BBF (1.85–2.64 No. m−2) in maize at 30 and 60 days after sowing (DAS). The RF method with irrigation at I40 and I50 recorded significantly higher weed density, followed by the CF and BBF method. A similar trend was also observed with dry weight of weeds (monocot; 24.19%, dicot; 25.52%, and sedges; 29.80%) in maize at 30 and 60 DAS. Higher weed density and dry weight of weeds in the RF method with I40 was due to higher soil moisture availability and higher nutrient uptake due to larger lateral wetting of the soil and greater water use (29.27%). However, the BBF method favoured the growth of weeds (9.33–16.60%) in cowpea at 55 DAS and coped under rain-fed situation over CF and RF. The CF with moderate depletion (I50) method produced significantly higher maize equivalent yield (MEY) of cowpea (10,000 kg ha−1) with considerable reduction in the total water usage (19.33%). Therefore, under a water scarcity situation, growers can practice CF and I50 for higher yield and WUE of maize–cowpea sequence cropping. Full article
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15 pages, 3465 KiB  
Article
Heterosis and Combining Ability Analysis of Fruit Yield, Early Maturity, and Quality in Tomato
by Zengbing Liu, Jingbin Jiang, Ai Ren, Xiangyang Xu, He Zhang, Tingting Zhao, Xiuming Jiang, Yaoguang Sun, Jingfu Li and Huanhuan Yang
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040807 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4359
Abstract
Heterosis and combining ability are two important considerations in the utilization of heterosis, which can be used to generate excellent hybrid resource candidates and is very important in conventional hybrid breeding. In this study, the combining ability, heritability, and heterosis of eight major [...] Read more.
Heterosis and combining ability are two important considerations in the utilization of heterosis, which can be used to generate excellent hybrid resource candidates and is very important in conventional hybrid breeding. In this study, the combining ability, heritability, and heterosis of eight major agronomic traits were analyzed in 10 tomato parents and 45 crosses between them. As well as TY-301, a recognized and official excellent variety that is currently selling well on the market was used as a control to conduct a control heterosis analysis, with the goal of selecting ideal parents with high combining ability and new hybrids with commodity value, high yield, early maturity, and high quality. The results showed that both additive and nonadditive genetic effects are involved in the expression of the traits and that the additive genetic effect is dominant in trait inheritance. Although general combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) were not correlated, and the strength of heterosis depends on SCA, the sum of the parental GCA values (GCAsum) did predict heterosis for some traits with higher predictive accuracy than did SCA. Compared with heterosis, GCAsum can better predict hybrid performance. Finally, the parent 17,969 was the breeding material with the best comprehensive trait performance, especially in yield. We screened a high-yielding candidate combination 17,927 × 17,969 and a precocious and good taste candidate combination 17,666 × 17,927. This information may play an important role in the selection of superior parents and hybrid combinations based on combining ability and heterosis analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Breeding and Genetics)
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22 pages, 367 KiB  
Article
Early Sowing Combined with Adequate Potassium and Sulfur Fertilization: Promoting Beta vulgaris (L.) Yield, Yield Quality, and K- and S-Use Efficiency in a Dry Saline Environment
by Ali A. A. Mekdad, Mostafa M. Rady, Esmat F. Ali and Fahmy A. S. Hassan
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040806 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1882
Abstract
Field trials for two seasons (2018/2019 and 2019/2020) were conducted to investigate the influence of the addition of three levels of potassium (K) (K1 = 60, K2 = 120, and K3 = 180 kg K2O ha−1) [...] Read more.
Field trials for two seasons (2018/2019 and 2019/2020) were conducted to investigate the influence of the addition of three levels of potassium (K) (K1 = 60, K2 = 120, and K3 = 180 kg K2O ha−1) and/or sulfur (S) (S1 = 175, S2 = 350, and S3 = 525 kg CaSO4 ha−1) to the soil, as well as the sowing date (the 1st of September, D1; or the 1st of October, D2) on the potential improvement of physiology, growth, and yield, as well as the quality characteristics of sugar beet yield under soil salinity conditions. With three replicates specified for each treatment, each trial was planned according to a split-split plot in a randomized complete block design. The results revealed that early sowing (D1) led to significant improvements in all traits of plant physiology and growth, in addition to root, top, and biological yields and their quality, gross and pure sugar, and K- and S-use efficiencies based on root yield (R-KUE and R-SUE). The K3 level (180 kg K2O ha−1) positively affected the traits of plant physiology, growth, yield and quality, and R-SUE, and reduced the attributes of impurities, impurity index, and R-KUE. Additionally, the S3 level (525 kg CaSO4 ha−1) affirmatively affected plant physiology, growth, yield and quality traits, and R-KUE, and decreased impurity traits, impurity index, and R-SUE. The interaction of D1 × K3 × S3 maximized the yield of roots (104–105 ton ha−1) and pure sugar (21–22 ton ha−1). Path coefficient analysis showed that root yield and pure sugar content had positive direct effects with 0.62 and 0.65, and 0.38 and 0.38 in both studied seasons, respectively, on pure sugar yield. Significant (p ≤ 0.01) positive correlations were found between pure sugar yield and root yield (r = 0.966 ** and 0.958 **). The study results recommend the use of the integrative D1 × K3 × S3 treatment for sugar beet to obtain maximum yields and qualities under salt stress (e.g., 8.96 dS m−1) in dry environments. Full article
12 pages, 1977 KiB  
Communication
Multi-Scale Evaluation on Two Locations and Digital Fruit Imaging Highlight Morpho-Agronomic Performances and Antioxidant Properties in Chilli Pepper Hybrids
by Pasquale Tripodi, Massimo Schiavi and Roberto Lo Scalzo
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 805; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040805 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2149
Abstract
Chilli pepper is a vegetable crop widely consumed mostly as fresh food or dried as a spice. The nutritional contribution due to the presence of beneficial healthy-related compounds and the versatility of uses have increased its cultivation over the last decade. In Southern [...] Read more.
