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Towards resilience through systems-based plant breeding. A review
Lammerts van Bueren, Edith T. ; Struik, Paul C. ; Eekeren, Nick van; Nuijten, Edwin - \ 2018
Agronomy for Sustainable Development 38 (2018)5. - ISSN 1774-0746
Agrobiodiversity - Breeding strategies - Common good - Ecological resilience - Entrepreneurial models - Resource use efficiency - Seed systems - Social justice - Societal resilience - Sustainability
How the growing world population can feed itself is a crucial, multi-dimensional problem that goes beyond sustainable development. Crop production will be affected by many changes in its climatic, agronomic, economic, and societal contexts. Therefore, breeders are challenged to produce cultivars that strengthen both ecological and societal resilience by striving for six international sustainability targets: food security, safety and quality; food and seed sovereignty; social justice; agrobiodiversity; ecosystem services; and climate robustness. Against this background, we review the state of the art in plant breeding by distinguishing four paradigmatic orientations that currently co-exist: community-based breeding, ecosystem-based breeding, trait-based breeding, and corporate-based breeding, analyzing differences among these orientations. Our main findings are: (1) all four orientations have significant value but none alone will achieve all six sustainability targets; (2) therefore, an overarching approach is needed: “systems-based breeding,” an orientation with the potential to synergize the strengths of the ways of thinking in the current paradigmatic orientations; (3) achieving that requires specific knowledge development and integration, a multitude of suitable breeding strategies and tools, and entrepreneurship, but also a change in attitude based on corporate responsibility, circular economy and true-cost accounting, and fair and green policies. We conclude that systems-based breeding can create strong interactions between all system components. While seeds are part of the common good and the basis of agrobiodiversity, a diversity in breeding approaches, based on different entrepreneurial approaches, can also be considered part of the required agrobiodiversity. To enable systems-based breeding to play a major role in creating sustainable agriculture, a shared sense of urgency is needed to realize the required changes in breeding approaches, institutions, regulations and protocols. Based on this concept of systems-based breeding, there are opportunities for breeders to play an active role in the development of an ecologically and societally resilient, sustainable agriculture.
Exergy destruction in ammonia scrubbers
Zisopoulos, Filippos K. ; Goot, Atze Jan van der; Boom, Remko M. - \ 2018
Resources, Conservation and Recycling 136 (2018). - ISSN 0921-3449 - p. 153 - 165.
Chemical separation - Food industry - Irreversibility - Resource use efficiency
A theoretical ammonia scrubbing process by sulfuric acid solution is assessed with the concept of exergy. The exergy destruction of chemical neutralization is mainly (75–94%) due to changes in the chemical exergy of streams and thermal effects from the reaction while mixing effects have a limited contribution (6–25%). The minimum exergy consumption to remove one mole of ammonia chemically from an airstream could be two to eight times larger than the latent heat of evaporation of one mole of water depending on whether a concentrated (98% w/w) or a dilute (1% w/w) sulfuric acid solution is used. The exergy destruction per mole of ammonia scrubbed could be reduced by up to 75% when both the sulfuric acid solution and the ammonia at the inlet airstream are highly concentrated. The use of sulfuric acid concentration in the range of 10–50% w/w could lead to a very low exergy efficiency (<50%). The exergy efficiency could be improved up to ∼87% by introducing an ammonia pre-concentration step right before the scrubbing process. The extension of system boundaries shows that the cumulative exergy loss rate for neutralizing a heavily loaded ammonia airstream with a flowrate of 1 kg s−1 ranges between 0.3–1.5 MW depending on the way sulfuric acid is produced. Consequently, an exergy-efficient scrubber design should balance between the minimization of the consumption of exergy-intensive resources, the minimization of the exergy destruction occurring in the separation process, and the maximization of output stream utilization.
