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> PAGEPress Scientific Publications, Pavia, Italy en-US Italian Journal of Agronomy 1125-4718 <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> Large scale assessment of the production process and rice yield gap analysis by comparative performance analysis and boundary-line analysis methods <p>To reduce the yield gap, specifying yield constraints in a particular area is necessary. A complete yield gap assessment method must provide information regarding potential yield, actual yield, and causes of the gap and their importance. Therefore, documenting the production process to explain crop management factors in each area is very important. The objective of the study was to perform a rice yield gap analysis by using comparative performance analysis (CPA) and boundary-line analysis (BLA). Data were gathered from about 100 paddy fields in Neka, eastern Mazandaran province, one of the major rice producing regions in Iran, in 2015 and 2016. All agricultural practices from nursery preparation to harvest have been recorded for improved rice cultivars. CPA focuses on the ability to estimate potential yield and the reason for a yield gap. Boundary lines were fitted to the edge of the data cloud of crop yield <em>versus</em> management variables in data from paddy fields monitoring. The documenting analysis shows that the range of paddy yield in 100 fields varied from 6100 to 8200 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>. Potential yields were 9241 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> for CPA method, and 7999 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> for BLA method. Furthermore, yield gap predicted 2047 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> for CPA method and 874 kg ha<sup>–1</sup> for BLA method. In BLA, the average relative yield and relative yield gap of the 13 investigated variables were 89.75% and 10.25% respectively. These results show the importance of each management factor in yield gap. It was concluded that CPA and BLA as applied in the study is a cheap and simple method that, without the need for expensive experimentation, is able to detect yield gap and its causes in a district. From these results, it can be said that the calculated yield gap is close to the definition given for the utilised yield gap and shows the difference between the actual yield and attainable yield in relation to the environmental conditions of the region.</p> Ahmad Gorjizad Salman Dastan Afshin Soltani Hosein Ajam Norouzi ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-14 2019-06-14 14 2 123 131 10.4081/ija.2019.1174 Effect of zinc foliar application and mycorrhizal inoculation on morpho-physiological traits and yield parameters of two barley cultivars <p>Zinc (Zn) plays a vital role in biological systems. Plants require an appropriate balance of this essential micronutrient for growth and optimum yield. This study focused on the effectiveness of foliar application of Zn combined with inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on morphological, physiological traits and yield parameters of barley cultivars during the 2015-2016 growing season. In this factorial experiment, different forms of foliar applied ZnO (nil, nano Zn, ordinary Zn and nano+ordinary Zn) and inoculation with AM fungi (nil, <em>Glomus mosseae </em>and<em> Rhizophagus irregularis</em>) were investigated for two barley cultivars (Yusuf and Julgeh). The two cultivars differed in response to the form of foliar Zn applied and inoculation with the two commercial inocula of AM fungi. The major responses were significant increases in chlorophyll content (107%), soluble sugar (227%), grain Zn concentration (217%), carbonic anhydrase activity (128%) and grain phytase activity (65%) for cultivar Julgeh inoculated with <em>G. mosseae</em> when sprayed with nano ZnO compared with control. Cultivar Julgeh inoculated with <em>G. mosseae</em> had physiological traits more likely to enhance productivity and economical yield than did cultivar Yusuf that invested more in root traits and vegetative growth. Consequently, the nano form of Zn positively increased root and shoot morphological parameters, physiological parameters and grain Zn concentration, but the ordinary form of Zn enhanced yields and yield parameters. While foliar Zn application and inoculation with AM fungi significantly enhanced all measured parameters, the forms of Zn and inoculation with the two different AM fungi differed in their effectiveness.