Special Issue "Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Agr. Roberto Mancinelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Forestry Science (DAFNE) - University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo De Lellis, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Interests: sustainable agriculture; agricultural ecology; cropping systems; conservation tillage; soil fertility; herbaceous crops production; weeds control; agroecosystem management and relative evaluation by sustainability indicators; soil GHGs emission as affected by agronomic techniques
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Emanuele Radicetti
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
Interests: crop management; crop production; agriculture; soil fertility; fertilizers; sustainable agriculture; organic farming; soil; environmental science; plant nutrition
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The agricultural models that have been developed in the last century, mainly in industrialized countries, have contributed to changes in agroecosystems and environmental quality; some of these changes have been quite extensive. By simplifying agroecosystems, the adoption of intensive systems designed in accordance with the maximum crop specialization principle have taken place at the expense of the massive use of auxiliary energy in the form of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, synthetic substances, etc. The consequent challenges are of an energetic nature, and there are concerns regarding the loss of soil fertility, soil carbon reduction, eutrophication and water pollution, the breakdown of biological balances, poisoning of the food chain, and danger to the health of agricultural operators. All of these aspects require a revision of the ways in which food is produced. Farms should operate by adhering more closely to the principles that govern the functioning of natural ecosystems. Cropping systems should be designed and managed with a high level of environmental sustainability, using natural resources (water, solar radiation, etc.) and with production directed towards both achieving a high quality and quantity sufficient for satisfying consumers’ food demands. Hence, the transfer of specialized cropping systems to integrated agroecosystems has become a pressing need.

To realize these objectives, demanding and in-depth studies are needed to find new cultivation strategies with suitable agronomic techniques which lead to sustainable agriculture and greater environmental balance. The components and functions of farms (agroecosystems) must be integrated and persist over time.

Suitable agronomic techniques, such as crops managed in a correct rotation and/or intercropping, soil tillage tools and management, weed control, and pest strategies, etc., should be applied singularly and/or in combination.

This Special Issue of Sustainability will present a collection of papers which analyze modern and innovative agronomic techniques suitable for both herbaceous and tree sustainable cropping systems. The innovative agronomic techniques described in this Special Issue should amplify the current knowledge and contribute to shedding light on new pathways for sustainable food production in farm cropping systems.

Dr. Agr. Roberto Mancinelli
Dr. Emanuele Radicetti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 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 techniques
  • sustainable agroecosystems
  • cropping systems management
  • soil tillage and management
  • crop yield
  • soil nutrient management
  • soil carbon sequestration
  • weed control
  • food quality production
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • precision agriculture

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Optimum Water and Fertilizer Management for Better Growth and Resource Use Efficiency of Rapeseed in Rainy and Drought Seasons
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020703 - 18 Jan 2020
Abstract
Optimum water–fertilizer management in rainfed agriculture is an important factor in improving crop productivity and the ecological environment under fluctuating climate conditions, especially in Southwest China, where seasonal drought and waterlogging occur frequently. In order to investigate the effects of different cultivation technologies [...] Read more.
Optimum water–fertilizer management in rainfed agriculture is an important factor in improving crop productivity and the ecological environment under fluctuating climate conditions, especially in Southwest China, where seasonal drought and waterlogging occur frequently. In order to investigate the effects of different cultivation technologies on growth and the water and fertilizer use efficiency of rapeseed (Brassica napus L.), a two-year field study was conducted in rainy (2016–2017) and drought (2017–2018) seasons which included three cultivation patterns: (1) conventional flat planting (FP); (2) straw mulching (SM); (3) ridge-furrow rainfall harvesting system (RF), and three fertilization patterns: (1) conventional fertilization (CF); (2) reduced slow-release fertilizer (SR); and (3) no fertilizer as a control treatment. The results indicated that the yield and its composition values were lower in the rainy year than in the seasonal dry year. The single water-saving technology had no significant effect on yield increase when seasonal drought occurred. The two technologies (SM + SR and RF + SR) improved the height, leaf SPAD value and dry matter of the rapeseed and adjusted the root–shoot ratio under two different climate conditions. In the rainy season, these technologies reduced the loss of nutrients, while in the seasonal drought year, it increased the soil moisture. The SM + SR and RF + SR increased the yield of rapeseed by 7.71% and 29.93% and enhanced oil content by 4.64% and 7.91%, respectively, compared with the local cultivation pattern. Meanwhile, these treatments decreased the total water consumption during whole growth stages and promoted water use efficiency by 14.84% and 28.71%, respectively. The combination of SM + SR and RF + SR also increased the accumulation of N, P, and K and significantly promoted the utilization efficiency of fertilizer. In the future, the adverse effects of environmental factors could be relieved, and the goal of cost savings and increasing efficiency could be achieved by adopting the optimal cultivation technologies in rapeseed production of Southwest China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
A Place-Based Approach to Agricultural Nonmaterial Intangible Cultural Ecosystem Service Values
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 699; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020699 - 18 Jan 2020
Abstract
Though agricultural landscape biodiversity and ecosystem service (ES) conservation is crucial to sustainability, agricultural land is often underrepresented in ES studies, while cultural ES associated with agricultural land is often limited to aesthetic and tourism recreation value only. This study mapped 7 nonmaterial-intangible [...] Read more.
