Effects of Soil Tillage and Fertilizer Management on Production of Cereal Crops

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil and Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2024) | Viewed by 6449

Special Issue Editor


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, Taicheng 3, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, PR China
Interests: soil tillage; fertilizer management; crop production; meta-analysis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the production of cereal crops, intensive tillage increases the mineralization of organic carbon in the soil, leading to a decrease in soil quality. In addition, the application of high-strength chemical fertilizers to enhance yield results in a large amount of nutrient loss in the form of volatilization, immobilization, denitrification, and leaching, as well as increasing the greenhouse gas emissions from farmland, posing a grave threat to both the ecological environment and sustainable production of farmland. Therefore, to ensure high-quality farmland and promote sustainable cereal crop production, it is crucial to adopt reasonable tillage techniques and fertilization models to minimize nutrient loss.

This Special Issue aims to present all recent progress and perspectives surrounding global soil tillage and fertilizer management for cereal crop production. This issue will contain the latest research findings on all relevant topics, including but not limited to: conservation agriculture, soil tillage, fertilization mode, crop yield, agricultural product quality, resource utilization efficiency, soil fertility and health, soil nutrient supply and circulation, sustainability of soil fertilization, greenhouse gas emissions, ecological and economic benefits, and life cycle assessment. On-site experiments and meta-analyses are appreciated. Original research papers, communications, and review articles are welcome.

Dr. Juan Han
Guest Editor

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2600 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

  • conservation agriculture
  • soil tillage
  • fertilization mode
  • crop yield
  • agricultural product quality
  • resource utilization efficiency
  • soil fertility and health
  • soil nutrient supply and circulation
  • sustainability of soil fertilization
  • greenhouse gas emissions

Published Papers (6 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

17 pages, 4134 KiB  
Article
Polyaspartic Acid Urea Increased Maize Yield by Enhancing Leaf N Turnover Efficiency and Soil Microbial Diversity
by Pengtao Ji, Yujuan Peng, Xiangling Li, Rui Wang, Peijun Tao and Yuechen Zhang
Agronomy 2024, 14(4), 796; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14040796 - 11 Apr 2024
Viewed by 393
Abstract
The release rates of different nitrogen (N) fertilizers and their matching with plant demand determine crop yields. A field experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of using no fertilizer (N0), regular urea applied at rates of 180 kg ha−1 (N180) and [...] Read more.
The release rates of different nitrogen (N) fertilizers and their matching with plant demand determine crop yields. A field experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of using no fertilizer (N0), regular urea applied at rates of 180 kg ha−1 (N180) and 240 kg ha−1 (N240), controlled-release urea applied at a rate of 180 kg ha−1 (H180), and polyaspartic acid urea (PASP) on maize seed yield, soil microbial community diversity, and leaf N-converting enzymes. XianYu 688 was selected as the test maize variety. All cobs in the sample plots were collected per unit area to estimate maize yield. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to determine leaf N-converting enzyme activities. Soil DNA was extracted using the Power Max Soil DNA Isolation Kit and subsequently sequenced using the Illumina HiSeq platform (PE 2500) to determine the microbial diversity and communities. The results showed that the highest seed yields were obtained under N240 and PASP180 treatments. The N-partial factor productivity of the PASP180 fertilizer was significantly higher than that of the other treatments. PASP treatment significantly increased maize seed yield due to the potential of storing more N in the ear leaves. Additionally, partial N productivity showed a significant positive correlation with the soil microbial Shannon, Chao1, and ACE indices, indicating that increased soil microbial diversity promoted N efficiency in maize. Further analysis revealed that PASP treatment increased seed yield by promoting leaf N-converting enzyme activity and soil microbial diversity. The results revealed that nitrate reductase (NR), glutamate synthase (GOGAT), and glutaminase (GLNS) enzyme activities in maize leaves were higher under the PASP treatment than under other fertilizer treatments. The PASP treatment significantly enhanced soil microbial diversity at different maize stages. Our study revealed the effects of using different N fertilizers on seed yield by examining their impact on soil microbial diversity and leaf N-converting enzyme activity. This study provides essential insights into maize production and soil fertility maintenance in the North China Plain. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 3715 KiB  
Article
Tillage Practices and Liming: Comparative Study of Soil Properties and Forage Corn Production
by Jimmy A. Ocaña-Reyes, Marco Gutiérrez, Richard Paredes-Espinosa, Christian A. Riveros, Gloria P. Cárdenas, Nino Bravo, Astrid Quispe-Tomas, Luiz P. Amaringo-Cordova, Juan C. Ocaña-Canales, José W. Zavala-Solórzano, Hugo A. Huamaní Yupanqui, Juancarlos Cruz and Richard Solórzano-Acosta
Agronomy 2024, 14(3), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14030558 - 9 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1720
Abstract
Tillage conservation practices (CA), traditional agriculture (TA), and liming influence soil properties and crop yield. However, it is essential to demonstrate which tillage and liming practices improve soil properties and forage corn yield. This study compared soil properties and forage corn production in [...] Read more.
Tillage conservation practices (CA), traditional agriculture (TA), and liming influence soil properties and crop yield. However, it is essential to demonstrate which tillage and liming practices improve soil properties and forage corn yield. This study compared soil properties and forage corn production in two tillage systems with the addition of dolomite and lime, which formed four treatments. The tillage in the first three days surpassed the TA soil CO2 emission, with 64.8% more CO2 than in the CA soil, and the TA hydraulic conductivity and bulk density were more suitable than those in the CA soil. The CA soil had 233 earthworms m−2 more than in TA. The TA green forage corn yielded 6.45 t ha−1 more than in CA, with a higher P, Ca, and Mg foliar content than in CA, but in the CA, the foliar N and K were higher than in TA. The liming increased soil cations (except K), highlighting the lime on dolomite with—52% Al and + 4.85 t ha−1 of forage corn compared to the control. Soil CO2 emission was far lower in CA than in TA, with a slightly lower forage yield, and other soil properties were improved, meaning lower land preparation costs and time savings than in TA. Lime improved acidic soil faster than dolomite, generating higher forage yields. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 2551 KiB  
Article
Nitrogen Foliage Application at Anthesis Improves Grain Yield and Quality of Wheat in a Genotype-Dependent Manner
by Xiaoyan Gu, Xiaofeng Yang, Ling Jiang, Shan Huang, Hong Zhou, Jianyu Zhu, Yuanwei Chen, Yuze Li and Yang Liu
Agronomy 2023, 13(12), 3077; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13123077 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 748
Abstract
Crop quality tends to decrease with an increasing grain yield. Nitrogen is an important nutrient and moderate nitrogen foliage application (NFA) can significantly improve the wheat yield and quality. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of NFA on the [...] Read more.
Crop quality tends to decrease with an increasing grain yield. Nitrogen is an important nutrient and moderate nitrogen foliage application (NFA) can significantly improve the wheat yield and quality. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of NFA on the grain yield and quality of wheat and its genotype-dependent variation. Eighteen wheat cultivars were used, and two NFA levels (N1 and N2; 10.70 and 21.40 kg N ha−1 two day−1, respectively) were applied. Significant genotypic differences in the yield and quality were observed among the 18 varieties, and their responses to NFA differed. For nine varieties in the experiment, N1 increased the grain yield, but N2 did not. In contrast, high concentrations of NFA had no effect on the grain yield in the other nine varieties. The protein content and composition and trace element (Fe, Zn, etc.) are all nutrient elements that notably affect the wheat grain quality and yield. NFA significantly increased the grain prolamin and glutelin concentrations in the grains, thereby increasing the total protein concentration. The prolamin, glutelin, and total protein concentrations in the grains of the lower-protein cultivars were more sensitive to NFA than those of the higher-protein cultivars. In addition, NFA significantly decreased the amylose concentration in the grains. By affecting the prolamin, glutelin, and amylose concentrations in the grains, NFA significantly increased the development and stability times of the corresponding wheat flour dough, thereby improving the dough quality. Moreover, NFA reduced the molar ratio of phytic acid to Fe and Zn, increasing the bioavailability of trace elements. The judicious application of nitrogen fertilizer resulted in the synergistic improvement in the yield and quality. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

