Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is the most important food legume for human consumption. Drought stress is the major abiotic stress limitation of bean yields in smallholder farming systems worldwide. The current work aimed to determine the role of enhanced photosynthate mobilization to improve adaptation to intermittent and terminal drought stress and to identify a few key adaptive traits that can be used for developing drought-resistant genotypes. Field studies were conducted over three seasons at Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Palmira, Colombia to determine genotypic differences in adaptation to intermittent (two seasons) and terminal (one season) drought stress compared with irrigated conditions. A set of 36 genotypes, including 33 common bean, two wild bean and one cowpea were evaluated using a 6 x 6 lattice design under irrigated and rainfed field conditions. Three common bean elite lines (NCB 226, SEN 56, SER 125) were identified with superior levels of adaptation to both intermittent and terminal drought stress conditions. The greater performance of these lines under drought stress was associated with their ability to remobilize photosynthate to increase grain yield based on higher values of harvest index, pod harvest index, leaf area index and canopy biomass. Two wild bean germplasm accessions (G 19902, G 24390) showed very poor adaptation to both types of drought stress. One small-seeded black line (NCB 226) was superior in combining greater values of canopy biomass with greater ability to mobilize photosynthates to grain under both types of drought stress. Two small-seeded red lines (SER 78, SER 125) seem to combine the desirable traits of enhanced mobilization of photosynthates to seed with effective use of water through canopy cooling under terminal drought stress. Pod harvest index showed significant positive association with grain yield under both types of drought stress and this trait can be used by breeders as an additional selection method to grain yield in evaluation of breeding populations for both types of drought stress.
Palm oil (PO) is a very important commodity used as food, in pharmaceuticals, for cooking and as biodiesel: PO is a major contributor to the economies of many countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia. Novel tropical regions are being explored increasingly to grow oil palm as current land decreases, whilst recent published modelling studies by the current authors for Malaysia and Indonesia indicate that the climate will become less suitable. Countries that grow the crop commercially include those in Latin America, Africa and Asia. How will climate change (CC) affect the ability to grow oil palm in these countries? Worldwide projections for apt climate were made using Climex software in the present paper and the global area with unsuitable climate was assessed to increase by 6%, whilst highly suitable climate (HSC) decreased by 22% by 2050. The suitability decreases are dramatic by 2100 suggesting regions totally unsuitable for growing OP, which are currently appropriate: the global area with unsuitable climate increased from 154 to 169 million km(2) and HSC decreased from 17 to 4 million km(2). This second assessment of Indonesia and Malaysia confirmed the original findings by the current authors of large decreases in suitability. Many parts of Latin America and Africa were dramatically decreased: reductions in HSC for Brazil, Columbia and Nigeria are projected to be 119 000, 35 and 1 from 5 000 000, 219 and 69 km(2), respectively. However, increases in aptness were observed in 2050 for Paraguay and Madagascar (HSC increases were 90 and 41%, respectively), which were maintained until 2100 (95 and 45%, respectively). Lesser or transient increases were seen for a few other countries. Hot, dry and cold climate stresses upon oil palm for all regions are also provided. These results have negative implications for growing oil palm in countries as: (a) alternatives to Malaysia and Indonesia or (b) economic resources per se. The inability to grow oil palm may assist in amelioration of CC, although the situation is complex. Data suggest a moderate movement of apposite climate towards the poles as previously predicted.
Fifteen lactating Damascus goats (44 +/- 08 kg body weight) were used in a completely randomized design to evaluate the supplementation of Chlorella vulgaris microalgae at 0 (Control), 5 (Alg05) and 10 g/goat/day (Alg10) for 12 weeks. Chlorella vulgaris treatments increased feed intake and apparent diet digestibility compared with a control diet. No differences were noted in the ruminal pH and ammonia-N concentrations, but increased concentration of total volatile fatty acids and propionic acid were observed in goats fed with Alg05 and Alg10. Diets of Alg05 and Alg10 increased serum glucose concentration but decreased glutamate-oxaloacetate transaminase, glutamate-pyruvate transaminase and cholesterol concentrations. Additionally, C. vulgaris supplementation moderately increased milk yield, energy corrected milk, total solids, solids not fat and lactose. Feeding Alg05 and Alg10 diets increased milk unsaturated fatty acids with concomitant increases in total conjugated linoleic acid concentrations. It is concluded that the daily inclusion of 5 or 10 g of C. vulgaris in the diets of Damascus goats increased milk yield and positively modified milk fatty acid profile.
