Variation among wheat plants serves as the raw material for varietal development or plant breeding, allowing the selection of plants which are suited to particular environments, management methods or markets. The superiority of an identified line is normally validated through a series of trials, and once established the new variety is registered and released for cultivation by a competent authority. In this chapter, we review the methods used to develop new varieties of wheat, including both traditional breeding and modern molecular breeding using marker-assisted selection, genomic selection and next-generation phenotyping. We also consider the criteria used by both plant breeders and farmers to select between available varieties.
Frederick P. Baijukya, Harun M. Murithi, Fred Kanampiu
Soybean production in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has significantly increased due to the surge in demand arising from increasing populations and improved incomes. Analysis across SSA revealed an increase in soybean consumption of 7.4% between 1990 and 2011 with more than 50% of the production gap filled by importation. There is therefore an urgent need to improve the production of this important legume in SSA. In this chapter, we present the best practices for soybean cultivation together with evidence for their effectiveness in improving soybean yields. These best practices include the use of improved varieties; correct plant population; and nutrient, disease and pest management. We discuss the importance of supporting these practices with good input delivery and financing systems, agricultural advisory services and functioning output markets.
R. Redden, X. Zong, R. M. Norton, F. L. Stoddard, Fouad Maalouf, Seid Ahmed, M El-Bouhssini, Y. Tao, L. Rong
Faba bean is mainly grown under rain-fed conditions, although irrigated production is important in Egypt, parts of China and central Asia. China is the leading producer with a wide range of intensive rotation and inter-crop holistic cropping systems. The main focus of this chapter is faba bean cultivation under rain-fed growing conditions. We cover faba bean production in China and in West Asia, North and East Africa Regions, including discussion of the diseases, weeds and pests affecting this crop. We also review faba bean breeding, genetic resources and markers for breeding, water deficit management, tillage systems, biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) and mineral nutrient requirements.
The chapter is an overview of the recent research advances in almond scion and rootstock genotypes, orchard management, including irrigation and fertilization, emphasizing an integrated approach including the environment. The chapter looks ahead to areas for further research in almond tree eco-physiology and cultivation, with a special emphasis on key factors determining almond tree yield potential. The discussion highlights the need to adopt the concept of ‘sustainable intensification’ to reduce the environmental impact of modern almond production systems based on high-input, high-return models. Finally, the chapter provides detailed guidance on further reading in this area.
J. M. Clarke, K. Nilsen, D. Khitiri, X. Lin, C. J. Pozniak, K. Ammar
Durum wheat is principally used for the manufacture of pasta, couscous and, to a lesser extent, in the production of bulgur and bread. This chapter explores the challenges and opportunities of durum wheat production in the twenty-first century, addressing globally important production as well as describing approaches used to mitigate production constraints and the progress realized through these approaches in breeding in recent years. The chapter also examines future trends in this area in the form of emerging breeding technologies.
This chapter is a summary of recent innovation in orchard training system design, pruning technique, thinning, plant growth regulators and fruit finishing, with the specific goal of identifying more sustainable practice. New training systems like the ‘bi-axis’ are described as well as pruning techniques to minimize the use of labour. It is now possible to purchase specific typologies of tree that are more congruent with the training, which will minimize the operation of planting and can help achieve early production. New uses of plant growth regulators to manipulate tree growth and fruit finish are also analysed
V. S. Almeida, F. T. Delazari, C. Nick, W. L. Araújo, D. J. H. Silva
The operation of leaf stomata affects a plant’s photosynthesis, transpiration and respiration, and allows vegetable dry matter to be produced, which is required for production of the tomato fruit. The opening and closing of the stomata can be affected by various factors, and this in turn can have an effect on crop yield. After reviewing the role and functioning of the stomata, this chapter considers the main factors that affect stomata opening and closure, namely, soil water availability, light, CO2, relative air moisture, air temperature and wind. It then considers how these and other factors may interact, reviews the cultivational practices which can promote stomatal opening and briefly cover methods for determining the water status and transpiration rate of plants. The aim of the chapter is to provide novel insights into improving tomato yield by ensuring stomatal pores stay open for longer at appropriate times.
The dominance of monoculture in banana cultivation has produced numerous agricultural, social and political problems. This chapter examines the way in which monoculture has affected the banana industry. It outlines the available banana varieties and the dominant Cavendish monoculture, looking at the historical development and dynamics of a banana monoculture. The chapter moves on to examine post-war developments in the banana industry and the advent of the dominance of the Cavendish variety, before considering the crisis in Cavendish cultivation and a proposed new paradigm. The chapter examines the hunt for new banana varieties and looks ahead to future developments in the area.
