Special Issue "Sustainable Crop Production Protects the Quality of Soil and Plant Raw Materials"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Małgorzata Szczepanek
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, UTP University of Science and Technology, S. Kaliskiego 7, 85-796, Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: field crops; vegetables; grasses; sustainable agriculture; cropping system; seed production; biostimulants; nutrient management; crop quality; crop storage
Dr. Anna Piotrowska-Długosz
Website
Guest Editor
UTP University of Science and Technology; Department of Biogeochemistry and Soil Science; Laboratory of Soil Science and Biochemistry; 6 Bernardyńska St.; 85-029 Bydgoszcz, Poland
Interests: soil; enzymes; chemical properties; respiration; microbial biomass C, N, P; phospholipid fatty acids; biological indicators; soil quality and fertility; agricultural practices; anthropogenic factors; spatial variability of soil properties; geostatistics
Prof. Iwona Konopka
Website
Guest Editor
University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Faculty of Food Science; Chair of Plant Food Chemistry and Processing; 10-726 Olsztyn, Poland
Interests: quality of cereal grain and oilseeds; phytochemicals; natural protection against plant pests; biotic and abiotic stresses; processing of plant raw materials

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A sustainable crop production system is essential for ensuring the healthy resources that are critical for the production of enough of the high-quality food and animal feed that are expected by consumers and industry. The goal of sustainable crop production is not only to satisfy humanity’s need for food and industry’s needs for raw materials, but to enhance the quality of the environment and natural resources. Sustainable crop production practices develop efficient, biological systems and include a variety of approaches that lead to an improvement in nutrient quality by using integrated pest management, protecting biodiversity, and maintaining good soil quality with a high organic matter content and microbial diversity. In order to avoid the potential harmful effects of conventional pesticides, integrated pest management approaches that reduce the amount used pesticides used should be applied. Sustainable agriculture is associated with conservation practices that decrease the rate of soil and nutrient loss, and reduce the amount of chemicals that are leached into the water table. The diversification of crops should also be considered. When possible, pest-resistant crops that are tolerant of the existing soil or site conditions should be selected. In annual cropping systems, crop rotation can be used to suppress weeds, pathogens, and insect pests. In addition, cover crops or intercrops can have a stabilizing effect on the agroecosystem by holding soil and nutrients in place, conserving soil moisture with mulches, and increasing the water infiltration rate and soil water holding capacity. 

Fertile, healthy soil is the main component of sustainable crop production. Only this type of soil will produce high-quality healthy crops that are less susceptible to disease and pests. While many crops have key pests that attack even the healthiest plants, proper soil, water, and nutrient management can help prevent some pest and disease problems that are caused by the greater inputs of water, nutrients, pesticides, and/or energy for tillage that are required in order to maintain yields in high-input, resource-intensive production systems. This is why proper soil management will be of great importance for providing sustainable crop production and environmental sustainability, and for achieving food security and ensuring good human health in the future. In sustainable cultivation systems, soil must be protected and developed in order to ensure long-term productivity and stability. Protecting soil resources and improving their fertility and productivity can be achieved by implementing appropriate soil conservation practices, such as using cover crops, compost, and/or manures; reducing tillage; and maintaining soil cover with plants and/or mulches.

In this regard, this Special Issue will deal with the quality of plant raw materials and soil protection in sustainable crop production systems. All types of contributions (original research, reviews, and meta-analysis) that offer new insight into sustainable crop production systems are welcome. This Special Issue will cover recent progress in the most important aspects of sustainable crop production systems, such as the quality and quantity of crops, integrated pest management, water and nutrient management, biodiversification, conservation tillage, and soil quality protection.

Dr. Małgorzata Szczepanek
Dr. Anna Piotrowska-Długosz
Prof. Iwona Konopka
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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 1600 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

  • agronomic traits
  • crop management
  • organic farming
  • conservation tillage
  • crop diversity
  • water and nutrient management
  • integrated pest management
  • soil quality and fertility
  • soil organic matter
  • soil biota and biodiversity