Chilli pepper is a vegetable crop widely consumed mostly as fresh food or dried as a spice. The nutritional contribution due to the presence of beneficial healthy-related compounds and the versatility of uses have increased its cultivation over the last decade. In Southern European countries chilli production uses established cultivars and/or landraces that are well adapted to specific environments but do not often meet the requirements of the industry, particularly for packaging and processing. In this study, 10 commercial hybrids were evaluated in two diverse environment sites for their productivity and the content of phytochemicals including, carotenoids, capsaicinoids, ascorbic acid and tocopherols. Fruits were assessed using automated tools for the analysis of size, shape and colour parameters. The pepper materials were promising in terms of productivity, whereas a lower level of capsaicinoids and ascorbic acid were detected. Genotype by environment analysis indicated minimal environmental influence on yield, fruit shape, and capsaicinoids. The integration of different sources of phenomics data demonstrates how breeding activities of hybrids have focused on yield and morphology rather than quality linked to phytochemicals content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Improvement of Vegetable Crops)
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12 pages, 562 KiB  
Article
An Optimized Extraction Procedure for Determining Acaricide Residues in Foundation Sheets of Beeswax by Using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
by María Jesús Nozal, Edgar Imaz, José Luis Bernal, José Luis Nieto, Mariano Higes and José Bernal
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 804; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040804 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2342
Abstract
Pesticides can be found in beehives for several reasons, including contamination from surrounding cultivars; yet one of the most pertinent is related to the fact that beekeepers employ acaricides to control various types of mites, which may accumulate in beeswax due to their [...] Read more.
Pesticides can be found in beehives for several reasons, including contamination from surrounding cultivars; yet one of the most pertinent is related to the fact that beekeepers employ acaricides to control various types of mites, which may accumulate in beeswax due to their lipophilic nature. In the present study, foundation sheets of different origins, collected over a period of three years, were analyzed to detect the residues of seven acaricides (atrazine, chlorpyrifos, chlorfenvinphos, alpha-endosulfan, bromopropylate, coumaphos, tau-fluvalinate) by gas chromatography with mass spectrometric detection. An efficient sample treatment (recoveries between 90% and 108%) is proposed, involving solvent extraction with 1% acetic acid in acetonitrile mixture followed by dispersive solid-phase extraction (enhanced matrix removal lipid) and a polishing step. An evaluation was made of the analytical performance of the proposed method. It was shown to be selective, linear from a limit of quantification to 5000 µg/kg, precise (relative standard deviation values were below 6%), and with a goo sensitivity (limit of quantification ranging from 5 to 10 µg/kg). Finally, results showed that a large majority of the sheets analyzed (>90%) contained residues of at least one of these compounds. Coumaphos and tau-fluvalinate residues were the most common, with chlorpyrifos and chlorfenvinphos detected to a lesser extent. Full article
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12 pages, 5370 KiB  
Article
Physicochemical Characterization and Functional Potential of Phaseolus vulgaris L. and Phaseolus coccineus L. Landrace Green Beans
by Elia Nora Aquino-Bolaños, Alma Karina Garzón-García, Jimena Esther Alba-Jiménez, José Luis Chávez-Servia, Araceli Minerva Vera-Guzmán, José Cruz Carrillo-Rodríguez and Manuel Alberto Santos-Basurto
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040803 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3960
Abstract
The green bean is an important crop worldwide, because it is rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as bioactive compounds that provide it with important functional properties; however, the composition of many landraces is still unknown. The purpose of [...] Read more.
The green bean is an important crop worldwide, because it is rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as bioactive compounds that provide it with important functional properties; however, the composition of many landraces is still unknown. The purpose of this project was to characterize Phaselus vulgaris and coccineus L. landrace green beans on pH, titratable acidity, total soluble solids, total sugars, color parameters, total phenols, monomeric anthocyanins, and in vitro antioxidant activity (DPPH and FRAP). Regarding the content of total sugars, differences were registered between both species, as opposed to results observed in total soluble solids. Color parameters showed higher reddish tones for P. vulgaris landraces, though P. coccineus had a higher total phenolic content, especially the reddish landraces, which correlated directly to a higher antioxidant activity by DPPH and FRAP. In the protein content, the species P. vulgaris registered the highest content. These results could contribute to a greater use and even promote the genetic improvement of the outstanding pods that serve as one of the main food products in rural regions for higher benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals of Edible Plants in Human Health)
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18 pages, 3256 KiB  
Article
High Soil Phosphorus Application Significantly Increased Grain Yield, Phosphorus Content but Not Zinc Content of Cowpea Grains
by Saba B. Mohammed, Daniel K. Dzidzienyo, Adama Yahaya, Muhammad L. Umar, Mohammad F. Ishiyaku, Pangirayi B. Tongoona and Vernon Gracen
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 802; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040802 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3458
Abstract
To ameliorate the impact of soil phosphorus (P) deficiency on cowpea, the use of P-based fertilizers is recommended. Plant zinc (Zn) is an essential nutrient required by plants in a wide range of processes, such as growth hormone production and metabolism. However, a [...] Read more.
