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Agronomy for Sustainable Development
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Crop yields depend on many factors such as fertiliser amount, rainfall and temperature. In order to better understand which factors rule crop yields, soil scientists Wang et al. analysed the Chinese Statistical Yearbooks including data of the major grain-producing regions of China from 1993 to 2013. They found that current fertilising strategies should be improved by taking into account regional climate conditions.
Crop yields depend on many factors such as fertiliser amount, rainfall and temperature. In order to better understand which factors rule crop yields, soil scientists Wang et al. analysed the Chinese Statistical Yearbooks including data of the major grain-producing regions of China from 1993 to ...
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Common belief tells that bacteria are sources of illnesses for living organisms. That is not true for plants, which can benfit from the help of small friends in the form of bacteria. For instance the root-friendly Azospirillum bacteria enhance the growth and adaptation of plants. Agronomists Tkachenko et al. show that the cultivation of baby plants with the Azospirillum brasilense bacterial species improve potato growth, development, and survival in the field, leading to an increase of 45% of tuber yield, on the average.
Common belief tells that bacteria are sources of illnesses for living organisms. That is not true for plants, which can benfit from the help of small friends in the form of bacteria. For instance the root-friendly Azospirillum bacteria enhance the growth and adaptation of plants.
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Stubble grazing is traditionally perceived as a practice that degrades soils. As potential consequence is the decrease of soil carbon, which is transferred to the atmosphere as CO2, a greenhouse gas. To check this assumption scientists Stavi et al. studied stubble grazing following wheat crops in drylands. They found that moderate stubble grazing does not degrade the soil and does not decrease the quantity of soil organic carbon.
Stubble grazing is traditionally perceived as a practice that degrades soils. As potential consequence is the decrease of soil carbon, which is transferred to the atmosphere as CO2, a greenhouse gas. To check this assumption scientists Stavi et al. studied stubble grazing following wheat crops ...
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Soil contains a huge number of very diverse living organisms such as worms, fungi and bacteria. Many of these organisms work for the benefit of agriculture by recycling organic water, cleaning pollution and transforming atmospheric dinitrogen gas into free fertilisers. So far soil organisms are underutilised because many organisms are not even identified, and their beneficial expertise is often unknown. Microbiologists Degrune et. al set up a new method that allows to distiguish microbial communities in soils cultivated with different cropping practices.
Soil contains a huge number of very diverse living organisms such as worms, fungi and bacteria. Many of these organisms work for the benefit of agriculture by recycling organic water, cleaning pollution and transforming atmospheric dinitrogen gas into free fertilisers. So far soil organisms are ...
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Nitrogen (N) fertilisation is essential for crop and food production. However actual N fertilisation is not often very efficient and can induce pollution, e.g. by nitrates. There is therefore a need for indicators to compare farming systems. Scientists Godinot et al. developed a new indicator named ‘relative N efficiency’, which is specifically well suited to compare farming systems with different proportions of animals and crops.
Nitrogen (N) fertilisation is essential for crop and food production. However actual N fertilisation is not often very efficient and can induce pollution, e.g. by nitrates. There is therefore a need for indicators to compare farming systems. Scientists Godinot et al. developed a new indicator ...
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Industrial monoculture is often leading to the depletion of soil life and quality as a result of intensive tilling. New advanced techniques such as no-till and strip-till farming allow to restore soil fertility in the long run. No-till farming increases soil water, soil organic matter and decreases soil erosion. In strip till the farmer tills only the portion of the soil that will contain the seed row. Islam et al. studied no-till strip farming of maize-soybeans rotations. They observed a 75% increase of maize yield, amounting to 18.4 tons per hectare, after 5 year of cultivation.
Industrial monoculture is often leading to the depletion of soil life and quality as a result of intensive tilling. New advanced techniques such as no-till and strip-till farming allow to restore soil fertility in the long run. No-till farming increases soil water, soil organic matter and ...
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Urban agriculture is gaining importance as a social means to produce food locally. However cities are well-known sources of pollution, which may contaminate urban crops. There is actually little knowledge on the degree of contamination of urban vegetables. Agronomists Vittori Antisari et al. analysed the heavy metal content of vegetables in the city of Bologna, Italy. They found that the most contaminated vegetables grew near roads, which is explained by traffic pollution.