Growing fresh food on future space missions : Environmental conditions and crop management
Meinen, Esther ; Dueck, Tom ; Kempkes, Frank ; Stanghellini, Cecilia - \ 2018
Scientia Horticulturae 235 (2018). - ISSN 0304-4238 - p. 270 - 278.
Antarctic - EDEN ISS - LED lighting - Resource use efficiency - Spread harvesting
This paper deals with vegetable cultivation that could be faced in a space mission. This paper focusses on optimization, light, temperature and the harvesting process, while other factors concerning cultivation in space missions, i.e. gravity, radiation, were not addressed. It describes the work done in preparation of the deployment of a mobile test facility for vegetable production of fresh food at the Neumayer III Antarctic research station. A selection of vegetable crops was grown under varying light and temperature conditions to quantify crop yield response to climate factors that determine resource requirement of the production system. Crops were grown at 21 °C or 25 °C under light treatments varying from 200 to 600 μmol m−2 s−1 and simulated the dusk and dawn light spectrum. Fresh food biomass was harvested as spread harvesting (lettuce), before and after regrowth (herbs) and at the end of cultivation. Lettuce and red mustard responded well to increasing light intensities, by 35–90% with increasing light from 200 to 600 μmol m−2 s−1, while the other crops responded more variably. However, the quality of the leafy greens often deteriorated at higher light intensities. The fruit biomass of both determinate tomato and cucumber increased by 8–15% from 300 to 600 μmol m−2 s−1. With the increase in biomass, the number of tomato fruits also increased, while the number of cucumber fruits decreased, resulting in heavier individual fruits. Increasing the temperature had varied effects on production. While in some cases the production increased, regrowth of herbs often lagged behind in the 25 °C treatment. In terms of fresh food production, the most can be expected from lettuce, cucumber, radish, then tomato, although the 2 fruit vegetables require a considerable amount of crop management. Spread harvesting had a large influence on the amount of harvested biomass per unit area. In particular, yield of the 3 lettuce cultivars and spinach was ca. 400% than single harvesting. Increasing plant density and applying spread harvesting increased fresh food production. This information will be the basis for determining crop growth recipes and management to maximize the amount of fresh food available, in view of the constraints of space and energy requirement of such a production system.
Sustainable intensification in agriculture : the richer shade of green. A review
Struik, Paul C. ; Kuijper, Thomas - \ 2017
Agronomy for Sustainable Development 37 (2017)5. - ISSN 1774-0746
Agronomy - Intensification - Resilience - Resource use efficiency - Sustainability - Trait-based agroecology - Values
Agricultural intensification is required to feed the growing and increasingly demanding human population. Intensification is associated with increasing use of resources, applied as efficiently as possible, i.e. with a concurrent increase in both resource use and resource use efficiency. Resource use efficiency has agronomic, environmental, economic, social, trans-generational, and global dimensions. Current industrial agriculture privileges economic resource use efficiency over the other dimensions, claiming that that pathway is necessary to feed the world. Current agronomy and the concept of sustainable intensification are contested. Sustainable intensification needs to include clarity about principles and practices for priority setting, an all-inclusive and explicit cost-benefit analysis, and subsequent weighing of trade-offs, based on scientifically acceptable, shared norms, thus making agriculture “green” again. Here, we review different forms of intensification, different principles and concepts underlying them, as well as the norms and values that are needed to guide the search for effective forms of sustainable and ecological intensification. We also address innovations in research and education required to create the necessary knowledge base. We argue that sustainable intensification should be considered as a process of enquiry and analysis for navigating and sorting out the issues and concerns in agronomy. Sustainable intensification is about societal negotiation, institutional innovation, justice, and adaptive management. We also make a plea for at least two alternative framings of sustainable intensification: one referring to the need for “de-intensification” in high-input systems to become more sustainable and one referring to the need to increase inputs and thereby yields where there are currently large yield (and often also efficiency) gaps. Society needs an agriculture that demonstrates resilience under future change, an agronomy that can cope with the diversity of trade-offs across different stakeholders, and a sustainability that is perceived as a dynamic process based on agreed values and shared knowledge, insight, and wisdom.
