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The position of the Banwell Bone Cave mammal assemblage zone (MAZ) in the mammalian biostratigraphy of the British Isles has been the focus of debate for decades. Dominated by fauna typical of cold environments it was originally linked to the marine oxygen isotope stage (MIS) 4 stadial (ca. 72–59 ka). Subsequently it was argued that the Banwell Bone Cave MAZ more likely relates to the temperate interstadial of MIS 5a (ca. 86–72 ka). It is envisioned that “cold fauna” such as bison and reindeer moved into Britain during stadial MIS 5b (ca. 90 ka) and were subsequently isolated by the rising sea level during MIS 5a. Here we investigate environmental conditions during the Banwell Bone Cave MAZ using bone collagen δ13C and δ15N and tooth enamel δ18O and δ13C isotope analysis. We analyse bison and reindeer from the MAZ type-site, Banwell Bone Cave. Our results show unusually high δ15N values, which we ascribe to arid conditions within a temperate environment. Palaeotemperature estimates derived from enamel δ18O indicate warm temperatures, similar to present day. These results confirm that the Banwell Bone Cave MAZ relates to a temperate interstadial and supports its correlation to MIS 5a rather than MIS 4.
Macronutrient inputs to annual cropping systems can benefit weeds as well as crops, sometimes decreasing or eliminating the benefits of fertilization. This interaction between fertility management and integrated weed management is becoming increasingly important as these fields increase their focus on efficiency and prevention, respectively. The risk of increased weed competition reflects the fact that weed biomass and height may be highly responsive to nitrogen, phosphorus, and/or potassium. This generalization is supported by monoculture studies of species such as redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.), common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album L.), and barnyardgrass [Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv.] and by ecological theory. However, field studies indicate variation in the effects of macronutrients on weed–crop competition and crop yield, even within species groups. To address challenges in interpreting, comparing, and extrapolating from these diverse reports, we propose a conceptual framework that summarizes the mechanisms underlying observed variation within and between studies. This framework highlights functional traits and trends that help predict yield outcomes in binary weed–crop interactions. Important factors include timing of emergence, maximum heights of the weed and crop, and relative responsiveness to the added nutrient. We also survey recent work on the effects of nutrient source (e.g., the composition of organic amendments) on weed–crop competition. Because different sources vary in their nutrient release dynamics and supplied nutrient ratios, they may have dramatically different effects on weed–crop competition and crop yield. Finally, we offer a guide to best practices for studies of fertility effects on weed–crop competition. Although this review highlights several topics requiring further research, including fertility effects on multispecies interactions and interactions with other environmental factors, emerging methods offer considerable promise. Ultimately, an improved understanding of nutrient effects on weed–crop competition will contribute to the efficient and effective management of diverse cropping systems.
In this study, the CERES-Maize model was calibrated and evaluated using data from 60 farmers’ fields across Sudan (SS) and Northern Guinea (NGS) Savannas of Nigeria in 2016 and 2017 rainy seasons. The trials consisted of 10 maize varieties sown at three different sowing densities (2.6, 5.3, and 6.6 plants m−2) across farmers’ field with contrasting agronomic and nutrient management histories. Model predictions in both years and locations were close to observed data for both calibration and evaluation exercises as evidenced by low normalized root mean square error (RMSE) (≤15%), high modified d-index (> 0.6), and high model efficiency (>0.45) values for the phenology, growth, and yield data across all varieties and agro-ecologies. In both years and locations and for both calibration and evaluation exercises, very good agreements were found between observed and model-simulated grain yields, number of days to physiological maturity, above-ground biomass, and harvest index. Two separate scenario analyses were conducted using the long-term (26 years) weather records for Bunkure (representing the SS) and Zaria (representing the NGS). The early and extra-early varieties were used in the SS while the intermediate and late varieties were used in the NGS. The result of the scenario analyses showed that early and extra-early varieties grown in the SS responds to increased sowing density up to 8.8 plants m−2 when the recommended rate of N fertilizers (90 kg N ha−1) was applied. In the NGS, yield responses were observed up to a density of 6.6 plants m−2 with the application of 120 kg N ha−1 for the intermediate and late varieties. The highest mean monetary returns to land (US$1336.1 ha−1) were simulated for scenarios with 8.8 plants m−2 and 90 kg N ha−1, while the highest return to labor (US$957.7 ha−1) was simulated for scenarios with 6.6 plants m−2 and 90 Kg N ha−1 in the SS. In the NGS, monetary return per hectare was highest with a planting density of 6.6 plants m−2 with the application of 120 kg N, while the return to labor was highest for sowing density of 5.3 plants m−2 at the same N fertilizer application rates. The results of the long-term simulations predicted increases in yield and economic returns to land and labor by increasing sowing densities in the maize belts of Nigeria without applying N fertilizers above the recommended rates.