Though agricultural landscape biodiversity and ecosystem service (ES) conservation is crucial to sustainability, agricultural land is often underrepresented in ES studies, while cultural ES associated with agricultural land is often limited to aesthetic and tourism recreation value only. This study mapped 7 nonmaterial-intangible cultural ES (NICE) valuations of 34 rural farmers in western Taiwan using the Social Values for Ecosystem Services (SolVES) methodology, to show the effect of farming practices on NICE valuations. However, rather than a direct causal relationship between the environmental characteristics that underpin ES, and respondents’ ES valuations, we found that environmental data is not explanatory enough for causality within a socio-ecological production landscape where one type of land cover type (a micro mosaic of agricultural land cover) predominates. To compensate, we used a place-based approach with Google Maps data to create context-specific data to inform our assessment of NICE valuations. Based on 338 mapped points of 7 NICE valuations distributed among 6 areas within the landscape, we compared 2 groups of farmers and found that farmers’ valuations about their landscape were better understood when accounting for both the landscape’s cultural places and environmental characteristics, rather than environmental characteristics alone. Further, farmers’ experience and knowledge influenced their NICE valuations such that farm areas were found to be sources of multiple NICE benefits demonstrating that farming practices may influence ES valuation in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Strategic Grazing in Beef-Pastures for Improved Soil Health and Reduced Runoff-Nitrate-A Step towards Sustainability
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020558 - 11 Jan 2020
Abstract
Generally, improvement in the soil health of pasturelands can result in amplified ecosystem services which can help improve the overall sustainability of the system. The extent to which specific best management practices have this effect has yet to be established. A farm-scale study [...] Read more.
Generally, improvement in the soil health of pasturelands can result in amplified ecosystem services which can help improve the overall sustainability of the system. The extent to which specific best management practices have this effect has yet to be established. A farm-scale study was conducted in eight beef-pastures in the Southern Piedmont of Georgia, from 2015 to 2018, to assess the effect of strategic-grazing (STR) and continuous-grazing hay distribution (CHD) on soil health indicators and runoff nitrate losses. In 2016, four pastures were converted to the STR system and four were grazed using the CHD system. Post-treatment, in 2018, the STR system had significantly greater POXC (by 87.1, 63.4, and 55.6 mg ha−1 at 0–5, 5–10, and 10–20 cm, respectively) as compared to CHD system. Soil respiration was also greater in the STR system (by 235 mg CO2 m-2 24 h−1) and less nitrate was lost in the runoff (by 0.21 kg ha−1) as compared to the CHD system. Cattle exclusion and overseeding vulnerable areas of pastures in STR pastures facilitated nitrogen mineralization and uptake. Our results showed that the STR grazing system could improve the sustainability of grazing systems by storing more labile carbon, efficiently mineralizing soil nitrogen, and lowering runoff nitrate losses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Agricultural Technology Transfer Preferences of Smallholder Farmers in Tunisia’s Arid Regions
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010421 - 06 Jan 2020
Abstract
The objective of this research study was to assess the sources of information on two improved agricultural and livestock technologies (barley variety and feed blocks) as well as the efficacy of numerous agricultural technology diffusion means introduced in the livestock–barley system in semi-arid [...] Read more.
The objective of this research study was to assess the sources of information on two improved agricultural and livestock technologies (barley variety and feed blocks) as well as the efficacy of numerous agricultural technology diffusion means introduced in the livestock–barley system in semi-arid Tunisia. The research used primary data collected from 671 smallholder farmers. A descriptive statistical analysis was conducted, and Kendall’s W-test and the chi-squared distribution test were deployed to categorize and evaluate the efficacy of the different methods of technology diffusion used by the Tunisian extension system. To address farmers’ perceived opinions and classify the changes from the use of the improved technologies, a qualitative approach based on the Stapel scale was used. Farmer training, demonstration, and farmer-to-farmer interactions were perceived as the most effective agricultural extension methods. The access to technology, know-how, adoption cost of that technology, and labor intensity for adoption influenced its adoption level. Farmers’ opinions about the changes resulting from the adoption of both technologies revealed that yield and resistance to drought were the most important impacts of the two technologies. The study recommends empowering the national extension system through both conventional and non-conventional technologies (ICT, video, mobile phones, etc.), given the cost-effectiveness and their impact on the farmers’ adoption decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Factors Influencing the Technology Adoption Behaviours of Litchi Farmers in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010271 - 29 Dec 2019
Abstract
Litchi is a traditional tree crop grown in Southern China. Sustainable development of the litchi industry is reliant on technology adoption by farmers. The top grafting technique allows for the introduction of new, quality litchi varieties. The fact that these new varieties ripen [...] Read more.