To ameliorate the impact of soil phosphorus (P) deficiency on cowpea, the use of P-based fertilizers is recommended. Plant zinc (Zn) is an essential nutrient required by plants in a wide range of processes, such as growth hormone production and metabolism. However, a negative association between plant Zn content and high P application has been reported in some crops. There are few reports about soil P application and plant Zn content relationship on cowpea. Thus, this study investigated the response of cowpeas to three P rates in the screenhouse (0, 1.5, and 30 mg P/kg) and field (0, 10, and 60 kg P2O5/ha) and their effects on plant P and Zn content, biomass, and grain yield. In the screenhouse, shoot and root dry weights, and shoot P and Zn content were measured. Shoot dry weight, grain yield, grain P, and Zn contents were determined from field plants. Higher rates of P led to increased shoot biomass and grain yield of the field experiment but were not associated with a significant change in shoot or grain Zn content. There was not a significant correlation between grain yield and Zn content in high soil P (p < 0.05). The effect of higher P application on reduced plant Zn contents may be genotype-dependent and could be circumvented if genotypes with high Zn content under high soil P are identified. Full article
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23 pages, 1100 KiB  
Article
Fusarium Head Blight and Associated Mycotoxins in Grains and Straw of Barley: Influence of Agricultural Practices
by Dimitrios Drakopoulos, Michael Sulyok, Eveline Jenny, Andreas Kägi, Irene Bänziger, Antonio F. Logrieco, Rudolf Krska and Susanne Vogelgsang
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 801; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040801 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2885
Abstract
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating fungal disease of small-grain cereals that causes significant yield losses and mycotoxin contamination, diminishing food and feed safety worldwide. In contrast to wheat, little is known about the agricultural practices that influence FHB and Fusarium mycotoxins [...] Read more.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating fungal disease of small-grain cereals that causes significant yield losses and mycotoxin contamination, diminishing food and feed safety worldwide. In contrast to wheat, little is known about the agricultural practices that influence FHB and Fusarium mycotoxins in barley. Thus, a nationwide survey was conducted across Switzerland for harvest samples in 2016 and 2017, accompanied with a questionnaire to obtain information about the agricultural practices in each barley field. In total, 253 grain and 237 straw samples were analyzed. In both years, F. graminearum was the predominant Fusarium species in grains followed by F. avenaceum and F. poae. Growing maize before barley was associated with increased amount of F. graminearum DNA in grains and straw as well as with elevated concentrations of deoxynivalenol in grains of barley. On the other hand, growing pasture before barley resulted in increased incidence of F. poae and concentration of numerous mycotoxins in grains (e.g., enniatins) and straw (e.g., beauvericin). Reduced tillage practices were linked to increased incidence of F. graminearum and deoxynivalenol content in grains and straw. In contrast, conventional tillage was linked to higher incidence of F. poae. Moreover, use of spring barley was associated with decreased amount of F. graminearum DNA in grains and straw, but increased incidence of F. poae and F. avenaceum. Use of the spring variety Eunova was linked to increased concentrations of several Fusarium mycotoxins in grains (e.g., enniatins and nivalenol). Furthermore, the application of strobilurin-based fungicides was associated with higher deoxynivalenol and beauvericin contents in grains. The application of plant growth regulators was associated with increased concentration of some Fusarium mycotoxins in grains (e.g., culmorin), while absence of growth regulators application was linked to elevated concentration of some other mycotoxins (e.g., nivalenol). We conclude that individual agricultural practices can suppress some FHB causing species and reduce the associated mycotoxins, but can promote others. Hence, integrated control measures combining numerous prevention and intervention strategies should be applied for the sustainable management of mycotoxins in barley. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for the Control of Fusarium Head Blight in Cereals)
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17 pages, 1823 KiB  
Article
Effect of Low Temperature on Germination, Growth, and Seed Yield of Four Soybean (Glycine max L.) Cultivars
by Anna Szczerba, Agnieszka Płażek, Jakub Pastuszak, Przemysław Kopeć, Marta Hornyák and Franciszek Dubert
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040800 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 10168
Abstract
During germination at low temperatures, seeds rich in proteins may experience damage to their cytoplasmic membranes. The study aimed to investigate the influence of the germination temperature on growth, development, and yield of four cultivars of soybean, a typical thermophilic species. The seeds [...] Read more.
