Integrated Ways to Improve Forage Production and Nutritional Value

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Grassland and Pasture Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2024 | Viewed by 6351

Special Issue Editors

College of Grassland Agriculture, Northwest A&F University, Shaanxi 712100, China
Interests: abiotic stress biology; forage; legume-rhizobium symbiosis; photosynthesis

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Guest Editor
State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystem, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
Interests: forage improvement; abiotic stress tolerance; stress physiology

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Guest Editor
Department of Forage Science, College of Grassland Science and Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
Interests: forage genomics; molecular breeding
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Guest Editor
College of Agro-Grassland Science, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing 210095, China
Interests: turf grass; forage; abiotic stress; omics analysis; gene function
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Guest Editor
Forage Seed Laboratory, College of Grassland Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
Interests: forage seed; multi-omics; bioinformatics; genomics; metagenomics
School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
Interests: transgenic plants; stress physiology; stress protein; functional gene research
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The question of how to achieve the expansion of food consumption with a growing population poses a great challenge under the current situation of a global water crisis, land degradation, climate change, agricultural diseases, environmental deteriorations, etc. Forage production as one of the main sources of meat and milk, but it is now facing huge threats due to the above negative factors. Thus, it is imperative to improve forage production and nutritional value by increased efficiency of resource utilization, enhanced adaptation to adversity as well as fortified nutrition, and so on. These integrated efforts will be of great importance in food availability and stability, agricultural sustainability and environment health.
This research Topic aims to enrich our understanding of the potentially valuable ways to enhanced forage production and nutritional value.
We welcome original research articles, methods, and opinions that address the aim. Manuscripts should address, but not be restricted to, the following topics:

  • Molecular or physiological study between forages and microorganisms of plant growth promotion and biological control of insects or diseases;
  • Gene function or pathway characterization via transgenic study or gene editing for forage production, nutrition and adaptation to adversity;
  • Forage breeding by integrating high-throughput genotyping or marker-assisted selecting;
  • Novel means that enhance resource utilization such as mineral elements, water, sunlight or others.

Dr. Jiejun Xi
Prof. Dr. Aike Bao
Prof. Dr. Linkai Huang
Prof. Dr. Bin Xu
Dr. Shangang Jia
Dr. Peng Zhou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • forages
  • forage production and nutritional value
  • efficiency of resource utilization
  • adaptation to adversity