Litchi is a traditional tree crop grown in Southern China. Sustainable development of the litchi industry is reliant on technology adoption by farmers. The top grafting technique allows for the introduction of new, quality litchi varieties. The fact that these new varieties ripen earlier or later than the traditional ones helps stabilize litchi prices. Selling new litchi varieties can increase farmers’ incomes through higher prices of quality varieties and stabilizing prices by staggering the harvest periods. However, the rate of adoption of top grafting among farmers is low, and up till now, more than half of the litchi trees in China are still traditional litchi varieties. This study explores the factors that influence top grafting adoption by litchi farmers. Using primary data gathered by the China Agriculture Research System of Litchi and Longan (CARSLL) from 567 litchi farming households, a binary logit choice model is employed to determine the factors that influence adoption of litchi top grafting among litchi farmers. The results show that farmers owning larger litchi orchards are more likely to adopt top grafting compared to ones owning smaller orchards. Litchi information accumulation, including experience and training, significantly influences farmers’ technology adoption levels. Moreover, a positive attitude toward technology also significantly influences technology adoption behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Amelioration of Composts for Greenhouse Vegetable Plants Using Pasteurised Agaricus Mushroom Substrate
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6779; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236779 - 29 Nov 2019
Abstract
When using food and green waste composts as peat-free plant growing media, there is a challenge that nutrient immobilisation and high pH and salts content limit plant growth. The present study explored the use of spent mushroom compost (SMC) of Agaricus subrufescens in [...] Read more.
When using food and green waste composts as peat-free plant growing media, there is a challenge that nutrient immobilisation and high pH and salts content limit plant growth. The present study explored the use of spent mushroom compost (SMC) of Agaricus subrufescens in a sustainable plant growing system where only vermicompost from digested food waste and composted green wastes were used, even for the seedling stage. However, negative effects of high compost inclusion were offset by adding SMC. Significantly higher plant yield was obtained in several of the SMC amended treatments in four out of five lettuce experiments and in one tomato experiment. In addition, an experiment with cucumbers showed that nutrients were not available to the plant when the mushroom mycelium was actively growing, but became available if the mushroom mycelium had been inactivated first by pasteurisation. A significant effect from SMC was not observed under full fertigation. This study demonstrated that the addition of pasteurised Agaricus mycelium colonised compost can successfully offset negative effects from high pH and EC as well as limited nutrient supply (and nitrogen immobilisation) in peat-free, compost-based growing media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancing Rice Production by Potassium Management: Recommended Reasonable Fertilization Strategies in Different Inherent Soil Productivity Levels for a Sustainable Rice Production System
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6522; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226522 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
Enhancing agricultural productivity with the minimum possible cost to the environment is crucial for sustainable agriculture development. The effective management of K fertilizer would reduce the pollution risk of fertilizer residue. The data from the 29 experimental sites for rice in Liaoning province [...] Read more.
