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Agronomy, Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2015) – 9 articles , Pages 107-261

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Open AccessArticle
Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Stocks of Different Hawaiian Sugarcane Cultivars
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 239-261; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020239 - 19 Jun 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2939
Abstract
Sugarcane has been widely used as a biofuel crop due to its high biological productivity, ease of conversion to ethanol, and its relatively high potential for greenhouse gas reduction and lower environmental impacts relative to other derived biofuels from traditional agronomic crops. In [...] Read more.
Sugarcane has been widely used as a biofuel crop due to its high biological productivity, ease of conversion to ethanol, and its relatively high potential for greenhouse gas reduction and lower environmental impacts relative to other derived biofuels from traditional agronomic crops. In this investigation, we studied four sugarcane cultivars (H-65-7052, H-78-3567, H-86-3792 and H-87-4319) grown on a Hawaiian commercial sugarcane plantation to determine their ability to store and accumulate soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) across a 24-month growth cycle on contrasting soil types. The main study objective establish baseline parameters for biofuel production life cycle analyses; sub-objectives included (1) determining which of four main sugarcane cultivars sequestered the most soil C and (2) assessing how soil C sequestration varies among two common Hawaiian soil series (Pulehu-sandy clay loam and Molokai-clay). Soil samples were collected at 20 cm increments to depths of up to 120 cm using hand augers at the three main growth stages (tillering, grand growth, and maturity) from two experimental plots at to observe total carbon (TC), total nitrogen (TN), dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrates (NO−3) using laboratory flash combustion for TC and TN and solution filtering and analysis for DOC and NO−3. Aboveground plant biomass was collected and subsampled to determine lignin and C and N content. This study determined that there was an increase of TC with the advancement of growing stages in the studied four sugarcane cultivars at both soil types (increase in TC of 15–35 kg·m2). Nitrogen accumulation was more variable, and NO−3 (<5 ppm) were insignificant. The C and N accumulation varies in the whole profile based on the ability of the sugarcane cultivar’s roots to explore and grow in the different soil types. For the purpose of storing C in the soil, cultivar H-65-7052 (TC accumulation of ~30 kg·m−2) and H-86-3792 (25 kg·m−2) rather H-78-3567 (15 kg·m−2) and H-87-4319 (20 kg·m−2) appeared to produce more accumulated carbon in both soil types. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Agronomy with Impact for Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Long Term Application of Inorganic and Organic Fertilizers on Soil Organic Carbon and Physical Properties in Maize–Wheat Rotation
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 220-238; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020220 - 18 Jun 2015
Cited by 58 | Viewed by 3852
Abstract
Balanced and integrated use of organic and inorganic fertilizers may enhance the accumulation of soil organic matter and improves soil physical properties. A field experiment having randomized complete block design with four replications was conducted for 36 years at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), [...] Read more.
Balanced and integrated use of organic and inorganic fertilizers may enhance the accumulation of soil organic matter and improves soil physical properties. A field experiment having randomized complete block design with four replications was conducted for 36 years at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, India to assess the effects of inorganic fertilizers and farmyard manure (FYM) on soil organic carbon (SOC), soil physical properties and crop yields in a maize (Zea mays)–wheat (Triticum aestivum) rotation. Soil fertility management treatments included were non-treated control, 100% N, 50% NPK, 100% NP, 100% NPK, 150% NPK, 100% NPK + Zn, 100% NPK + W, 100% NPK (-S) and 100% NPK + FYM. Soil pH, bulk density (BD), electrical conductivity (EC), cation exchange capacity, aggregate mean weight diameter (MWD) and infiltration were measured 36 years after the initiation of experiment. Cumulative infiltration, infiltration rate and aggregate MWD were greater with integrated use of FYM along with 100% NPK compared to non-treated control. No significant differences were obtained among fertilizer treatments for BD and EC. The SOC pool was the lowest in control at 7.3 Mg ha−1 and increased to 11.6 Mg ha−1 with 100%NPK+FYM. Improved soil physical conditions and increase in SOC resulted in higher maize and wheat yields. Infiltration rate, aggregate MWD and crop yields were positively correlated with SOC. Continuous cropping and integrated use of organic and inorganic fertilizers increased soil C sequestration and crop yields. Balanced application of NPK fertilizers with FYM was best option for higher crop yields in maize–wheat rotation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Agronomy with Impact for Food Security)
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Open AccessArticle
Genotypic Variation in Seedling Tolerance to Aluminum Toxicity in Historical Maize Inbred Lines of Zambia
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 200-219; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020200 - 12 Jun 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2677
Abstract
Maize (Zea mays L) is the most important food grain in sub-Saharan Africa and is mostly grown by small-scale farmers under rainfed conditions. Aluminum toxicity caused by low pH is one of the abiotic factors limiting maize production among smallholder farmers. Therefore, [...] Read more.