Urban agriculture is gaining importance as a social means to produce food locally. However cities are well-known sources of pollution, which may contaminate urban crops. There is actually little knowledge on the degree of contamination of urban vegetables. Agronomists Vittori Antisari et al.
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Agriculture faces two major issues worldwide, producing safe food without the use of toxic pesticides, and producing more food to meet the projected population increase of 9 billion by 2050. Ecological intensification is a promising solution because ecosystem services such as the use of natural enemies to kill undesired pests is a safe alternative to pesticides. Agonomists Bedoussac et al. reviewed the results of 58 organic farming experiments of cereal-grain legume intercropping in Europe. They found that intercropping gives higher yields, protein and money that sole crops.
Agriculture faces two major issues worldwide, producing safe food without the use of toxic pesticides, and producing more food to meet the projected population increase of 9 billion by 2050. Ecological intensification is a promising solution because ecosystem services such as the use of natural ...
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Classical fertilisers have a low efficiency becasue only a minor part of the fertiliser reaches plant roots. As a consequence a major part of classical fertilisers escapes rapidly toward groundwater, thus polluting drinking water with nitrates. Research has therefore invented controlled-released fertilizers to feed the plant slowly in the long run. Controlled-released fertilizers include polymeric material – a kind of plastic – to slow down fertiliser feeding. In other words controlled-released fertilizers are comparable to pasta that provide energy slowly in the long run, whereas classical fertilisers are similar to sweets that provide high energy fast. Agronomists Wang et al. have evidenced improved nitrogen uptake and reduced nitrogen loss using a polymer-coated urea fertiliser to grow flooded rice in southeast China.
Classical fertilisers have a low efficiency becasue only a minor part of the fertiliser reaches plant roots. As a consequence a major part of classical fertilisers escapes rapidly toward groundwater, thus polluting drinking water with nitrates. Research has therefore invented controlled-released ...
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The toxic alkaloid nicotine, a natural component of tobacco, has been detected in many food crops, medicinal plants and plant food such as spices and teas, thus threatening food security. So far the origin of such nicotine contamination was unknown. Plant scientists Selmar et al. studied the possible contamination of peppermint by soils enriched in nicotine from cigarette residues. They also checked whether peppermint could take up nicotine from cigarette smoke. They found that peppermint take up nicotine from soil and from smoke. The tobacco industry and users are therefore responsible, at least partly, by the wide contamination of many crops and food by nicotine.  Selmar et al. also explain that the passive incorporation and metabolisation of nicotine by peppermint is surprising and unprecedented with respect to current knowledge in allelopathy.
The toxic alkaloid nicotine, a natural component of tobacco, has been detected in many food crops, medicinal plants and plant food such as spices and teas, thus threatening food security. So far the origin of such nicotine contamination was unknown. Plant scientists Selmar et al. studied the ...
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Organic producers in the United States would like to no-till, but are concerned about managing weeds without tillage.  Agronomist Randy Anderson shows that weeds can be controlled without tillage in experiments in the Great Plains of the USA. One favorable tactic is to include a 3-year interval of red clover in the rotation.  Red cover suppresses both annual and perennial weeds, and it can be converted to cropland by fall mowing in the 3rd year (Photo).  The complex rotation increases the impact of no-till on weed seed decay in soil and provide numerous opportunities for cover crops to replace tillage for controlling weeds.  These benefits suppress weed growth and interference such that organic producers may be able to continuously no-till in their farming systems.
Organic producers in the United States would like to no-till, but are concerned about managing weeds without tillage. Agronomist Randy Anderson shows that weeds can be controlled without tillage in experiments in the Great Plains of the USA. One favorable tactic is to include a 3-year interval ...
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Conventional crop protection with toxic pesticides has often led to issues such as pollution, faunal imbalance, and resistance of pests after adaptation to the pesticides.  Deguine et al. review safer, agroecological techniques to control Cucurbitaceae flies, a worldwide pest. Results show that farmers from the Reunion Island have reduced insecticide use with substantial cost savings using agroecological techniques. Such agroecological techniques  are currently being extended to other countries of the Indian Ocean.
Conventional crop protection with toxic pesticides has often led to issues such as pollution, faunal imbalance, and resistance of pests after adaptation to the pesticides. Deguine et al. review safer, agroecological techniques to control Cucurbitaceae flies, a worldwide pest.
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Journal of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)