In the current regional-scale study, the model DSSAT CROPGRO was applied in order to simulate the cultivation of industrial tomato and to estimate the green water (GW), blue water (BW), blue water requirement (BWR) and water footprint (WFP) through a dual-step approach (with and without full irrigation). Simulation covered a period of 30 years for three climate scenarios including a reference period and two future scenarios based on forecast global average temperature increases of 2 and 5 degrees C. The spatial patterns of indicators relating to the whole territory of Puglia region (Southern Italy), characterized by the high evaporative demand of the atmosphere, are discussed and analysed. Considering the climatic pattern, the analysis was developed for three areas (Northern, Central and Southern). Future scenarios affected all indicators significantly, particularly the Northern area, characterized by higher temperature and rainfall anomalies. Under the A5 scenario, compared with the baseline, this area was forecast to have a large increase of BW (+30%) and reduction in yield (-20%). As a consequence, the BWR and WFP were predicted to increase dramatically, up to 40 and >65%, respectively. On the other hand, Central and Southern areas, with lower anomalies of temperature and rainfall, were forecast to be less vulnerable to climate change. The distributed analysis performed could be important for water policy, allowing most efficient allocation of scarce water resources and concentrating them where the WFP is lowest, or in other words, water use efficiency is highest.
The aim of the current study was to assess the effects of adding Chlorella vulgaris algae at different levels on in vitro gas production (GP) of three total mixed rations (TMR) with different concentrate (C): maize silage (S) ratios (25C : 75S, 50C : 50S, 75C : 25S). Chlorella vulgaris was added at 0, 20, 40 and 80 mg/g dry matter (DM) of the TMR and total gas, methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) production were recorded after 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 24 and 48 h of incubation in three runs. Increasing concentrate portion in the TMR linearly increased the asymptotic GP and decreased the rate of GP without affecting the lag time. Addition of C. vulgaris at 20 mg/g DM to the 25C : 75S TMR increased the asymptotic GP, CH4, CO2 and GP at 48 h. Addition of C. vulgaris to the 50C : 50S TMR decreased the asymptotic GP and GP at 48 h. Higher CH4 production was observed at 48 h of incubation when C. vulgaris was included at (per g DM): 20 mg for the 25C : 75S ration, 40 mg for the 50C : 50S ration and 80 mg for the 75C : 25S ration. Inclusion of C. vulgaris linearly increased CH4 production for the 50C : 50S ration and increased CO2 production at 10 and 12 h of incubation for the 50C : 50S ration, whereas 20 and 40 mg C. vulgaris/g DM of the 75C : 25S TMR decreased CO2 production. The 25C : 75S TMR had the highest in vitro DM disappearance with C. vulgaris addition. Chlorella vulgaris addition was more effective with rations high in fibre content than those high in concentrates. It can be concluded that the optimal level of C. vulgaris addition was 20 mg/g DM for improved ruminal fermentation of the 25C : 75S TMR.
Controlled irrigation during the dry period associated with adequate nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) fertilization led to the accumulation of biochemical compounds in coffee beans considered as positive precursors of beverage quality. Adult plants of coffee (Coffea arabica 'Rubi') were cultivated using different water regimes (WR) and fertilization conditions under the dry climate of the Brazilian Cerrado. Coffee-bean physical characteristics were evaluated as well as biochemical composition by near-infrared analysis. The K treatment mostly affected bean biochemistry, lipid and chlorogenic acid (CGA) contents, which increased with increasing amounts of fertilizer. Caffeine contents increased with higher amounts of N, but no significant effects of P treatment on bean biochemical composition were observed. Sucrose and total lipid contents always appeared higher in beans of non-irrigated plants than those beans from plants grown with continuous irrigation. In contrast, caffeine and CGA contents were higher in beans of irrigated as compared with non-irrigated plants. For the first time, the current results showed that controlled management of irrigation during the dry period associated with reasonable NPK fertilization led to the accumulation of biochemical compounds in coffee beans considered as positive precursors of beverage quality.