Stochastic plateau production functions provide improved fertilizer recommendations based on multi-year agronomic experiments where weather and other stochastic variables change over time. This research assesses the profitability of no-tillage corn production in northeastern Colorado and determines economically optimal nitrogen fertilizer rates. It also proposes an alternative parameterization of the linear response stochastic plateau model which provides a robustness check against traditional parameterizations. Results show the current use of nitrogen fertilizer in the area exceeds estimated economically optimal levels. This suggests that a reduction in nitrogen use could increase expected profits and simultaneously reduce environmental costs.
Environmental factors, size-related isotopic changes of the most abundant species and isotopic niche overlap were investigated using stable isotopes in order to evaluate spatial changes of fish trophic guilds in the Araruama Lagoon. Based on 440 muscle samples, 17 fish species were grouped into five trophic guilds. Mean salinity was above 40 at both sites sampled and a significant spatial difference was observed. The highest δ13C mean value was observed for an omnivorous species, whereas the lowest carbon signatures were found for the three fish species belonging to the planktivorous guild. Analysis of the carbon signature of fish species in lower trophic levels showed influence of salinity variation, whilst size appeared to play a role for others. A narrow δ15N difference was observed, but the piscivorous fish species showed the highest δ15N values. The Standard Ellipses Analysis (SEA) detected spatial differences and varying degrees of isotopic niche overlap among trophic guilds, but the percentages of most overlaps (<60%) suggest that, to some extent, the guilds had a unique isotopic niche space. These results are in agreement with data previously reported for the Araruama Lagoon, that found the same prey items with varying relative importance among the most abundant species. Further studies are necessary to understand how the interaction between salinity and other factors, such as migration patterns, changes in prey availability, changes in contribution of primary sources and changes in baseline isotopic signatures could affect the stable isotope signatures shown here.
The supplementation of nitrogen can be increased by the use of nitrogen-fixing, diazotrophic bacteria such as Azospirillum brasilense. These bacteria can act to promote plant growth in various plant species, including corn (Zea mays L.). However, there is a need to understand the behavior of these bacteria in different agricultural systems. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect on the growth and yield of corn inoculated with A. brasilense, and to identify the type of farming system which benefited most from the use of A. brasilense-based inoculants. The experiment conducted over two corn crop seasons was arranged in a 6 × 2 factorial scheme, consisting of six farming systems and the presence or absence of inoculation with the bacteria A. brasilense. The farming systems were derived from a long-term experiment with different fertilization systems that has been conducted since 1984. Among these systems, there were three conventional systems (CNT1: conventional no-till without fertilizer; CNT2: conventional no-till with 150 kg ha−1 of mineral fertilizer + 50 kg ha−1 of urea; CNT3: conventional no-till with 300 kg ha−1 of mineral fertilizer + 100 kg ha−1 of urea), and three organic systems (ONT1: organic no-till with 40 m3 ha−1 of organic compost; ONT2: organic no-till with 20 m3 ha−1 of organic compost; ONT3: organic no-till with 40 m3 ha−1 of organic compost and intercropped with Canavalia ensiformis). Although the Azospirillum population in the soil before planting was the same for all six systems, the count in the rhizospheric soil was higher in the organic systems, and there was no increase in that count due to inoculation. In this study, the only difference observed was within the CNT1 system, between the inoculated (CNT1-I) and uninoculated (CNT1-NI) treatments. In this system, inoculation resulted in an increase in plant height, in addition to higher concentrations of foliar N and P, and a higher plant survival rate, which culminated in higher yield. Corn inoculated with A. brasilense in the CNT1-I treatment showed a significant increase in yield—2839 kg ha−1 higher than that recorded for CNT1-NI. This study shows that, in the conventional low input treatment CNT1-I, inoculation with A. brasilense resulted in an increase in corn growth and yield.