Maize (Zea mays L) is the most important food grain in sub-Saharan Africa and is mostly grown by small-scale farmers under rainfed conditions. Aluminum toxicity caused by low pH is one of the abiotic factors limiting maize production among smallholder farmers. Therefore, breeding maize hybrids that are tolerant to aluminum toxicity will sustain and increase maize production in these areas. Hence this study was undertaken to assess the genotypic variation for aluminum toxicity in maize inbred lines. Fourteen maize inbred lines of historical importance that are used in maize hybrid breeding in Zambia were studied for seedling root variation under different aluminum concentrations using hydroponic conditions. The aluminum tolerance membership index based on three traits (actual root length, relative root length and root length response) classified genotypes L3233 and L1214 as highly tolerant, L5527 and ZM421 as tolerant, and L12, L3234, and ZM521 as intermediate. The high PCV, GCV, and heritability observed for the root traits indicate that opportunities for selection and breeding for aluminum tolerance among Zambian inbred lines exist. Furthermore, the study indicated that a higher genetic gain would be expected from net root growth followed by shoot length response as selection traits, thus supporting the use of root traits for aluminum tolerance screening. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Rhizophagus intraradices Reduces the Negative Effects of Arsenic on Soybean Plants
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 188-199; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020188 - 29 May 2015
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2824
Abstract
Arsenic (As) in soils causes several detrimental effects, including death. Arsenic toxicity in soybean plants (Glycine max L.) has been little studied. Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) increase the tolerance of host plants to abiotic stress, like As. We investigated the effects of AM fungi [...] Read more.
Arsenic (As) in soils causes several detrimental effects, including death. Arsenic toxicity in soybean plants (Glycine max L.) has been little studied. Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) increase the tolerance of host plants to abiotic stress, like As. We investigated the effects of AM fungi on soybean grown in As-contaminated soils. A pot experiment was carried out in a glasshouse, at random with five replications. We applied three levels of As (0, 25, and 50 mg As kg−1), inoculated and non-inoculated with the AM fungus Rhizophagus intraradices (N.C. Schenck & G.S. Sm.) C. Walker & A. Schüßler. Plant parameters and mycorrhizal colonization were measured. Arsenic in the substrate, roots, and leaves was quantified. Arsenic negatively affected the AM percentage of spore germination and hyphal length. As also affected soybean plants negatively: an extreme treatment caused a reduction of more than 77.47% in aerial biomass, 68.19% in plant height, 78.35% in number of leaves, and 44.96% reduction in root length, and delayed the phenological evolution. Mycorrhizal inoculation improved all of these parameters, and decreased plant As accumulation (from 7.8 mg As kg−1 to 6.0 mg As kg−1). AM inoculation showed potential to reduce As toxicity in contaminated areas. The AM fungi decreased As concentration in plants following different ways: dilution effect, less As intake by roots, and improving soybean tolerance to As. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Accumulation and Distribution of Elements in Crop Plants)
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Open AccessArticle
A Simple and Reasonable Calculation Equation of Balanced Fertilization
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 180-187; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020180 - 25 May 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2473
Abstract
Reasonable fertilization is a primary concern for agronomy scientists and farmers. However, there is still no satisfying calculation formula to guide farmer’s fertilizing. Five kinds of indices were tested in more than 500 field plots successively, and more than 50 pieces of long-term [...] Read more.
