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Special Issue "Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 9906

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Roberto Mancinelli
E-Mail Website1 Website2 Website3
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture and Forest Sciences (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Interests: crop production; crop protection; weed control; agricultural systems and management; environment and climate change in agriculture; greenhouse gas emissions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Emanuele Radicetti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Sciences (DOCPAS), University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
Interests: sustainable food production; sustainable cultivation; environmental-friendly agricultural practices
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

At present, agricultural production is essential for ensuring food security worldwide. Weeds are an important constraint to crop yield, and their management is crucial to avoid losses. The actual control means are not suitable for the concept of modern agriculture due to labor shortage, the environmental persistence of chemical means, health hazards, and herbicide-resistant weeds. Several means could be adopted for controlling weeds, such as improving tillage regimes, weed seed harvest, thermal means, biotechnological means, and precision farming. Unfortunately, no single strategy is completely efficient, and therefore an integrated approach could represent the key to success in weed management under sustainable agriculture. Indeed, the incorporation of a combination of weed management measures helps to sustain weed control systems over time and maintain farms’ ability to provide productive harvests while protecting the environment.

The main objective of the Special Issue is to publish original research, modeling approaches, and review papers addressing how weed management could be implemented in sustainable cropping systems across different environments, soils, and geographic locations.

To achieve this goal, Sustainability is encouraging researchers to submit relevant articles to this Special Issue. Therefore, manuscripts evaluating how innovative weed management strategies could support sustainable agriculture and improve crop productivity, nutrient dynamics, soil physical and biochemical properties, as well as biodiversity, weed dynamics, and weed species composition are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Roberto Mancinelli
Dr. Emanuele Radicetti
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 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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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

  • sustainable agriculture
  • integrated weed management
  • weed species composition
  • weed community dynamics
  • crop–weed competition
  • ecological intensification of cropping systems
  • weed seedbank
  • herbicide-resistant weeds

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Sustainable Weed Control in the Agro-Ecosystems
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8639; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158639 - 03 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 589
Abstract
Worldwide weeds are the cause of the highest potential crop losses (representing on average −34%), even if they are frequently underestimated since more attention is generally paid to dangerous insects (representing on average 18% of yield loss) or pathogens (representing on average 16% [...] Read more.
Worldwide weeds are the cause of the highest potential crop losses (representing on average −34%), even if they are frequently underestimated since more attention is generally paid to dangerous insects (representing on average 18% of yield loss) or pathogens (representing on average 16% of yield loss) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)

