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) Mon, 22 Jul 2019 11:35:33 +0200 OJS 60 The effect of manuring with undersown catch crop, and production system on the potato tuber content of microelements <p>The potato tuber content of microelements is lower than that of macroelements but they are equally important. With this respect, there has been noticed a favourable effect of natural and organic manuring. The objective of the study reported here was to determine the effect of manuring with an undersown catch crop, either autumn-incorporated or left on the soil surface as mulch for spring incorporation, and production system on the potato tuber content of microelements. The study involved a field experiment, which was conducted in 2009-2012. The following two factors were examined: I − manuring with undersown catch crop: control, farmyard manure, Persian clover, Persian clover + westerwolds ryegrass, westerwolds ryegrass, Persian clover − mulch, Persian clover + westerwolds ryegrass − mulch, westerwolds ryegrass − mulch; II − production system: integrated and organic. Potato tubers were sampled to determine microelement contents. The highest iron and zinc contents were recorded in the tubers of potato manured with autumn-incorporated Persian clover whereas boron content was the highest in the tubers of potato manured with Persian clover, regardless of when it had been incorporated, as well as an autumn-incorporated Persian clover + westerwolds ryegrass mixture. Organic potatoes contained more iron and boron whereas tubers grown in the integrated production system were higher in zinc, manganese and copper. Potato manuring with undersown catch crops and farmyard manure in both the production systems studied increased the potato tuber content of microelements, excluding copper and manganese.</p> Anna Płaza, Barbara Gąsiorowska, Emilia Rzążewska, Anna Cybulska, Rafał Górski ##submission.copyrightStatement## Fri, 06 Sep 2019 14:09:47 +0200 Potato response to silicone compounds (micro and nanoparticles) and potassium as affected by salinity stress <p>Salinity of irrigation water is an important limitation factor in crop production such as potato worldwide. Foliar application of anti-stress compounds containing mineral nutrients is one of the possible solutions for salinity mitigation. In this field experiment the effects of silicone compounds on potato (cv. Agria) performance was studied as a split plot based on randomised complete block design with three replications at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, during 2016 cropping season. Treatments included irrigation salinity [0.3 (non-stress), 5, 8 and 12 dS.m<sup>–1</sup>] and foliar application of potassium sulphate (1000 ppm), sodium silicate nanoparticles (400 ppm) and silica (1000 ppm). Results indicated that salinity decreased transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, quantum yield of PSΙΙ, membrane stability index, carotenoids, tuber number per plant and tuber yield while it improved water use efficiency and tuber dry matter percentage. Foliar application of anti-stress compounds positively affected quantum yield of PSΙΙ, carotenoids content, DPPH radical scavenging activity, tuber number per plant, tuber yield and tuber dry matter percentage. Although, application of all compounds improved most biochemical and photosynthetic traits, but ameliorative effect of the two silicon compounds, especially sodium silicate nanoparticles was more evident. It seems that silicon application could be an effective strategy in reducing salinity effects and its efficiency will be increased when is used as nanoparticles.</p> Mohammad Kafi, Jafar Nabati, Bijan Saadatian, Armin Oskoueian, Javad Shabahang ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 05 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Morphological and productivity comparison between commercial and wild isolates of Pleurotus eryngii (D.C.: Fr.) Quél <p>Seven commercial isolates of <em>Pleurotus eryngii</em> (‘142 F’, ‘142 E’, ‘D +’, ‘V turbo’, ‘V 142’, ‘A12’ and ‘V160’), identified on molecular basis, were compared to five wild type isolates (‘Albino beige chiaro 1094’, ‘Altamura 1603’, ‘Albino 1107’, ‘Muro Lucano 139’ and ‘Conversano 1250’) concerning their morphological, productivity and quality features. Interestingly, two wild type isolates (‘Albino 1107’ and ‘Conversano 1250’) resulted more productive then all the commercial fungal isolates analysed. Besides, all wild isolates of <em>P. eryngii</em> showed harvest earliness and among them ‘Altamura 1603’ and ‘Conversano 1250’ were the best. The highest percentage of large basidioma was observed for the commercial isolates ‘V turbo’ and ‘D+’. Within the wild types, the isolate ‘Conversano 1250’ stood out. Regarding the pileus cuticle colour, commercial isolates (‘V turbo’ and ‘V 160’) showed lower lightness value than wild type isolates (‘Albino 1107’).