Australia has a role to play in future global food security as it contributes 0.12 of global wheat exports. How much more can it contribute with current technology and varieties? The present paper seeks to quantify the gap between water-limited yield potential (Yw) and farmer yields (Ya) for wheat in Australia by implementing a new protocol developed by the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas (GYGA) project. Results of past Australian yield gap studies are difficult to compare with studies in other countries because they were conducted using a variety of methods and at a range of scales. The GYGA project protocols were designed to facilitate comparisons among countries through the application of a consistent yet flexible methodology. This is the first implementation of GYGA protocols in a country with the high spatial and temporal climatic variability that exists in Australia. The present paper describes the application of the GYGA protocol to the whole Australian grain zone to derive estimates of rainfed wheat yield gap. The Australian grain zone was partitioned into six key agro-climatic zones (CZs) defined by the GYGA Extrapolation Domain (GYGA-ED) zonation scheme. A total of 22 Reference Weather Stations (RWS) were selected, distributed among the CZs to represent the entire Australian grain zone. The Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator (APSIM) Wheat crop model was used to simulate Yw of wheat crops for major soil types at each RWS from 1996 to 2010. Wheat varieties, agronomy and distribution of wheat cropping were held constant over the 15-year period. Locally representative dominant soils were selected for each RWS and generic sowing rules were specified based on local expertise. Actual yield (Ya) data were sourced from national agricultural data sets. To upscale Ya and Yw values from RWS to CZs and then to national scale, values were weighted according to the area of winter cereal cropping within RWS buffer zones. The national yield gap (Yg = Yw-Ya) and relative yield (Y% = 100 x Ya/Yw) were then calculated from the weighted values. The present study found that the national Yg was 2.0 tonnes (t)/ha and Y% was 47%. The analysis was extended to consider factors contributing to the yield gap. It was revealed that the RWS 15-year average Ya and Yw were strongly correlated (R-2 = 0.76) and that RWS with higher Yw had higher Yg. Despite variable seasonal conditions, Y% was relatively stable over the 15 years. For the 22 RWS, average Yg correlated positively and strongly with average annual rainfall amount, but surprisingly it correlated poorly with RWS rainfall variability. Similarly, Y% correlated negatively but less strongly (R-2 = 0.33) with RWS average annual rainfall, and correlated poorly with RWS rainfall variability, which raises questions about how Australian farmers manage climate risk. Interestingly a negative relationship was found between Yg and variability of Yw for the 22 RWS (R-2 = 0.66), and a positive relationship between Y% and Yw variability (R-2 = 0.23), which suggests that farmers in lower yielding, more variable sites are achieving yields closer to Yw. The Yg estimates appear to be quite robust in the context of estimates from other Australian studies, adding confidence to the validity of the GYGA protocol. Closing the national yield gap so that Ya is 0.80 of Yw, which is the level of Yg closure achieved consistently by the most progressive Australian farmers, would increase the average annual wheat production (20.9 million t in 1996/07 to 2010/11) by an estimated 15.3 million t, which is a 72% increase. This indicates substantial potential for Australia to increase wheat production on existing farmland areas using currently available crop varieties and farming practices and thus make a substantial contribution to achieving future global food security.
The current experiment was undertaken to investigate the effect of including white clover (Trifolium repens L.; WC) into perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.; PRG) swards (PRG/WC) receiving 250 kg nitrogen (N) per hectare (ha) per year compared with PRG only swards receiving 250 kg N/ha/year, in an intensive grass-based spring calving dairy production scenario. Forty spring-calving cows were allocated to graze either a PRG/WC or PRG sward (n = 20) from 6 February to 31 October 2012. Fresh herbage was offered daily (17 kg dry matter (DM)/cow) supplemented with concentrate in times of herbage deficit (total supplementation 507 kg/cow). Pre-grazing herbage mass (HM), sward WC content and milk production were measured for the duration of the experiment. Herbage DM intake was estimated in May, July and September. Pre-grazing HM (+/- s.e.) was similar (1467 +/- 1731 kg DM/ha) for both treatments, as was cumulative herbage production (14 158 +/- 769 kg DM/ha). Average WC content of the PRG/WC swards was 236 +/- 30 g/kg DM. The PRG/WC cows had greater average daily milk yield and milk solids yield from June onwards. Cumulative milk yield and milk solids yield were greater for the PRG/WC cows compared with the PRG cows (5048 and 4789 +/- 343 kg milk yield/cow, and 400 and 388 +/- 187 kg milk solids/cow, respectively). Cows had similar DM intake in all measurements periods (151 +/- 042 kg DM/cow/day). In conclusion, including WC in N-fertilized PRG swards increased milk production from cows grazing the PRG/WC swards compared with PRG, particularly in the second half of the lactation.