During germination at low temperatures, seeds rich in proteins may experience damage to their cytoplasmic membranes. The study aimed to investigate the influence of the germination temperature on growth, development, and yield of four cultivars of soybean, a typical thermophilic species. The seeds were germinated at 10, 15, and 25 °C in the dark. After 48 h, one part of the seeds was analyzed for their amylase and dehydrogenase activity, cell membrane permeability, and germination vigor. The other part was transferred into soil and cultivated up to yielding. Chlorophyll fluorescence, fresh (FW) and dry weight (DW) of shoots, pod and seed number, and seed DW were analyzed. The plants of cvs. ‘Abelina’, ‘Malaga’, and ‘Merlin’, germinating at low temperature, produced the highest number of seeds. Seed number negatively correlated with their DW and positively with the number of active reaction centers (RC/CSm) in all cultivars. In cvs. ‘Abelina’ and ‘Malaga’, the number of seeds also positively correlated with the index performance of photosystem II (PSII), which was the highest in all plants germinating at low temperature. We suggest cultivating cv. ‘Abelina’ in cooler regions, while cvs. ‘Petrina’ and ‘Malaga’ in warmer areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frost Tolerance and Cold Acclimation of Crops)
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6 pages, 630 KiB  
Brief Report
A Legacy of Quantitative and Qualitative Data for the Irrigated Violada Area and Conterminous Lands in Aragon, Spain
by Juan Herrero and Carmen Castañeda
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 799; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040799 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1638
Abstract
This paper concerns an old soils report produced using an agronomical approach. The territory studied spans continuous parts of Spain’s Huesca and Zaragoza provinces and includes the Violada area. The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture collected the data from 1975 to 1978 through its [...] Read more.
This paper concerns an old soils report produced using an agronomical approach. The territory studied spans continuous parts of Spain’s Huesca and Zaragoza provinces and includes the Violada area. The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture collected the data from 1975 to 1978 through its now-defunct agency, the National Institute for Agrarian Reform and Development (IRYDA), which was in charge of irrigation works in Spain. The surface area studied was 19,393 ha, with 67% irrigated by inundation and 33% rainfed at the time of the study. The survey and the related investigations were conducted using state-of-the-art procedures for agronomical research. The purpose was to rate the potential of the lands for irrigated agriculture. The document provides a unique snapshot of the soils and agriculture in the 1970s that can provide a baseline for multitemporal comparisons. Full article
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17 pages, 836 KiB  
Article
Dynamic of Morphological and Physiological Parameters and Variation of Soil Characteristics during Miscanthus × giganteus Cultivation in the Diesel-Contaminated Land
by Valentina Pidlisnyuk, Andriy Herts, Volodymyr Khomenchuk, Aigerim Mamirova, Oleksandr Kononchuk and Sergey Ust’ak
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 798; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040798 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2250
Abstract
Miscanthus × giganteus (M. × giganteus) is a perspective plant produced on marginal and contaminated lands with biomass used for energy or bioproducts. In the current study, M. × giganteus development was tested in the diesel-contaminated soils (ranged from 250 mg [...] Read more.
Miscanthus × giganteus (M. × giganteus) is a perspective plant produced on marginal and contaminated lands with biomass used for energy or bioproducts. In the current study, M. × giganteus development was tested in the diesel-contaminated soils (ranged from 250 mg kg−1 to 5000 mg kg−1) and the growth dynamic, leaves quantity, plants total area, number of harvested stems and leaves, SPAD and NPQt parameters were evaluated. Results showed a remarkable M. × giganteus growth in a selected interval of diesel-contaminated soil with sufficient harvested biomass. The amendment of soil by biochar 1 (produced from wastewater sludge) and biochar 2 (produced from a mixture of wood waste and biohumus) improved the crop’s morphological and physiological parameters. Biochar 1 stimulated the increase of the stems’ biomass, while biochar 2 increased the leaves biomass. The plants growing in the uncontaminated soil decreased the content of NO3, pH (KCl), P2O5 and increased the content of NH4. Photosynthesis parameters showed that incorporating biochar 1 and biochar 2 to the diesel-contaminated soil prolonged the plants’ vegetation, which was more potent for biochar 1. M. × giganteus utilization united with biochar amendment can be recommended to remediate diesel-contaminated land in concentration range 250–5000 mg kg−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Biochar and Compost on Soil Quality and Crop Yield)
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14 pages, 1020 KiB  
Article
Date of Planting and Nitrogen Management for Winter Malt Barley Production in the Northeast, USA
by Arthur Siller, Masoud Hashemi, Caroline Wise, Alexandra Smychkovich and Heather Darby
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 797; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040797 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2154
Abstract
There is an increasing market for locally grown malting barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in the Northeast US. Malting barley must meet certain quality standards for acceptability in the brewing market. Up-to-date recommendations are needed regionally for adaptation to ongoing climate change. A [...] Read more.
There is an increasing market for locally grown malting barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in the Northeast US. Malting barley must meet certain quality standards for acceptability in the brewing market. Up-to-date recommendations are needed regionally for adaptation to ongoing climate change. A two-year field experiment was conducted to assess the interactive influence of three dates of planting (5 September, 15 September, and 25 September), two levels of fall N (0 or 28 kg ha−1), and three levels of spring N (28, 50.5, and 73 kg ha−1). No significant difference was detected in grain yield amongst the treatments. The date of planting and fall N application mainly affected crop growth while spring N impacted grain quality. Delayed planting led to better winter survival and reduced lodging and foliar disease. Fall N application reduced winter survival for the early September planting but had minimal other agronomic impacts. An increased spring N application rate increased grain protein and lowered falling number, but there were no treatment differences in other quality parameters. Results indicated that late September planting, application of no fall N, and moderate spring N (28 kg ha−1) resulted in the highest agronomic N efficiency and grain quality for malting barley in Northeast. Full article
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18 pages, 3400 KiB  
Article
Effects of Various Quantities of Three Irrigation Water Types on Yield and Fruit Quality of ‘Succary’ Date Palm
by Mohamed A. Mattar, Said S. Soliman and Rashid S. Al-Obeed
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 796; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040796 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3383
Abstract
A field experiment was conducted on date palm trees (Phoenix dactylifera ‘Succary’) cultivated on sandy loam soil from 2017 to 2018. This study investigated the effects of providing water of three different qualities, namely freshwater (FR) and two saline water sources: reclaimed [...] Read more.
