Special Issue "Sustainable Tillage and Sowing Technologies"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Farming Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 June 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Kestutis Romaneckas
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Agriculture Academy, Vytautas Magnus University, 44248 Kaunas, Lithuania
Interests: organic and precision farming; sustainable tillage and sowing machinery and technologies; seedbed formation; soil properties; weed-crop concurrence; inter-cropping; field crop productivity and quality; biomass waste management
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmentally and energy-efficient farming technologies are being integrated into agricultural production as the most advanced technologies with the greatest economic, energy, and environmental benefits. The goal of these technologies is to limit the mechanical and chemical effects on soil and crops, ensure the renewal of soil productivity, protect the environment, promote a rational use of material, energy, and labour resources, produce healthy products, and guarantee the economic efficiency of the agricultural production. New environmentally friendly farming technologies are not possible without new tillage and sowing machinery, which are also subject to increased soil and environmental requirements, the most important of which are not to deplete the soil, to stop the decrease of humus and soil degradation, to reduce leaching of nutrients and the most fertile soil particles, to protect the soil from erosion and destruction of its structure, to promote natural biological processes in the soil. However, sustainable conservation tillage and sowing systems often increase the abundance of weeds, pests, and diseases.

This Special Issue will present investigations on sustainable tillage and sowing technologies (minimal, ploughless, strip, zero) and technical solutions for machinery in conditions of conservation and precision farming. Research papers, communications, and review articles are welcome. Attention will also be given to studies on the impact of sustainable tillage and sowing on the peculiarities of crop seedbed formation, soil properties (soil nutrient proportion, leaching and runoff, physical properties, erosion and degradation, health of soil biota, GHG emissions), pests, diseases and weeds infestation, development of productivity and quality of crops. Research data on the economy and energy aspects of different tillage and sowing technologies are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Kęstutis Romaneckas
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • sustainable tillage
  • sowing machinery and systems
  • crop seedbed formation
  • soil properties
  • GHG emissions
  • pests, diseases, and weeds
  • crops productivity and quality
  • energy and economy of tillage and sowing

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Combined Application of Compost, Zeolite and a Raised Bed Planting Method Alleviate Salinity Stress and Improve Cereal Crop Productivity in Arid Regions
Agronomy 2021, 11(12), 2495; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11122495 - 08 Dec 2021
Viewed by 544
Abstract
Soil salinity and climate change have a negative impact on global food production and security, especially in arid regions with limited water resources. Despite the importance of planting methods, irrigation, and soil amendments in improving crop yield, their combined impact on saline soil [...] Read more.
Soil salinity and climate change have a negative impact on global food production and security, especially in arid regions with limited water resources. Despite the importance of planting methods, irrigation, and soil amendments in improving crop yield, their combined impact on saline soil properties and cereal crop yield is unknown. Therefore, the current study investigated the combined effect of soil amendments (i.e., compost, C and zeolite, Z) and planting methods such as raised bed (M1) and conventional (M2), and different fractions of leaching requirements from irrigation water, such as 5% (L1) and 10% (L2), on the soil physio-chemical properties and wheat and maize productivity in an arid region. The combined application of C + Z, L2, and M1 decreased soil salinity (EC) and sodicity (ESP) after wheat production by 37.4 and 28.0%, respectively, and significantly decreased by these factors by 41.0 and 43.0% after a maize growing season. Accordingly, wheat and maize yield increased by 16.0% and 35.0%, respectively under such a combination of treatments, when compared to crops grown on unamended soil, irrigated with lower leaching fraction and planted using conventional methods. This demonstrates the significance of using a combination of organic and inorganic amendments, appropriate leaching requirements and the raised bed planting method as an environmentally friendly approach to reclaiming saline soils and improving cereal crop production, which is required for global food security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tillage and Sowing Technologies)
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Article
Influence of Sowing Time on Yield and Yield Components of Spring Rapeseed in Lithuania
Agronomy 2021, 11(11), 2170; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11112170 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 361
Abstract
Sowing time, as an element, is important to improving the adaptation of cultivars to environmental conditions and to achieving high seed yields. The field experiment was conducted from 2018–2019 at the Experimental Station of Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy. The experimental design included [...] Read more.