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Chemical and Biological Properties of Sandy Loam Soil in Response to Long-Term Organic–Mineral Fertilisation in a Warm-Summer Humid Continental Climate
Agronomy 2020, 10(10), 1610; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10101610 - 20 Oct 2020
Abstract
In 2019, 71 years after the establishment of a static fertiliser experiment, the chemical and biological properties of Luvisol soil with sandy-loam grain-size composition were determined. Soil samples were taken from six fertilised treatments: half-dose nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in mineral fertilisers (½ [...] Read more.
In 2019, 71 years after the establishment of a static fertiliser experiment, the chemical and biological properties of Luvisol soil with sandy-loam grain-size composition were determined. Soil samples were taken from six fertilised treatments: half-dose nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in mineral fertilisers (½ NPK); full-dose nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium (NPK); manure fertilisation + nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and liming (FYM NPK Mg Ca); manure + mineral fertilisers without magnesium and liming (FYM NPK); manure + nitrogen and phosphorus (FYM NP); manure + nitrogen and potassium (FYM NK). The soil was tested in two layers at depths of 0–20 cm and 20–40 cm. Soil samples were tested for: pH in 1 M KCl (pH); electrical conductivity (EC); organic carbon content (OC); content of available phosphorus (Pa), potassium (Ka), magnesium (Mga) and sulphate sulphur (S-SO4); total number of bacteria (Bt), cellulolytic microorganisms (Bc), fungi (Ff) and actinomycetes (Ac); and alkaline phosphatase (AlP), acid phosphatase (AcP) and arylsulphatase (ArS) activity. The fertilisation that most favourably affected the chemical and biological properties of the soil was FYM NPK Mg Ca. This fertilisation increased: pH and EC; OC, Ka and Mga contents; Bt and Bc abundance; and AlP activity relative to all the methods of mineral and organic–mineral fertilisation that did not include all the ingredients of mineral fertilisers. On the other hand, the least favourable soil properties were formed by ½ NPK fertilisation in the 0–20 cm layer, and by the long-term use of mineral fertilisers only in the 20–40 cm layer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Nitrogen Fertilization and the Use of Biostimulants on the Yield of Two Maize Varieties (Zea mays L.) Cultivated for Grain
Agronomy 2020, 10(9), 1408; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10091408 - 17 Sep 2020
Abstract
The field experiment was carried out in 2015–2017 on a family farm in Toczyski Czortki, in the Mazovia voivodeship in Poland. The experiment was set up in a split–split–plot system in three replications. The area of one plot was 30 m−2. [...] Read more.
The field experiment was carried out in 2015–2017 on a family farm in Toczyski Czortki, in the Mazovia voivodeship in Poland. The experiment was set up in a split–split–plot system in three replications. The area of one plot was 30 m−2. The studied factors were: I—two maize varieties: PR38N86 (medium late hybrid cultivar 280 FAO), P8400 (medium early hybrid cultivar 240 FAO); II—four doses of nitrogen fertilization: 1. control object—without the use of nitrogen (0 kg N·ha−1), 2. nitrogen dose—80 kg N·ha−1 (applied once before sowing), 3. nitrogen dose—120 kg N·ha−1 (applied once before sowing), 4. nitrogen dose—160 kg N·ha−1 (applied once before sowing); III—four types of biostimulants used: 1. control object—without using a biostimulant, 2. Asahi®SL biostimulant: I term—four-leaf phase (BBCH 14) at a dose of 0.60 dm3∙ha−1, II term—eight-leaf phase (BBCH 18) at a dose of 0.60 dm3∙ha−1, 3. Improver® biostimulant: I term—four-leaf phase (BBCH 14) at a dose of 1.00 dm3∙ha−1, II term—eight-leaf phase (BBCH 18) at a dose of 0.60 dm3∙ha−1, 4. Zeal® biostimulant: I term—six-leaf phase (BBCH 16) at a dose of 2.00 dm3∙ha−1. The aim of the study was to determine the effect of nitrogen fertilization and the use of biostimulants on the size and quality of yield of two varieties of maize grown for grain. Based on the conducted research, it was found that nitrogen doses influenced the amount of maize grain obtained. The highest yields were obtained using 120 kg N∙ha−1. Nitrogen doses significantly affected the studied maize yield components. The dose of 120 kg N∙ha−1 increased the number of grains in the cob, while the dose—160 kg N∙ha−1 exerted the best effect on obtaining the highest values of a thousand seeds. The biostimulants used in the experiment significantly affected the mass of one thousand seeds and the number of grains in the cob. In addition, Asahi®SL, Improver® and Zeal® biostimulants increased maize yield in each growing season studied. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Total and True Protein Content in Potato Tubers Depending on Herbicides and Biostimulants
Agronomy 2020, 10(8), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10081106 - 30 Jul 2020
Abstract
The aim of the study was to determine the effect of herbicides and herbicides used with biostimulants on the content of total and true protein in potato tubers. The three-year field experiment was carried out using the random two-way split-plot arrangement in three [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to determine the effect of herbicides and herbicides used with biostimulants on the content of total and true protein in potato tubers. The three-year field experiment was carried out using the random two-way split-plot arrangement in three repetitions. The examined factors were: I—three cultivars of potato: Bartek, Gawin, Honorata; II—five method applications of herbicides and herbicides with biostimulants: 1. Control—mechanical weeding, 2. Harrier 295 ZC (linuron + clomazone), 3. Harrier 295 ZC + Kelpak SL (linuron + clomazone and extract from algae Ecklonia maxima), 4. Sencor 70 WG (metribuzin), 5. Sencor 70 WG + Asahi SL (metribuzin and sodium p-nitrophenolate, sodium o-nitrophenolate, sodium 5-nitroguolacolate). On the plots sprayed with herbicides and herbicides mixed with biostimulants, a significant increase in the content of total and true proteins and the share of true protein in total protein in relation to tubers harvested from the control object was found. Genetic features of cultivars determined the content of total and true protein in potato tubers. The highest total and true protein was accumulated by tubers of the Bartek cultivar, and the least by the Honorata cultivar. Full article
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