Enhancing agricultural productivity with the minimum possible cost to the environment is crucial for sustainable agriculture development. The effective management of K fertilizer would reduce the pollution risk of fertilizer residue. The data from the 29 experimental sites for rice in Liaoning province were used to determine the effect of different K fertilizer management in increasing yield, K uptake, and potassium fertilizer contribution rates (FCRK) for rice. The relationship among rice yield, biomass accumulation and plant K uptake, and recommended reasonable K fertilizer application rates in different inherent soil productivity levels were evaluated. The four treatments comprised no K fertilizer (K0), K fertilizer application of 60 kg ha−1 (K60), 120 kg ha−1 (K120), and 180 kg ha−1 (K180). The K120 treatment showed a significant yield increase (16.59%) compared to the K0 treatment in this study. The average K uptake of grain in the K60, K120 and K180 treatments was 23.1, 24.8 and 24.9 kg ha−1, which was significantly higher by 12.67%, 20.77%, and 21.48% compared to the K0 treatment. The average K uptake of grain, straw and plant was highest in K180 (134.8 kg ha−1), followed by the K120 and K60. Additionally, the correlation between grain yield, biomass accumulation (y) and plant K uptake (x) showed a significant positive polynomial function. The equation was y = −0.406x2 + 110.43x + 639.3 and y = −0.237x2 + 135.3x + 3796.2, respectively. The FCRK followed the sequence as K180 < K60 < K120. Furthermore, the recommended K application rates in the 29 experimental sites were ranged from 92.8 to 134.5 kg ha−1, and the corresponding theoretical yield of recommended K rate were ranged from 7371.5 to 11144.5, and with an average of 9297.5 kg ha−1. Remarkably, the average recommended K rate in the four inherent soil productivity levels was 116.1, 111.2, 112.2 and 111.7 kg ha−1 and the corresponding average theoretical yield was 9966.1 kg ha−1, 10158.8 kg ha−1, 8373.2 kg ha−1 and 8881.9 kg ha−1. The results of this study suggest that different inherent soil productivity levels have different K application rates and yield performance. This result somewhat strengthens the finding of this study that moderate K application is conducive to effectively improving the yield and to the enhancement of agricultural productivity, which is conducive to the sustainable environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance Evaluation of Unconcentrated Photovoltaic-Thermoelectric Generator Hybrid System under Tropical Climate
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6192; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226192 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
Indoor farming is among the approaches which can be adapted to improve agricultural sustainability and ensure the food security of countries. However, adopting indoor farming requires a high amount of energy to sustain the system. Incorporating a renewable energy system for supplying power [...] Read more.
Indoor farming is among the approaches which can be adapted to improve agricultural sustainability and ensure the food security of countries. However, adopting indoor farming requires a high amount of energy to sustain the system. Incorporating a renewable energy system for supplying power to agricultural activities will allow the system to be more sustainable in the long run. An unconcentrated photovoltaic-thermoelectric generator (PV-TEG) hybrid system is designed based on the load requirement of an indoor farm. The hybrid system performance under Malaysia’s weather conditions was investigated and analyzed over three months. The designed system has shown its ability to provide sufficient power to the load, as well as supporting an additional load. Besides that, the TEGs power output was found to be dependent on the temperature as well as the types of connections used, where a higher temperature difference and series connection exhibited a better power output. Overall, the combination of the system showed that the addition of a TEG affects the efficiency and power output as compared to a standalone PV. Therefore, this implies that the hybrid system is able to exhibit a more positive outcome in certain weather conditions than a PV standalone system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Finding a Suitable Niche for Cultivating Cactus Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) as an Integrated Crop in Resilient Dryland Agroecosystems of India
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5897; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215897 - 23 Oct 2019
Abstract
Climate change poses a significant threat to agroecosystems, especially in the dry areas, characterized by abrupt precipitation pattern and frequent drought events. Ideal crops, tolerant to these events, such as cactus, can perform well under such changing climatic conditions. This study spatially maps [...] Read more.
Climate change poses a significant threat to agroecosystems, especially in the dry areas, characterized by abrupt precipitation pattern and frequent drought events. Ideal crops, tolerant to these events, such as cactus, can perform well under such changing climatic conditions. This study spatially maps land suitability for cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) cultivation in India using the analytical hierarchical process (AHP). Nine essential growth factors that include the climate and edaphic components were considered for the period 2000 to 2007. About 32% of the total geographic area of the country is in the high to moderate suitable category. Remaining 46% falls under the marginally suitable and 22% under the low to very low suitable category. The suitability analysis, based on the precipitation anomaly (2008–2017), suggests a high probability of cactus growth in the western and east-central part of India. The relationship with aridity index shows a decreasing rate of suitability with the increase of aridity in the western and east-central provinces (β~−1 to −2). We conclude that integrating cactus into dryland farming systems and rangelands under changing climate can be one plausible solution to build resilient agro-ecosystems that provide food and fodder while enhancing the availability of ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Straw Returning and Residue Cleaner on the Soil Moisture Content, Soil Temperature, and Maize Emergence Rate in China’s Three Major Maize Producing Areas
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5796; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205796 - 18 Oct 2019
Abstract
Straw returning is of significant value for the sustainable development of agriculture, but it can easily cause the decrease of soil moisture content (SMC) and soil temperature (ST), leading to the serious reduction of maize emergence rate (MER). This paper focuses on the [...] Read more.
