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See detailA novel sub-phylum method discriminates better the impact of crop management on soil microbial community
Degrune, Florine ULg; Dufrêne, Marc ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg et al

in Agronomy for Sustainable Development (2015)

Soil microorganisms such as mycorrhizae and plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria have beneficial effects on crop productivity. Agricultural practices are known to impact soil microbial communities, but ... [more ▼]

Soil microorganisms such as mycorrhizae and plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria have beneficial effects on crop productivity. Agricultural practices are known to impact soil microbial communities, but past studies examining this impact have focused mostly on one or two taxonomic levels, such as phylum and class, thus missing potentially relevant information from lower levels. Therefore we propose here an original, sub-phylum method for studying how agricultural practices modify microbial communities. This method involves exploiting the available sequence information at the lowest taxonomic level attainable for each operational taxonomic unit. In order to validate this novel method we assessed microbial community composition using 454 pyrosequencing of 16S and 28S rRNA genes, then we compared the results with results of a phylum-level analysis. Agricultural practices included conventional tillage, reduced tillage, residue removal and residue retention. Results show that, at the lowest taxonomic level attainable, tillage is the main factor influencing both bacterial community composition, accounting for 13% of the variation, and fungal community composition, accounting for 18% of the variation. Whereas phylum-level analysis failed to reveal any effect of soil practice on bacterial community composition, and missed the fact that different members of the same phylum responded differently to tillage practice. For instance, the fungal phylum Chytridiomycota showed no impact of soil treatment, while sub-phylum-level analysis revealed an impact of tillage practice on the Chytridiomycota sub-groups Gibberella, which includes a notorious wheat pathogen, and Trichocomaceae. This clearly demonstrates the necessity of exploiting the information obtainable at sub-phylum level when assessing the effects of agricultural practice on microbial communities. [less ▲]

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See detailDoes the cover crop residue management affect the soil water availability for plants?
Chelin, Marie ULg; Parvin, Nargish ULg; Hiel, Marie-Pierre ULg et al

Poster (2014, December 05)

Hydraulic processes and soil storage capacity may be affected by the crop residue management. Thus, a better understanding of the spatial and temporal distribution of water as a consequence of different ... [more ▼]

Hydraulic processes and soil storage capacity may be affected by the crop residue management. Thus, a better understanding of the spatial and temporal distribution of water as a consequence of different tillage methods is needed. The distribution of soil water content is basically studied thanks to soil moisture sensors such as time domain reflectometry (TDR) probes. However, this method requires the disturbance of the soil and only provides local information. Comparatively, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) slightly alters the soil structure. It has been considered as a proxy to assess the spatial and temporal variability of the soil water content. This study aims at assessing whether and to which extent the crop residue management influences soil water dynamics and the water availability for maize. Water content will be monitored from March to October 2014, under three crop residue managements: conventional tillage realized in the end of autumn, conventional tillage realized just before sowing, and strip tillage. A bare soil under conventional tillage will also be monitored so as to better understand the influence of the plant over the growing season. So as to better understand the dynamics of water in the soil-water-continuum, the influence of the crop residue management on the soil structure and the plant development will also be investigated. The soil water pattern will be daily monitored on a surface of two square meters through surface stainless steel electrodes, corresponding to three rows of seven maize plants. Five additional sticks with buried electrodes will be setup to get more detailed information near to the maize row. For each of the monitored zone, two TDR probes will help validating the data. In order to calibrate the relationship between electrical resistivity and soil water content, a dig will be dug, in which a set of four electrodes, one TDR probe and one temperature sensor will be placed at four different depths. Two suction cups placed on each of the monitoring zone will help getting the electrical conductivity of the soil solution. [less ▲]

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See detailDetecting microbial patterns in relation to soil agricultural practices and the plant development stage
Degrune, Florine ULg; Dufrêne, Marc ULg; Taminiau, Bernard ULg et al

Poster (2014, December 02)

Agricultural practices have a strong impact on soil bacteria and fungi. Furthermore, microbial community composition can change with the stage of plant development. We are interested in exploring these ... [more ▼]

Agricultural practices have a strong impact on soil bacteria and fungi. Furthermore, microbial community composition can change with the stage of plant development. We are interested in exploring these effects in relation to changes induced by agriculture and plant stage in soil conditions. Some bacteria are influenced only by the plant stage, which induces changes in soil humidity, pH, nitrates, and carbon. We would thus expect these bacteria to be highly sensitive to these parameters. Other bacteria are affected only by the tillage practice applied. Further study is needed to identify the soil parameters responsible for this effect. The plant stage also has a great impact on fungal community composition. [less ▲]