Sowing time, as an element, is important to improving the adaptation of cultivars to environmental conditions and to achieving high seed yields. The field experiment was conducted from 2018–2019 at the Experimental Station of Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy. The experimental design included treatments with different sowing dates: eight sowing dates in 2018 and 10 sowing dates in 2019. The first sowing of spring rapeseed was carried out when the soil reached its physical maturity, i.e., it did not stick to agricultural implements and it crumbled well. The other sowing dates were every seven subsequent days. From 2018–2019, the rapeseed emerged as best in early May (3 and 4 May), and later sowing reduced the emergence of rapeseed. In 2018, most pods were formed on one plant when the rapeseed was sown (on 1 June), compared to other sowings, on average 2.8 times more. In 2019, most pods were formed by the latest-sown rapeseed (7 June), from 1.4 to 2.7 times more compared to previously sown crops. In 2018, the sowing time of spring rapeseed did not have a significant effect on the number of seeds in one pod. In 2019, it was found that the rapeseed formed most of the seeds in the pod at a similar time as in 2018: the sowings of 19 April and 7 June. The average number of seeds in the pod was significantly reduced by early sowing (5 April). In 2019, the highest 1000-seed weight was found at the earliest-sown crop (5 April), which was on average 18.0% higher compared to the later sowings. The 1000-seed weight of the last-sown rapeseed (7 June) was the lowest. In 2018, the yields of early-sown (20 April) spring rapeseed were the highest. Later sowing significantly reduced the yields by 20.7 to 48.2%. In 2019, the highest seed yield was obtained after sowing spring rapeseed in late April (26 April); it was significant, on average, 1.9 times higher than the yields of spring rapeseed sown from 3 May to 7 June. Meteorological conditions had a stronger effect on the field emergence and yield components of spring rapeseed than the sowing date. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tillage and Sowing Technologies)
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Article
Innovative Land Arrangement in Combination with Irrigation Methods Improves the Crop and Water Productivity of Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Grown with Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) under Raised and Sunken Bed Systems
Agronomy 2021, 11(10), 2087; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11102087 - 19 Oct 2021
Viewed by 449
Abstract
The underground water and water storage reservoirs are rapidly depleting due to nominal recharging by the rainfalls making water a scarce resource for irrigation resulting in poor crop growth and production. Irrigation water application should focus on the proficient use of each drop [...] Read more.
The underground water and water storage reservoirs are rapidly depleting due to nominal recharging by the rainfalls making water a scarce resource for irrigation resulting in poor crop growth and production. Irrigation water application should focus on the proficient use of each drop of water. Water productivity (WP) in agriculture can be improved through crop diversification, proper land and water management techniques. Considering this, a field investigation was carried out during 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 to study the crop response of rice (Oryza sativa L.) + okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) system to land configurations and irrigation regimes. Three raised-sunken beds (RSB) having width (m) ratios of 1:3, 2:3, 3:3 and two irrigation schedules viz. continuous standing water (CSW) of 5 ± 2 cm depth and alternate wetting and drying (AWD) at 3 ± 1 days interval for rice in sunken bed were tested. Rice yield was more (4.36 and 4.89 Mg ha−1) under CSW irrigation than AWD irrespective of raised bed width. The highest okra yield was noted by 14.09 and 15.43 Mg ha−1 with AWD in 1:3 RSB systems, whereas the lowest yield was recorded in CSW 1:3 RSB systems. Rice equivalent yield (REY) was found as the maximum in AWD than CSW irrespective of raised and sunken bed configurations. The AWD in 3:3 RSB systems exhibited the highest WP of 1.02 and 1.01 kg m−3 during the first and second year of study, respectively. Wider RSB system of land configuration ratio of 3:3 saved about 40–45% of irrigation water. Such information will help in the planning of an innovative intercropping system of summer rice + okra in the field by changing the land configuration to the raised bed and sunken bed with the AWD irrigation system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tillage and Sowing Technologies)
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Article
Crop Establishment Methods and Integrated Nutrient Management Improve: Part II. Nutrient Uptake and Use Efficiency and Soil Health in Rice (Oryza sativa L.) Field in the Lower Indo-Gangetic Plain, India
Agronomy 2021, 11(9), 1894; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11091894 - 21 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 579
Abstract
Rice, the predominant food crop in India, is being grown traditionally with improper plant nutrient management mostly under the flooded situation. Recent advancement in research on crop science focuses on water-saving rice technologies for maximization in crop and water productivity under the backdrop [...] Read more.
