Sustainable Circular Agricultural Food Production Systems

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Innovative Cropping Systems".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2024 | Viewed by 7475

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences Osijek, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Vladimira Preloga 1, 31000 Osijek, Croatia
Interests: agroforestry; agroecology; intercropping; sustainable agriculture

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Guest Editor
Department of General Agronomy, Division for Agroecology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, Svetošimunska cesta 25, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: organic agriculture; agroclimatology; climate change and agriculture

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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003 Ås, Norway
Interests: soil health; soil degradation; soil relation to climate change

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Circular agriculture was widely practiced in the pre-industrial era. However, with the appearance of intensive agriculture, it has been abandoned as an unprofitable practice. Intensive large-scale farming focused on maximizing profit over environmental protection has led to the soil degradation of agricultural land. Recently, the return to circular agriculture has been encouraged more and more to restore agricultural soils and reduce CO2 emissions as well as the overall ecological footprint of agriculture. Circular agriculture promotes sustainable agricultural production across every food production step, growing and harvesting crops, packaging and processing of food, and finally transport, marketing and consumption of the products. The most common practices of circular agriculture include mixed crop–livestock farming, organic farming, and agroforestry which aim to reduce CO2 emissions, use natural resources efficiently, and reduce inputs.

Research in circular agriculture promotes the development of new methods in agriculture supporting sustainable practices. Cutting-edge research in the development of such practices is necessary to assess the productivity and sustainability of such systems. The scope of the Special Issue will include original research papers and review papers addressing the issues raised above.

Dr. Vladimir Ivezić
Dr. Darija Bilandzija
Prof. Dr. Bal Ram Singh
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • agroforestry
  • diversified cropping
  • food safety
  • intercropping
  • mixed crop–livestock farming
  • organic farming
  • sustainable agriculture