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See detailSystematic analysis of site-specific yield distributions resulting from nitrogen management and climatic variability interactions
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Basso, Bruno; Leemans, Vincent ULg et al

in Precision Agriculture (2014)

At the plot level, crop simulation models such as STICS have the potential to evaluate risk associated with management practices. In nitrogen (N) management, however, the decision-making process is ... [more ▼]

At the plot level, crop simulation models such as STICS have the potential to evaluate risk associated with management practices. In nitrogen (N) management, however, the decision-making process is complex because the decision has to be taken without any knowledge of future weather conditions. The objective of this paper is to present a general methodology for assessing yield variability linked to climatic uncertainty and variable N rate strategies. The STICS model was coupled with the LARS-Weather Generator. The Pearson system and coefficients were used to characterise the shape of yield distribution. Alternatives to classical statistical tests were proposed for assessing the normality of distributions and conducting comparisons (namely, the Jarque-Bera and Wilcoxon tests, respectively). Finally, the focus was put on the probability risk assessment, which remains a key point within the decision process. The simulation results showed that, based on current N application practice among Belgian farmers (60 60 60 kgN ha-1), yield distribution was very highly significantly non normal, with the highest degree of asymmetry characterised by a skewness value of -1.02. They showed that this strategy gave the greatest probability (60%) of achieving yields that were superior to the mean (10.5 t ha-1) of the distribution. [less ▲]

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See detailCarbon balance of a grazed pasture and its response to grazing management
Jerome, Elisabeth ULg; Gourlez de la Motte, Louis ULg; Beckers, Yves et al

Poster (2014, September 24)

The C balance of a grazed pasture situated in Condroz (Wallonia) and its dependence on climatic conditions and grazing management were investigated on the basis of eddy covariance measurements and ... [more ▼]

The C balance of a grazed pasture situated in Condroz (Wallonia) and its dependence on climatic conditions and grazing management were investigated on the basis of eddy covariance measurements and horizontal C flow estimates. In average on three years, NEE was +43±24 gCm-2yr-1 and NBP was +7±26 gCm-2yr-1, suggesting that that the site is C neutral. Management by the farmer (organic fertilization), but also climate conditions influencing management (feed supplements), were the main factors impacting the C balance inter-annual variability. At a daily and seasonal scale, grazing impact on CO2 fluxes did not appear explicitly, being blurred by flux response to climate drivers. It was highlighted by specific investigations. The indirect grazing impact (photosynthesizing biomass consumption, excretions, soil compaction) was deduced from an analysis of the flux to PPFD response evolution during grazing period; the direct impact (livestock respiration) was investigated through confinement experiments. Result showed that saturation GPP changes were negatively correlated to grazing intensity (product of the stocking rate and grazing duration). On the contrary, no significant change in TER was observed. The direct impact of grazing due to cattle respiration was estimated to 2.59±0.58 kgCLU-1day-1, i.e. 8% of the TER. [less ▲]

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See detailAre agricultural ecosystems important BVOC « exchangers »? Evidences from 2 measurement years on croplands at Lonzée Terrestrial Observatory (Belgium)
Bachy, Aurélie ULg; Aubinet, Marc ULg; Schoon, Niels et al

Poster (2014, September 23)

For the last decades, agricultural ecosystems have been a key biome for diverse socio-economical, environmental and climatic issues. And one of these climatic issues is just BVOC (Biogenic Volatile ... [more ▼]

For the last decades, agricultural ecosystems have been a key biome for diverse socio-economical, environmental and climatic issues. And one of these climatic issues is just BVOC (Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds) emission from terrestrial ecosystems. Indeed, those compounds which are mostly emitted by plants play a great role in the atmospheric chemistry, thereby influencing the Earth surface radiative budget and the tropospheric air quality. However, so far, very few is known about BVOC exchange by crops, implying that huge uncertainties remain about qualifying, quantifying and determining sources/sinks and driving mechanisms of BVOC exchanges between croplands ecosystems and the atmosphere. We present here the first long term BVOC fluxes measurement study conducted on maize (2012) and winter wheat (2013), respectively the second and first most important worldwide crops (FAOSTAT). BVOC exchange was measured using the disjunct by mass scanning eddy covariance technique (+ PTR-MS, Ionicon) at the Lonzée Terrestrial Observatory (ICOS site) in Belgium. Main results are: (i) crops emit mainly methanol; (ii) BVOC emission from studied crops is lower than in literature, suggesting that agricultural ecosystems are poor BVOC exchangers; (iii) soil is a significant BVOC source. [less ▲]