Rice, the predominant food crop in India, is being grown traditionally with improper plant nutrient management mostly under the flooded situation. Recent advancement in research on crop science focuses on water-saving rice technologies for maximization in crop and water productivity under the backdrop of a shrinking water resource base for ensuring environmental and agricultural sustainability. Under this situation, an experiment was conducted in two consecutive years in a split-plot design keeping rice cultivation methodologies, viz., aerobic culture, System of Rice Intensification (SRI), and conventional flooded culture in main plots and integrated plant nutrient management (INM) treatments in sub-plots. The experiment was aimed at understanding the effects of different rice production systems and INM on nutrient content, uptake, and use efficiency. The change in soil quality parameters was also studied to understand the impact of crop establishment methods (CEM) and INM options. Significant reduction (p ≤ 0.05) in nutrient uptake and use efficiency was observed under aerobic culture compared to SRI and flooded method, although aerobic culture showed the highest physiological nitrogen use efficiency. Post-harvest available Fe status was significantly lower in aerobic rice (mean 10.39 ppm) compared to other crop establishment technologies; however, Zn status was higher in aerobic rice over the flooded situation. Although available potassium was not affected due to rice cultivation methods, available nitrogen and phosphorus status were influenced remarkably. Soil microbial quality was improved in aerobic rice in comparison to flooded rice. SRI proved to be the most efficient rice establishment method for enhancement in nutrient uptake, use efficiency, and enrichment of soil chemical and microbiological quality. Irrespective of crop culture, integrated plant nutrition in rice improved the nutrient uptake, use efficiency, and soil quality parameters. The study revealed that, under the alluvial soils of the Indo-Gangetic Plains of Eastern India, SRI can be considered as a water-saving rice production method. The method can also improve nutrient uptake, efficiency, and soil quality parameters if proper INM is adopted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tillage and Sowing Technologies)
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Article
Crop Establishment Methods and Integrated Nutrient Management Improve: Part I. Crop Performance, Water Productivity and Profitability of Rice (Oryza sativa L.) in the Lower Indo-Gangetic Plain, India
Agronomy 2021, 11(9), 1860; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agronomy11091860 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 707
Abstract
In the eastern part of India, rice as the most vital staple food crop supports as well the livelihood security of a vast population. Rice is mostly grown under conventional flooded culture without proper nutrient management. Crop performance, water productivity and economic profitability [...] Read more.
In the eastern part of India, rice as the most vital staple food crop supports as well the livelihood security of a vast population. Rice is mostly grown under conventional flooded culture without proper nutrient management. Crop performance, water productivity and economic profitability of rice cultivation need to be assessed under water-saving rice production methodologies with proper integrated plant nutrient management strategies using locally available low-cost nutrient sources. A field trial was conducted at the Adaptive Research Farm, Polba (58.57 m msl), Agriculture Department, West Bengal, India, during the rainy/wet seasons of 2014 and 2015 under aerobic culture, the system of rice intensification (SRI) and conventional flooded culture. The experiment was conducted to evaluate the influence of integrated plant nutrition and water-saving rice production methodologies on the crop performance and water productivity of rice and analyse the economic profitability of rice under different nutritional management and crop production methods such as aerobic culture, conventional flooded and SRI with an objective of sustainability in rice cultivation in the agroclimatic region. The results revealed that crop productivity significantly (p ≤ 0.05) varied from 4.68 t ha−1 (average yield recorded under aerobic culture) to 6.21 t ha−1 (average yield as achieved under SRI). Cultivation of rice under aerobic and conventional culture resulted in 24.6% and 20.9% yield reduction respectively as compared to SRI. Integrating 75% of the recommended dose of nitrogen (RDN) through chemicals with 25% RDN from vermicompost resulted in maximum crop productivity irrespective of crop culture. Aerobic rice culture registered maximum water economy in terms of both irrigation water productivity and total productivity. The study concludes that, for maximization of economic profitability, value cost ratio and partial factor productivity of nutrients the SRI method can be adopted along with integrated nutrient management (75% of RDN through chemicals with 25% RDN from vermicompost) in the lower Indo-Gangetic Plain Zone (IGPZ) of West Bengal, India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tillage and Sowing Technologies)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Crop seedbed depth ad-justment in precision farming technologies: A review
Authors: Kęstutis Rom-aneckas 1*, Dainius Steponavičius 2, Algirdas Jasin-skas 2, Egidijus Šarauskis 2, Marius Kazlauskas 2, Vilma Naujokienė 2, and Indrė Bručienė 2
Affiliation: 1 Vytautas Magnus Uni-versity, Agriculture Acad-emy, Institute of Agroe-cosystems and Soil Sci-ence, Studentu Str. 11, LT-53361, Akademija, Kaunas Distr., Lithuania. [email protected] (K.R.). 2 Vytautas Magnus Uni-versity, Agriculture Acad-emy, Institute of Agricul-tural Engineering and Safety, Studentu Str. 15A, LT-53362, Akademija, Kaunas Distr., Lithuania. [email protected] (E.S.), [email protected] (M.K.), [email protected] (V.N.), [email protected] (I.B.), [email protected] (D.S.), [email protected] (A.J.).

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