Bananas, a longstanding export crop, have not been immune from consumer concerns about food safety and the environmental and human health impacts of production. About half of export banana production is certified under four labels – GlobalGap, Organic, FairTrade and Rainforest – based on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). GAP certification is a short-term guarantee to marketers and consumers, but GAPs have also been proposed as indicators of sustainability. Our review of the effectiveness of GAP suggests that they could become more useful by incorporating more ecological intensification indicators with economic implications. The present chapter illustrates the application of this approach in smallholder organic export banana to address not only the yield gap, but also improved synchronization between ecological processes, production routines and cost efficiency. While GAPs are an imperfect tool, they are also dynamic and open to new knowledge and practices, to make the extensive tracking and monitoring required of banana growers more effective, enabling as well better understanding of sustainable banana production.
Although it is commonly thought that a tropical climate is more suited to banana production than a subtropical climate, banana yields obtained in the subtropics are excellent and under good cultural practices can even be considered among the highest of the world. The relatively cool climate of the subtropics causes undesirable physiological phenomena and a long cropping cycle, but it has advantages as well. This chapter describes appropriate cultural practices designed to solve or minimize the climatic constraints on cultivation of bananas in the subtropics, including cultivation under greenhouse conditions.
Pierre-Éric Lauri, Karim Barkaoui, Mohammed Ater, Adolfo Rosati
Although fruit trees are considered as high value for agroforestry and are the primary driver of agroforestry adoption worldwide, they are still underrepresented in agroforestry systems in temperate regions compared to the tropics. This chapter illustrates the large diversity of fruit tree-based agroforestry in Europe and in the Mediterranean North Africa, including the oases regions. The chapter then describes the most represented species-based (apple, olive) and emblematic place-based (arganery, oasis) agroforestry systems in these regions. Finally, the chapter details some biological and agronomical specificities of fruit trees that have to be considered when implementing performant fruit tree-based agroforestry systems, and presents updated work on how current trends in both fruit tree cultivation and agroforestry may converge into the design of agronomically and ecologically sound fruit tree-based agroforestry systems.
The poultry feed industry uses about 50% of the soybean meal (SBM) produced in the United States each year. The meal is valuable to the animal feed industry because it is an excellent source of amino acids that would otherwise be lost to the human food chain after the oil has been removed from the bean. This chapter assesses the nutritional content of SBM, as well as its anti-nutritive compounds, and considers the effects of genetic modification on SBM. The chapter looks ahead to future trends in this area of research.
Maize is the most important staple food crop for over 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa but poor management practices and problems related to climate and soil quality mean that yields regularly fall below what is needed to feed the population. This chapter describes the effect of poor soil fertility, drought and weeds (especially Striga hermonthica) on maize yields. It then puts forward evidence-based strategies for mitigating these constraints, including nutrient management through the use of fertilizers on maize yields and approaches to weed management such as genetic engineering of tolerant and resistant maize varieties. Finally, the chapter examines ways of dealing with the challenge of drought, including improved irrigation and genetic engineering of drought-resistant maize varieties.
The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is perhaps the world’s most important, and the most widely cultivated grain legume. It serves as a food security crop and meets more than 50% of household dietary protein requirements, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, common bean contributes to household cash income, and is believed to play a significant role in the management of human health, particularly reduction of blood cholesterol levels and combating heart diseases, cancers and diabetes. However, its productivity is poor in most of the major growing regions. This chapter examines the major production constraints and how these can be addressed to improve productivity, from an integrated crop management (ICM) perspective. In particular, cropping system, integrated pest management, major pests and diseases and control strategies, water management, integrated nutrient management, liming, and foliar fertilization are discussed.
Production of pigeonpea is constrained by agronomic management techniques such as improper methods of sowing, incorrect sowing time, inadequate seed rate, insufficient weeding, imbalance of fertilization, inadequate intercultural operations, insufficient irrigation and inadequate use of fertilizers. Low plant densities, low soil fertility, insufficient weeding and insufficient/ inappropriate use of fungicides and herbicides may also be constraints. This chapter analyses integrated crop management techniques for pigeonpea with an emphasis on efficient fertilizer and water use to maximize sustainable yields. The chapter examines the role of weed management and the potential contributions of pigeonpea hybrid cultivars, early maturing pigeonpea varieties, as well as rabi and summer pigeonpea. The chapter looks ahead to future trends in this area.
M. Djanaguiraman, P. V. V. Prasad, I. A. Ciampitti
Sorghum is a versatile crop, produced in more than 100 countries. However, the productivity of sorghum in developing countries is much lower than that in developed countries, due to their non-adoption of improved crop management practices. Improving the production potential of sorghum in developing countries is of critical importance due to its implications for food security. This chapter presents a variety of standard crop management techniques, including discussion of optimum planting conditions and the management of nutrients and water, and considers how practices may differ across major sorghum-producing areas such as India, West Africa, Australia and the United States. It is concluded that greatly improved yields can be obtained by matching genotype with environment and using best management practices.