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 1465 KiB  
Article
Effect of Climate, Crop Protection, and Fertilization on Disease Severity, Growth, and Grain Yield Parameters of Faba Beans (Vicia faba L.) in Northern Britain: Results from the Long-Term NFSC Trials
by Enas Khalid Sufar, Gultekin Hasanaliyeva, Juan Wang, Halima Leifert, Peter Shotton, Paul Bilsborrow, Leonidas Rempelos, Nikolaos Volakakis and Carlo Leifert
Agronomy 2024, 14(3), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14030422 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 489
Abstract
Faba beans are one of the most suitable grain legume crop for colder, maritime climates. However, there is limited information on the effect of changing from conventional to organic production methods and potential impacts of global warming on the health and performance of [...] Read more.
Faba beans are one of the most suitable grain legume crop for colder, maritime climates. However, there is limited information on the effect of changing from conventional to organic production methods and potential impacts of global warming on the health and performance of faba bean crops in Northern Europe. We therefore assessed the performance of faba beans grown with contrasting crop protection (with and without pesticides) and fertilization (with and without P and K fertilizer input) regimes used in organic and conventional production in seven growing seasons. Conventional crop protection and fertilization regimes had no effect on foliar disease severity, but resulted in small, but significant increases in faba bean yields. The overall yield gap between organic and conventional production regimes was relatively small (~10%), but there was substantial variation in yields between growing seasons/years. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that climate explanatory variables/drivers explained the largest proportion of the variation in crop performance and identified strong positive associations between (i) temperature and both straw and grain yield and (ii) precipitation and foliar disease severity. However, RDA also identified crop protection and variety as significant explanatory variables for faba bean performance. The relatively small effect of using P and K fertilizers on yields and the lack of a measurable effect of fungicide applications on foliar disease severity indicate that the use of these inputs in conventional faba beans may not be economical. Results also suggest that the yield gap between organic and conventional faba bean production is significant, but smaller than for other field crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Circular Agricultural Food Production Systems)
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16 pages, 1652 KiB  
Article
Diversity, Genetic Structure and Relationship with Chilling Requirements of Local Varieties of Apple (Malus spp.) in the Centre for the Conservation of Agricultural Biodiversity of Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain)
by María Encarnación Velázquez-Barrera, Ana María Ramos-Cabrer, Santiago Pereira-Lorenzo and Domingo José Ríos-Mesa
Agronomy 2023, 13(10), 2651; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13102651 - 22 Oct 2023
Viewed by 922
Abstract
Sixty-seven apple tree accessions from the Centre for the Conservation of Agricultural Biodiversity of Tenerife (CCBAT) were molecularly characterised for the first time with 13 simple sequence repeats (SSRs). Additionally, previously studied genotypes from the Canary Islands (Tenerife, La Palma and Gran Canaria), [...] Read more.
Sixty-seven apple tree accessions from the Centre for the Conservation of Agricultural Biodiversity of Tenerife (CCBAT) were molecularly characterised for the first time with 13 simple sequence repeats (SSRs). Additionally, previously studied genotypes from the Canary Islands (Tenerife, La Palma and Gran Canaria), Galicia, Asturias and commercial reference varieties were studied to identify possible synonymies and genetic structures, in order to improve the conservation of this genus in the germplasm bank. Thirty-three different genotypes were found in the new accessions analysed (51% clonality): sixteen of them (48%) exclusive to Tenerife, with no genetic coincidence with previous studies, making a total of thirty-three genotypes unique to Tenerife and sixty-five in the whole of the Canary Islands. The analysis of the population structure grouped the apple genotypes into two reconstructed panmictic populations (RPPs), one formed by local varieties or traditional ones (‘Peros’), RPP1, from all the regions studied, and the other formed by local and commercial varieties, RPP2. The RPP1 genotypes identified in Tenerife seem to show better adaptation to low chill, with a positive and significant correlation (0.388, p < 0.01), highlighting the importance of local varieties and the need for their conservation. This is the first study reporting significant correlation between genetic structure and chilling requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Circular Agricultural Food Production Systems)
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13 pages, 307 KiB  
Article
Metals Contained in Various Formulations of Mineral Nitrogen Fertilizers Determined Using Portable X-ray Fluorescence
by Aleksandra Perčin, Željka Zgorelec, Tomislav Karažija, Ivica Kisić, Nikolina Župan and Ivana Šestak
Agronomy 2023, 13(9), 2282; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13092282 - 29 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1033
Abstract
According to the Scopus database, over the last five years, 91 scientific papers with the keyword “pXRF” (portable X-ray fluorescence) were published in indexed journals in the domain of environmental science and agricultural science, which indicates more frequent applications of this technique in [...] Read more.