Research

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Article
Efficacy, Energy Budgeting, and Carbon Footprints of Weed Management in Blackgram (Vigna mungo L.)
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13239; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313239 - 29 Nov 2021
Viewed by 798
Abstract
Weed management in blackgram is one of the most efficient ways to improve its yield, as uncontrolled weed growth causes a significant decrease in crop yield. A field experiment was performed at Berthin, Himachal Pradesh, India, to investigate the efficacy, energy use efficiency [...] Read more.
Weed management in blackgram is one of the most efficient ways to improve its yield, as uncontrolled weed growth causes a significant decrease in crop yield. A field experiment was performed at Berthin, Himachal Pradesh, India, to investigate the efficacy, energy use efficiency (EUE), and carbon footprints of weed management tactics. Twelve weed control treatments were tested applied alone or in combination at pre and post emergence stages. The most prominent weeds were Cyperus iria, Dactyloctenium aegyptium, and Echinochloa colona, which caused a 68.1% loss in unweeded conditions. The application of weed control treatments reduced the weed count at 60 DAS from around 50% to 90%. The most efficient weed control treatment was pre-emergence (PRE) use of ready mix imazethapyr 35% + imazamox 35% WG @ 80 g ha−1, which resulted in a minimum weed infestation (i.e., weed count and weed biomass) and consequently highest yield. Its efficacy in weed control treatment was on par with PRE use of ready mix imazethapyr (35%) + imazamox (35% WG @ 70 g ha−1. Maximum energy use efficiency was also obtained upon PRE use of imazethapyr (35%) + imazamox (35% WG) @ 80 g ha−1 (8.27), trailed by PRE use of imazethapyr + imazamox @ 70 g ha−1 (7.84), mainly because of the higher yield obtained in these treatments which shows their efficiency in energy conversion. The carbon footprints were observed to be the lowest in ready mix combination of imazethapyr (35%) + imazamox (35% WG) applied at 80 g ha−1 (0.11 kg CE kg−1 yield), followed by imazethapyr (35%) + imazamox (35% WG) applied at 70 g ha−1 (0.12 kg CE kg−1 yield), as it resulted in the lowest emission per unit output production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)
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Article
Weeding Frequency Effects on Growth and Yield of Dry Bean Intercropped with Sweet Sorghum and Cowpea under a Dryland Area
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12328; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112328 - 08 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 504
Abstract
A better understanding of the dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) growth and yield response to weed competition under the intercropping system is critical for improving sustainable weed management strategies. A two-year trial was conducted with three types of crop arrangement (sole cropping, [...] Read more.
A better understanding of the dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) growth and yield response to weed competition under the intercropping system is critical for improving sustainable weed management strategies. A two-year trial was conducted with three types of crop arrangement (sole cropping, inter-row, and intra-row intercropping) combined with weeding frequency (no weeding, weeding over the first 50 days of crop growth, and weed-free). Effects of the treatments were tested on dry bean agronomic indicators in terms of the following: 100-grain weight, dry biomass, grain yield, grains per pod, pods per plant, plant height, number of leaves per plant, and chlorophyll content. The intercropping pattern significantly affected dry bean pods per plant, height, and chlorophyll content, while weeding frequency significantly affected all measured agronomic indicators for dry bean, except for chlorophyll content, during the 2017/18 growing season. The results showed that the significant measured agronomic indicators were the lowest under no weed control; however, they increased as weeding frequency increased. The 2018/19 growing season followed a similar trend; however, the interaction effect significantly affected dry bean 100-grain weight, dry biomass, and number of leaves per plant at 40 days after emergence. The dry bean/sweet sorghum or cowpea intra-row intercropping and intermediate weeding frequency displayed optimum productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)
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Article
Weed Spectrum in Durum Wheat under Different Soil Tillage and Fertilizer Application in Mediterranean Environment
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137307 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 730
Abstract
Agricultural intensification may cause significant changes in weed density due to high weed competitiveness. Therefore, sustainable practices are to be designed to get maximum benefits of plant biodiversity in the agro-ecosystems. Field experiments were conducted in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 to evaluate the impact [...] Read more.
Agricultural intensification may cause significant changes in weed density due to high weed competitiveness. Therefore, sustainable practices are to be designed to get maximum benefits of plant biodiversity in the agro-ecosystems. Field experiments were conducted in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 to evaluate the impact of fertilizer source and soil tillage on weed spectrum in durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.). Treatments in this study were: (i) two fertilizer sources (mineral fertilizer (MIN) and municipal organic waste (MOW)), and (ii) three tillage regimes (plowing (Plo), subsoiling (Sub) and spading (SM)). A randomized complete block design with three replications was adopted. Data on weed density and biomass were collected at the wheat tillering stage. Weed density was higher in MOW than MIN (53.8 vs. 44.0 plants·m−2), especially in 2014/2015, while S was the highest among tillage regimes (58.2 plants·m−2). Annual and monocots species were always the highest in subsoiling (43.5 and 10.1 plants·m−2). The density of perennial and dicots species was higher in MOW compared with MIN plots, regardless of soil tillage management. Weed community, in terms of weed species composition, varied between the two fertilizer sources, while among soil tillage regimes, it only differed between plowing and subsoiling. Based on the analysis of weed community composition, annual dicot species were mainly associated with plowing, while monocots tended to be associated with MIN fertilizer. Spading tillage may be a useful strategy for managing weed diversity under organic fertilization, where mineral soil nitrogen availability was limited. Conversely, the spading machine produced lower grain yields than plowing with mineral fertilizer application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)
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Article
Can Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Contribute to Sustainable Agriculture?
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2337; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042337 - 21 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2224