Reasonable fertilization is a primary concern for agronomy scientists and farmers. However, there is still no satisfying calculation formula to guide farmer’s fertilizing. Five kinds of indices were tested in more than 500 field plots successively, and more than 50 pieces of long-term and short-term fertilizer field test data acquired by others were analyzed. Quick-acting fertilizers should be applied for balanced fertilization if the soil-available nutrient content is within the normal range. Through rigorous derivation and validation by a multi-year continuous 15N tracer field test, it is obtained that, total soil exogenous N = total output N − total recovery N + soil profit or lost N; utilization efficiency of fertilizer N = (output N − exogenous N) ÷ balanced application amount of N fertilizer. Optimal balanced utilization efficiency of fertilizer N, P, K = total recovery efficiency, and soil nutrient net amount = total amount after test − total amount before test. Equation application parameters were collected from more than 50 tests, which is more applicable than collecting from a single test. When soil-available nutrient content is excessively low or excessively high, adjusting this should be based on balanced fertilization to properly increase or reduce the fertilization rate. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Genomic Regions for Embryo Size and Early Vigour in Multiple Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Populations
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 152-179; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020152 - 05 May 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2550
Abstract
Greater early vigour has potential for increasing biomass and grain yields of wheat crops in Mediterranean-type environments. Embryo size is an important determinant of early vigour in barley and likely to contribute to greater vigour in wheat. Little is known of the underlying [...] Read more.
Greater early vigour has potential for increasing biomass and grain yields of wheat crops in Mediterranean-type environments. Embryo size is an important determinant of early vigour in barley and likely to contribute to greater vigour in wheat. Little is known of the underlying genetic control for embryo size, or its genetic association with early vigour in wheat. Over 150 doubled-haploid lines in each of three unrelated wheat populations varying for embryo size and early vigour were phenotyped across multiple controlled environments. The Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) mapping was then undertaken to understand genetic control and chromosomal location of these characteristics. Genotypic variance was large and repeatable for embryo and leaf size (width and length) but not specific leaf area or coleoptile tiller size. Genetic correlations for embryo size with leaf width and area were moderate to strong in size while repeatabilities for embryo size and early vigour were high on a line-mean basis. Multiple genomic regions were identified of commonly small genetic effect for each trait with many of these regions being common across populations. Further, collocation of regions for many traits inferred a common genetic basis for many of these traits. Chromosomes 1B, 5B, 7A and 7D, and the Rht-B1b and Rht-D1b-containing chromosomes 4B and 4D contained QTL for embryo size and leaf width. These studies indicate that while early vigour is a genetically complex trait, the selection of larger embryo progeny can be readily achieved in a wheat breeding program targeting development of high vigour lines. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of NAM-A1 Natural Variants in Bread Wheat Reveals Differences in Haplotype Distribution between a Worldwide Core Collection and European Elite Germplasm
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 143-151; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020143 - 29 Apr 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3032
Abstract
In wheat, remobilization of nitrogen absorbed before anthesis and regulation of monocarpic senescence is a major issue in breeding for nutrient use efficiency. We identified natural variants of NAM-A1, a gene having the same role as its well-characterized homoeolog NAM-B1, a [...] Read more.