Environmental and food safety concerns are driving potato research towards the development of sustainable practices. Soil and planting management, as well as cultivation practices, are directly related to increased marketable yield and quality and are of great importance for quick crop emergence, better growth and quality. Based on research and development in India and abroad, this chapter explores the adoption of production technologies by potato growers in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The chapter provides an overview of potato cultivation in India before considering techniques of soil management, seed bed preparation and planting, and potato cultivation. The chapter then moves on to consider the contribution of green manures and cover crops to potato nutrient management, as well as the impact of irrigation, mechanisation and conservation agriculture.
Maize is the most important staple food crop in southern Africa. It is predominantly grown by smallholder farmers, but seed companies generally target large commercial farmers in high potential areas when developing new varieties. To address the needs of smallholder farmers in maize genetic improvement, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) initiated a collaborative drought and low nitrogen maize breeding programme aimed to increase yields in low-input and drought-prone environments in southern Africa. Since then, CIMMYT and seed companies have also introduced new maize varieties which are resistant to a variety of biotic and abiotic stresses. This chapter reviews key activities and the roles of key stakeholders in improving maize productivity for smallholder farmers in southern Africa. It also highlights the development and selection of first-generation maize germplasm, and the role of the seed industry in disseminating improved maize germplasm.
Integrated crop management (ICM) is the practice of using multiple agronomic and pest control methods to maximize yield and net returns and to minimize inputs while maintaining economic and environmental sustainability. This chapter describes the role of agronomists in developing ICM strategies and provides a detailed case study of ICM based on efforts to control the wheat pest wheat stem sawfly (WSS). The chapter looks ahead to the future prospects for ICM and suggests further reading on this topic.
T Pathasarathi, M. Kokila, D. Selvakumar, V. Meenakshi, A. Kowsalya, K. Vanitha, A. Tariq, A. Surendran
Finding an efficient irrigation strategy that would minimize water consumption in rice cultivation is a key objective in dealing with the potential future competition for and scarcity of water as a resource. Several water-saving techniques have been developed, including dry-seeded rice and aerobic rice cultivation. This chapter explores these techniques and good agricultural practices (GAP) for optimizing use of both these techniques, describing the entire process in detail from field preparation to harvesting and suggesting best practice in each case. The chapter evaluates the differences between dry direct seeded and aerobic rice cultivation.
Genetic and management options are available to realize an optimal pod yield and quality of groundnut production that meets the needs of the processors and consumers, as well as ensuring food safety standards. This chapter discusses various options for groundnut cultivation, from the choice of the variety to methods of storage available or are in use to achieve improved pod yield and quality. It discusses advanced groundnut farming practices such as conservation tillage in the USA, polythene mulch technology in China, and precision farming in developed countries. The chapter addresses the limitations of current agronomic recommendations for groundnut, assesses the available varieties and cultivars, and examines methods of field preparation and soil resources management. The chapter explores groundnut seed preparation, planting and weed and water management, as well as plant protection practices and harvesting, drying, curing, and storage methods. Finally, the chapter focuses on precision cultivation and groundnut seed systems.
Alpha Y. Kamara, Lucky O. Omoigui, Nkeki Kamai, Sylvester U. Ewansiha, Hakeem A. Ajeigbe
Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] is a legume crop of vital importance to the livelihoods of millions of people in West and Central Africa, providing a nutritious grain and an inexpensive source of protein for both rural poor and urban consumers. This chapter examines what constitutes an optimal cowpea plant population and explains plant configuration in intercropping systems in West Africa. The chapter explores how planting dates can be manipulated to improve cowpea productivity, and how nutrient management can be used to increase cowpea yields. Finally, the chapter examines the application of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in cowpea production and looks ahead to future trends in this area.
Zero-till cultivation of maize (Zea mays L.) is a relatively widely used production system whereby the only soil disturbance occurs with the seeding operation. The system aims to reduce erosion, improve soil physical attributes, decrease costs, and improve long-term sustainability of maize cultivation. However, positive impacts from zero-till maize cultivation do not always occur and it is important to understand which factors favour this system and which do not. This chapter will also discuss suggestions for best management of zero-till maize systems.
Lentil is an important food legume in the semi-arid regions of the world where it can be grown successfully on limited soil moisture and in relatively poor soils. This chapter describes agronomic practices used in lentil-producing countries, addressing methods of land preparation, sowing, harvesting, threshing and cleaning. Procedures used in developed countries where the crop is entirely mechanized are also included. The chapter suggests improvements to seed supply systems, seed varieties, planting methods, weed control, and harvesting methods.
Mango is grown in more than 100 countries and is a commercially important fruit for many countries in the tropics. However, mango cultivation faces various problems which require urgent attention if sustainable production is to be achieved. This chapter reviews the factors which affect mango productivity in the tropics and the significant constraints facing mango production in these areas. We discuss constraints related to soil, climate, orchard management, irrigation and nutrition, and in each case present strategies for addressing these constraints and promoting sustainable mango cultivation.