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Agronomy for Sustainable Development
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As for weather forecasting, agronomists use mathematical models to calculate the best cropping conditions suitable to local fields. Actually two kind of models are available, biophysical models and decision models. Bergez et al. have developed a new plugin that merges the two model types, thus allowing to calculate the impact of agricultural practices on the biophysical system, e.g. soil and plants.
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Urban agriculture is developing fast and attracting entrepreneurs. However little is known about the social acceptance of such businesses. Specht et al. surveyed citizen perception of agriculture in Berlin. They found that not all forms of agriculture are acceptable by citizens.
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Industrial farming with intensive breeding has deprived most crop food varieties of their resistance to pests, diseases and climate stresses. Wild relatives of these crops may possess genes that confer enhanced resistance. Such genes of resistance can subsequently be introduced into commercial varieties. McDaniel et al assessed a wild species of tomato for resistance to the glasshouse whitefly. They found several resistance mechanisms present in the wild tomato that are potential targets for introduction into the commercial tomato genome.
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Major issues of food security such as the lack of food in developing countries, food wasting, and food contamination could be solved if food could be traced efficiently from production to dishes. A review of Luvisi shows how development of radio frequency identification solutions  and sensors are improving automated systems in agriculture and the role of traceability in corporate food regime sustainability.
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In industrial agriculture weeds have been considered solely as undesired plant species that should be removed with pesticides. Now scientists have found that weeds could help farming by, e.g., pollination, preventing water and soil runoff, and attracting predators of crop pests. There is therefore a need of weed surveys across Europe. Agronomists Gerovitt and Hanzlik reviewed the methods of weed surveying in 43 surveys, mainly in Europe, covering up to 4423 fields.
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A million-years old relationship has been established between bees and weed flowers. Weeds indeed provide food to bees in the form of tasty pollen, and bees carry pollen from plant to plant to ensure pollination, weed reproduction and diversity. This win-win relationship is endangered by industrial agriculture practices such as weed control and the use of insecticides. Scientists Rollin et al. review agricultural practices that modify weed-bee long-standing collaboration.
A million-years old relationship has been established between bees and weed flowers. Weeds indeed provide food to bees in the form of tasty pollen, and bees carry pollen from plant to plant to ensure pollination, weed reproduction and diversity. This win-win relationship is endangered by ...
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Have them in circles
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Rainfed agriculture refers to farming that relies solely on rainfall for crop growth, versus irrigated agriculture that use extra water. Rainfed agriculture accounts for 60-95% of farmlands in developed countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Agronomists Anderson et al. review recent research on rainfed agriculture and suggest that conservation agriculture should improve soil water content and, in turn, crop yields.
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Dairy farms could improve their environmental footprint by feeding more homegrown forage by reducing imports of feed and enhancing the use of fertilizers. Long and Ketterings analyzed 14 years of yield data from a 1000-cow dairy farm to identify highly productive fields that are stable under changing climate. They found that increasing soil organic matter, impoving drainage and optimizing soil fertility should decrease the impact of weather extremes.
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Food production is actually facing issues of climate change, unstable markets and complex public policies. Agronomists and farmers therefore need new ideas to design alternative farming systems. Urruty et al. explain the four concepts of climate-smart agriculture : stability, robustness, vulnerability and resilience. They present methods to evaluate farming management using these concepts.
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Crop yield depends on atmospheric CO2 levels, temperature, drought and competition with weeds. There is therefore a need to forecast which plant traits are important to sustain yield under a changing climate. Agronomists Korres et al. review the effect of climate on crops and weeds to disclose resilient plant traits and cultivars.
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Is urban agriculture more environmentally friendly than conventional food production? Urban agriculture is believed to decrease environmental impacts by reducing transport and packaging, recycling food waste and wastewater, and mitigating the urban heat island effect. Goldstein et al. review the various practices of urban agricuture to find support for the claimed benefits. The authors propose a taxonomy of urban farming systems.
Is urban agriculture more environmentally friendly than conventional food production? Urban agriculture is believed to decrease environmental impacts by reducing transport and packaging, recycling food waste and wastewater, and mitigating the urban heat island effect.
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Industrial agriculture has favoured almost solely the production of for-profit high-yield crops by selecting high-yield cultivars, and adding massively mineral NPK fertilisers and pesticides. Such an approch has led to many negative consequences, such as food and water contamination, pest- and climate-sensitive crops, and food depleted in micronutrients (and taste). Dimkpa et al. review the role of micronutrients such as iron (Fe), manganese (Mn) and Zinc (Zn), for crop protection against pest and drought.
Industrial agriculture has favoured almost solely the production of for-profit high-yield crops by selecting high-yield cultivars, and adding massively mineral NPK fertilisers and pesticides. Such an approch has led to many negative consequences, such as food and water contamination, ...
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Journal of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)