Winter hardiness of wheat is a complex trait involving a system of structural, regulatory and developmental genes, which interact in a complex pathway. The objective of the present work was to study the relationship among the main traits determining the level of adaptation and the possibility for target manipulation of breeding material by using molecular markers and phenological parameters. Wheat cultivars from different ecoclimatic environments of Europe were included for analysis. Gene-specific assay showed that photoperiod sensitivity of the studied cultivars was determined by polymorphism in the Ppd-D1 allele. The study established the relationship among winter hardiness, LT50 (the temperature at which 50% of plants are killed), photoperiod sensitivity, vernalization duration and earliness per se genes in the environment of Lithuania. The cultivars from Northern and Western Europe exhibited stronger requirement for vernalization and photoperiod. Although the group of cultivars from the southern latitudes were characterized by earliness, they possessed a stronger level of LT50. The level of LT50 was found to be the most crucial component of winter hardiness, the other traits served as supplementary components.
The use of chemicals to fertilize crops incurs economic and environmental costs and it is widely recognized that the current level of chemical fertilizer use is unsustainable in many intensive farming systems. Any methods that can reduce fertilizer input and still maintain acceptable yields would be of great benefit to both the farmer and the environment. The use of beneficial endophytes as crop inoculants may go some way towards improving crop yields beyond that achievable using fertilizer increases alone. Field trials were conducted over two seasons on three contrasting field sites to test the effects of fungal endophytes from a wild barley relative on three barley cultivars (Mickle, Planet and Propino). Seeds were either untreated or dressed with a consortium of four endophyte strains, and three levels of nitrogen (N) were applied to both treatments: full N, 50% N and 0 N. On the field site with the lowest overall N input, the endophyte treatment with 50% N restored yield for Planet' to that associated with untreated plants receiving the full N input. On the same site and with the same cultivar, endophyte treatment increased yield by 15% under full N, and by a mean 12% for all three cultivars with 50% N input. Over both seasons and all three sites, the endophyte treatment increased yield for the cultivar Planet by a mean of 9%. For the endophyte-associated increase in the variety Planet grain yield over the untreated trials strong correlations were found between increased yield and each of low rainfall, greater evaporation and greater number of degree days above the base. Furthermore, the efficacy of the endophytes was not removed by regular foliar fungicidal treatment. These results suggest that fungal endophytes can contribute to improving barley yield grown in low rainfall areas and under a range of fertilizer input regimes, provided that endophyte treatments are applied to compatible crop cultivars and sites.
Diminishing irrigation water availability and increased crop evapotranspiration (ET) have already been shown to pose threats to agricultural productivity. The aim of the current study was to estimate the values and trends of both ET and net irrigation requirements (NIR) of those crops consuming most water due to the size of their cultivated area (citrus and potatoes) in a water-scarce region with typical Mediterranean climate, such as Cyprus, analyse possible spatial and temporal variations of these parameters, and discuss implications of this analysis on agricultural water conservation. A linear regression analysis of ET and NIR values of potatoes and citrus during recent decades in their four main cultivated areas uncovered both increasing and decreasing trends for these parameters. Overall, however, the results did not show any change in irrigation water demands for these crops during recent years. In accordance with this outcome, average ET and NIR values of the majority of cultivated crops on the island showed no statistically significant differences between the periods 1976-2000 and 1990-2014. Conversely, this was not the case when data were analysed within each weather station across crops. It is suggested, therefore, that agricultural water resource management schemes should not be focused merely on a regional analysis of changes but that emphasis should be given to site-specific values and trends of ET and NIR estimations, ultimately serving the conservation of agricultural water.
