Italian Journal of Agronomy <p>The<strong> Italian Journal of Agronomy </strong><em>(IJA)</em> is the official journal of the <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Italian Society for Agronomy</a>. It publishes quarterly original articles and reviews reporting experimental and theoretical contributions to agronomy and crop science, with main emphasis on original articles from Italy and countries having similar agricultural conditions. The journal deals with all aspects of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the interactions between cropping of sustainable development. Multidisciplinary articles that bridge agronomy with ecology, environmental and social sciences are also accepted.</p> en-US <p><strong>PAGEPress</strong> has chosen to apply the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License</strong></a>&nbsp;(CC BY-NC 4.0) to all manuscripts to be published.<br><br> An Open Access Publication is one that meets the following two conditions:</p> <ol> <li>the author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.</li> <li>a complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving.</li> </ol> <p>Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:</p> <ol> <li>Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.</li> <li>Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.</li> <li>Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.</li> </ol> (Paola Granata) (Tiziano Taccini) Thu, 30 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0200 OJS 60 Residual soil nitrate as affected by giant reed cultivation and cattle slurry fertilization <p>The residual soil nitrate (RSN) is the amount of nitrate which remains in soil profile after crop uptake has ceased, typically in the autumn. The RSN is prone to leaching and therefore poses serious environmental concerns, especially in areas with intensive livestock activities. Little is known about the ability of the energy grass giant reed in leaving low residual soil nitrate (RSN). Such ability would add a desirable environmental benefit to giant reed cultivation. This article reports on snapshot measurements of RSN across soil profile in the autumn of three consecutive years: 2010, 2011 and 2012. Soil nitrate content was measured on soil samples collected from the soil layers 0-0.2 m, 0.2-0.4 m, 0.4-0.6 m and 0.6-0.8 m. The RSN of giant reed was compared with RSN of the energy crops sweet sorghum and poplar short rotation coppice (SRC). The three energy crops were treated with two fertilization regimes: 0 kg N ha-1 (Control) and 20 mm of cattle slurry (CS20). Soil samples were also taken for a reference crop of winter wheat following winter wheat and receiving no N supply. Our findings for the three years of experiment can be summarized as follows: i) in case of the unfertilized Control, the three dedicated energy crops giant reed, sweet sorghum and poplar SRC left in soil profile in the autumn significantly lower amounts of RSN compared to the reference crop of wheat. Hence, all the three energy crops provided in similar manner the environmental benefit of leaving lower RSN; ii) in case of cattle slurry application the real advantage of giant reed cultivation becomes surprisingly evident. In fact, in three subsequent years the treatment giant reed CS20 never determined RSN significantly higher than RSN for giant reed Control. The RSN for giant reed with treatment CS20 was significantly lower than the reference crop of wheat in all the three years. Unlike poplar SRC and sweet sorghum, giant reed exerted effective soil nitrate removal with a relatively high rate of cattle slurry application. Hence, this species can be regarded as suitable not only to utilize livestock effluents, but also to reduce the risk of nitrate pollution in many land use Accepted paper situations dealing with nitrogen surplus.</p> Enrico Ceotto, Rosa Marchetti, Fabio Castelli ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 18 Oct 2018 12:46:11 +0200 Split nitrogen sources effects on nitrogen use efficiency, yield and seed quality of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) <p>The effects of nitrogen (N) on crop yields have historically been assessed with field trials, but selection and use of the best sources and optimal timing N applications have a significant role in realizing the maximum potential of oilseeds quality and quantity. This study was conducted to determine the combine effects of N sources (ammonium nitrate (AN), ammonium sulfate (AS), sulfur coated urea (SCU), and urea (U)) and split N fertilization ((1/4,3/4,0), (1/3,1/3,1/3), (1/2,1/2,0), and (1/3,2/3,0)) on safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) some growth characters, yield and seed quality, and N use efficiency based on a split plot design with three replications at the experimental research station, Shiraz University in 2015 and 2016. The highest safflower dry matter (5140.93 kg ha-1), seed yield (3303.52 kg ha-1) and protein yield (694.95 kg ha-1) were achieved with the application of AN fertilizer in a split pattern of 1/2,1/2,0 (applying half of the N at sowing time and the rest at stem elongation), while the highest oil yield (753.09 kg ha-1) was