Straw returning is of significant value for the sustainable development of agriculture, but it can easily cause the decrease of soil moisture content (SMC) and soil temperature (ST), leading to the serious reduction of maize emergence rate (MER). This paper focuses on the influence law and influence principle of straw returning amounts and residue cleaner on SMC, ST, and MER. This paper selected representative areas of China’s three major maize-producing areas as test sites to take two-factor tests. Four levels were selected with straw returning amounts of 30%, 50%, 70%, and 100%. Three types of residue cleaners were selected: corrugated disc (CD), profiling residue cleaner (PRC), and rotary blade (RB). The test results show that the test factors have significant effects on the test indicators, and there is an interaction between the test factors. However, due to the large difference in annual average temperature, the influence of test factors on ST in different major maize producing areas is not the same. In order to obtain the optimal combination of factors in the three major maize producing areas, the nine regression models and the combination of factors corresponding to the extreme values were obtained through MATLAB. The following conclusions are drawn from the regression models: The maize emergence rate reached 91.7% when using PRC, and the amount of straw returning was 52% at the Jilin Maize Production Area. The maize emergence rate reached 94.7% when using CD, and the amount of straw returning was 67% at the Heilongjiang Maize Production Area. The maize emergence rate reached 91.4% when using CD, and the amount of straw returning was 68% at the Inner Mongolia Maize Production Area. This paper discussed the principle that test factors have a significant impact on test indicators. It is believed that, because the test factors can change the residual cover thickness (RCT) and soil compactness (SC), they have a significant impact on SMC and ST. In addition, it is believed because the test factors can change SMC, ST and the difficulty of cleaning operations, they have a significant impact on MER. At the same time, the basis for selecting straw returning amounts and rescue cleaner under different conditions is discussed. This paper can provide theoretical support and data reference for the sustainable development of agriculture in China’s three major maize producing areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Environmental Sustainability of Greenhouse Covering Materials
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6129; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216129 - 03 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The fundamental objective of the review article was to explore the ecological sustainability of greenhouse covering material based on the following themes; considerations for greenhouse materials, properties of polymers and glass, additives, fillers, stabilizers and reinforcements, performance, Ultraviolet (UV) transmittance, phase change materials [...] Read more.
The fundamental objective of the review article was to explore the ecological sustainability of greenhouse covering material based on the following themes; considerations for greenhouse materials, properties of polymers and glass, additives, fillers, stabilizers and reinforcements, performance, Ultraviolet (UV) transmittance, phase change materials (PCMs), and environmental sustainability. A comparison of various polymers (polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylic, D-polymer, Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polyolefins), and silica glasses illustrated that each type of greenhouse cladding material has its unique merits and limitations. The performance of silica glasses, PVC, polyolefins was influenced by weather, greenhouse design, plant under cultivation, percentage UV transmittance, incorporation of additives and stabilizers, reinforcements, and integration of photovoltaic panels into the greenhouse roof among other factors. Polymers can be customized to achieve 0%UV transmittance, slow-insecticide release, and anti-microbial properties. In contrast, glass materials are preferred based on suitable photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) transmittance and near-infrared (NIR) reflection and less risk of photo-oxidation. From an ecological perspective, polymers can be recycled via mechanical and chemical recycling, closed-loop cycling, and polymerization of bio-based feedstock. However, post-consumer plastic films do not possess the same optical and energy properties as virgin polymers. The combined benefits of different polymers suggest that these materials could be adopted on a large scale over the long-term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Other

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Open AccessCase Report
Partial Acidulation of Rock Phosphate for Increased Productivity in Organic and Smallholder Farming
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020607 - 14 Jan 2020
Abstract
There is a need to investigate and identify locally available organic substrates with acidifying potential, which can be used as an additive in rock phosphate (RP)-organic material composting mixtures. This paper reviews attempts to increase P availability in the context of smallholder, low-input [...] Read more.
There is a need to investigate and identify locally available organic substrates with acidifying potential, which can be used as an additive in rock phosphate (RP)-organic material composting mixtures. This paper reviews attempts to increase P availability in the context of smallholder, low-input and organic farming, and presents a case study from Central India that used a participatory approach to address P deficiency issues in cotton-based organic systems. Study was conducted from 2010 to 2014 through 61 on-farm trials and investigated the agronomic effectiveness of buttermilk-acidulated RP compost. The application of buttermilk-acidulated RP manure resulted in higher yields of cotton in all field trials and higher yields of soybean in all but one field trials. While on majority of the farms (18 out of 28), wheat yields increased with the application of buttermilk-acidulated RP compost, a quarter of the field trials (7 out of 28) exhibited yields lower than farmers’ practices. The study showed that it was possible to develop a locally adoptable solution to an agronomic constraint using locally available resources including the indigenous knowhow. Buttermilk proved to be an effective acidulating agent that can be added to RP-amended compost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Suitable Agronomic Techniques for Sustainable Agriculture)
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