Sugarcane is an important forage resource in sub-tropical and tropical areas as it is used during the winter or dry season when the growth rate of pastures is significantly reduced. The current research study assessed the effect of four vertical sections of sugarcane in a pen trial and the level of sugarcane utilization in a grazing trial on the ingestive behaviour and forage intake of two age groups of steers (1 and 2 years old). The pen trial was comprised of two simultaneous 4 x 4 balanced Latin square designs (one for each age group of animals) of four periods, four animals and four feeding treatments, which consisted of four equal vertical sections of sugarcane. Dry matter (DM) and digestible DM (DDM) intake per kilogram of metabolic weight declined gradually from top to bottom of the sugarcane, with no significant differences between the age groups of steers. This difference in intake was associated with a decline in intake of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) as a proportion of the liveweight of the animal and an increase of total chewing time per kilogram of DM or NDF from top to bottom of the sugarcane. It was concluded that the toughness of plant material played a significant role regulating intake, which was higher for the top sections of sugarcane. In the grazing trial, steers of both age groups grazed down sugarcane in three plots over 9 days. Steers grazed up to four distinctive grazing strata. Digestible DM intake (DDM intake) was high at low levels of horizontal utilization of the top grazing stratum but DDM intake started to decline sharply when this stratum was removed in 0.92 of paddock area (i.e. equivalent to 0.08 of the pasture area remaining un-grazed). It was concluded that the proportion of un-grazed area of the pasture can be used as a grazing management strategy to control forage intake for sugarcane.
The current study aimed to evaluate breeding effect on nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), its components and some agronomic traits and disease resistance in barley by using extensive germplasm covering 72 landraces and 123 cultivars released since 1910. Trials were established in southern Finland with a modified strip-plot experimental design. Prior to sowing, blocks were placement fertilized with compound nitrogen : phosphorus : potassium (NPK) fertilizer (N-P-K: 20-3-8) at the rate of 35 and 70 kg N/ha and unfertilized plots were placed at the other end of the fertilization block. The germplasm collection was genotyped with 1536 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and phenotyped during a 2-year field experiment in 2011/12. Independent of row type, a positive breeding effect was evident in NUE and for other plant N traits, except that grain N slightly decreased. Breeding has improved NUE by 0 center dot 08 kg/year (26% over the century). Nitrogen utilization and N uptake efficiencies were also improved by breeding as were straw length, lodging tolerance, grain yield and yield components, without any sign of levelling-off. Bred cultivars were more resistant to leaf-damaging diseases, especially to net blotch. The SNP data indicated no reduction in overall genetic diversity. However, genetic diversity differed along the barley chromosomes showing either reduced or increased diversity in certain regions when landraces were compared with modern varieties.
Studies on climate impacts and related adaptation strategies are becoming increasingly important to counteract the negative impacts of climate change. In Ethiopia, climate change is likely to affect crop yields negatively and therefore food security. However, quantitative evidence is lacking about the ability of farm-level adaptation options to offset the negative impacts of climate change and to improve food security. The MarkSim Global Climate Model weather generator was used to generate projected daily rainfall and temperature data originally taken from the ECHAM5 general circulation model and ensemble mean of six models under high (A2) and low (B1) emission scenarios. The FAO AquaCrop model was validated and subsequently used to predict maize yields and explore three adaptation options: supplemental irrigation (SI), increasing plant density and changing sowing date. The maximum level of maize yield was obtained when the second level of supplemental irrigation (SI2), which is the application of irrigation water when the soil water depletion reached 75% of the total available water in the root zone, is combined with 30 000 plants/ha plant density. It was also found that SI has a marginal effect in good rainfall years but using 94-111 mm of SI can avoid total crop failure in drought years. Hence, SI is a promising option to bridge dry spells and improve food security in the Rift Valley dry lands of Ethiopia. Expected longer dry spells during the shorter rainy season (Belg) in the future are likely to further reduce maize yield. This predicted lower maize production is only partly compensated by the expected increase in CO2 concentration. However, shifting the sowing period of maize from the current Belg season (mostly April or May) to the first month of the longer rainy season (Kiremt) (June) can offset the predicted yield reduction. In general, the present study showed that climate change will occur and, without adaptation, will have negative effects. Use of SI and shifting sowing dates are viable options for adapting to the changes, stabilizing or increasing yield and therefore improving food security for the future.