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the accuracy of the new software eAT24 used to assess dietary intake in the National Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey (IAN-AF) against urinary biomarkers: N (nitrogen), K (potassium) and Na (sodium).
We conducted a cross-sectional study. Two non-consecutive 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDR) were applied, and a 24-h urine sample was collected. We examined differences between estimates from dietary and urine measures, Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated and the Bland–Altman plots were drawn. Multiple linear regression was used to evaluate the factors associated with the difference between estimates.
Sub-sample from the Portuguese IAN-AF sampling frame.
Ninety-five adults (men and women) aged 18–84 years.
The estimated intake calculated using the dietary recall data was lower than that estimated from urinary excretion for the three biomarkers studied (protein 94·3 v. 100·4 g/d, K 3212 v. 3416 mg/d and Na 3489 v. 4003 mg/d). Considering 2 d of recall, the deattenuated correlation coefficients were 0·33, 0·64 and 0·26 for protein, K and Na, respectively. For protein, differences between dietary and urinary estimates varied according to BMI (β = −1·96, P = 0·017). The energy intake and 24-h urine volume were significantly associated with the difference between estimates for protein (β = 0·03, P < 0·001 and β = −0·02, P = 0·002, respectively), K (β = 0·71, P < 0·001 and β = −0·42, P = 0·040, respectively) and Na (β = 1·55, P < 0·001 and β = −0·81, P = 0·011, respectively).
The new software eAT24 performed well in estimating protein and K intakes, but lesser so in estimating Na intake, using two non-consecutive 24-HDR.
In mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reducing the carbon footprint of dairy milk, the use of generic estimates in inventory and accounting methodology at farm level largely ignores variation of on-farm GHG emissions. The present study aimed to implement results of an extant dynamic, mechanistic Tier 3 model for enteric methane (CH4) (applied in Dutch national GHG inventory) in order to capture variation in enteric CH4 emission, and in faecal N and organic matter (OM) digestibility, ultimately required to predict manure CH4 and ammonia emission. Tier 3 model predictions were translated into calculation rules that could easily be implemented in an annual nutrient cycling assessment tool including GHG emissions, which is currently used by Dutch dairy farmers. Calculations focussed on (1) enteric CH4 emission, (2) apparent faecal OM digestibility and (3) apparent faecal N digestibility. Enteric CH4 was expressed in CH4 yield indicated with the term emission factor (EF; g CH4/kg DM) for individual dietary components and feedstuffs. Factors investigated to cover predicted variation in EF value included the level of feed intake, the type of roughage fed (proportions of grass silage and maize silage) and the quality of roughage fed. A minimum number of three classes of roughage type (i.e. 0. 40% and 80% maize silage in roughage DM) appeared necessary to obtain correspondence between interpolated EF values from EF lists and Tier 3 model predictions. A linear decline in EF value with 1% per kg increase in DM intake is adopted based on model simulations. The quality of roughage was represented by the effect of maturity of harvested grass or of the whole plant maize at cutting, based on a survey of modelling as well as experimental work. Also, predictions were assembled for apparent faecal OM digestibility which could be used in national inventory and in farm accounting. Apparent faecal N digestibility (as a major determinant of predicted urinary N excretion) was predicted, to support current Dutch national ammonia emission inventory and to correct the level of N digestibility in farm accounting. Compared to generic values or values retrieved from the Dutch feeding tables, predicted OM and N digestibility and enteric CH4 are better rooted in physiological principles and better reflect observed variation under experimental conditions. The present results apply for conditions with fairly intensive grassland management in temperate regions.