</p> Narjes Moshfeghi Mostafa Heidari Hamid Reza Asghari Mehdi Baradaran Firoz Abadi Lynette K. Abbott Yinglong Chen ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-11 2019-06-11 14 2 67 77 10.4081/ija.2019.1354 Effects of cultivar and planting spacing on yield and yield components of garlic (Allium sativum L.) <p>Planting spacing is the systematic evaluation of the farm area or any growing surface for crop production. In order to study the effect of varying planting patterns in two garlic (<em>Allium sativum</em> L.) cultivars, an experiment was carried out as a factorial design based on randomised complete block design with three replications in the farm of Gonbad-e-Kavous University during 2016- 2017. The factors consisted of seven planting spacing (12.5×12.5, 15×15, 17.5×17.5, 20×20, 22.5×22.5, 25×25 and 27.5×27.5 cm) and two cultivars (Tarom and Hamedan). The fresh bulb yield, bulb weight, clove weight, clove number of bulb, plant height, bulb diameter, bulb length, clove diameter, skin number and stem length were recorded. Results showed that there were significant differences between both planting spaces and cultivars in all variables assessed. The highest bulb yield (19,014 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>) was recorded in Hamedan with the spacing 12.5×12.5 cm, while the lowest bulb yield (7572 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>) was detected in Tarom with the spacing 27.5×27.5 cm. The highest number of cloves was produced by Hamedan under the 27.5×27.5 cm arrangement. In addition, upon the correlation analysis between variables, the bulb weight showed the highest effect on garlic yield that bulb weight was negatively correlated with bulb yield (r= –0.60**). Generally, Cultivar Hamedan had a higher yield and yield components than Tarom and the spacing 12.5×12.5 cm had a higher yield than the other spacing.</p> Fahimeh Fakhar Abbas Biabani Mehdi Zarei Ali Nakhzari Moghadam ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-10 2019-06-10 14 2 108 113 10.4081/ija.2019.1303 Impact of integrated use of enriched compost, biochar, humic acid and Alcaligenes sp. AZ9 on maize productivity and soil biological attributes in natural field conditions <p>Organic amendments improve the soil quality and plant productivity as well as help in the establishment of introduced bacteria. The present study was conducted to evaluate the interactive impact of organic amendments and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria strain <em>Alcaligenes</em> sp. AZ9 to improve maize productivity and soil quality. organic amendments including rock phosphate enriched compost (RPEC), biochar, and humic acid were applied in soil along with and without <em>Alcaligenes</em> sp. AZ9. The results revealed that the sole application of organic amendments along with <em>Alcaligenes</em> sp. AZ9 showed increase in growth and grain yield of maize. However, a combined application of organic amendments (RPEC, biochar, and humic acid) along with <em>Alcaligenes</em> sp. AZ9 showed maximum increase in plant height up to 14%, shoot dry biomass up to 30%, 1000-grains weight up to 10%, grain yield up to 31%, stover yield up to 34%, and potassium (K) concentration in grains up to 12% as compared to absolute control. The increase in nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentration in grains was non-significant over control. This treatment also improved soil biological attributes in terms of the bacterial population up to 60%, microbial biomass carbon up to 22%, soil organic carbon up to 29%, and saturation percentage of soil up to 14% as compared to control. It can be concluded that the application of organic amendments improved establishment of introduced bacteria, which could be effective in improving maize growth and yield as well as soil health.</p> Azhar Hussain Maqshoof Ahmad Muhammad Zahid Mumtaz Farheen Nazli Muhammad Aslam Farooqi Imran Khalid Zafar Iqbal Hadeeqa Arshad ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-10 2019-06-10 14 2 101 107 10.4081/ija.2019.1413 Yield and nutritive value of maize (Zea mays L.) forage as affected by plant density, sowing date and age at harvest <p>The current study was carried out in Alexandria, Egypt and investigated the effect of sowing date; 1<sup>st</sup> May, 1<sup>st</sup> July, and 1<sup>st</sup> September 2017 and 2018, and age at harvest; 45, 55 and 65 days after sowing (DAS) on yield and quality of maize green forage grown with three plant densities (120, 160, and 200 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>). Sowing at 1<sup>st</sup> of May produced the highest significant amount of fresh yield (41.51 t ha<sup>–1</sup> in average). Sowing at 1<sup>st</sup> of July resulted in the production of significantly lower yield (24.54 t ha<sup>–1</sup> in average), however, higher dry matter content (175.99 g kg<sup>–1</sup> in average), compared to sowing at 1<sup>st</sup> of May (143.62 g kg<sup>–1</sup> in average). A pronounced increase in fresh yield was observed when maize was harvested at 55 DAS (30.89 t ha<sup>–1</sup> in average) compared to harvesting at 45 DAS (22.92 t ha<sup>–1</sup> in average). Meanwhile, the increase in fresh yield from 55 DAS to 65 DAS was non-significant. The effect of sowing date on quality parameters was greatly dependent on the age of plant at harvest. Harvesting maize green forage at 65 DAS, reflecting an advanced stage of maturity, caused a significant reduction in the crude protein (CP), and a significant increase in the neutral and acid detergent fibre fractions (NDF and ADF), resulting in a decline in the digestible organic matter (DOM). Plant density exerted non-significant influence on the fresh yield and DM content, minimal effect on the CP content, while the effect on the NDF and ADF contents was dependent on the age at harvest. The lignin content (ADL) of the herbage significantly decreased with increasing the plant density. Variations in the DOM were most dependent on the variations in CP content, followed by the variations in ADF and ADL contents. In conclusion, it is recommended to grow green forage maize twice a season on the 1<sup>st</sup> of May and 1<sup>st</sup> of July, with intermediate plant density (160 kg ha<sup>–1</sup>), and harvest it not later than 55 DAS to achieve the optimum balance between herbage productivity and nutritive value.