0 pages, 3334 KiB  
Article
Sulfur Application Improves the Nutritional Quality of Maize by Regulating the Amino Acid Balance of Grains
by Honglin Wang, Shuai Cui, Jianan Fu, Huadong Gong and Shuoran Liu
Agronomy 2023, 13(12), 2912; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13122912 - 27 Nov 2023
Viewed by 994
Abstract
As a crucial staple crop in agricultural production, maize is extensively cultivated worldwide and plays a pivotal role in ensuring global food security. However, the significant deficiency of essential amino acids (EAA) and conditionally essential amino acids (CEAA), such as lysine (Lys), tryptophan [...] Read more.
As a crucial staple crop in agricultural production, maize is extensively cultivated worldwide and plays a pivotal role in ensuring global food security. However, the significant deficiency of essential amino acids (EAA) and conditionally essential amino acids (CEAA), such as lysine (Lys), tryptophan (Trp), methionine (Met), and cysteine (Cys), leads to an imbalance of amino acids in the grain. This study investigates the regulatory mechanism of sulfur (S) application for regulating the amino acid balance of maize grains. The results demonstrate that S application has substantial effects on both the maize yield and nutritional quality. The S application resulted in an increase in maize yield by simultaneously enhancing the grain number per ear (GN) and 100-grain weight (GW), while S application elevated protein concentration through the augmentation of Cys concentration in maize grains. Furthermore, the Cys in grains optimizes the amino acid balance by regulating the ratio of other amino acids, thereby enhancing the nutritional quality of maize while ensuring a steady increase in protein concentration, simultaneously. Overall, the S application at 60–90 kg ha−1 synergistically improved both the yield and nutritional quality of maize, meeting the requirements for sustainable development in maize production. The findings offer a novel theoretical foundation and nutrient management approach for achieving high-yield and superior-quality maize production. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