observed by U fertilizer and similar split pattern. Applying AN fertilizer and split patterns of 1/3,2/3,0 (applying one third of the N at sowing and two thirds of the N at stem elongation) and 1/4,3/4,0 (applying one quarter of the N at sowing and three quarters at stem elongation) maximized safflower N uptake efficiency (NUpE) (0.78 kg kg-1). However, the highest N utilization efficiency (NUtE) (43.70 kg kg-1) was obtained when AN fertilizer in a split pattern of 1/2,1/2,0 was applied. On the contrary, applying AS and SCU fertilizers was less effective on safflower performance by all split patterns. It is concluded that applying AN fertilizer in a split pattern of 1/3,2/3,0 and or U fertilizer in a split pattern of 1/2,1/2,0 not only enhanced safflower growth, yield and seed quality improved, but also increased the N use efficiency of safflower.</p> Reza Moradi Talebbeigi, Seyed Abdolreza Kazemeini, Hossein Ghadiri, Mohsen Edalat ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 17 Sep 2018 17:24:54 +0200 Crop yield and water saving potential for AquaCrop model under full and deficit irrigation managements <p>The study review selected researches related to full and deficit irrigation managements simulated with AquaCrop model for various field crops (group 1) and vegetables/spices (group 2). In order to evaluate the application of full and deficit irrigation <em>vs</em> crop yield and water use, publications from 1979 to 2018 were reviewed. With a view to find the significance variations in modelled crop yield, irrigation water use and yield reductions corresponding to water saving potential (WSP). Additionally, reporting brief summary of findings, recommendations linked to model simulation and proposed some gaps for further investigations. The findings confirm that there are significant differences in yield reductions corresponding to water saving with inference R<sup>2</sup> was 0.372 in crop group 1 and 0.117 in group 2 during study. Simulated yield in evaluated field crops and vegetables/spices varied between 14.44 to 0.012 t/ha in full ETc and 10.72 to 0.004 t/ha in deficit ETc. The water saving potential, in the two groups of field and vegetable/spice crops revealed that, with acceptance of yield reduction equivalent 2.66 and 29.03% save irrigation water equal to 23.68 and 80% while the reduction of 41.79 and 26.86% of yield saved 28.87 and 82.1%. The maximum water save values are higher than that reported for deficit irrigation in previous publications. Some suggested points related to this research need further studies e.g. evaluating the big differences in crop yields and irrigation water applied resulted with AquaCrop under full and deficit irrigation management and justification of high WSP corresponding less crop yield reduction.</p> Mohmed A.M. Abdalhi, Zhonghua Jia ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 13 Sep 2018 15:46:08 +0200 Phenolic content and antioxidant activity of wholegrain breads from modern and old wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) cultivars and ancestors enriched with wheat sprout powder <p>In this study, we compared nutritional characteristics of breads from wholegrain flours of three modern cultivars, four old cultivars and one landrace population of common wheat (<em>Triticum aestivum</em>), one Khorasan (<em>Triticum turgidum </em>var<em> turanicum</em>) accession and one einkorn (<em>Triticum monococcum</em>) cultivar. One bread from refined flour was also included. All flours were enriched or not with 5% (w:w) of wheat sprout powder (WSP) to obtain enriched breads (EB) or control breads (CB), respectively. Total phenolics and flavonoids, reducing power, radical scavenging and TBARS production inhibition were measured on bread aqueous extracts. CB from old cultivars were generally higher in phenolic content and antioxidant activity than CB from modern cultivars. All EB showed increased phenolic content and antioxidant activity compared to CB, but the increase varied with the source flour, despite WSP supplementation was the same for all breads. In particular, the increase in phenolic content was much relevant for EB of modern cultivars.</p> Beatrice Falcinelli, Isabella Calzuola, Lilia Gigliarelli, Renzo Torricelli, Livia Polegri, Vincenzo Vizioli, Paolo Benincasa, Valeria Marsili ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 31 Aug 2018 12:23:32 +0200 Modelling plant yield and quality response of fresh-market spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) to mineral nitrogen availability in the root zone <p>Spinach is one of the most important green-leafy vegetables, consumed worldwide, and its intake is beneficial for human beings. In this crop, produce yield and quality are closely related to plant nitrogen (N) nutrition. A precise supply of N is also essential for high environmental and economic sustainability. Main aims of the work were: i) to establish relationships between produce yield or quality and mineral N availability in the root zone; and ii) to define an optimal mineral N level to be maintained in the root zone for spinach. Eight experiments were carried out during a four-year-long period under typical Mediterranean climate conditions. Different amounts of N fertilisers were supplied leading to twenty different levels of mineral N in the root zone. Experimental measurements included climate parameters, plant growth, tissue and soil analyses, produce yield and quality indicators. A segmented linear model significantly represented the relationship between crop yield (1.7 to 21.7 t ha<sup>–1</sup>) and soil mineral N concentration (7.6 to 41.0 mg kg<sup>–1</sup>). Basing on this model, an optimal mineral N threshold was fixed at 23.4 mg kg<sup>–1</sup>. Above this threshold, crop yield did not show any significant variations as well as tissue characteristics and produce quality. Plants grown under suboptimal N levels showed reduction in growth, tissue mineral (nutrients) content, and SPAD index. The proposed models could be implemented in fertilisation protocols for the optimization of N supply and the estimation of spinach growth and yield.</p> Daniele Massa, Luca Incrocci, Luca Botrini, Giulia Carmassi, Cecilia Diara, Pasquale Delli Paoli, Giorgio Incrocci, Rita Maggini, Alberto Pardossi ##submission.copyrightStatement## Thu, 30 Aug 2018 10:29:29 +0200 Contribution of main culm and tillers to grain yield of durum wheat: Influence of sowing date and plant traits <p>The question of whether tillers are a burden or a resource in durum wheat is of concern in the variable Mediterranean climates. The contribution of tillers to grain yield was investigated in commercial cultivars differing in time to anthesis, tillering and spike size, in response to three sowing dates:mid-autumn (recommended), winter, and early spring. The thermal time of phenological phases was calculated, and yield-components and floret production were analysed separately in main culm and tillers. Tiller spikes showed higher spikelet abortion coupled to lower spikelet fertility and mean kernel weight, so that grain yield was 40-60% lower than in main culm spikes. Despite this, tillers contributed 35 to 50% to plant yield. The sowing date affected tiller number rather than one tiller yield. In winter sowings (December), lower main culm yield was fully compensated by increased tiller yield, whereas shifts of sowing date to early spring (February) reduced tillering, which caused a yield loss ranging from 12 to 20%. Cultivars differed in one tiller yield rather than in tiller number, and higher grain yield of tillers was primarily due to increased grain recovery. A more equal partitioning of resources within main culm and tillers corresponded to better yield stability across sowing dates. Starting from this, we suggest that early anthesis, a long stem elongation phase, a high primordium initiation-rate and small spikes, could be positive traits for durum wheat yield stability in changing environments, since they allow plants directing more time and resources to floret production and grain filling both in main culm and tiller spikes. From a methodological point of view, our results show that the number of fertile florets per spike is highly correlated with the average floret number of five given spikelets.</p> Iduna Arduini, Elisa Pellegrino, Laura Ercoli ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 29 Aug 2018 17:03:17 +0200 Compost tea spraying increases yield performance of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) grown in greenhouse under organic farming system <p>Compost tea (CT) is an organic liquid product derived from quality compost carrying useful microorganism and molecules capable to protect and stimulate growth of the plants. It is gaining a lot of interest for improving productivity of conventional and/or organic vegetable crops. In this research, the effects of an aerated water-extracted CT obtained from vegetable composts, applied as foliar spray on pepper plants, was evaluated for two years. In the first year, total production increased by 21.9% whereas, in the second year, it increased by 16.3%. The increment of the yields was related to an increase of the number of fruits <em>per</em> plant, whereas the weight of the single fruit was not affected by treatment. In both years, physiological and nutritional status of pepper plants were increased, as resulted by leaf-SPAD assessed during crop cycle. Findings indicate the effectiveness of CT application in improving significantly yield performances of vegetable crops under greenhouse organic farming system.</p> Massimo Zaccardelli, Catello Pane, Domenica Villecco, Assunta Maria Palese, Giuseppe Celano ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 29 Aug 2018 15:33:33 +0200 Strip-till technology - a method for uniformity in the emergence and plant growth of winter rapeseed (Brassica napus L.) in different environmental conditions of Northern Poland <p>The emergence of plants is especially important for the winter crops that are grown in the challenging environmental conditions of many countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The emergence and initial growth of winter rapeseed were compared in field trials in a randomized block design with three replicates for plants sown in conventional tillage systems (CT) and strip-till (ST), which had different weather conditions and on soil with a non-uniform texture over a period of two years. Sowing in the CT was carried out using Horsch Pronto 4DC (Germany) at a row distance of 0.29 m. The ST operations were performed using a Pro-Til 4T drill manufactured by Mzuri Limited (Great Britain) - row spacing of 0.36 m. In favourable rainfall and thermal conditions, the density of winter rapeseed plants two weeks after sowing was found to be higher if it was sown after the CT than in the ST system. In the year that had a serious shortage of rainfall during the sowing period, a considerably higher density of plants was achieved using the ST system. The uniformity of plant growth using the ST technology in soil with a varied texture, especially in a year with an unfavourable distribution of rainfall, was proven by less variability in the number of leaves in the rosette, in the dry mass of the leaf rosette and in the root neck thickness of the winter rapeseed than in the CT system. The ST system can create good conditions for the initial development and preparation of rapeseed plants for wintering.</p> Iwona Jaskulska, Lech Gałęzewski, Mariusz Piekarczyk, Dariusz Jaskulski ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 29 Aug 2018 15:08:01 +0200 Accumulation and concentration of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in Jerusalem artichoke in a semi-arid region <p>Jerusalem artichoke (<em>Helianthus tuberosus</em> L.) has been recognized as being a biomass crop for energy and livestock forage production. In this study, 26 Jerusalem artichoke clones previously collected from 24 provinces of China were grown under semiarid conditions in 2008 and 2011. At harvest, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) concentrations and accumulations were measured for all clones and levels of both were higher overall for 2008 than 2011, with statistically reasonable results for both years. Notably, N and K concentrations in aboveground parts were higher than in tubers for most clones, yet the tuber P concentration was consistently higher than in aboveground parts. Comparing with other forage and energy plants, it demonstrates that under optimal conditions, diverse Jerusalem artichoke clones could meet the requirements of either energy production or livestock forage feed. Based on N, P and K accumulation and concentration profiles, the 26 Jerusalem artichoke clones clustered into six groups. Three clones of one cluster, CQ-1, GZ-1 and HUN-3, are recommended for use as biomass energy materials due to the lower N concentration level in aboveground parts and higher N concentration level in tubers, while 16 clones are recommended for use as forage due to the higher N concentration level in aboveground parts. The phenotypic traits described in this work should facilitate quantitative trait locus mapping and the subsequent use of clone germplasms for development of improved varieties suited to specific growth conditions and applications.</p> Tongcheng Fu, Zuxin Liu, Yang Yang, Guang Hui Xie ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 29 Aug 2018 14:55:26 +0200 Podolian cattle: reproductive activity, milk and future prospects <p>In the present study, an original article about Podolian cattle and its milk was performed. In detail, the following factors on reproductive career of Podolian cattle in semi-extensive and extensive rearing were analysed: age of calving, gestation lenght, calving interval length, abortions percentage, conception and calving period. Chemical and phisycal parameters (protein, fat and lactose), somatic cell count, lisozyme content and antiradical activity, with ABTS and DPPH assays, of Podolian milk in semiextensive and extensive rearing were evaluated. Finally, suggestions on future prospects of Podolian milk use were proposed: the preparation of hand soap with 5 percentage of podolian milk and the potential role of this breed for prevention and propagation of fire. The data concerning the reproductive career, milk and envinromental role of 677 cows registered in the Herdbook were analysed. The results showed that the 58.56% of the cows manifested a calving interval of 11-14 months. The reproductive activity occurred in spring; over 70% of the cows calved in the period February-April. The chemical-physical aspects of milk are in agreement with literature. It presents an high antioxidant activity values for each group (97.03% and 97.50% for ABTS and 52.09% and 52.60% for DPPH, semiextensive and extensive system respectively). The consumer test shows that the subjects appreciated the soap containing 5% of Podolian milk for different aspect. The data about environmental role were obtained from Podolian cows reared in fifteen grazing areas were monitored for five years during the summer pasture, when the Podolian cattle graze on green grazing areas located in Basilicata region (South of Italy). Therefore, an efficient management of grazing by Podolian cattle could be an important tool to prevent the fire propagation.</p> Carlo Cosentino, Carmine D'Adamo, Salvatore Naturali, Giovanni Pecora, Rosanna Paolino, Mauro Musto, Francesco Adduci, Pierangelo Freschi ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 29 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0200