According to the Scopus database, over the last five years, 91 scientific papers with the keyword “pXRF” (portable X-ray fluorescence) were published in indexed journals in the domain of environmental science and agricultural science, which indicates more frequent applications of this technique in scientific research. The pXRF method is characterized by speed, precision, accuracy, and the possibility of a simultaneous analysis of a large number of elements, albeit with higher limits of detection (LODs) as a major disadvantage. The presence of metals in certain phosphate fertilizers is well established, though not to the same extent as in mineral nitrogen fertilizers. The aim of this research was to determine the metal content (As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Si, Sr, Th, U, Zn, Zr, and Y) in thirteen commercial mineral nitrogen fertilizers via the pXRF method. Six straight fertilizers (ammonium nitrate, ammonium sulphate nitrate, limestone ammonium, nitrate, and urea) and seven complex fertilizers (various NPK formulations), which are different even according to their production technology, produced in Croatia were analyzed using the handheld Vanta C (Olympus) XRF analyzer according to the loose powder method and “point and shoot” technique. Data quality control was performed by analyzing the reference fertilizer samples and certified and reference soil samples. The results revealed that the determined contents of Cd, Mn, and Th were relatively higher in the single-component fertilizers, while the contents of As, Cr, Fe, Ni, Si, Sr, Zn, Zr, Y, and U were relatively higher in the complex fertilizers. Due to the higher LODs of Co and Pb (3 mg/kg) and Mo (2 mg/kg), the pXRF method was not appropriate for the determination of these metals in the analyzed fertilizers. The quantified metal content in the analyzed fertilizers varied as follows: 2.0–8.0 mg As/kg; 11.5–31.3 mg Cd/kg; 29.8–118.5 mg Cr/kg; 7.8–26.3 mg Cu/kg; 16.5–2209 mg Fe/kg; 20.3–5290 mg Mn/kg; 6.2–27.8 mg Ni/kg; 1156–4581 mg Si/kg; 2.0–469.8 mg Sr/kg; 3.0–35.3 mg Th/kg; 2.0–82.8 mg U/kg; 1.4–166 mg Zn/kg; 9.7–15.3 mg Zr/kg; and 16.5–128.0 mg Y/kg. The results indicated that the pXRF method is particularly suitable for measurement and metal detection in complex nitrogen mineral fertilizers with higher amounts of metals, but it is not suitable for the detection and quantification of the lower amounts of As, Zr, Y, Cu, Ni, and Cr in single-component nitrogen fertilizers. Compared to all of the investigated fertilizers, the highest amounts of As, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, U, Zn, and Zr were quantified in the NPK 7-20-30 formulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Circular Agricultural Food Production Systems)
12 pages, 626 KiB  
Article
Comparing the Grain Yields and Other Properties of Old and New Wheat Cultivars
by Darija Bilandžija, Željka Zgorelec, Marija Galić, Mateja Grubor, Tajana Krička, Zvonimir Zdunić and Nikola Bilandžija
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2090; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082090 - 09 Aug 2023
Viewed by 826
Abstract
Selecting cultivars with greater biomass results in higher yields and greater carbon sequestration. Storage of atmospheric carbon in the plant/soil pool contributes not only to food security but also to mitigating climate change and other agroecological benefits. The objective of this study was [...] Read more.
Selecting cultivars with greater biomass results in higher yields and greater carbon sequestration. Storage of atmospheric carbon in the plant/soil pool contributes not only to food security but also to mitigating climate change and other agroecological benefits. The objective of this study was to determine: (1) grain, residue, and root biomass yields; (2) harvest indexes; (3) residue-to-product ratio; (4) root-to-shoot ratio; (5) biomass carbon and nitrogen contents; and (6) C:N ratios for two new and two old winter wheat cultivars. The greatest yield difference was found between old Srpanjka (the lowest) and new Kraljica (the highest) cultivar where grain, residue, root, and total biomass yield was higher by 38%, 91%, 71%, and 64%, respectively. Total biomass was composed of 40–47% grain, 10–11% roots, 32–36% stems + leaves, 9–11% chaff, and 1–2% spindle. The range of HI was 0.45–0.53, RPR 0.91–1.25, and R:S ratio 0.12–0.13. For all cultivars, positive carbon and negative nitrogen balance within the plant pool was determined. Still, root biomass and rhizodeposition carbon remain open questions for a better understanding of agroecosystems’ C dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Circular Agricultural Food Production Systems)
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15 pages, 4490 KiB  
Article
Influence of Long-Term Soil Management Practices on Carbon Emissions from Corn (Zea mays L.) Production in Northeast Croatia
by Marija Galic, Darija Bilandzija and Zeljka Zgorelec
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2051; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082051 - 02 Aug 2023
Viewed by 871
Abstract
Sustainable management of agricultural resources is needed to meet people’s increasing demands for food, fiber and energy while maintaining the quality of the environment and protecting natural resources. With the rapid growth of agriculture and the mechanization of farming, the agricultural sector has [...] Read more.
Sustainable management of agricultural resources is needed to meet people’s increasing demands for food, fiber and energy while maintaining the quality of the environment and protecting natural resources. With the rapid growth of agriculture and the mechanization of farming, the agricultural sector has become one of the main contributors to the increase in CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases in the world. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect, dependence and correlations of CO2 in soil with native vegetation (presence/absence, corn yield) and climatic conditions (soil temperature and moisture) during three years of measurements under different management practices in a classical conventional agroecosystem. This research contains four different treatments: control treatment (CT), dolomite/organic fertilization (DOL/OF), mineral fertilization (MF) and black fallow (BF). During the investigated period, the average overall C-CO2 flux ranged from 7.98 kg ha−1 day−1 on bare soil to 16.26 kg ha−1 day−1 on soil treated with mineral fertilization. No statistically significant difference was observed among different fertilization treatments, except in 2013 and 2015 when comparing different fertilization treatments to bare soil. In all three years, there was a positive correlation between average C-CO2 fluxes and soil temperature. Additionally, in 2013 and 2017, there was a positive correlation between average C-CO2 fluxes and soil moisture, while a negative correlation was observed in 2015. Obtained values of crop yield ranged from 0.89 t ha−1 in the control treatment (in 2015) to 14.81 t ha−1 in the treatment with mineral fertilization (in 2017). Growing global concern about the effects of climate change calls for intensive research on the carbon cycle, and these results will contribute to the understanding of carbon transformation in different crops and soil management practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Circular Agricultural Food Production Systems)
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17 pages, 3584 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Farming Management and Crop Rotation Systems on Chlorophyll Content, Dry Matter Translocation, and Grain Quantity and Quality of Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Grown in a Semi-Arid Region of Iran
by Aram Gorooei, Thomas Gaiser, Amir Aynehband, Afrasyab Rahnama and Bahareh Kamali
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1007; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041007 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1334
Abstract
To find suitable farming management approaches in the semi-arid climate of Iran, we set up an experiment combining three farm management practices with four crop rotation systems over four growing seasons (two winter and two summer seasons), from 2018 to 2020. The three [...] Read more.
To find suitable farming management approaches in the semi-arid climate of Iran, we set up an experiment combining three farm management practices with four crop rotation systems over four growing seasons (two winter and two summer seasons), from 2018 to 2020. The three farm management practices comprised: intensive (IF, with inorganic inputs, removal of crop residues from the soil, and weeds chemically controlled), organic (OF, with organic inputs, a return 30% of crop residues in the soil, and weeds mechanically controlled), and integrated (INT, with mineral/organic inputs, return 15% of crop residues to the soil, integrated weed control). The four crop rotation systems were: fallow-wheat (F-W), maize-wheat (M-W), sesame-wheat (S-W), and mung bean-wheat (B-W). Treatment effects were assessed by chlorophyll (Chl) content, photosynthetic parameters, and wheat grain quality and quantity measurements. All management practices from the first to the second year resulted in increases in the total Chl content and post-anthesis photosynthesis (PAP). The total Chl content under INT was improved through a greater increase in Chl-b compared to Chl-a. Dry matter remobilisation (DMR) was higher under INT than under IF. The highest (39) and lowest (23) grain number per spike were obtained in IF under B-W and OF under F-W, respectively. B-W produced the highest grain yield (541.4 g m−2). The protein contents in farming with organic matter inputs were higher than that under IF. INT produced an optimum level of wheat yield despite a 50% reduction in chemical inputs, and this was achieved through the fast absorption of chemical elements at the beginning of growth, and having access—at the grain filling stage—to elements derived from organic matter decomposition, and through the utilisation of DMR. Our results indicate that implementing B-W and S-W under INT is a promising strategy for this region. However, the results need to be further evaluated by long-term experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Circular Agricultural Food Production Systems)
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16 pages, 593 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Consortia of Beneficial Microorganisms on the Growth and Yield of Aquaponically Grown Romaine Lettuce
by Lidia Sas-Paszt, Paweł Trzciński, Anna Lisek, Sławomir Głuszek, Bożena Matysiak and Stanisław Kaniszewski
Agronomy 2023, 13(2), 546; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13020546 - 14 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1303
Abstract
This study evaluated the effects of fish farm wastewater from the production of hybrid sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii Brandt × Acipenser baeri Brandt) on the growth and quality parameters of romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. longifolium cv. “Elizium”). The tested combinations were [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the effects of fish farm wastewater from the production of hybrid sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii Brandt × Acipenser baeri Brandt) on the growth and quality parameters of romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. longifolium cv. “Elizium”). The tested combinations were fish farm wastewater, fish farm wastewater enriched with one of the three microbiological consortia, and fish farm wastewater supplemented with minerals. The best growth parameters of romaine lettuce plants were obtained in the combination of wastewater from fish farming supplemented with mineral nutrients. The application of fish farm wastewater and beneficial microbiological consortia positively influenced the fresh weight of lettuce leaves and the number of leaves per plant. However, plants fed with wastewater supplemented with minerals were characterized by the strongest symptoms of leaf tip-burn and the lowest commercial value. By comparison, plants fed only with fish farm wastewater or wastewater with microorganisms were characterized by a high, similar commercial value. After the application of increased doses of minerals, there was evidence of greater activity of microorganisms involved in nutrient cycling in aquaponic lettuce cultivation. The application of the microbiological consortia and minerals significantly increased the numbers and activity of the bacteria in the culture liquids 7, 14, and 21 days after inoculation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Circular Agricultural Food Production Systems)
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