Abstract
Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) have become the leading agricultural herbicides used globally since the development of genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops. This paper investigates whether GBHs are consistent with or supportive of sustainable agriculture. Agricultural sustainability is defined by generally agreed upon goals: (1) promoting [...] Read more.
Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) have become the leading agricultural herbicides used globally since the development of genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops. This paper investigates whether GBHs are consistent with or supportive of sustainable agriculture. Agricultural sustainability is defined by generally agreed upon goals: (1) promoting agroecology; (2) protecting soils and the Earth’s natural resources; (3) protecting biodiversity; and (4) enhancing the quality of life and health of farmers, farm workers, and society. Through an in-depth examination of the scholarly literature, the paper explores whether the scientific studies of GBHs are consistent with their sustainable applications in agriculture in the areas of human health, non-tillage agriculture, soil quality, aquatic ecosystems and beneficial, non-target species. Based on the four generally agreed upon goals listed above for agricultural sustainability, the paper finds that GBHs are not consistent with sustainability goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)
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Article
Informal Seed Traders: The Backbone of Seed Business and African Smallholder Seed Supply
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7074; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177074 - 30 Aug 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2025
Abstract
To work well and be sustainable, seed systems have to offer a range of crops and varieties of good quality seed and these products have to reach farmers, no matter how remote or poor they may be. Formal seed sector interventions alone are [...] Read more.
To work well and be sustainable, seed systems have to offer a range of crops and varieties of good quality seed and these products have to reach farmers, no matter how remote or poor they may be. Formal seed sector interventions alone are not delivering the crop portfolio or achieving the social and geographic breadth needed, and the paper argues for focus on informal seed channels and particularly on traders who move ‘potential seed’ (informal or local seed) even to high stress areas. This paper provides the first in-depth analysis on potential seed trader types and actions, drawing on data collected on 287 traders working in 10 African countries. The research delves into four themes: the types and hierarchies of traders; the technical ways traders manage seed using 11 core practices; the price differential of +50% of potential (local) seed over grain, and the pivotal roles which traders play in remote and crisis contexts. Traders are the backbone of smallholder seed security and need to be engaged, not ignored, in development and relief efforts. An action framework for leveraging seed trader skills is presented, with the paper addressing possible legal and donor constraints for engaging such market actors more fully. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)
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Article
How Do Intensification Practices Affect Weed Management and Yield in Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd) Crop?
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6103; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156103 - 29 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 725
Abstract
Quinoa cultivation is well-adapted to sustainable cropping systems, even if seed yield could be severely limited due to several constraints, such as weeds. Field trials were performed in Gorgan (Iran) to quantify the effects of agro-ecological service crops (rye, CCr; winter [...] Read more.
Quinoa cultivation is well-adapted to sustainable cropping systems, even if seed yield could be severely limited due to several constraints, such as weeds. Field trials were performed in Gorgan (Iran) to quantify the effects of agro-ecological service crops (rye, CCr; winter vetch, CCw; and no cover, CC0), tillage regimes (conventional tillage, CT; and no-tillage, ZT), and herbicide rates (100% rate, H100; 75% rate, H75; and without herbicide, H0). Weed characteristics and quinoa yield were measured. Quinoa seed yield was the highest in CCw-ZT-H100. Seed yield in H100 and H75 were higher compared with H0 (2.30 vs. 1.58 t ha−1, respectively). Under conventional tillage, 46% of weed seeds were observed in the 0–10 cm soil layer and 54% in 10–20 cm soil layers, respectively, while, under no-tillage, about 63% of weed seeds were located up to 10 cm of soil. Amaranthus retroflexus L. was the most abundant species. The total weed density was the lowest in CCr-ZT-H100 and tended to be higher in CC0 (30.9 plant m−2) and under CT (29.0 plant m−2). These findings indicate that cover crops have potential for managing weeds in quinoa; however, their inclusion should be supported by chemical means to maintain high seed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)
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Review

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Review
Barriers and Levers to Developing Wheat–Pea Intercropping in Europe: A Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6962; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176962 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1363
Abstract
Beyond the ecosystem benefits of diversification through wheat–pea intercropping, this review analyzes the barriers and levers to its adoption and diffusion. The present review shows that structuring the value chain around the products of this innovative cropping system faces a set of technical [...] Read more.
Beyond the ecosystem benefits of diversification through wheat–pea intercropping, this review analyzes the barriers and levers to its adoption and diffusion. The present review shows that structuring the value chain around the products of this innovative cropping system faces a set of technical (i.e., varietal selection, phytosanitary issue control, crop management sequence, collection management, and storage), economic (i.e., cost, price, market opportunities, and contracting), and public policy (i.e., subsidies for ecosystem services provided by intercropping) obstacles that contribute to its slow adoption and dissemination in Europe. However, the value chain resulting from the wheat–pea intercropping system has levers to be exploited at all levels, particularly in terms of its competitive advantages, ecosystem benefits, and superior product quality. The results of this review help to identify priorities that actors of the value chain can address to better focus their efforts on significant problems and solutions that can accelerate the adoption and dissemination of this agroecological system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Weed Control in the Agroecosystems)
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