Knowledge of different fractions and availability of boron (B) is essential while studying the response of crops to B. Fractionation provides information about the chemistry of B and quantifies its bioavailability. Such information is potentially valuable for predicting bioavailability, B leaching, dynamics, transformation between chemical forms in soils and environmental impacts. Total B (T-B) is quantified into five fractions: readily soluble (Rs-B), specifically adsorbed (Spa-B), oxide bound (Ox-B), organically bound (Org-B) and residual B (Res-B). Of these, Rs-B is the fraction present in soil solution and adsorbed weakly by soil particles, and is most readily available for plant uptake. It accounts for 1-2% of T-B. The second most plant available form is Spa-B; it may be adsorbed onto clay surfaces or associated with organic matter (OM) in soil. The remaining fractions, Ox-B, Org-B and Res-B, are unavailable for plant uptake. The major portion (generally 874-997%) of T-B is composed of Res-B. Overall, the relative proportion of B in various fractions is in the order of Res B > Org-B > Spa-B > Rs-B > Ox-B. Several factors such as soil pH, soil OM, clay minerals, iron and aluminium oxides and calcium carbonate content may change the relative proportion of B in various fractions and the transformations among different soil B fractions. Some of the B fractions are correlated with others and exhibit responses in terms of plant growth. Non-specifically adsorbed (Nsa-B) and Spa-B are positively and significantly correlated to some sub-fractions of Ox-B, such as B occluded in manganese oxyhydroxides (Moh-B). The most readily available forms of B for plants are Nsa-B, Spa-B and Moh-B.
The current experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of different dietary protein levels and rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) supplementation on ruminal fermentation, microbial enzyme activity, bacterial populations and urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) in growing beef steers. Low-protein (LP) or high-protein (HP) diets were fed to eight ruminally cannulated first-generation cross-bred (Blonde d'Aquitaine x Simmental) beef steers with or without RPFA supplementation. Steers were fed a total mixed ration, and dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 (dry matter (DM) basis). No interaction between dietary crude protein (CP) levels and RPFA supplementation was observed during the experiment. Ruminal pH was unaffected by RPFA supplementation, but decreased with increasing dietary CP levels. Ruminal total volatile fatty acid concentration increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Molar proportion of acetate increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to decrease with increasing dietary CP levels. The proportion of propionate decreased with RPFA supplementation, but was unaffected by dietary CP levels. As a result, the acetate to propionate ratio increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to be lower for the HP diets than the LP diets. Ammonia-nitrogen content decreased with RPFA supplementation, but increased with increasing dietary CP levels. In situ ruminal degradability of maize straw and concentrate increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Microbial enzyme (carboxymethyl-cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase, -amylase and protease) activity, bacterial populations (Ruminococcus albus, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus) and urinary PD excretion increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. The current study showed that increasing dietary CP levels from 109.1 to 130.7 g/kg DM or supplementing 75 mg RPFA improved ruminal fermentation and microbial protein synthesis by increasing bacterial population and microbial enzyme activity.
Agricultural practices are likely to lower nitrogen (N) fertilization inputs for economic and ecological limitation reasons. The objective of the current study was to assess genotypic variation in nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and related parameters of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) as well as the relative grain yield performance under sandy soil conditions. A sub-set of 16 spring wheat genotypes was studied over 2 years at five N levels (0, 70, 140, 210 and 280 kg N/ha). Results indicated significant differences among genotypes and N levels for grain yield and yield components as well as NUE. Genotypes with high NUE exhibited higher plant biomass, grain and straw N concentration and grain yield than those with medium and low NUE. Utilization efficiency (grain-NUtE) was more important than uptake efficiency (total NUpE) in association with grain yield. Nitrogen supply was found to have a substantial effect on genotype; Line 6052 as well as Shandawel 1, Gemmiza 10, Gemmiza 12, Line 6078 and Line 6083 showed higher net assimilation rate, more productive tillers, increased number of spikes per unit area and grains per spike, extensive N concentration in grain and straw, heavier grains, higher biological yield and consequently maximized grain yield. The relative importance of NUE-associated parameters such as nitrogen agronomic efficiency, nitrogen physiological efficiency and apparent nitrogen recovery as potential targets in breeding programmes for increased NUE genotypes is also mentioned.