26 pages, 14495 KiB  
Article
Optimized Farmland Mulching Improves Rainfed Maize Productivity by Regulating Soil Temperature and Phenology on the Loess Plateau in China
by Shibo Zhang, Zhenqing Xia, Guixin Zhang, Jingxuan Bai, Mengke Wu and Haidong Lu
Agronomy 2023, 13(11), 2790; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13112790 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 978
Abstract
Owing to global warming, continuously increasing the grain yield of rainfed maize is challenging on the Loess Plateau in China. Plastic film mulching has been extensively utilized in dryland agriculture on the Loess Plateau. However, higher topsoil temperatures under film mulch caused rainfed-maize [...] Read more.
Owing to global warming, continuously increasing the grain yield of rainfed maize is challenging on the Loess Plateau in China. Plastic film mulching has been extensively utilized in dryland agriculture on the Loess Plateau. However, higher topsoil temperatures under film mulch caused rainfed-maize premature senescence and yield loss. Here, we aimed to explore the influence of topsoil temperature driven by novel double mulching patterns on rainfed maize productivity based on the excellent moisture conservation function of plastic film. A maize field experiment was conducted in two different areas, namely Changwu, a typical semi-arid area, and Yangling, a dry semi-humid area. The experiment followed a randomized block design with three replications. Five flat-planting practices were examined in 2021 and 2022: (1) bare land (CK), (2) transparent film mulching (PFM), (3) black film mulching (BFM), (4) double mulching of PFM with a black polyethylene net (PFM + BN), and (5) double mulching of PFM with whole maize stalks (PFM + ST). Soil hydrothermal conditions, maize growth dynamics, grain yield, water use efficiency (WUE), and economic returns were quantified under different mulching practices. Under double mulching treatments, topsoil temperatures were lower than PFM by 1.7–2.0 °C at the two sites (p < 0.05), whereas BFM was slightly lower than that of PFM by 0.6–0.7 °C at Yangling (p > 0.05). The average growth period for maize under double mulching was longer than that under PFM by 8–11 days at the two sites. Double mulching treatments significantly improved the leaf area index (LAI), chlorophyll relative content (SPAD), and aboveground biomass compared to CK and PFM during the late growth stage. Compared with PFM, average grain yield increased by 14.93%, 18.46%, and 16.45% in Changwu (p < 0.05) under BFM, PFM + BN, and PFM + ST, respectively, and by 2.71%, 24.55%, and 20.38% in Yangling. The corresponding WUEs also increased. Additionally, net income under BFM was higher than that under other treatments, and there were no significant (p > 0.05) differences between PFM + ST and BFM in Changwu. However, PFM + ST in net income averaged 10.72–52.22% higher than other treatments, and its output value was 19.51% higher in Yangling. In summary, smallholder farmers can adopt PFM + ST to improve rainfed-maize productivity in the Loess Plateau in China. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 6231 KiB  
Article
Optimizing Sowing Patterns and Nitrogen Management Strategies Used to Balance Maize Crop Productivity, N2O Emissions, and Economic Benefits in the Loess Plateau Region of China
by Shiju Liu, Wei Li, Lulu Liu, Xiaoxia Wen, Yuncheng Liao, Guangxin Zhang and Juan Han
Agronomy 2023, 13(9), 2220; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13092220 - 25 Aug 2023
Viewed by 944
Abstract
Understanding the combined effects of sowing patterns and nitrogen (N) management strategies on crop productivity, environmental costs, and economic benefits is important to ensuring the sustainable development of dryland agriculture. Thus, we conducted a three-year field experiment to explore two spring maize sowing [...] Read more.
Understanding the combined effects of sowing patterns and nitrogen (N) management strategies on crop productivity, environmental costs, and economic benefits is important to ensuring the sustainable development of dryland agriculture. Thus, we conducted a three-year field experiment to explore two spring maize sowing patterns (FS, flat sowing; RFPM, ridge and furrow plastic film mulching) and four N management strategies (N0, no N fertilizer; N1, normal urea as base fertilizer; N2, split application of normal urea at sowing and a large flare period at a ratio of 3:2; N3, all controlled-release urea as base fertilizer) on growth, the grain yield, the N uptake and utilization efficiency, N2O emissions, and economic benefits in the Loess Plateau region of China. Our results showed that compared to FS, RFPM promoted growth of the spring maize canopy and increased the grain yield, cumulative N uptake, and N use efficiency. RFPM promoted N2O emissions by improving the soil’s hydrothermal environment, but it reduced the environmental cost (yield-scaled N2O emission). RFPM increased the production cost, but it increased the net income by improving the total output. Compared to traditional N management strategies (N1), N2 and N3 treatments improved the spring maize productivity and net income, and they reduced the environmental costs by improving the synchronization of the nitrogen supply. However, due to the decreasing rural labor force available in China, N3 is more beneficial in terms of reducing labor inputs. Therefore, we suggest that RFPM and N3 can be combined to form an efficient management strategy for spring maize production in the Loess Plateau that balances crop productivity, N2O emissions, and economic benefits. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop