Special Issue "Agricultural Diversification"

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Systems and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 February 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Claudia Di Bene
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CREA-AA), 00184 Rome, Italy
Interests: carbon sink in agricultural soils; cropping systems diversification and simulation models; GHG emissions from agricultural soils; climate change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Rosa Francaviglia
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment - Via della Navicella, 2-4, 00184 Rome, Italy
Interests: carbon sink in agricultural soils; cropping systems diversification and simulation models; climate change adaptation and mitigation in agriculture
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Roberta Farina
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre for Agriculture and Environment (CREA-AA), 00184 Rome, Italy
Interests: ecosystem models (RothC and EPIC); soil–crop management and climate change; soil C dynamics in Mediterranean semiarid areas
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Jorge Álvaro-Fuentes
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Soil and Water Department, Estación Experimental de Aula Dei (EEAD), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), 1005 Montañana Ave., 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: agronomy; soil sciences; crop diversification; climate change; soil fertility; soil organic carbon; conservation agriculture; direct drilling; greenhouse gas; ecosystem management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Raúl Zornoza
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Sustainable Use, Management, and Reclamation of Soil and Water Research Group, Department of Agricultural Engineering, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII 48, 30203, Cartagena, Spain
Interests: soil quality; soil recovery; soil reclamation; organic matter characterization and dynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Agricultural diversification can occur in many forms (e.g., genetic variety, species, structural) and can be created temporally and over different spatially scales (e.g., within crop, within field, and landscape level). Crop diversification is the practice of growing more than one crop species within a farming area in the form of rotations (two or more crops on the same field in different years), multiple crops (more than one crop in the same season on the same field) or intercropping (at least two crops simultaneously on the same field).
Various cropping strategies and management practices, such as diversification of cropping systems by crop rotation, conservation tillage, and the use of cover crops, have been promoted to enhance crop productivity and ecosystem services. However, the opportunities and means differ among regions and the actual effects of diversification on cropping system sustainability still need more investigation.
This Special Issue intends to cover the state-of-the-art and recent progress in different aspects related to agricultural diversification to increase the sustainability and resilience of a wide range of cropping systems (grassland, horticultural crops, fruit trees) and in a scenario of environmental challenges due to climate change. All types of contributions (original research, reviews, and meta-analysis) providing new insights into the best options to improve cropping system management while limiting the environmental issues caused by agricultural activity and maintaining ecosystem services are welcome. The Editors encourage submissions with applications of innovative and/or novel methodologies to evaluate cropping system diversification strategies in comparison with conventional practices in terms of:

  • Crop production and quality;
  • Impact of crop diversification on soil quality and biodiversity;
  • Environmental impact and delivery of ecosystem services by crop diversification.

Dr. Claudia Di Bene
Dr. Rosa Francaviglia
Dr. Roberta Farina
Dr. Jorge Álvaro-Fuentes
Dr. Raúl Zornoza
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • diversification
  • cropping systems
  • orchards
  • tillage
  • crop rotation
  • intercropping
  • cover crops
  • organic amendments
  • crop quality and productivity
  • soil biodiversity
  • soil fertility
  • soil erosion
  • GHG emissions

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Sunflower Husk Biochar as a Key Agrotechnical Factor Enhancing Sustainable Soybean Production
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040305 - 01 Apr 2021
Viewed by 259
Abstract
Climate change has a decisive impact on the physical parameters of soil. To counteract this phenomenon, the ongoing search for more effective agri-technical solutions aims at the improvement of the physical properties of soil over a short time. The study aimed to assess [...] Read more.
Climate change has a decisive impact on the physical parameters of soil. To counteract this phenomenon, the ongoing search for more effective agri-technical solutions aims at the improvement of the physical properties of soil over a short time. The study aimed to assess the effect of biochar produced from sunflower husks on soil respiration (SR), soil water flux (SWF), and soil temperature (ST), depending on its dose and different soil cover (with and without vegetation). Moreover, the seed yield was assessed depending on the biochar fertilization. Field experiments were conducted on Calcaric/Dolomitic Leptosols (Ochric soil). SR, ST, and SWT were evaluated seven times in three-week intervals during two seasons, over 2018 and 2019. It was found that the time of biochar application had a significant effect on the evaluated parameters. In the second year, the authors observed significantly (p < 0.005) higher soil respiration (4.38 µmol s−1 m−2), soil temperature (21.2 °C), and the level of water net transfer in the soil (0.38 m mol s−1 m−2), compared to the first year. The most effective biochar dose regarding SR and soybean yield was 60 t ha−1. These are promising results, but a more comprehensive cost-benefit analysis is needed to recommend large-scale biochar use at this dose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Crop Diversification on the Economic Efficiency of Small Farms in Poland
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11030250 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 374
Abstract
Crop diversification finds an important place in the strategy of dealing with risk and uncertainty related to climate change. It helps to increase the resilience of farmers, significantly improving their income stability, but at the same time, it can lower the economic efficiency [...] Read more.
Crop diversification finds an important place in the strategy of dealing with risk and uncertainty related to climate change. It helps to increase the resilience of farmers, significantly improving their income stability, but at the same time, it can lower the economic efficiency of small farms. The aim of the article is to identify the determinants of crop diversification and the impact of crop diversification on the economic efficiency of small farms in Poland. This article first provides a critical review of the literature on crop diversification, its role in stabilizing agricultural income and its impact on economic efficiency in small farms. Secondly, the level of crop diversification was determined and empirical research was conducted considering the economic, social and agronomic characteristics of farms. Thirdly, the economic efficiency of farms diversifying crops was compared with farms focused on one type of production. The research material consisted of small farms participating in the Polish system of collecting and using farm accountancy data (FADN) in 2018. The level of diversification was determined using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index. The factors influencing crop diversification were identified using the logit regression model. The Mann–Whitney U rank sum test was used to assess the significance of the differences in distributions. The research results indicate an average level of crop diversification in small farms in Poland and its regional differentiation. In addition, a statistically significant positive impact on the probability of crop diversification in small farms in Poland was found of variables such as the level of exposure of agricultural production to atmospheric and agricultural drought and the location of the farm in the frost hardiness zone and a statistically significant negative impact of the variable: value of fixed assets. The existence of significant differences in the level of economic efficiency of farms diversifying crops and farms focused on one profile of agricultural production was proved. The study is an important voice in the discussion on increasing measures to strengthen support for small farms that diversify crops so as to ensure their greater stability and economic efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Foodshed, Agricultural Diversification and Self-Sufficiency Assessment: Beyond the Isotropic Circle Foodshed—A Case Study from Avignon (France)
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020143 - 10 Feb 2021
Viewed by 774
Abstract
The regionalization of food systems in order to shorten supply chains and develop local agriculture to feed city regions presents particular challenges for food planning and policy. The existing foodshed approaches enable one to assess the theoretical capacity of the food self-sufficiency of [...] Read more.
The regionalization of food systems in order to shorten supply chains and develop local agriculture to feed city regions presents particular challenges for food planning and policy. The existing foodshed approaches enable one to assess the theoretical capacity of the food self-sufficiency of a specific region, but they struggle to consider the diversity of existing crops in a way that could be usable to inform decisions and support urban food strategies. Most studies are based on the definition of the area required to meet local consumption, obtaining a map represented as an isotropic circle around the city, without considering the site-specific pedoclimatic, geographical, and socioeconomic conditions which are essential for the development of local food supply chains. In this study, we propose a first stage to fill this gap by combining the Metropolitan Foodshed and Self-sufficiency Scenario model, which already considers regional yields and specific land use covers, with spatially-explicit data on the cropping patterns, soil and topography. We use the available Europe-wide data and apply the methodology in the city region of Avignon (France), initially considering a foodshed with a radius of 30 km. Our results show that even though a theoretically-high potential self-sufficiency could be achieved for all of the food commodities consumed (>80%), when the specific pedological conditions of the area are considered, this could be suitable only for domestic plant-based products, whereas an expansion of the initial foodshed to a radius of 100 km was required for animal products to provide >70% self-sufficiency. We conclude that it is necessary to shift the analysis from the size assessment to the commodity-group–specific spatial configuration of the foodshed based on biophysical and socioeconomic features, and discuss avenues for further research to enable the development of a foodshed assessment as a complex of complementary pieces, i.e., the ‘foodshed archipelago’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Competition Effects and Productivity in Oat–Forage Legume Relay Intercropping Systems under Organic Farming Conditions
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020099 - 25 Jan 2021
Viewed by 517
Abstract
Cereal-legume intercropping is important in many low-input agricultural systems. Interactions between combinations of different plant species vary widely. Field experiments were conducted to determine yield formation regularities and plant competition effects of oat (Avena sativa L.)–black medick (Medicago lupulina L.), oat–white [...] Read more.
Cereal-legume intercropping is important in many low-input agricultural systems. Interactions between combinations of different plant species vary widely. Field experiments were conducted to determine yield formation regularities and plant competition effects of oat (Avena sativa L.)–black medick (Medicago lupulina L.), oat–white clover (Trifolium repens L.), and oat–Egyptian clover (T. alexandrinum L.) under organic farming conditions. Oats and forage legumes were grown in mono- and intercrops. Aboveground dry matter (DM) measured at flowering, development of fruit and ripened grain, productivity indicators, oat grain yield and nutrient content were established. The results showed that oats dominated in the intercropping systems. Oat competitive performance (CPo), which is characterized by forage legumes aboveground mass reduction compared to monocrops, were 91.4–98.9. As the oats ripened, its competitiveness tendency to declined. In oat–forage legume intercropping systems, the mass of weeds was significantly lower compared to the legume monocrops. Oats and forage legumes competed for P, but N and K accumulation in biomass was not significantly affected. We concluded that, in relay intercrop, under favourable conditions, the forage legumes easily adapted to the growth rhythm and intensity of oats and does not adverse effect on their grain yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Crop Diversification in Viticulture with Aromatic Plants: Effects of Intercropping on Grapevine Productivity in a Steep-Slope Vineyard in the Mosel Area, Germany
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020095 - 23 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1181
Abstract
The effects of intercropping grapevine with aromatic plants are investigated using a multi-disciplinary approach. Selected results are presented that address the extent to which crop diversification by intercropping impacts grapevine yield and must quality, as well as soil water and mineral nutrients (NO [...] Read more.
The effects of intercropping grapevine with aromatic plants are investigated using a multi-disciplinary approach. Selected results are presented that address the extent to which crop diversification by intercropping impacts grapevine yield and must quality, as well as soil water and mineral nutrients (NO3-N, NH4-N, plant-available K and P). The experimental field was a commercial steep-slope vineyard with shallow soils characterized by a high presence of coarse rock fragments in the Mosel area of Germany. The field experiment was set up as randomized block design. Rows were either cultivated with Riesling (Vitis vinifera L.) as a monocrop or intercropped with Origanum vulgare or Thymus vulgaris. Regarding soil moisture and nutrient levels, the topsoil (0–0.1 m) was more affected by intercropping than the subsoil (0.1–0.3 m). Gravimetric moisture was consistently lower in the intercropped topsoil. While NO3-N was almost unaffected by crop diversification, NH4-N, K, and P were uniformly reduced in topsoil. Significant differences in grapevine yield and must quality were dominantly attributable to climate variables, rather than to the treatments. Yield stabilization due to intercropping with thyme and oregano seems possible with sufficient rainfall or by irrigation. The long-term effects of intercropping on grapevine growth need further monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Crop Rotation Enhances Agricultural Sustainability: From an Empirical Evaluation of Eco-Economic Benefits in Rice Production
Agriculture 2021, 11(2), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11020091 - 21 Jan 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
Cropping systems greatly impact the productivity and resilience of agricultural ecosystems. However, we often lack an understanding of the quantitative interactions among social, economic and ecological components in each of the systems, especially with regard to crop rotation. Current production systems cannot guarantee [...] Read more.
Cropping systems greatly impact the productivity and resilience of agricultural ecosystems. However, we often lack an understanding of the quantitative interactions among social, economic and ecological components in each of the systems, especially with regard to crop rotation. Current production systems cannot guarantee both high profits in the short term and social and ecological benefits in the long term. This study combined statistic and economic models to evaluate the comprehensive effects of cropping systems on rice production using data collected from experimental fields between 2017 and 2018. The results showed that increasing agricultural diversity through rotations, particularly potato–rice rotation (PR), significantly increased the social, economic and ecological benefits of rice production. Yields, profits, profit margins, weighted dimensionless values of soil chemical and physical (SCP) and heavy metal (SHM) traits, benefits and externalities generated by PR and other rotations were generally higher than successive rice cropping. This suggests that agricultural diversity through rotations, particularly PR rotation, is worth implementing due to its overall benefits generated in rice production. However, due to various nutrient residues from preceding crops, fertilizer application should be rationalized to improve the resource and investment efficiency. Furthermore, we internalized the externalities (hidden ecological and social benefits/costs) generated by each of the rotation systems and proposed ways of incenting farmers to adopt crop rotation approaches for sustainable rice production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Water-Soluble Carbohydrate Recovery in Pastures of Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and Pasture Brome (Bromus valdivianus Phil.) Under Two Defoliation Frequencies Determined by Thermal Time
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 563; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110563 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 832
Abstract
The objectives of the experiment were to (i) examine the dynamics of WSC use and the recovery of leaf sheaths and blades of Bromus valdivianus Phil. and Lolium perenne L. subjected to two defoliation frequencies (DFs) determined by thermal time (TT); (ii) evaluate [...] Read more.
The objectives of the experiment were to (i) examine the dynamics of WSC use and the recovery of leaf sheaths and blades of Bromus valdivianus Phil. and Lolium perenne L. subjected to two defoliation frequencies (DFs) determined by thermal time (TT); (ii) evaluate how DF influenced regrowth and accumulated herbage mass (AHM) during fall. Defoliation was carried out at frequencies of 135 and 270 accumulated growing degree days (AGDDs) for both species. Twelve plots were arranged in a three-block design. All plots had a conditioning period to establish the assigned DF prior to sampling. From the start of the experiment, “cores” were collected from each plot every three days until the DF was reached. Every core was separated into leaf and sheath material before measuring the WSC concentration. Lolium perenne had concentrated more WSCs than B. valdivianus. Both species adapted their WSC recovery according to the DF. The recovery of WSC was faster under a DF of 135 AGDDs than that of 270 AGDDs. Leaf sheaths contained more WSCs than leaf blades and were identified as WSC storage organs. This period can be used as the optimal defoliation interval in B. valdivianus and L. perenne grazing systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Approach for Image-Based Semantic Segmentation of Canopy Cover in Pea–Oat Intercropping
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080354 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
Intercropping systems of cereals and legumes have the potential to produce high yields in a more sustainable way compared to sole cropping systems. Their agronomic optimization remains a challenging task given the numerous management options and the complexity of interactions between the crops. [...] Read more.
Intercropping systems of cereals and legumes have the potential to produce high yields in a more sustainable way compared to sole cropping systems. Their agronomic optimization remains a challenging task given the numerous management options and the complexity of interactions between the crops. Efficient methods for analyzing the influence of different management options are needed. The canopy cover of each crop in the intercropping system is a good determinant for light competition, thus influencing crop growth and weed suppression. Therefore, this study evaluated the feasibility to estimate canopy cover within an intercropping system of pea and oat based on semantic segmentation using a convolutional neural network. The network was trained with images from three datasets during early growth stages comprising canopy covers between 4% and 52%. Only images of sole crops were used for training and then applied to images of the intercropping system. The results showed that the networks trained on a single growth stage performed best for their corresponding dataset. Combining the data from all three growth stages increased the robustness of the overall detection, but decreased the accuracy of some of the single dataset result. The accuracy of the estimated canopy cover of intercropped species was similar to sole crops and satisfying to analyze light competition. Further research is needed to address different growth stages of plants to decrease the effort for retraining the networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Intercropping Winter Lupin and Triticale Increases Weed Suppression and Total Yield
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080316 - 01 Aug 2020
Viewed by 748
Abstract
Lupin (Lupinus sp.) produces protein-rich grains, but its adoption in cropping systems suffers from both its low competitive ability against weeds and its high yield variability. Compared with legume sole cropping, grain legume–cereal intercropping benefits include better weed suppression and higher yield [...] Read more.
Lupin (Lupinus sp.) produces protein-rich grains, but its adoption in cropping systems suffers from both its low competitive ability against weeds and its high yield variability. Compared with legume sole cropping, grain legume–cereal intercropping benefits include better weed suppression and higher yield and yield stability. However, the potential of enhancing crop competitive ability against weeds in additive winter grain legume–cereal intercrops is not well-known, and this potential in long crop cycles is even less studied. We studied how intercropping with a triticale (×Triticosecale) alters weed biomass and productivity of winter white lupin (Lupinus albus L.). The experimental setup consisted of eleven sites during a two-year period in western France. In each site-year, winter white lupin sole cropping was compared to winter white lupin-triticale intercropping in an additive sowing design. We found that intercropping reduced weed biomass at lupin flowering by an average of 63%. The rapid growth and high soil N acquisition of triticale compensated for the low competitive ability of lupin against weeds until lupin flowering. Competition from triticale in the intercrop reduced lupin grain yield (−34%), but intercropping produced a higher total grain yield (+37%) than did lupin sole cropping while maintaining the total protein grain yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Arthropod Diversity Influenced by Two Musa-Based Agroecosystems in Ecuador
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060235 - 18 Jun 2020
Viewed by 636
Abstract
Banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are very important crops in Ecuador. Agricultural production systems based on a single cultivar and high use of external inputs to increase yields may cause changes in the landscape structure and a loss in biodiversity. This loss [...] Read more.
Banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are very important crops in Ecuador. Agricultural production systems based on a single cultivar and high use of external inputs to increase yields may cause changes in the landscape structure and a loss in biodiversity. This loss may be responsible for a decrease in the complexity of arthropod food webs and, at the same time, related to a higher frequency and range of pest outbreaks. Very little is known either about the ecological mechanisms causing destabilization of these systems or the importance of the diversity of natural enemies to keep pests under control. Few studies have focused on this issue in tropical ecosystems. Here, we address this problem, comparing two Musa-based agroecosystems (monocultivar and mixed-species plantations) at two sites in Ecuador (La Maná and El Carmen) with different precipitation regimes. The diversity of soil macro fauna, represented by arthropods, was established, as indicators of the abovementioned disturbances. Our ultimate goal is the optimization of pest management by exploring more sustainable cropping systems with improved soil quality. Arthropod abundance was higher in the mixed system at both localities, which was clearly associated with the quality of the soils. In addition, we found Hymenoptera species with predatory or parasitic characteristics over the pests present in the agroecosystems under study. These highly beneficial species were more abundant at the locality of La Maná. The mixed type of production system provides plant diversity, which favors beneficial arthropod abundance and permits lower agrochemical application without yield penalties in comparison to the monoculture. These findings will help in the design of Musa-based agroecosystems to enhance pest control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
On-Farm Evaluation on Yield and Economic Performance of Cereal-Cowpea Intercropping to Support the Smallholder Farming System in the Soudano-Sahelian Zone of Mali
Agriculture 2020, 10(6), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10060214 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 596
Abstract
Cereal-cowpea intercropping has become an integral part of the farming system in Mali. Still, information is lacking regarding integrated benefits of the whole system, including valuing of the biomass for facing the constraints of animal feedings. We used farmers’ learning networks to evaluate [...] Read more.
Cereal-cowpea intercropping has become an integral part of the farming system in Mali. Still, information is lacking regarding integrated benefits of the whole system, including valuing of the biomass for facing the constraints of animal feedings. We used farmers’ learning networks to evaluate performance of intercropping systems of millet-cowpea and sorghum-cowpea in southern Mali. Our results showed that under intercropping, the grain yield obtained with the wilibali (short maturing duration) variety was significantly higher than the yield obtained with the sangaranka (long maturing duration) variety whether with millet (36%) or sorghum (48%), corresponding, respectively, to an economic gain of XOF (West African CFA franc) 125 282/ha and XOF 142 640/ha. While for biomass, the yield obtained with the sangaranka variety was significantly higher by 50% and 60% to that of wilibali with an economic gain of XOF 286 526/ha (with millet) and XOF 278 516/ha (with sorghum). Total gain obtained with the millet-cowpea system was significantly greater than that obtained with the sorghum-cowpea system by 14%, and this stands irrespective of the type of cowpea variety. Farmers prefer the grain for satisfying immediate food needs instead of economic gains. These results represent an indication for farmer’s decision-making regarding cowpea varieties selection especially for addressing household food security issues or feeding animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Species Composition and Management on Biomass Production in Missouri
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030075 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
Perennial biofuel crops help to reduce both dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions while utilizing nutrients more efficiently compared to annual crops. In addition, perennial crops grown for biofuels have the potential to produce high biomass yields, are capable of increased [...] Read more.
Perennial biofuel crops help to reduce both dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions while utilizing nutrients more efficiently compared to annual crops. In addition, perennial crops grown for biofuels have the potential to produce high biomass yields, are capable of increased carbon sequestration, and are beneficial for reducing soil erosion. Various monocultures and mixtures of perennial grasses and forbs can be established to achieve these benefits. The objective of this study was to quantify the effects of feedstock mixture and cutting height on yields. The base feedstock treatments included a monoculture of switchgrass (SG) and a switchgrass:big bluestem 1:1 mixture (SGBBS). Other treatments included mixtures of the base feedstock with ratios of base to native forbs plus legumes of 100:0, 80:20, 60:40, and 20:80. The study was established in 2008. Biomass crops typically require 2 to 3 years to produce a uniform stand. Therefore, harvest data were collected from July 2010 to July 2013. Three harvest times were selected to represent (1) biomass for biofuel (March), (2) forage (July), and (3) forage and biomass (October). Annual mean yields varied between 4.97 Mg ha−1 in 2010 to 5.56 Mg ha−1 in 2011. However, the lowest yield of 2.82 Mg ha−1 in March and the highest yield of 7.18 Mg ha−1 in July were harvested in 2013. The mean yield was 5.21 Mg ha−1 during the 4 year study. The effect of species mixture was not significant on yield. The cutting height was significant (p < 0.001), with greater yield for the 15 cm compared to the 30 cm cutting height. Yield differences were larger between harvest times during the early phase of the study. Yield difference within a harvest time was not significant for 3 of the 10 harvests. Future studies should examine changes in biomass production for mixture composition with time for selection of optimal regional specific species mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Open AccessArticle
Soil and Water Quality Indicators of Diversified Farming Systems in a Saline Region of the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020038 - 07 Feb 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1153
Abstract
Saltwater intrusion, a consequence of climate change and decreased water levels, has been increasingly severe in the Mekong Delta region. Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam, is a coastal region where agricultural production and local livelihood have been impaired by saltwater intrusion, [...] Read more.
Saltwater intrusion, a consequence of climate change and decreased water levels, has been increasingly severe in the Mekong Delta region. Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province, Vietnam, is a coastal region where agricultural production and local livelihood have been impaired by saltwater intrusion, resulting in the adoption of multiple coping strategies, including rotations and intercropping. This study aims to measure and evaluate soil and water quality indicators of multiple farming systems in Thanh Phu district and contributes to developing suitable cropping patterns. Soil indicators were pH, electrical conductivity, and exchangeable Na+. Water quality characteristics include pH, salinity, dissolved N and P, alkalinity, H2S, and chemical oxygen demand (COD). The results indicated that water pH and salinity were at suitable levels to support the growth of prawn but were below the critical level required to grow black tiger shrimp and white-legged shrimp. Water alkalinity, dissolved N, P, and COD were not constraining for the growth of shrimps. However, a significant concentration of H2S may cause disadvantages for shrimp growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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