Physiological traits can be used to improve the efficiency of selecting suitable genotypes to grow under nitrogen (N) limitation. The objective of the current study was to investigate the relationship between physiological characteristics and storage root yield of three cassava genotypes under three rates of N fertilizer. The experiments were conducted from 2014 to 2016 at farm fields in Thailand. A split-plot randomized complete block design with four replications was used. Three different rates of N fertilizer, i.e., 46.9, 90.0 and 133.2 kg N/ha and three cassava genotypes, Rayong 9, Rayong 11 and Kasetsart 50, were used. Kasetsart 50 had the highest mean performance for most crop traits. Growth rate of stem (SGR), storage root (SRGR) and crop (CGR) during 180-210 days after planting (DAP) and leaf area index (LAI) at 120 DAP were related to storage root dry weight for all three rates of N fertilizer. Storage root growth during 90-120 DAP, CGR during 180-210 DAP and specific leaf area (SLA) at 210 DAP contributed most to storage root dry weight of the three genotypes grown at 46.9 kg N/ha, while the combination of SRGR during 90-120 DAP, SRGR during 180-210 DAP, LAI at 210 DAP and SLA at 210 DAP was best for N fertilizer at 90.0 kg N/ha and the combination of leaf growth rate (LGR) during 180-210 DAP and LAI at 210 DAP was best for N fertilizer at 133.2 kg N/ha.
The mountain ecosystem of the Central Himalayan Region is known for its diversity of crops and their wild relatives. In spite of adverse climatic conditions, this region is endowed with a rich diversity of millets. Hence, the aim of the present study was to explore, collect, conserve and evaluate the diversity of barnyard millet (Echinochloa frumentacea) to find out the extent of diversity available in different traits and the traits responsible for abiotic stress tolerance, and to identify trait-specific accessions for crop improvement and also for the cultivation of millets in the region as well as in other similar agro-ecological regions. A total of 178 accessions were collected and evaluated for a range of morpho-physiological and biochemical traits. Significant variability was noted in days to 50% flowering, days to 80% maturity, 1000 seed weight and yield potential of the germplasm. These traits are considered to be crucial for tailoring new varieties for different agro-climatic conditions. Variations in biochemical traits such as lipid peroxidation (0.552-7.421 nmol malondialdehyde formed/mg protein/h), total glutathione (105.270-423.630 mmol/g fresh weight) and total ascorbate (4.980-9.880 mmol/g fresh weight) content indicate the potential of collected germplasm for abiotic stress tolerance. Principal component analysis also indicated that yield, superoxide dismutase activity, plant height, days to 50% flowering, catalase activity and glutathione content are suitable traits for screening large populations of millet and selection of suitable germplasm for crop improvement and cultivation. Trait-specific accessions identified in the present study could be useful in crop improvement programmes, climate-resilient agriculture and improving food security in areas with limited resources.
A range of options was explored to test the hypothesis that diets for dairy cows could be formulated to reduce the carbon footprint (CFP) of feed, increase efficiency of conversion of potentially human-edible feed into milk, increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and reduce methane (CH4) emissions per kg milk. Diets based on grazed grass, grass silage, maize silage or straw, supplemented with raw material feeds, were formulated to meet requirements for metabolizable energy and metabolizable protein for a range of daily milk yields. At similar levels of milk yield, NUE, predicted CH4 emissions and diet CFP were generally higher for diets based on maize silage than for those based on grazed grass, grass silage or straw. Predicted CH4 emissions and human-edible proportion decreased, while NUE increased with the increasing level of milk yield. It is concluded that there is potential to reduce the environmental impact of milk production by altering diet formulation, but the extent to which this might occur is likely to depend on availability of raw material feeds with low CFPs.