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Reducing N Fertilization without Yield Penalties in Maize with a Commercially Available Seed Dressing

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Department of Sustainable Crop Production, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
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Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Milan, Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy
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Department for Sustainable Food Process, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Via Emilia Parmense 84, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
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Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin, Largo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
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Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8521, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Claudio Ciavatta
Agronomy 2021, 11(3), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030407
Received: 18 January 2021 / Revised: 18 February 2021 / Accepted: 21 February 2021 / Published: 24 February 2021
Introducing smart and sustainable tools for climate change adaptation and mitigation is a major need to support agriculture’s productivity potential. We assessed the effects of the processed gypsum seed dressing SOP® COCUS MAIZE+ (SCM), combined with a gradient of N fertilization rates (i.e., 0%, 70% equal to 160 kg N ha−1, and 100% equal to 230 kg N ha−1) in maize (Zea mays L.), on: (i) grain yield, (ii) root length density (RLD) and diameter class length (DCL), (iii) biodiversity of soil bacteria and fungi, and (iv) Greenhouse Gases (GHGs, i.e., N2O, CO2, and CH4) emission. Grain yield increased with SCM by 1 Mg ha−1 (+8%). The same occurred for overall RLD (+12%) and DCL of very fine, fine, and medium root classes. At anthesis, soil microbial biodiversity was not affected by treatments, suggesting earlier plant-rhizosphere interactions. Soil GHGs showed that (i) the main driver of N losses as N2O is the N-fertilization level, and (ii) decreasing N-fertilization in maize from 100% to 70% decreased N2O emissions by 509 mg N-N2O m−2 y−1. Since maize grain yield under SCM with 70% N-fertilization was similar to that under Control with 100% N-fertilization, we concluded that under our experimental conditions SCM may be used for reducing N input (−30%) and N2O emissions (−23%), while contemporarily maintaining maize yield. Hence, SCM can be considered an available tool to improve agriculture’s alignment to the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and to comply with Europe’s Farm to Fork strategy for reducing N-fertilizer inputs. View Full-Text
Keywords: maize; fertilization reduction; climate change mitigation; SDG; Farm to Fork; food security; sustainability; GHGs maize; fertilization reduction; climate change mitigation; SDG; Farm to Fork; food security; sustainability; GHGs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Maris, S.C.; Capra, F.; Ardenti, F.; Chiodini, M.E.; Boselli, R.; Taskin, E.; Puglisi, E.; Bertora, C.; Poggianella, L.; Amaducci, S.; Tabaglio, V.; Fiorini, A. Reducing N Fertilization without Yield Penalties in Maize with a Commercially Available Seed Dressing. Agronomy 2021, 11, 407. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030407

AMA Style

Maris SC, Capra F, Ardenti F, Chiodini ME, Boselli R, Taskin E, Puglisi E, Bertora C, Poggianella L, Amaducci S, Tabaglio V, Fiorini A. Reducing N Fertilization without Yield Penalties in Maize with a Commercially Available Seed Dressing. Agronomy. 2021; 11(3):407. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030407

Chicago/Turabian Style

Maris, Stefania C., Federico Capra, Federico Ardenti, Marcello E. Chiodini, Roberta Boselli, Eren Taskin, Edoardo Puglisi, Chiara Bertora, Lorenzo Poggianella, Stefano Amaducci, Vincenzo Tabaglio, and Andrea Fiorini. 2021. "Reducing N Fertilization without Yield Penalties in Maize with a Commercially Available Seed Dressing" Agronomy 11, no. 3: 407. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030407

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