Options for greenhouse development in Mexico
Elings, A. ; Speetjens, B. ; García Victoria, N. - \ 2017
Acta Horticulturae 1154 (2017). - ISSN 0567-7572 - p. 163 - 170.
Adaptive greenhouse design - Protected horticulture - Resource use efficiency - Vegetable production
The export of fresh vegetables to the USA and Canada stimulates the development of protected horticulture in Mexico. While this opens opportunities for entrepreneurs, concerns with regards to sustainability in terms of water, energy and economy need attention. Water is scarce at some places, fossil energy is expensive, and profits and costs that are associated with greenhouse types and production levels determine the economic sustainability. The environmental and economic sustainability of greenhouses with different technological levels in the states of Aguascalientes, Querétaro and Sinaloa in Mexico was investigated. Aguascalientes and Querétaro are located in central Mexico at high altitudes, and Sinaloa is located along the north-western coast. Their climates differ substantially. Seven scenarios were assessed, ranging from a naturally ventilated greenhouse with a soil-grown crop to a greenhouse with much technology. The 'adaptive greenhouse approach' was used, combining the KASPRO greenhouse simulation model, the INTKAM simulation model for crop growth and development, and a financial model. Increasing technology results in increased production. With increased technology, water consumption increases (except at the highest level of technology), but energy consumption decreases (except in a greenhouse with a screen and a glass-covered greenhouse). Net income is highest for a glass-covered greenhouse for Aguascalientes and Querétaro, and for a plastic film greenhouse with heating, CO2, misting and screens for Sinaloa. If the most simple and most advanced greenhouses for Aguascalientes and Querétaro are excluded (as they are of very different technological levels), then pay-back periods for the remaining scenarios do not differ much. The pay-back period for Sinaloa is shortest for a plastic greenhouse with heating and CO2. Developmental opportunities exist in the (further) introduction of recirculation systems (water saving), heating (production, net income), screens and glass greenhouse cover (energy saving, production, net income), geothermal energy and solar panels (renewable energy).
Relay cropping as a sustainable approach : problems and opportunities for sustainable crop production
Tanveer, Mohsin ; Anjum, Shakeel Ahmad ; Hussain, Saddam ; Cerda Bolinches, Artemio ; Ashraf, Umair - \ 2017
Environmental Science and Pollution Research 24 (2017)8. - ISSN 0944-1344 - p. 6973 - 6988.
Crop productivity - Environmental sustainability - Intercropping - Resource use efficiency - Soil health
Climate change, soil degradation, and depletion of natural resources are becoming the most prominent challenges for crop productivity and environmental sustainability in modern agriculture. In the scenario of conventional farming system, limited chances are available to cope with these issues. Relay cropping is a method of multiple cropping where one crop is seeded into standing second crop well before harvesting of second crop. Relay cropping may solve a number of conflicts such as inefficient use of available resources, controversies in sowing time, fertilizer application, and soil degradation. Relay cropping is a complex suite of different resource-efficient technologies, which possesses the capability to improve soil quality, to increase net return, to increase land equivalent ratio, and to control the weeds and pest infestation. The current review emphasized relay cropping as a tool for crop diversification and environmental sustainability with special focus on soil. Briefly, benefits, constraints, and opportunities of relay cropping keeping the goals of higher crop productivity and sustainability have also been discussed in this review. The research and knowledge gap in relay cropping was also highlighted in order to guide the further studies in future.
Does the recoupling of dairy and crop production via cooperation between farms generate environmental benefits? A case-study approach in Europe
Regan, John T. ; Marton, Silvia ; Barrantes, Olivia ; Ruane, Eimear ; Hanegraaf, Marjoleine ; Berland, Jérémy ; Korevaar, Hein ; Pellerin, Sylvain ; Nesme, Thomas - \ 2017
European Journal of Agronomy 82 (2017). - ISSN 1161-0301 - p. 342 - 356.