A field experiment was conducted on date palm trees (Phoenix dactylifera ‘Succary’) cultivated on sandy loam soil from 2017 to 2018. This study investigated the effects of providing water of three different qualities, namely freshwater (FR) and two saline water sources: reclaimed wastewater (RW) and well-water (WE) applied through three irrigation levels representing 50% (I50), 100% (I100), and 150% (I150) of crop evapotranspiration (ETc), on the soil water and salt distribution patterns, yield, water productivity (WP), and fruit quality of the ′Succary′ date palm. The electrical conductivity (ECw) of FR, RW, and WE were 0.18, 2.06, and 3.94 dS m−1, respectively. Results showed that WE applied by the I150 treatment had the highest soil water content, followed by RW used in the I100 irrigation level and FR with I50, whereas the soil salt content was high for WE applied in the I50 level and low for FR applied by the I150 treatment. Deficit irrigation (I50) of date palms with either RW or WE reduced date yields on average 86 kg per tree, whereas the yield increased under over-irrigation (I150) with FR to 123.25 kg per tree. High WP values were observed in the I50 treatments with FR, RW, or WE (on average 1.82, 1.68, and 1.67 kg m−3, respectively), whereas the I150 treatment with each of the three water types showed the lowest WP values. Fruit weight and size were the lowest in the full irrigation (I100) with WE, whereas the I150 treatment with RW showed the highest values. There were no significant differences in either total soluble solids (TSS) or acidity values when the irrigation level decreased from 100% to 50% ETc. Compared with both I50 and I100 treatments, reduced values of both TSS and acidity were observed in the I150 treatment when ECw decreased from 3.94 to 0.18 dS m−1,. Fruit moisture content decreased with the application of saline irrigation water (i.e., RW or WE). Total sugar and non-reducing sugar contents in fruits were found to be decreased in the combination of RW and I150, whereas the 50% ETc irrigation level caused an increment in both parameters. These results suggest that the application of deficit irrigation to date palm trees grown in arid regions, either with FR or without it, can sufficiently maximize WP and improve the quality of fruits but negatively affects yield, especially when saline water is applied. The use of saline water for irrigation may negatively affect plants because of salt accumulation in the soil in the long run. Full article
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12 pages, 1017 KiB  
Article
Allometric Individual Leaf Area Estimation in Chrysanthemum
by Dimitrios Fanourakis, Filippos Kazakos and Panayiotis A. Nektarios
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 795; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040795 - 18 Apr 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 5682
Abstract
A model for estimating the area of individual leaves (LA) by employing their dimensions was developed for chrysanthemum. Further hypotheses were tested: (a) LA estimation is improved by considering blade length (Lb) rather than leaf length (L), and (b) a reasonable [...] Read more.
A model for estimating the area of individual leaves (LA) by employing their dimensions was developed for chrysanthemum. Further hypotheses were tested: (a) LA estimation is improved by considering blade length (Lb) rather than leaf length (L), and (b) a reasonable LA estimation can be attainable by considering L in conjunction to a shape trait, which is cultivar dependent. For the model development, six cultivars were employed (1500 leaves in total), while for model validation, an independent set of nine cultivars was utilized (1125 leaves in total). Several characteristics were digitally assessed in fully expanded leaves which included petiole length, leaf L, width (W), perimeter, shape traits (aspect ratio, circularity, roundness, solidity), together with LA. LA estimation was more accurate by considering both L and W, as compared to a single dimension. A linear model, employing the product of L by W as independent variable, provided the most accurate LA estimation (R2 = 0.84). The model validation indicated a highly significant correlation between computed and measured LA (R2 = 0.88). Replacing L by Lb reasonably predicted LA (R2 = 0.832) but at some expense of accuracy. Contrary to expectation, considering L (or W) and a cultivar-specific shape trait generally led to poor LA estimations. Full article
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14 pages, 1391 KiB  
Article
Combining QTL Mapping and Gene Expression Analysis to Elucidate the Genetic Control of ‘Crumbly’ Fruit in Red Raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.)
by Luca M. Scolari, Robert D. Hancock, Pete E. Hedley, Jenny Morris, Kay Smith and Julie Graham
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 794; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040794 - 17 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2432
Abstract
‘Crumbly’ fruit is a developmental disorder in raspberry that results in malformed and unsaleable fruits. For the first time, we define two distinct crumbly phenotypes as part of this work. A consistent crumbly fruit phenotype affecting the majority of fruits every season, which [...] Read more.
‘Crumbly’ fruit is a developmental disorder in raspberry that results in malformed and unsaleable fruits. For the first time, we define two distinct crumbly phenotypes as part of this work. A consistent crumbly fruit phenotype affecting the majority of fruits every season, which we refer to as crumbly fruit disorder (CFD) and a second phenotype where symptoms vary across seasons as malformed fruit disorder (MFD). Here, segregation of crumbly fruit of the MFD phenotype was examined in a full-sib family and three QTL (Quantitative Trait Loci) were identified on a high density GbS (Genotype by Sequencing) linkage map. This included a new QTL and more accurate location of two previously identified QTLs. A microarray experiment using normal and crumbly fruit at three different developmental stages identified several genes that were differentially expressed between the crumbly and non-crumbly phenotypes within the three QTL. Analysis of gene function highlighted the importance of processes that compromise ovule fertilization as triggers of crumbly fruit. These candidate genes provided insights regarding the molecular mechanisms involved in the genetic control of crumbly fruit in red raspberry. This study will contribute to new breeding strategies and diagnostics through the selection of molecular markers associated with the crumbly trait. Full article
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4 pages, 195 KiB  
Editorial
Organic Fertilization in Maize Cropping Systems: Measures to Reduce N Losses
by Hans-Werner Olfs
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 793; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040793 - 17 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1746
Abstract
Maize is one of the most important crops around the world [...] Full article
15 pages, 2920 KiB  
Article
A New Identification Method Reveals the Resistance of an Extensive-Source Radish Collection to Plasmodiophora brassicae Race 4
by Haohui Yang, Yuxiang Yuan, Xiaochun Wei, Xiaohui Zhang, Haiping Wang, Jiangping Song and Xixiang Li
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 792; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040792 - 17 Apr 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2534
Abstract
Raphanus sativus, an important cruciferous vegetable, has been increasingly affected by clubroot disease. Establishing a stable and accurate resistance identification method for screening resistant germplasms is urgently needed in radish. In this study, the influence of inoculum concentration, inoculation methods, and pH [...] Read more.
Raphanus sativus, an important cruciferous vegetable, has been increasingly affected by clubroot disease. Establishing a stable and accurate resistance identification method for screening resistant germplasms is urgently needed in radish. In this study, the influence of inoculum concentration, inoculation methods, and pH of the substrate on disease occurrence was studied. The result showed that the disease index (DI) was highest at 2 × 108 spores/mL, the efficiency of two-stage combined inoculation methods was higher than others, and pH 6.5 was favorable for the infection of P. brassicae. By using this new method, DIs of 349 radish germplasms varying from 0.00 to 97.04, presented significantly different levels of resistance. Analysis showed that 85.06% germplasms from China were susceptible to P. brassicae, whilst 28 accessions were resistant and mainly distributed in east, southwest, northwest, and south-central China. Most of the exotic germplasms were resistant. Repeated experiments verified the stability and reliability of the method and the identity of germplasm resistance. In total, 13 immune, 5 highly resistant and 21 resistant radish accessions were identified. This study provides an original clubroot-tolerance evaluation technology and valuable materials for the development of broad-spectrum resistant varieties for sustainable clubroot management in radish and other cruciferous crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Root Diseases and Integrated Pest Management)
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11 pages, 268 KiB  
Article
Supplementation of Organic Amendments Improve Yield and Adaptability by Reducing the Toxic Effect of Copper in Cocksfoot Grass (Dactylis glomerata L. Cv Amera)
by Beata Kuziemska, Joanna Trębicka, Andrzej Wysokinski and Dawid Jaremko
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 791; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040791 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1962
Abstract
Copper is an element necessary for the proper growth and development of plants, but when taken in excess amounts, it can be toxic. Its availability for plant can be reduced by using organic fertilizers or soil liming. The aim of the study was [...] Read more.
Copper is an element necessary for the proper growth and development of plants, but when taken in excess amounts, it can be toxic. Its availability for plant can be reduced by using organic fertilizers or soil liming. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of increasing doses of copper (100, 200, and 300 mg Cu·kg−1 of soil) application in combination with various organic amendments (cattle manure, chicken manure, and spent mushroom substrate) on the yield of cocksfoot and its content and uptake of this metal, and to determine its coefficient of bioaccumulation and tolerance indices. The toxic effect of copper manifested by significant decrease in the yield of the test plant was after the application of 300 mg·kg−1 of soil. Increasing doses of copper application increased its content and uptake by the test plant, while observing the decreasing bioaccumulation factor. All the soil amendments reduced the toxic effect of copper on cocksfoot. The most effective organic amendment in terms of yield and protective effects against high levels of copper was cattle manure, in the case of which the Org/Cu and Cu/Org tolerance indices were highest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metal Pollution and Its Effects on Agriculture)
17 pages, 2858 KiB  
Article
Foliar Application of Auxin or Cytokinin Can Confer Salinity Stress Tolerance in Vicia faba L.
by Arafat Abdel Hamed Abdel Latef, Ayasha Akter and Md. Tahjib-Ul-Arif
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 790; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040790 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 4021
Abstract
Soil salinity severely declines the availability of water and essential minerals to the plants, which hinders growth. The present study evaluates the potential roles of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and 6-benzyladenine (BA) for mitigating the adverse effects of soil-salinity in faba bean (Vicia [...] Read more.
Soil salinity severely declines the availability of water and essential minerals to the plants, which hinders growth. The present study evaluates the potential roles of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and 6-benzyladenine (BA) for mitigating the adverse effects of soil-salinity in faba bean (Vicia faba L.). Plants were exposed to 150 mM NaCl stress and were sprayed with IAA (1.15 mM) or BA (0.9 mM). Our results revealed that foliar application of IAA or BA improved the growth traits of salinized faba bean due to the increased uptake of K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ ions, accumulation of free amino acids, soluble sugars, and soluble proteins, and activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase, peroxidase, and ascorbate peroxidase. The principal component analysis (PCA) and heatmap clustering indicated that salinity-exposed plants exhibited lower growth and biomass production, which correlated with higher accumulation of Na+ and malondialdehyde. Moreover, electrophoretic patterns of protein showed new bands in IAA- or BA-treated salt-stressed plants, indicating that IAA or BA treatment can reprogram the metabolic processes to confer salinity tolerance. We also found that IAA has a greater capacity to ameliorate the salt stress than BA, although there is no significant difference in yield between these treatments. Finally, these findings can be helpful for a better understanding of IAA- and BA-mediated salt tolerance mechanisms and increasing production of faba bean in saline soils. Full article
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8 pages, 861 KiB  
Communication
Induction of Promoter DNA Methylation Upon High-Pressure Spraying of Double-Stranded RNA in Plants
by Athanasios Dalakouras and Ioannis Ganopoulos
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 789; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040789 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3110
Abstract
Exogenous application of RNA molecules is a potent method to trigger RNA interference (RNAi) in plants in a transgene-free manner. So far, all exogenous RNAi (exo-RNAi) applications have aimed to trigger mRNA degradation of a given target. However, the issue of concomitant epigenetic [...] Read more.
Exogenous application of RNA molecules is a potent method to trigger RNA interference (RNAi) in plants in a transgene-free manner. So far, all exogenous RNAi (exo-RNAi) applications have aimed to trigger mRNA degradation of a given target. However, the issue of concomitant epigenetic changes was never addressed. Here, we report for the first time that high-pressure spraying of dsRNAs can trigger de novo methylation of promoter sequences in plants. Full article
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11 pages, 276 KiB  
Review
The Influence of Physical Treatments on Phytochemical Changes in Fresh Produce after Storage and Marketing
by Elazar Fallik and Zoran Ilić
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 788; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040788 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2938
Abstract
More food with high nutritional content will be needed to feed the growing global human population, which is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. Fruits and vegetables contain most of the minerals, micronutrients, and phytonutrients essential for human nutrition and health. The [...] Read more.
More food with high nutritional content will be needed to feed the growing global human population, which is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. Fruits and vegetables contain most of the minerals, micronutrients, and phytonutrients essential for human nutrition and health. The quantity of these phytochemicals depends on crop genetics, weather and environmental factors, growth conditions, and pre-harvest and post-harvest treatments. These phytochemicals are known to have anti-cancer properties and to regulate immunity, in addition to hypolipidemic, antioxidant, anti-aging, hypotensive, hypoglycemic, and other pharmacological properties. Physical treatments have been reported to be effective for managing several post-harvest diseases and physiological disorders. These treatments may affect the external, internal, and nutritional qualities of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize the information recently reported regarding the use of physical treatments applied either directly or in combination with other means to maximize and maintain the phytochemical content of fresh and fresh-cut or processed fruits and vegetables. Full article
24 pages, 3298 KiB  
Article
Groundcover Mulching in Mediterranean Vineyards Improves Soil Chemical, Physical and Biological Health Already in the Short Term
by Dylan Warren Raffa, Daniele Antichi, Stefano Carlesi, Christian Frasconi, Simone Marini, Simone Priori and Paolo Bàrberi
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 787; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040787 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3306
Abstract
Vineyards are among the land uses with the highest soil degradation rate in Mediterranean Europe, mainly due to intensive tillage management. Therefore, practices able to foster soil health are critical to promote sustainable wine production. We studied the following treatments in two organic [...] Read more.
Vineyards are among the land uses with the highest soil degradation rate in Mediterranean Europe, mainly due to intensive tillage management. Therefore, practices able to foster soil health are critical to promote sustainable wine production. We studied the following treatments in two organic farms in Chianti Classico (Italy): conventional tillage, spontaneous vegetation, pigeon bean (Vicia faba var. minor) incorporated in spring and a mixture of barley (Hordeum vulgare) and squarrosum clover (Trifolium squarrosum), both incorporated and left as mulch. An innovative approach, based on gamma-ray and apparent electrical conductivity, was used to account for the fine-scale soil variability that was included in the statistical model. Mulched groundcovers were associated with higher soil organic matter compared to tillage, already after two years. An increased N availability was found under all groundcovers compared with tillage. The effect of soil management practices on P2O5 strongly varied across farms and years, while it was not statistically significant on K availability. Spontaneous vegetation positively influenced the soil structure index, soil penetration resistance and soil biological health. The results show that mulched groundcovers can improve soil health already in the short term, thereby potentially increasing the sustainability of the wine sector. Full article
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15 pages, 956 KiB  
Article
Effect of White Clover (Trifolium repens L.) Undersowing Cultivation and Nitrogen Fertilization on Weed Infestation, Biomass Yield and Its Component, Content and Uptake of Macroelements of Willow (Salix viminalis L.)
by Waldemar Helios
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040786 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2422
Abstract
Fertilization of willow with nitrogen is an important issue with economic and environmental implications. The study was aimed at determining the effect of nitrogen fertilization and white clover on weed infestation, morphology, biomass and chemical composition of willow. A field experiment was established [...] Read more.