</p> Heba Sabry Attia Salama ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-05 2019-06-05 14 2 114 122 10.4081/ija.2019.1383 Changes in potato cultivation technology in Korça region as adaptation to climate change <p>The production of agricultural crops depends on the optimisation rate of plant genetic factors, climatic and soil factors and the level of agrochemicals. These factors are in constant dynamism and also are the production of agricultural plants. Changing in climatic conditions of the area will necessitate bring changes in the genetic resources of the plants that will be cultivated as well as in the technology of cultivation. The study analyses the thermal and pluviometry performance of the Korça field, one of the areas with the best agricultural development and on this basis is experimented with the time of potato planting and the adaption to these changes. The analysis of climate variability and trends of ecological climate factors is determining for the sustainability of agricultural production. Especially the increase in temperature indicators requires adaptation to the changes in the technology of crops cultivation. The planting time, which is essentially determined by the optimum agronomic temperature, determines the entire biological cycle of the plant by directly influencing the morphologic and plant yield. Climate changes of the last decades make experimentation necessary to determine the optimal planting terms. Sustainable agricultural development determined by long-term climate change requires adaptation to these changes.</p> Adrian Maho Besnik Skënderasi Magdalena Cara ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-05 2019-06-05 14 2 84 92 10.4081/ija.2019.1374 Assessing photosynthetic performance of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill) influenced by plant growth regulators and drought stress imposed at vegetative and reproductive stages <p>Maintaining crop productivity under limited irrigation water requires some new strategies. This study investigated the influence of drought stress and the application of plant growth regulators (PGRs) including jasmonic acid, brassinosteroids, and putrescine on photosynthetic performance of fennel (<em>Foeniculum vulgare</em> Mill). The results indicated that fennel exhibited active osmoregulation which prevented a sharp decrease in relative water content. Fennel successfully maintained high leaf chlorophyll index, Net photosynthesis rate, and transpiration under mild stress, however, severe stress reduced the photosynthetic parameters by 22%, 24%, and 50%, respectively. Drought stress increased chlorophyll <em>a</em> fluorescence when fennel plants exposed to the stress condition. V<sub>k</sub> and W<sub>k</sub> parameters related to the donor side of photoinhibition of photosystem II (PSII) increased by 44% when severe drought stress imposed at the vegetative stage and 34% when occurred during the flowering. The elevation of V<sub>k</sub> and W<sub>k</sub> indicated a failure in water splitting in PSII. The V<sub>J</sub> and V<sub>I</sub> parameters of acceptor sides increased by 16% and 22%, respectively when drought stress imposed at the vegetative phase and to 19% and 30%, when drought stress occurred during reproductive phase. Using PGRs resulted in reduced V<sub>J</sub>, V<sub>I</sub>, V<sub>k</sub>, and W<sub>k</sub>, suggesting that some degree of recovery of damages occurred. All three PGRs stimulated biomass production and on average, plants yielded roughly 1.6 fold higher than the control plants. The influences of PGRs were mainly independent of drought stress level.</p> Ghasem Parmoon Ali Ebadi Soodabeh Jahanbakhsh Masoud Hashemi Seyed Amir Moosavi ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-06-05 2019-06-05 14 2 93 100 10.4081/ija.2019.1319 Allelopathic potential of leaf aqueous extracts from Cynara cardunculus L. on the seedling growth of two cosmopolitan weed species <p>The search for sustainable alternatives to synthetic herbicides for weed control, has led the scientific community to an increased interest for plant allelopathic mechanisms. The utilisation of plant extracts as possible bioherbicides represents an important solution. In the present study, laboratory experiments were carried out to investigate, for the first time, the differences in the allelopathic activity of the three <em>Cynara cardunculus</em> L. botanical varieties (globe artichoke, cultivated and wild cardoon) leaf aqueous extracts on the seedling growth of <em>Amaranthus retroflexus</em> L. and<em> Portulaca oleracea</em> L. In addition, the autoallelopathic effect on wild cardoon growth and the qualitative profile of the aqueous extract through high-performance liquid chromatograpy (HPLC) analysis were evaluated. Overall, the allelopathic effects were both genotype- and weed species-dependent. Wild cardoon showed the highest allelopathic potential (–23.4%), followed by cultivated cardoon and globe artichoke, and <em>P. oleracea</em> was the most sensitive target species (–32%). Besides, root system length was the most affected parameter (–32.6%). The autoallelopathic effect of wild cardoon extract was also demonstrated on root system length, hypocotyl and epicotyl length and total dry weight. <em>C. cardunculus</em> leaf aqueous extract was characterised by 5 sesquiterpene lactones, 2 caffeoylquinic acids, 6 flavones and 1 lignan. From the HPLC analysis we found that apigenin and luteolin 7-<em>O</em>-glucoronide were detected only in wild cardoon, apigenin 7-<em>O</em>-glucoside was typic of globe artichoke, and 11,13-dihydro-deacylcynaropicrin and 11,13-dihydroxi-8-deoxygrosheimin were characteristics of cultivated cardoon.