In wheat, remobilization of nitrogen absorbed before anthesis and regulation of monocarpic senescence is a major issue in breeding for nutrient use efficiency. We identified natural variants of NAM-A1, a gene having the same role as its well-characterized homoeolog NAM-B1, a NAC transcription factor associated with senescence kinetics and nutrient remobilization to the grain. Differences in haplotype frequencies between a worldwide core collection and a panel of European elite varieties were assessed and discussed. Moreover, hypotheses for the loss of function of the most common haplotype in elite European germplasm are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Benefits of Precision Farming Technologies for Mechanical Weed Control in Soybean and Sugar Beet—Comparison of Precision Hoeing with Conventional Mechanical Weed Control
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 130-142; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020130 - 23 Apr 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 4942
Abstract
Weed infestations and associated yield losses require effective weed control measures in soybean and sugar beet. Besides chemical weed control, mechanical weeding plays an important role in integrated weed management systems. Field experiments were conducted at three locations for soybean in 2013 and [...] Read more.
Weed infestations and associated yield losses require effective weed control measures in soybean and sugar beet. Besides chemical weed control, mechanical weeding plays an important role in integrated weed management systems. Field experiments were conducted at three locations for soybean in 2013 and 2014 and at four locations for sugar beet in 2014 to investigate if automatic steering technologies for inter-row weed hoeing using a camera or RTK-GNSS increase weed control efficacy, efficiency and crop yield. Treatments using precision farming technologies were compared with conventional weed control strategies. Weed densities in the experiments ranged from 15 to 154 plants m−2 with Chenopodium album, Polygonum convolvulus, Polygonum aviculare, Matricaria chamomilla and Lamium purpureum being the most abundant species. Weed hoeing using automatic steering technologies reduced weed densities in soybean by 89% and in sugar beet by 87% compared to 85% weed control efficacy in soybean and sugar beet with conventional weeding systems. Speed of weed hoeing could be increased from 4 km h−1 with conventional hoes to 7 and 10 km·h−1, when automatic steering systems were used. Precision hoeing technologies increased soybean yield by 23% and sugar beet yield by 37%. After conventional hoeing and harrowing, soybean yields were increased by 28% and sugar beet yield by 26%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Barley Leaf Area and Leaf Growth Rates Are Maximized during the Pre-Anthesis Phase
Agronomy 2015, 5(2), 107-129; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy5020107 - 17 Apr 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3877
Abstract
Leaf developmental traits are an important component of crop breeding in small-grain cereals. Surprisingly, little is known about the genetic basis for the differences in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) leaf development. The two barley row-type classes, i.e., two- and six-rowed, show [...] Read more.
Leaf developmental traits are an important component of crop breeding in small-grain cereals. Surprisingly, little is known about the genetic basis for the differences in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) leaf development. The two barley row-type classes, i.e., two- and six-rowed, show clear-cut differences in leaf development. To quantify these differences and to measure the genetic component of the phenotypic variance for the leaf developmental differences in both row-type classes we investigated 32 representative spring barley accessions (14 two- and 18 six-rowed accessions) under three independent growth conditions. Leaf mass area is lower in plants grown under greenhouse (GH) conditions due to fewer, smaller, and lighter leaf blades per main culm compared to pot- and soil-grown field plants. Larger and heavier leaf blades of six-rowed barley correlate with higher main culm spike grain yield, spike dry weight, and harvest index; however, smaller leaf area (LA) in two-rowed barley can be attributed to more spikes, tillers, and biological yield (aboveground parts). In general, leaf growth rate was significantly higher between awn primordium and tipping stages. Moderate to very high broad-sense heritabilities (0.67–0.90) were found under all growth conditions, indicating that these traits are predominantly genetically controlled. In addition, our data suggests that GH conditions are suitable for studying leaf developmental traits. Our results also demonstrated that LA impacts single plant yield and can be reconsidered in future breeding programs. Six-rowed spike 1 (Vrs1) is the major determinate of barley row-types, the differences in leaf development between two- and six-rowed barleys may be attributed to the regulation of Vrs1 in these two classes, which needs further testing. Full article
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