The quantitative analysis performance of carbon and nitrogen was investigated using stoichiometric θ-Fe3C (25 at% C) and γ′-Fe4N (~20 at% N) precipitates in pulsed voltage and pulsed laser atom probes. The dependencies of specimen temperature, pulse fraction, and laser pulse energy on the apparent concentrations of carbon and nitrogen were measured. Good coincidence with 25 at% carbon concentration in θ-Fe3C was obtained for the pulsed voltage atom probe by considering the mean number of carbon atoms per ion at 24 Da and the detection loss of iron, while better coincidence was obtained for the pulsed laser atom probe by considering only the mean number of carbon at 24 Da. On the other hand, a lack of nitrogen concentration in γ′-Fe4N was observed for the two atom probes. In particular, the pulsed laser atom probe showed a significant lack of nitrogen concentration. This implies that a large amount of 14N2+ was obscured by the main iron peak of 56Fe2+ at 28 Da in the mass-to-charge spectrum. Regarding preferential evaporation or retention, carbon in θ-Fe3C exhibited little of either, but nitrogen in γ′-Fe4N exhibited definite preferential retention. This result can be explained by the large difference in ionization energy between carbon and nitrogen.
Tropical soils tend to harden during drying due to the generally low content of free-iron and organic carbon, combined with high fine sand and silt proportions. It was hypothesized that the change in soil physical condition induced by the addition of a leguminous mulch in cohesive tropical soil enriched with calcium may mitigate soil hardening through wetting and drying cycles by rain or irrigation, thereby improving the soil rootability. A leguminous mulch was added in different concentrations to a structurally fragile tropical soil enriched with calcium, which then had different irrigation intervals. The treatments were with or without mulch (10 t/ha), with or without added nitrogen (100 kg/ha at 2 intervals) and two irrigation intervals. In 2015 the irrigation intervals were either 4 or 8 days, and in 2016 they were either 6 or 9 days. Two years were used in the attempt to achieve greater differences, as for tested variables, between treatments. Maize planted in these soil treatments was measured for physiological performance, water use efficiency and yield. Mulch used on structurally fragile tropical soil enriched with calcium was found to delay increased penetration resistance from hardening by wet/dry cycles. In this context, an improved soil rootability led to an enlargement of the leaf area index, greater nitrogen uptake and increased CO2 assimilation. This had important physiological consequences due to the positive effect on increased dry matter production and maize yield. In addition, these results suggested that mulch, used with urea, can delay the water supply for 3 or 4 days due to improvements in soil rootability caused by calcium and organic matter interactions. This may be crucial to a region where small intervals without rain are increasingly common due to global climate change. Therefore, due to a greater water use efficiency, this strategy may be a profitable way to increase crop productivity in tropical conditions rather than increasing water and nutrient application alone.
High yields and crop quality in organic small grain production can only be achieved through successful management of nitrogen. Experienced farmers and advisors in the Northeastern U.S. were asked to discuss the most pressing challenges in organic nitrogen management for organic small grain systems, with a particular focus on legume green manures (LGMs). Eighteen semi-structured interviews with 12 farmers and eight advisors were conducted between December 2017 and March 2018. The farmers employed a range of materials and practices for fulfilling the nitrogen fertility needs of their crops, including LGMs, animal manures and organic fertilizers. Farmers and advisors identified cost, overdependence on external nitrogen sources, nitrogen source access, diversifying rotations, weed management and predicting nitrogen mineralization of organic residues as major challenges in nitrogen management. Results indicated that cost-effectiveness in nitrogen management is essential, but that farmers consider additional factors, such as weed pressure and long-term soil health effects, when choosing nitrogen sources or practices. Legume-based nitrogen fertility is promising for small grain systems in this region, but structural challenges, such as the lack of animal agriculture proximal to grain operations, and limited cash crop markets, impede the development of diverse rotations that feature long-term legume sods. Recommendations include additional field-based research, including on-farm, participatory LGM studies as one avenue. Programming and educational outreach should focus on bolstering farmers' understanding of nitrogen mineralization of incorporated LGM residues, as well as their ability to anticipate and respond to sources of variability in LGM systems.
Making dairy farming more cost-effective and reducing nitrogen environmental pollution could be reached through a reduced input of dietary protein, provided productivity is not compromised. This could be achieved through balancing dairy rations for essential amino acids (EAA) rather than their aggregate, the metabolizable protein (MP). This review revisits the estimations of the major true protein secretions in dairy cows, milk protein yield (MPY), metabolic fecal protein (MFP), endogenous urinary loss and scurf and associated AA composition. The combined efficiency with which MP (EffMP) or EAA (EffAA) is used to support protein secretions is calculated as the sum of true protein secretions (MPY + MFP + scurf) divided by the net supply (adjusted to remove the endogenous urinary excretion: MPadj and AAadj). Using the proposed protein and AA secretions, EffMP and EffAA were predicted through meta-analyses (807 treatment means) and validated using an independent database (129 treatment means). The effects of MPadj or AAadj, plus digestible energy intake (DEI), days in milk (DIM) and parity (primiparous v. multiparous), were significant in all models. Models using (MPadj, MPadj × MPadj, DEI and DEI × DEI) or (MPadj/DEI and MPadj/DEI × MPadj/DEI) had similar corrected Akaike’s information criterion, but the model using MPadj/DEI performed better in the validation database. A model that also included this ratio was, therefore, used to fitting equations to predict EffAA. These equations predicted well EffAA in the validation database except for Arg which had a strong slope bias. Predictions of MPY from predicted EffMP based on MPadj/DEI, MPadj/DEI × MPadj/DEI, DIM and parity yielded a better fit than direct predictions of MPY based on MPadj, MPadj × MPadj, DEI, DIM and parity. Predictions of MPY based on each EffAA yielded fairly similar results among AA. It is proposed to ponder the mean of MPY predictions obtained from each EffAA by the lowest prediction to retain the potential limitation from AA with the shortest supply. Overall, the revisited estimations of endogenous urinary excretion and MFP, revised AA composition of protein secretions and inclusion of a variable combined EffAA (based on AAadj/DEI, AAadj/DEI × Aadj/DEI, DIM and parity) offer the potential to improve predictions of MPY, identify which AA are potentially in short supply and, therefore, improve the AA balance of dairy rations.
Urine is a critical nitrogen (N) input in temperate grazed grasslands and can drive substantial nitrous oxide (N2O) production in soils. However, it remains unclear how differences in the N input rate affect N2O fluxes and vary between different grassland soils. The effect of increasing urine N application on ammonium (NH4+), nitrite (NO2−) and nitrate (NO3−) concentrations and N2O production was tested in two grassland soils, a free-draining loam and an imperfectly drained sandy-loam. It was hypothesized that high-urine N application rates would lead to ammonia/ammonium (NH3/NH4+) accumulation influencing N transformation rates and N2O production which differ between grassland soils. Fresh cattle urine was applied at rates equivalent to 300 and 1000 kg N/ha in an aerobic incubation experiment. Soils were destructively sampled over 80 days to measure changes in inorganic-N and pH. The higher N addition rate was associated with elevated NH3 concentrations up to day 35 in soils, probably inhibiting NO2− to NO3− reduction. In contrast, there was no inhibition of nitrification in the 300 kg N/ha treatment. Cumulative N2O fluxes were greatest from the 300 kg N/ha treatment for the loam soil, but were greater for the sandy-loam under the 1000 kg N/ha treatment. The results also show that differences in soil properties, in particular carbon availability, can be important in regulating N transformation and N2O production. Collectively, these results demonstrate the proposed mechanism of nitrification inhibition at high-N input rates, driven by either high NH3/NH4 and/or increased levels of NH4HCO3 from urea hydrolysis.
Biochar has received attention due to its potential for mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration in soil and improving soil quality and crop productivity. This study evaluated the effects of rice straw biochar (RSB) and rice husk ash (RHA) each applied at 5 Mg ha−1 and four N levels (0, 40, 80, and 120 kg ha−1) on soil fertility, growth, and yield of rice and wheat for three consecutive rice–wheat rotations. RSB significantly increased electrical conductivity, dehydrogenase activity, and P and K contents when compared to control (no amendment) up to 7.5 cm soil depth. Both RSB and RHA did not influence shoot N concentration in wheat plant but significantly increased P and K concentrations at 60 days after sowing. Grain yields of both rice and wheat were significantly higher in RSB as compared to control (no amendment) and RHA treatments. While the highest grain yields of rice and wheat were observed at 120 kg N ha−1 in RHA and no biochar-treated plots, a significant increase in grain yields was observed at 80 kg N ha−1 in RSB treatment, thereby saving 40 kg N ha−1 in each crop. Both agronomic and recovery N efficiencies in rice and wheat were significantly higher in RSB-amended soil compared to control. Significant positive correlations were observed between soil N, P, and K concentrations and total N, P, and K concentrations in aboveground biomass of wheat at 60 days after sowing. This study showed the potential benefits of applying RSB for improving soil fertility and yields of rice and wheat in a rice–wheat system.
We have investigated a diamond crystal that consists of several misorientated subgrains. The main feature of the crystal is the dark areas in the cathodoluminescent core that has ‘estuary-like’ boundaries extending along the subgrain interfaces. The core has >3100 ppm of nitrogen, and the share of the B form is >95%; the absorbance of the centre N3VH at 3107 cm–1 reaches 75 cm–1. The N3 centre absorbance, as well as N3 luminescence, is absent in the core. In the outer part of the crystal, bright blue luminescence of the N3 centre is apparent, and the N3 absorbance reaches 5.3 cm–1. These observations could be explained by the conversion of N3 centres to N3VH after attaching a hydrogen atom. After the full conversion of the N3 centres, the diamond becomes darker under CL. We hypothesise the dark core has a specific shape due to the post-growth diffusion of the hydrogen.
Susceptibility of a system to colonization by a weed is in part a function of environmental resource availability. Doveweed [Murdannia nudiflora (L.) Brenan] can establish in a variety of environments; however, it is found mostly in wet or low-lying areas with reduced interspecies competition. Four studies evaluated the effect of mowing height, interspecies competition, and nitrogen, light, and soil moisture availability on M. nudiflora establishment and growth. A field study evaluated the effect of mowing height on M. nudiflora establishment. In comparison with unmowed plots, mowing at 2 and 4 cm reduced spread 46% and 30%, respectively, at 9 wk after planting. Effect of mowing height and nitrogen fertilization on ‘Tifway’ bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon Burtt-Davy×C. transvaalensis L. Pers.) and M. nudiflora interspecies competition was evaluated in a greenhouse trial. Murdannia nudiflora coverage was 62% greater in flats maintained at 2.6 cm than flats maintained at 1.3 cm. Supplemental application of 49 kg N ha−1 mo−1 increased M. nudiflora coverage 75% in comparison with 24.5 kg N ha−1 mo−1. A difference in M. nudiflora coverage could not be detected between flats receiving 0 and 24.5 kg N ha−1 mo−1, suggesting moderate nitrogen fertilization does not encourage M. nudiflora colonization. Effect of light availability on M. nudiflora growth and development was evaluated in a greenhouse study. Growth in a 30%, 50%, or 70% reduced light environment (RLE) did not affect shoot growth on a dry weight basis in comparison with plants grown under full irradiance; however, internode length was 28% longer in a 30% RLE and 39% longer in a 50% and 70% RLE. Effect of soil moisture on M. nudiflora growth and development was evaluated in a greenhouse study. Plants maintained at 50%, 75%, and 100% field capacity (FC) increased biomass>200% compared with plants maintained at 12.5% or 25% FC.
