Abstract: The objective of this study is to understand which requirements for cereal cultivars—with regard to climate change adaptation—are in demand by farmers and advisors, and to clarify whether there are any differences in their assessments. A comparative survey was used to collect data from 410 farmers and 114 advisors in Germany. The majority of both farmers and advisors reported perceivable effects of climatic change on plant production. The increase in droughts and hot spells, the increased incidence of torrential rain, and mild winters were mentioned as the main effects of climate change. For climate change adaptation, the farmers and advisors mostly relied on a locally-adapted cultivar selection. It is estimated that eco-stability, grain yield, resistance to lodging and drought tolerance are important cultivar properties. In the study, farmers and advisors equally pointed out the need for additional cultivar evaluation according to eco-stability. Finally, only minor differences regarding farmers’ and advisors’ assessments were found within the study. The outcome of this research points to the need of implementing farmers’ demands in cultivar recommendations. For example, an impartial assessment of cultivars’ eco-stability could help support the choice of cultivars and reduce the growing risks in cereal production with regard to climate change.
Abstract: Foliar fertilization, or the application of nutrient solutions to the foliage of plants, has become a very important tool as a supplement to traditional soil fertilization. So far, knowledge about the real mechanisms of foliar nutrient uptake is still limited. In this study different manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn) carriers differing in their solubility and chemical characteristics (chelated or non-chelated, with or without the presence of a surfactant-penetrant) were compared with regard to their penetration characteristics through enzymatically-isolated cuticles. The experiments were explicitly conducted under high humidity conditions in order not to penalize compounds with a higher deliquescent point. The results show that Mn penetrates more rapidly through the cuticle than Zn ions for unknown reasons. The addition of a surfactant-penetrant enhances the penetration rate in the case of Mn ions. This trend is much less pronounced for zinc ions. Formulations based on insoluble carriers, such as carbonate or oxide, only poorly penetrate through the cuticle. In order to rapidly control micronutrient deficiency problems, only fully water soluble micronutrient carriers should be used.
Abstract: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play a major role in the uptake of nutrients by agricultural plants. Nevertheless, some agricultural practices can interrupt fungal-plant signaling and thus impede the establishment of the mycorrhizal symbiosis. A field experiment performed over a 5-year period demonstrated that both the absence of tillage and of nitrogen (N) fertilization improved AMF colonization of wheat roots. Moreover, under no-till conditions, N uptake and aboveground biomass production did not vary significantly between N-fertilized and N-unfertilized plots. In contrast, both N uptake and above ground biomass were much lower when N fertilizer was not added during conventional tillage. This finding strongly suggests that for wheat, no-till farming is a sustainable agricultural system that allows a gradual reduction in N fertilizer use by promoting AMF functionality and at the same time increasing N uptake.
Abstract: The mobilization of nutrients from fish sludge (i.e., feces and uneaten feed) plays a key role in optimizing the resource utilization and thus in improving the sustainability of aquaponic systems. While several studies have documented the aerobic and anaerobic digestion performance of aquaculture sludge, the impact of the digestate on plant growth has yet to be understood. The present study examines the impact of either an aerobic or an anaerobic digestion effluent on lettuce plant growth, by enriching a mixture of aquaculture and tap water with supernatants from both aerobic and anaerobic batch reactors. The lettuce plants grown in the hydroponic system supplied with supernatant from an anaerobic reactor had significantly better performance with respect to weight gain than both, those in the system where supernatant from the aerobic reactor was added, as well as the control system. It can be hypothesized that this effect was caused by the presence of NH4+ as well as dissolved organic matter, plant growth promoting rhizobacteria and fungi, and humic acid, which are predominantly present in anaerobic effluents. This study should therefore be of value to researchers and practitioners wishing to further develop sludge remineralization in aquaponic systems.
Abstract: In recent years, Archaea have, with increasing frequency, been found to colonize both agricultural and forest soils in temperate and boreal regions. The as yet uncultured group I.1c of the Thaumarchaeota has been of special interest. These Archaea are widely distributed in mature vegetated acidic soils, but little has been revealed of their physiological and biological characteristics. The I.1c Thaumarchaeota have been recognized as a microbial group influenced by plant roots and mycorrhizal fungi, but appear to have distinct features from their more common soil dwelling counterparts, such as the Nitrosotalea or Nitrososphaera. They appear to be highly dependent on soil pH, thriving in undisturbed vegetated soils with a pH of 5 or below. Research indicate that these Archaea require organic carbon and nitrogen sources for growth and that they may live both aerobically and anaerobically. Nevertheless, pure cultures of these microorganisms have not yet been obtained. This review will focus on what is known to date about the uncultured group I.1c Thaumarchaeota formerly known as the “Finnish Forest Soil” (FFS) Archaea.
Abstract: About 1% of New Zealand farmland is managed organically. Nitrogen is the nutrient most likely to limit organic crop production. A potential solution is incorporation of compost to supply N. About 726,000 t of municipal garden and kitchen wastes are sent to landfills annually. Composting offers a means of reducing the impact of landfill wastes on the wider environment. Organically certified compost (N content typically 2% to 2.5%) is available from some municipal composting plants. To be effectively used on organic farms, the rate of N release (mineralization) must be known. Laboratory incubations were conducted to quantify mineralization of compost N under controlled (temperature and moisture) conditions. Nitrogen availability and crop yields from a one-off application of compost (25–100 t·ha−1) were also assessed in two field trials (using cereal and forage crops). The results suggested that a relatively small part (13%–23%) of compost N was used by the crops in 3–4 years. Much of this was mineral N present at the time of application. Mineralization rates in the laboratory and field studies were much lower than expected from published work or compost C:N ratio (considered an important indicator of N mineralization potential of composts).