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 1436 KiB  
Article
Optimizing the Growth of Silage Maize by Adjusting Planting Density and Nitrogen Application Rate Based on Farmers’ Conventional Planting Habits
by Yinsen Qian, Quan Ma, Zhen Ren, Guanglong Zhu, Xinkai Zhu and Guisheng Zhou
Agronomy 2023, 13(11), 2785; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13112785 - 09 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 978
Abstract
Silage maize is cultivated due to its high nutritional value as a forage. China’s recent agricultural policy promotes the popularization and cultivation of silage maize. The production of silage maize is affected by planting density and nitrogen application. Based on investigating the planting [...] Read more.
Silage maize is cultivated due to its high nutritional value as a forage. China’s recent agricultural policy promotes the popularization and cultivation of silage maize. The production of silage maize is affected by planting density and nitrogen application. Based on investigating the planting habits of local farmers, we adjusted the planting density and nitrogen application rate to optimize the growth of silage maize. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of planting density (65,000 plant ha−1 (D1), 80,000 plant ha−1 (D2), and 95,000 plant ha−1 (D3)) and nitrogen rate (150 kg ha−1 (N1), 230 kg ha−1 (N2), and 310 kg ha−1 (N3)) on growth, yield, and quality of silage maize using a two-factor random block design. Planting density and nitrogen fertilizer significantly affected plant height, stem diameter, leaf area index, crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, and starch of silage maize. In summary, the combination of a planting density of 80,000 plants ha−1 and a nitrogen application rate of 310 kg ha−1 produced a higher crude protein and starch yield and better palatability and quality; this result can aid silage maize growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Ways to Improve Forage Production and Nutritional Value)
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13 pages, 2514 KiB  
Article
Effects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on Growth and Nutrient Accumulation of Oat under Drought Conditions
by Haoqi Tian, Zhifeng Jia, Wenhui Liu, Xiaoxin Wei, Hui Wang, Gensheng Bao, Jin Li and Qingping Zhou
Agronomy 2023, 13(10), 2580; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13102580 - 08 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1179
Abstract
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have established themselves as pivotal allies in the realm of plant physiology, renowned for their remarkable contributions to augmenting both growth and resilience against environmental stresses. In this study, we embarked on a comprehensive investigation into the discernible impact [...] Read more.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have established themselves as pivotal allies in the realm of plant physiology, renowned for their remarkable contributions to augmenting both growth and resilience against environmental stresses. In this study, we embarked on a comprehensive investigation into the discernible impact of two distinct AMF species on a widely planted oat cultivar, ‘Qingyan No. 1’, when subjected to the austere conditions of a drought. The experimental design included three distinct AMF treatments (inoculation with Rhiaophagus intraradices, Funneliformis mosseae, or not), and the three water treatments were 75% of field capacity (well watered), 50% of field capacity (moderate drought), and 30% of field capacity (severe drought). The obtained results showed that the rate of inoculation under 75% FC for both AMF species was over 74%. Drought stress limited the growth and osmotic regulation of the oat plants. However, AMF inoculation observably increased the above-ground biomass under 75% FC and increased the root biomass under 30% FC. AMF inoculation also increased the root traits under 75% FC and 50% FC. R. intraradices inoculation increased the above-ground soluble sugar and soluble protein concentrations, and both AMF species showed decreased malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations in the roots. Furthermore, the pervasive influence of drought stress exerted a discernible stranglehold on nutrient uptake in the oat plants, profoundly impacting the distribution of nutrients within the shoots and roots. Regardless of the drought stress treatment, the inoculation with both AMF species increased the P concentrations in the roots and the K and Mg concentrations in the roots, and the inoculation with R. intraradices increased the Ca concentration in the whole oat plant. Under 75% FC, the N concentration of the whole oat plant was significantly reduced by both AMF species. However, under 50% FC and 30% FC, the N concentrations in the shoots inoculated with both AMF species were close to that of the non-inoculated shoots. In summary, AMF improved the osmotic regulation and nutrient absorption and distribution of oat plants under drought stress and thus promoted the growth and biomass accumulation of oat plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Ways to Improve Forage Production and Nutritional Value)
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19 pages, 3823 KiB  
Article
MtTGA1 Transcription Factor Enhances Salt Tolerance through Hormonal Regulation and Antioxidant Enzyme Activity in Medicago truncatula
by Shuwen Li, Hong Xie, Yinglong Chen, Wei Jia, Di Dong, Mengdi Wang, Yinruizhi Li, Tiejun Zhang, Liebao Han and Yuehui Chao
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2184; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082184 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1224
Abstract
The TGACG motif-binding factor1 (TGA1) transcription factor, in which belongs to the bZIP transcription factor family and has vast application potential in plant growth and development. Here, we cloned the gene of the MtTGA1 transcription factor from Medicago truncatula. The MtTGA1 promoter [...] Read more.
The TGACG motif-binding factor1 (TGA1) transcription factor, in which belongs to the bZIP transcription factor family and has vast application potential in plant growth and development. Here, we cloned the gene of the MtTGA1 transcription factor from Medicago truncatula. The MtTGA1 promoter region contains a diverse range of photoregulatory and hormonal regulatory elements. The expression profile of MtTGA1 indicated its highest expression in the root. Additionally, the expression level of MtTGA1 was significantly upregulated after SA and BR treatments and showed a downward trend after GA and ABA treatments. To explore the potential function of MtTGA1, we treated the transgenic plants with salt treatment for 15 days, and the results showed that transgenic plants demonstrated significantly longer root lengths and heightened activities of antioxidant enzymes such as ascorbic acid catalase (APX), peroxidase (POD), catalase (CAT), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in their roots and leaves. The levels of endogenous hormones, including ABA and BR were improved in transgenic plants, with a marked change in the morphology of their leaf cells. Transcriptome analysis identified a total of 193 differentially expressed genes, which were significantly enriched in the pathways of “Brassinosteroid biosynthesis”, “Ascorbate and aldarate metabolism”, and “Plant hormone signal transduction”. Furthermore, MtTGA1 was found to interact with the SPX domain-containing protein 1 (SPX1) in Medicago truncatula. In conclusion, these results are beneficial for further studies about the plant growth and development regulatory network mediated by the TGA1 transcription factor family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Ways to Improve Forage Production and Nutritional Value)
