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    A farm systems approach to the adoption of sustainable nitrogen management practices in California
    (Springer Nature, 2021-02-04) Rudnick, Jessica; Lubell, Mark; Khalsa, Sat Darshan S.; Tatge, Stephanie; Wood, Liza; Sears, Molly; Brown, Patrick H.
    Improving nitrogen (N) fertilizer management in agricultural systems is critical to meeting environmental goals while maintaining economically viable and productive food systems. This paper applies a farm systems framework to analyze how adoption of N management practices is related to different farming operation characteristics and the extent to which fertilizer, soil and irrigation practices are related to each other. We develop a multivariate probit regression model to analyze the interdependency of these adoption behaviors from 966 farmers across three watersheds and diverse cropping systems in the Central Valley of California. Our analysis demonstrates that farmers adopt varying combinations or portfolios of practices, with the most common portfolio featuring a core set of fertilizer-focused practices. Irrigation infrastructure is an especially important farm operation characteristic for encouraging adoption of innovative practice portfolios that integrate water and fertilizer management. These findings highlight the ability for a farm systems approach to improve our understanding of farmer decision-making across diverse agricultural landscapes.
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    Growth, yield and fruit quality of tomato Solanum lycopersicum L grown in sewage-based compost in a semi-hydroponic cultivation system
    (Taylor & Francis Group - Informa UK Limited, 2022-09-27) Aurdal, Siv M.; Foereid, Bente; Trine, Sogn; Børresen, Trond; Hvoslef-Eide, Trine; Remberg, Siv Fagertun
    Purpose: Due to environmental concerns, there is a demand to reduce the use of peat as a growing medium for horticultural crops. Simultaneously, there is an interest to recycle organic waste materials in the form of compost. This study aimed to document effects on growth, yield, and fruit quality of tomato plants when cultivated in a sewage digestate-based compost in a subirrigation container system. Materials and methods: The compost used in this experiment consisted of 30% hygienised sewage digestate from biogas extraction and 70% garden waste. The treatments were 100% compost, a peat mix and mixtures of the two in 25/75, 50/50 and 75/25 ratios. Results and conclusion: Considering the contrast in chemical and physical properties of the treatments, variations in growth, yield and quality were expected. The plants differed in leaf area and number of leaves, but there were no differences in yield or quality of the tomato fruits. It is assumed that this is in great part due to the remediating effects of subirrigation with an ideal nutrient solution, and the use of pre-established plants. Further research should focus on benefits of this cultivation system for use in sustainable horticulture in combination with recycled organic waste.
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    Losses of phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen from horse manure left on the ground
    (Taylor & Francis Group - Informa UK Limited, 2022-09-19) Aronsson, Helena; Nyström, Sofia; Malmer, Elsa; Kumblad, Linda; Winqvist, Camilla
    In this five-month Swedish field study, we examined losses of nutrients from horse manure over time, in order to examine how regularly manure should be cleared from paddocks in order to minimise the risk of nutrient leaching. Small heaps of manure (400 g) were placed in open cylinders outdoors and samples (five replicates) were taken on 12 occasions from December 2020 to May 2021. The samples were analysed for weight, dry matter content and concentrations of total nitrogen (N), ammonium N, total phosphorus (P), water-extractable P (WEP), potassium (K) and carbon (C). There was a fast decline in P and K concentrations and a strong correlation between accumulated precipitation and losses from the manure into the soil. The mean reduction in total-P was 11 mg P kg−1 manure dry weight per mm accumulated precipitation. Manure N was retained in the manure over the five-month period. In conclusion, this study demonstrated high mobility of P and K, indicating a need for strategies for rapid removal of manure from paddocks. Daily removal of manure from paddocks used year-round would, approximately, save 1.7 kg P and 5.5 kg K per horse per year, which could be recycled to replace non-renewable mineral fertilisers.