Agronomy for Sustainable Development



Microbes as biofertilisers

Classical fertilisers are expensive and are polluting waters when applied in excess. Therefore scientists are actually seeking sustainable alternatives such as biofertilisers. Megali et al. show that research reports on ‘effective microorganisms’, a commercial mixture of bacteria and yeast, conclude on an overall positive effect of this biofertiliser on crop yields. Nevertheless, effective microorganisms also induces higher vulnerability to insect attack in cornfields.

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Overlooked free benefits of agriculture

Farming does not provide only food to humans. Sustainable agriculture indeed offer many free services named Ecosystem Services, such as climate regulation, water conservation, pollution remediation and social enhancement. Rapidel et al. explain how farming system influences ecosystem services.

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Apps for less pests in agriculture

Crop management is a complex task because crop yields depend on hardly predictable factors such as climate change and pest occurrence. A solution is to develop apps that help farmers and agronomists to take the best decision for farming practices. Damos reviews decision tools based upon pest and climate data.

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Ecological engineering for sustainable agriculture

Ecosystems could provide many beneficial services to agriculture. But the main question is actually how to apply ecological principles to crop management.  Rey et al. provide guidelines deduced from the analysis of case studies.

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How to design agroecological farming?

Industrial agriculture has improved yields but has also induced many negative impacts such as pesticide pollution, greenhouse emissions and soil erosion. Agroecology is a promising alternative that foster the use of biodiversity instead of chemicals. However switching from industrial to agroecological farming is risky because there are actually few guidelines to optimize a such change. Agronomists Duru et al. review the issues of using biodiversity for agriculture. They also propose to design ecological farming at the local level with farmers.

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Feeding grassland right

Adding the right amount of nitrogen fertilisers to crop soils is not an obvious task. Too much fertiliser will induce nitrate pollution and extra costs for farmers. Too little will decrease crop yields. Therefore agronomists have developped the nitrogen dilution curve, a simple math tool that helps farmers to calculate the best fertiliser amount to be applied. Reyes et al. show that the nitrogen dilution curve can be also used to manage grasslands.

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Great digestate makes great fertilisers

Organic wastes from agriculture and food industry are increasingly digested then recycled as cheap soil fertilisers. However, waste digestion and spreading is a potential source of greenhouse gases. The agronomist K. Möller reviews the consequences of waste anaerobic digestion on soil fertility and nitrogen compound emissions.

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Computer tools for sustainable farming

Improving food production is now a difficult task because sustainable cropping depends upon many factors such as climate, pest management, land use and economics. Agronomists Craheix et al. provide guidelines to design software models that optimise the sustainability of farming systems.

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