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16 pages, 2162 KiB  
Article
Optimizing Productivity of Buffel and Sudan Grasses Using Optimal Nitrogen Fertilizer Application under Arid Conditions
by Bushra Ahmed Alhammad, Aden Mohamed, Muhammad Ali Raza, Mwende Ngie, Sagar Maitra, Mahmoud F. Seleiman, Daniel Wasonga and Harun I. Gitari
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 2146; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13082146 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1025
Abstract
Most arid and semiarid areas are bare and greatly infested with intrusive wild species. Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) and Sudan grass (Sorghum sudanense Piper.) are the supreme drought-tolerant grasses that are commonly grown in dry regions. Besides water, nitrogen (N) [...] Read more.
Most arid and semiarid areas are bare and greatly infested with intrusive wild species. Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris L.) and Sudan grass (Sorghum sudanense Piper.) are the supreme drought-tolerant grasses that are commonly grown in dry regions. Besides water, nitrogen (N) is a vital element limiting the growth, yield, and herbage quality of such grasses since it has key roles in physiological and biochemical functions in plants. Hence, this study aimed at assessing the performance of Buffel and Sudan grasses under nitrogen fertilization in Mandera County. This study comprised a field trial laid as a split plot in a randomized complete block design with grasses being assigned to the main plots, whereas N rates (0, 35, 70, 105, and 140 kg N ha−1) occupied the subplots. Data were collected on growth parameters (plant height, leaf length, number of leaves per plant, leaf width, stem girth, and tiller number), yield parameters (shoot weight, root weight, and aboveground biomass yield—DBY), and quality attributes (acid detergent fiber—ADF, crude protein—CP, and neutral detergent fiber—NDF). Across the seasons, plant height progressively increased with increasing N rates up to a maximum of 141 and 246 cm for Buffel grass and Sudan grass, respectively, which were associated with a 105 kg N ha−1 rate. Nonetheless, there was no noteworthy enhancement in plant height (142 and 246 cm) with an additional upsurge in N fertilizer rate to 140 kg N ha−1 relative to the one of 105 kg N ha−1. Regarding the leaf length, Sudan grass had longer and wider leaves at all treatment levels than the Buffel grass. Plant height, leaf length, width, and the number of leaves per plant increased with increasing N level up to the rate of 140 kg N ha−1, though this was not statistically different from the rate of 105 kg N ha−1 for both kinds of grass. The results revealed that Sudan grass contained higher crude protein than Buffel grass at all levels of treatments (10.33 and 8.80% at the rate of 105 kg N ha−1, respectively). More so, crude protein content was found to be higher in plots where N application was performed than in the control plots. There were great associations between the dependent variables (DBY, ADF, NDF, and CP) and independent variables (plant height, leaf length, No. of leaves, leaf width, stem girth, and No. of tillers), with the coefficient of regression ranging from 0.56 to 0.96 for Buffel grass and 0.59 to 0.96 for Sudan grass. Findings from this study indicate that for optimal growth, yield, and nutrient content benefits, Buffel and Sudan grasses ought to be grown using nitrogen fertilizer at a 105 kg N ha−1 rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Ways to Improve Forage Production and Nutritional Value)
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15 pages, 6036 KiB  
Article
Inflorescence Trait Diversity and Genotypic Differentiation as Influenced by the Environment in Elymus nutans Griseb. from Qinghai–Tibet Plateau
by Jin Li, Haoqi Tian, Wenqin Ji, Changbing Zhang and Shiyong Chen
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1004; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041004 - 29 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1302
Abstract
The alpine forage grass species Elymus nutans Griseb. is widely distributed in the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau and the Himalayas due to its high adaptability. However, it has become threatened by climate warming and excessive grazing. Thus, understanding its genetic and phenotypic information is crucial [...] Read more.
The alpine forage grass species Elymus nutans Griseb. is widely distributed in the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau and the Himalayas due to its high adaptability. However, it has become threatened by climate warming and excessive grazing. Thus, understanding its genetic and phenotypic information is crucial to aid resource management and conservation efforts. In this study, microsatellite markers were developed based on RNA-seq transcriptome data from E. nutans Griseb. varieties ‘Aba’ and ‘Kangbei’, resulting in the identification of 48,457 SSRs from 304,554 de novo assembled unigenes. Seventeen polymorphic markers, 13 inflorescence phenotypic traits, and seed shattering values were determined for 31 E. nutans accessions collected from eastern Tibet. The molecular markers generated 134 well-amplified bands with a mean Nei’s genetic diversity of 0.31 and a Shannon information index of 0.46. Pairwise genetic similarity ranged from 0.554 to 0.895, with an average of 0.729. Based on the molecular marker data, all accessions were divided into two classes via the unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA), the Markov chain Monte Carlo method, and the principal coordinate analysis (PCA) method. We used Tassel analysis to determine 11 loci with a significant relationship to phenotypic traits, and Pearson’s correlation analysis showed that some inflorescence traits were significantly influenced by the environment. Furthermore, we detected strong patterns of isolation by both environment (IBE) and distance (IBD) via Mantel analysis. This study provides valuable insights into the genetic and phenotypic differentiation of E. nutans, informing germplasm resource evaluation and future breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Ways to Improve Forage Production and Nutritional Value)
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