Seed reserves play vital roles in seed germination and seedling growth and their variation may be related to various environment factors, plant traits and phylogenetic history. Here, the evolutionary correlation associated with seed mass and altitude and carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) allocation of seeds among 253 alpine herbaceous plants was tested. In this study, phylogeny had strong limitations on nutrient allocation of seeds across species, and species from younger phylogenetic groups tended to have higher N and P contents, which might be considered as the evolutionary selection of seed plants. Higher seed N and P content would help seedlings to gain more survival chance and stronger competitive capacity, and their progeny would be more likely to be preserved. When phylogeny was considered, altitude only had a significant positive effect on P content, but the negative effects on seed mass were all expressed. The independent effects of altitude and seed mass suggest that the nutrient allocation of seeds might be affected by both environment and plant traits. In addition, altitude and seed mass displayed partial overlapping effects on nutrient allocation of seeds. The negative effects of seed mass were affected slightly by altitude, whereas altitude only had a significant positive effect on P content when seed mass was controlled. Above all, seed P content showed obvious and general correlations with seed mass, altitude and age of clade, which indicated that higher seed P content might be an adaptive selection of species associated with growth and survival of progeny.
Poultry production is associated with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but at a much lower extent than other livestock. Global production of nitrogen from poultry excreta has been estimated at about 3.29 million metric tons for meat type chickens (the average of two estimates with different assumption of 2.65 and 3.94 million metric tons) and 2.36 million metric tons for laying hens. These estimates are markedly below earlier estimates, suggesting that the issues related to loading are of a markedly smaller magnitude than previously envisioned. However, if it is assumed that 2% of the nitrogen is lost as nitrous oxide with a global warming potential (GWP) of 298 CO2 equivalents (eq.) per unit as GHG, poultry waste is contributing 33.7 million metric tons of CO2 eq./year or 0.0337 gigatons (Gt) CO2 eq./yr. This represents only 0.64% of agricultural GHG emissions. The preferred method for the disposal of poultry excreta is land application as a fertiliser with the aggregate of livestock and poultry excreta being applied to 0.3 million hectares in the USA. The environmental consequences of excreta in litter include the release of ammonia and nitrous oxide (a GHG) together with contamination of ground and surface water with nitrate, phosphate and pathogens. Alternative approaches to utilise used litter are the following: combustion, gasification, digestion and feeding to ruminants. There is scope to reduce the environmental impact of poultry production on the environment.
A field experiment with the 35–1 fractional factorial design and five factors (k = 5) at three levels (s = 3) was performed in 2007–2010 at the Agricultural Experiment Station in Bałcyny, north-eastern (NE) Poland. The results of the experiment carried out under the agro-ecological conditions of NE Poland confirmed the high yield potential of common wheat and satisfactory yield potential of spelt and durum wheat. On average, durum wheat and spelt yields were 2.14 and 2.55 t/ha lower, respectively, than common wheat yields. Sowing date was not correlated with the yields of analysed Triticum species. Seed rate (350, 450 and 550 seeds/m2) had no significant influence on the grain yield of winter cultivars of common wheat, durum wheat and spelt. Common wheat cv. Oliwin and durum wheat cv. Komnata were characterized by the highest yields in response to nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates calculated based on the Nmin content of soil. An increase in the spring fertilizer rate by 40 kg N/ha in excess of the balanced N rate was not justified because it did not induce a further increase in the grain yield of common wheat and durum wheat. The grain yield of spelt cv. Schwabenkorn continued to increase in response to the highest rate of N fertilizer in spring (40 kg N/ha higher than the optimal rate). Intensified fungicide treatments improved grain yield in all Triticum species.
Plant nitrogen (N) links with many physiological progresses of crop growth and yield formation. Accurate simulation is key to predict crop growth and yield correctly. The aim of the current study was to improve the estimation of N uptake and translocation processes in the whole rice plant as well as within plant organs in the RiceGrow model by using plant and organ maximum, critical and minimum N dilution curves. The maximum and critical N (Nc) demand (obtained from the maximum and critical curves) of shoot and root and Nc demand of organs (leaf, stem and panicle) are calculated by N concentration and biomass. Nitrogen distribution among organs is computed differently pre- and post-anthesis. Pre-anthesis distribution is determined by maximum N demand with no priority among organs. In post-anthesis distribution, panicle demands are met first and then the remaining N is allocated to other organs without priority. The amount of plant N uptake depends on plant N demand and N supplied by the soil. Calibration and validation of the established model were performed on field experiments conducted in China and the Philippines with varied N rates and N split applications; results showed that this improved model can simulate the processes of N uptake and translocation well.