</p> Donato Castronuovo, Stefania M. Mang, Antonella Becce, Vincenzo Candido, Loriana Cardone, Ippolito Camele ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 05 Aug 2019 00:00:00 +0200 Effect of fertiliser application and cutting regime on temporal differentiation of mesic semi-natural grassland vegetation <p>To address biodiversity and agronomic value of grasslands, we attempted to determine the effect of management regimes on temporal plant species diversity of <em>Arrhenatherion</em> grassland vegetation over a 7-year period. In a split-plot experiment, three cutting regimes (traditional 2-cut system, modified and regular 4-cut systems) and five fertilisation regimes [i) zero; ii) phosphoruspotassium (PK); iii) cattle slurry; iv) nitrogen-PK (NPK) plus cattle slurry; v) NPK] were assigned to the main plots and the subplots, respectively. Significant temporal changes in plant species composition, abundance of functional groups, plant richness and Shannon index were found for most investigated regimes. The effects of fertilisation regimes on all investigated parameters were much stronger than cutting regimes. Generally, two distinct pathways of sward compositional development were found, depending on whether the mineral N was added or not. Differentiation in the plant species composition and abundance of functional groups started in the second year and continued with the progress of the experiment. A quite distinct pattern of change in the plant species composition was found for PK where initially higher abundance of legumes triggered the sward development similar to the slurryfertilisation regime. The fertilisation with high N rates caused temporal decrease in species richness and Shannon index. Other fertilisation treatments did not affect these two diversity parameters in a seven-year period. The cutting regimes did not temporally differentiate the sward regarding plant species composition and abundance of functional groups. They affected only plant species composition in the seventh year and indicated some effect on the temporal change of Shannon index.</p> Jure Čop, Klemen Eler ##submission.copyrightStatement## Wed, 24 Jul 2019 13:58:21 +0200 Changes in yields and volatile oil composition of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) in high plant populations <p>This research was managed to identify the effects of the different seed quantity (5, 10, 15 and 20 kg.ha<sup>–1</sup>) and row interval (15 and 30 cm) on the yields and the volatile oil components of fennel (<em>Foeniculum vulgare</em> Mill.) under the Harran Plain conditions, during 2013 and 2014 years. The study was established according to the <em>split plot in randomised complete block</em> design. Seed and volatile oil yields, volatile oil ratio and volatile oil components were importantly affected seed quantity and row interval. The transaction of 15 cm × 10 kg.ha<sup>–1</sup>, the highest seed and volatile oil yield were taken, was determined to be the most suitable. The <em>trans-anethole</em> was taken the primary component under all transactions and it was changed to depend on the row interval and seed quantities.</p> Abdulhabip Özel, İslim Koşar, Tuncay Demirbilek, Kaan Erden ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 22 Jul 2019 16:56:53 +0200 Wheat yield as a measure of the residual fertility after 20 years of forage cropping systems with different manure management in Northern Italy <p>After 20 years of application of different manure types, cropping systems and additional nitrogen (N) levels, their residual fertility effects were compared by measuring the yield of a following unfertilised wheat crop (Experiment 1), which was sown on exactly the same plots of the previous long-term trial. All previously applied factors caused significant differences in wheat yield. Wheat yielded more on plots that had received farmyard manure (FMY) compared to those where semi-liquid manure (SLM) was previously applied. Long-term application of a semi-intensive rotation, with three years of annual double cropping of autumnsown Italian ryegrass and spring-sown silage maize followed by three years