Crop-livestock integration - Dairy production - Ecosystem services - Farm specialisation - Nutrient cycling - Resource use efficiency
The intensification of agriculture in Europe has contributed significantly to the decline of mixed crop-livestock farms in favour of specialised farms. Specialisation, when accompanied by intensive farming practices, leaves farms poorly equipped to sustainably manage by-products of production, capture beneficial ecological interactions, and adapt in a volatile economic climate. An often proposed solution to overcome these environmental and economic constraints is to recouple crop and livestock production via cooperation between specialised farms. If well-managed, synergies between crop and livestock production beyond farm level have the potential to improve feed and fertiliser autonomy, and pest regulation. However, strategies currently used by farmers to recouple dairy livestock and crop production are poorly documented; there is a need to better assess these strategies using empirical farm data. In this paper, we employed farm surveys to describe, analyse and assess the following strategies: (1) Local exchange of materials among dairy and arable farms; (2) Land renting between dairy and arable farms; (3) Animal exchanges between lowland and mountainous areas; and (4) Industrially mediated transfers of dehydrated fodder. For each strategy, cooperating farm groups were compared to non-cooperating farm groups using indicators of metabolic performance (input autonomy, nutrient cycling and use efficiency), and ecosystem services provision. The results indicate that recoupling of crop and dairy production through farm cooperation gives farmers access to otherwise inaccessible or underutilised local resources such as land, labour, livestock feed or organic nutrients. This in turn leads to additional outlets for by-products (e.g. animal manure). Farmers' decisions about how to allocate the additional resources accessed via cooperation essentially determine if the farm diversifies, intensifies or expands operations. The key finding is that in three of the four crop-livestock integration strategies assessed, these newly accessed resources facilitated more intensive farming practices (e.g. higher stocking rate or number of milking cows per hectare) on cooperating dairy farms relative to non-cooperating, specialised dairy farms. As a consequence, cooperation was accompanied by limited environmental benefits but helped to improve resource use efficiency per unit of agricultural product produced. This article provides a critical step toward understanding real-world results of crop-livestock cooperation beyond the farm level relative to within-farm crop-livestock integration. As such, it brings practical knowledge of vital importance for policy making to promote sustainable farming.
Soil variability and crop yield gaps in two village landscapes of Burkina Faso
Diarisso, Tidiane ; Corbeels, Marc ; Andrieu, Nadine ; Djamen, Patrice ; Douzet, Jean Marie ; Tittonell, Pablo - \ 2016
Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 105 (2016)3. - ISSN 1385-1314 - p. 199 - 216.
Farm typology - Nutrient balances - Resource use efficiency - Soil fertility gradients - West Africa
Low crop yields in the savannah zones of West Africa are commonly attributed to rainfall deficits and poor soil fertility. In this study, an assessment was made on how the position of fields belonging to different farm types can explain soil variability and related crop yield gaps in two villages in Burkina Faso, Yilou and Koumbia, located, respectively, in the Sudano-Sahelian and Sudanian agro-ecological zones. In each village, four farm types were identified. Soil fertility was generally poor and use of nutrient inputs low in most of the farmer’s fields . As a consequence, yields for most crops were low, but differences among farm types were found, which can be linked to their socioeconomic characteristics that influence the amount of inputs used. Application of fertilizers differed also between fields within farms and tended to be greater on the fields near the homesteads in the village of Yilou, especially for organic fertilizers. At both villages, the rates of N and K inputs were insufficient to compensate for their respective output rates, leading to negative partial nutrient balances . The existence of patchworks of soil fertility gives rise to a wide variation in crop responses to fertilizers. Exploitable yield gaps were substantial and to a large extent related to the low fertility status of soils and sub-optimal fertilizer applications.