Fertilization of willow with nitrogen is an important issue with economic and environmental implications. The study was aimed at determining the effect of nitrogen fertilization and white clover on weed infestation, morphology, biomass and chemical composition of willow. A field experiment was established at Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences (Poland) during the years 2013–2017 with the use of a randomized complete block design (RCBD). The results showed that the number and dry mass of weeds per m2, the number of willow shoots and the fresh weight yield of willow were smaller where the clover was sown. The plants were found to be higher after applying nitrogen fertilization. The dry mass yield and shoot diameter did not depend on the cultivation method. Nitrogen fertilization increased the ash content. Undersowing willow with white clover, higher nitrogen content was found. Nitrogen fertilization increased the content of ash, and in undersowing cultivation, the willow stems had higher nitrogen content than in monoculture. On average, the phloem had 5.6 times higher crude ash content and 4.6 times higher nitrogen content than wood. On the basis of the conducted research, it can be concluded that in the first years after planting, the undersowing growing of willow with white clover can be an alternative to plantations fertilized and non-fertilized with nitrogen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Biological Nitrogen Fixation)
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17 pages, 3715 KiB  
Article
Predicting the Lime Demand of Arable Soils from pH Value, Soil Texture and Soil Organic Matter Content
by Joerg Ruehlmann, Eric Bönecke and Swen Meyer
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040785 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2476
Abstract
For more than 40 years, farmers in Germany have used the fertilization recommendation schema provided by the Association of German Agricultural Investigation and Research Institutions (VDLUFA) to quantify the required lime (CaO) demand of arable mineral soils. To be applicable as guidelines in [...] Read more.
For more than 40 years, farmers in Germany have used the fertilization recommendation schema provided by the Association of German Agricultural Investigation and Research Institutions (VDLUFA) to quantify the required lime (CaO) demand of arable mineral soils. To be applicable as guidelines in practice, the results of 30 years of fertilization experiments that studied the correlation between crop yields and the actual soil pH, the soil texture, and the soil organic matter (SOM) content were finally condensed into a look-up table system. However, because the original experimental data are no longer accessible, the purpose of this study is to reconstruct the interaction between the three soil parameters and their appropriate lime demands. Therefore, the class-based, stepwise approach of the look-up table system is transferred into a continuous, stepless approach using mathematical models. Under the precondition to preserve the pH-, texture- and SOM-dependent CaO amounts recommended in the look-up system (n = 317) to the greatest extent possible, the algorithm was successful; more than 99% of their variability could be explained by the models. This adaptation helps to meet the accuracy of present-day requirements of precision farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Soil and Plant Nutrition)
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13 pages, 964 KiB  
Perspective
Is Domestication Speciation? The Implications of a Messy Domestication Model in the Holocene
by Jennifer Bates
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 784; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040784 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3343
Abstract
Domestication is one of the fundamental process that has shaped our world in the last 12,000 years. Changes in the morphology, genetics, and behavior of plants and animals have redefined our interactions with our environments and ourselves. However, while great strides have been [...] Read more.
Domestication is one of the fundamental process that has shaped our world in the last 12,000 years. Changes in the morphology, genetics, and behavior of plants and animals have redefined our interactions with our environments and ourselves. However, while great strides have been made towards understanding the mechanics, timing, and localities of domestication, a fundamental question remains at the heart of archaeological and scientific modelling of this process—how does domestication fit into a framework of evolution and natural selection? At the core of this is the ontological problem of what is a species? In this paper, the complicated concepts and constructs underlying ‘species’ and how this can be applied to the process of domestication are explored. The case studies of soybean and proto-indica rice are used to illustrate that our choice of ‘species’ definitions carries with it ramifications for our interpretations, and that care needs to be made when handling this challenging classificatory system. Full article
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18 pages, 3503 KiB  
Article
New Fertilizer Strategies Combining Manure and Urea for Improved Rice Growth in Mozambique
by Fátima Ismael, Alexis Ndayiragije and David Fangueiro
Agronomy 2021, 11(4), 783; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11040783 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 5215
Abstract
The cost of chemical fertilizers is increasing and becoming unaffordable for smallholders in Africa. The present study aimed to assess the impact of combined fertilization strategies using urea and animal manure (beef cattle manure and poultry litter manure) on rice yield and nutrient [...] Read more.
The cost of chemical fertilizers is increasing and becoming unaffordable for smallholders in Africa. The present study aimed to assess the impact of combined fertilization strategies using urea and animal manure (beef cattle manure and poultry litter manure) on rice yield and nutrient uptake. For this, a field experiment was carried out on a loam sandy soil in the Chókwè Irrigation Scheme. We set seven treatments in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD), namely: T0: no fertilizer, T1: 100% urea, T2: 100% beef cattle manure, T3: 100% poultry litter, T4: 50% urea + 50% beef cattle manure, T5: 50% urea + 50% poultry litter and T6: 40% urea + 30% beef cattle manure + 30% poultry litter, replicated four times each. All treatments, except T0, received an amount of nitrogen (N) equivalent to 100 kgN·ha−1. Results revealed that the highest yield grain (425 g·m−2), plant height (115 cm), number of tillers (18) and thousand-grain weight (34g) were observed in treatments combining urea with manure (T4, T5 and T6) indicating that N supply in the mixture (urea + manure) is more efficient than in isolated applications of N (T1, T2 and T3). The data obtained in this study suggest that a combination of fertilizers (T6) lead to competitive yields and is thus recommended for best soil management practices. Full article
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