of mown lucerne (R6), resulted in higher wheat yield than application of just the annual double cropping of Italian ryegrass and silage maize (R1). Application of further mineral N fertilisation to previous cropping systems caused higher yield of the subsequent wheat crop. The difference in wheat yield between the R6 and R1 systems was greater with SLM (+28%) than FYM application (+11%) resulting in a significant manure × system interaction. A companion experiment (Experiment 2) was carried out to compute the nitrogen agronomic efficiency (NAE) from the yield of wheat plots that were sown after ploughing a nearby 20- year unfertilised grassland and received four levels of mineral N fertilisation. NAE was further used to empirically estimate the productive advantage (PA) conferred by previous manure-systemmineral nitrogen combinations in the long-term trial. PA was measured as equivalent kg of mineral N to be applied to wheat to achieve the yield level recorded after any previous combination. The estimated PA values were much higher when wheat followed FYM compared to SLM application, and when it followed R6 compared to R1 system. The SLM-R1 combination had negative PA values, indicating a productive disadvantage on wheat of this preceding combination. The enhancement of residual soil fertility by long-term application of FYM compared to SLM could be attributed to greater nutrient provision during the years by FYM than by SLM. However, further fertility advantages of FYM are discussed. Despite lower nutrient supply by organic fertilisers in R6 than in R1 system, the former had higher residual fertility. The presence of lucerne in the R6 rotation likely enriched the soil in nitrogen and increased its availability for following cropping. Possible benefits of the legume on the soil suppressiveness might have been a further asset of the R6 system.</p> Luciano Pecetti, Lamberto Borrelli ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 22 Jul 2019 11:35:17 +0200 Exploring the physiological and agronomic response of Armoracia rusticana grown in rainfed Mediterranean conditions <p>Horseradish (<em>Armoracia rusticana</em>) is a perennial plant, belonging to the Brassicaceae family, whose roots are widely used as a cooking spice and flavouring agent across the world and has recently acquired considerable scientific interest due to the richness of phytochemicals. Aim of the study was to explore water relations in plants grown in pots and subject to severe stress conditions and gas exchange, plant growth, and agronomic characteristics of two horseradish accessions grown in open field under rainfed Mediterranean conditions. Total and osmotic leaf water potential were significantly reduced by water stress to a similar extent at predawn and middle day. The carbon isotope composition (δ<sup>13</sup>C) (on average –34.2 and –28.9‰ in leaves and roots, respectively) resulted statistically different among water stress treatments in leaves collected at middle day. In open field, during the vegetative development, plants regulate the foliage expansion depending on rainfall distribution and temperature. When the dry period occurs, plants get rid of several mature leaves that dry completely, and might develop new leaves in the next period, when the air-cools and rainfall increases. During the dry period, horseradish optimised gas exchange during the day by increasing the net CO<sub>2</sub> assimilation rate during the early morning (up to 31 μmol CO<sub>2</sub> m<sup>–2</sup>s<sup>–1</sup>, on average), when the sunlight intensity and the air temperature conditions are more favourable. The species, which rely on an annual rainfall of about 680 mm, produced about 11.5 and 24.3 t/ha of roots from one- and two-year-old plantations, respectively. Regardless of accessions, close relationships were found between the number of leaves and root weight (R<sup>2</sup>=0.88 and P≤0.01) and diameter (R<sup>2</sup>=0.82 and P≤0.01). The results advise the importance to know the physiology and agronomic characteristics of horseradish to purposefully apply agronomic practices and strategies to maximise benefits for production and root quality.</p> Anna Rita Rivelli, Susanna De Maria ##submission.copyrightStatement## Mon, 22 Jul 2019 00:00:00 +0200 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## Fri, 14 Jun 2019 15:47:01 +0200 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## Tue, 11 Jun 2019 11:40:16 +0200 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## Mon, 10 Jun 2019 16:50:02 +0200