</p> Aurelio Scavo Gaetano Pandino Alessia Restuccia Sara Lombardo Gaetano Roberto Pesce Giovanni Mauromicale ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-05-07 2019-05-07 14 2 78 83 10.4081/ija.2019.1373 Effects of close cutting on ground cover and quality of a polystand of Manilagrass and cool season turfgrasses <p>Warm season turfgrasses can be grown successfully in the transition zone, but dormancy occurs to some extent during the winter. Overseeding with cool-season turfgrasses is necessary if winter dormancy of warm season turfgrasses is not tolerated. The increasing availability of zoysiagrass cultivars has enabled this genus to be considered suitable for low-maintenance golf courses, especially for golf tees and golf fairways. On the other hand, zoysiagrasses have the most rigid leaves of all turfgrass species, followed by bermudagrasses and by the other warm season turf species. Thus, to have a high mowing quality, mowers working constantly on zoysiagrasses require more sharpening than mowers working on other grasses. Rotary mowers are not suitable for mowing at low heights and often result in scalping, while reel mowers perform optimal mowing at a short height (below 2.5 cm) but require accurate management and frequent sharpening. Autonomous mowers have proven to produce a superior turf quality compared with traditional walk-behind rotary mowers, but no autonomous mower has ever been tested at a low mowing height on an overseeded warm season turfgrass. Because of this, the trial was carried out to simulate a golf tee overseeded with cool season turfgrasses, with low input fertilisation rates and with one of the most difficult turf species to mow; <em>i.e. Zoysia matrella</em> (L.) Merr. The trial was carried out in San Piero a Grado (Pisa, Italy) from October 2016 to October 2018. After a two-year period the best turf quality was achieved with <em>Festuca rubra</em> L. ssp. cultivars among the overseeded species, especially during fall. In many cases turf quality increased after manila grass green up since the combination of both cool season and warm season species gave a higher quality to the turfgrass, due to the finer leaf texture and higher shoot density of some cool season species. Moreover, recovery of manila grass ground cover was satisficing. In conclusion, a polystand of manila grass and <em>Festuca rubra</em> ssp. could be suitable for golf tees with low-input management.</p> Nicola Grossi Marco Fontanelli Christian Frasconi Luisa Martelloni Michele Raffaelli Andrea Peruzzi Monica Gaetani Simone Magni Lisa Caturegli Marco Volterrani Michel Pirchio ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-03-19 2019-03-19 14 2 59 65 10.4081/ija.2019.1378 Fatty acid composition and antioxidant capacity in linseed grown as forage in Mediterranean environment <p>This research was aimed at studying the bromatological traits, fatty acid profile, bioactive compounds, and antioxidant capacity in linseed (<em>Linum usitatissimum</em> L.) shoots harvested at six codified morphological stages. Quality traits were significantly related to cumulated growing degree days from seedling emergence to senescence. The crude protein and ash contents exhibited a gradual decrease and were negatively correlated with morphological stages, whereas cell wall components such as neutral, acid detergent fibers and lignin (NDF, ADF, and ADL) and ether extract (EE) showed a positive correlation. Both ABTS [(2,2’-azinobis (3- ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) diammonium salt] and DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) assays indicated a reduction in antioxidant capacities from stem extension to senescence, from 16 to 7.1, and 19 to 7 mmol TEAC/100g DW, for ABTS and DPPH, respectively. Significant linear correlation among the antioxidant activity, phenolics, NDF, ADF, ADL, and EE were found showed usually. Total phenolic (9.6-26.4 g GAE kg<sup>–1</sup>) and total flavonoid (5.2-16.7 g CE kg<sup>–1</sup>) contents were negatively related with morphological stages. The morphological stage was significantly correlated with oil content, although individual fatty acid content did not. Research gives new insights into the evolution of chemical composition of linseed shoot. Remarkable variations in quality traits, fatty acid contents, bioactive compounds, and antioxidant capacity evidence the possibility to use green linseed in animals’ diet, also suggesting the exploitation of linseed plant as forage source.</p> Leonardo Sulas Giovanni Antonio Re Federico Sanna Simonetta Bullitta Giovanna Piluzza ##submission.copyrightStatement## 2019-03-14 2019-03-14 14 2 50 58 10.4081/ija.2019.1291