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See detail4. Qualité des froments en 2014: une récolte prometteuse et puis la douche froide
Sinnaeve, Georges; Gofflot, Sébastien; Chandelier, Anne et al

in Bodson, Bernard; Destain, Jean-Pierre (Eds.) Livre Blanc Céréales (2014, September 11)

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See detail2. Variétés - 2. Escourgeon et orge d'hiver fourragers
Monfort, Bruno; Mahieu, Olivier; Couvreur, Luc et al

in Bodson, Bernard; Destain, Jean-Pierre (Eds.) Livre Blanc céréales (2014, September 11)

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See detail2. Variétés - 1. Froment d'hiver
Meza Morales, Walter ULg; Couveur, Luc; Eylenbosch, Damien ULg et al

in Bodson, Bernard; Destain, Jean-Pierre (Eds.) Livre Blanc Céréales (2014, September 11)

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See detail1. Implantation des cultures
Eylenbosch, Damien ULg; Hiel, Marie-Pierre ULg; Meza Morales, Walter ULg et al

in Bodson, Bernard; Destain, Jean-Pierre (Eds.) Livre Blanc - Céréales (2014, September 11)

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See detailLivre Blanc Céréales
Bodson, Bernard ULg; Destain, Jean-Pierre ULg

Book published by Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (2014)

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See detailDetection of wheat root and straw in soil by use of Near Infrared hyperspectral imaging system and Partial Least Square discriminant analysis
Eylenbosch, Damien ULg; Fernández Pierna, Juan Antonio; Baeten, Vincent et al

Poster (2014, August 26)

Monitoring of root systems development and crop residues decomposition is only possible if these constituents can be discriminated from soil and quantified. In this work, Near Infrared (NIR) combined with ... [more ▼]

Monitoring of root systems development and crop residues decomposition is only possible if these constituents can be discriminated from soil and quantified. In this work, Near Infrared (NIR) combined with Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) and Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) is proposed as a new rapid and reliable method to discriminate soil, roots and straws. NIR-HSI provides simultaneously spectral and spatial information and PLS-DA allows discrimination between classes based on spectra of each pixel linked to chemical nature of sample constituents on the image. [less ▲]

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See detailDetection of wheat root and straw in soil by use of NIR hyperspectral imaging spectroscopy and Partial Least Square discriminant analysis
Eylenbosch, Damien ULg; Fernández Pierna, Juan Antonio; Baeten, Vincent et al

in Szilvássy, Zoltán; Pepó, Péter; Csajbók, József (Eds.) Book of Abstracts, ESA XIIIth Congress : ESA, Debrecen 25-29 August 2014 (2014, August)

Monitoring of root systems development and crop residues decomposition is only possible if these constituents can be discriminated from soil and quantified. In this work, Near Infrared (NIR) combined with ... [more ▼]

Monitoring of root systems development and crop residues decomposition is only possible if these constituents can be discriminated from soil and quantified. In this work, Near Infrared (NIR) combined with Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) and Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) is proposed as a new rapid and reliable method to discriminate soil, roots and straws. NIR-HSI provides simultaneously spectral and spatial information and PLS-DA allows discrimination between classes based on spectra of each pixel linked to chemical nature of sample constituents on the image. [less ▲]

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See detailCrop association to improve aphid biological control
Chevalier Mendes Lopes, Thomas ULg; Bosquée, Emilie ULg; Bodson, Bernard ULg et al

Poster (2014, August)

This research focused on the development of sustainable alternative methods to control aphids, giving special emphasis on cultural practices and plant management systems. Increasing the diversity within ... [more ▼]

This research focused on the development of sustainable alternative methods to control aphids, giving special emphasis on cultural practices and plant management systems. Increasing the diversity within crops may have several beneficial effects on pest control, creating attractive habitats for indigenous beneficial fauna and simultaneously deterring pests (“push-pull” approach). In this field study, two wheat/pea associations (mixed cropping and strip cropping) where compared to monocultures of pea and wheat. The abundance and diversity of adult aphidophagous beneficials (predators and parasitoids) were accessed weekly, using yellow traps, while aphids were observed directly on plants. All individuals were identified down to the level of species. In both crops, the percentage of aphid infestation and density of colonies were significantly higher in monocultures during the abundance periods. The mixing was particularly beneficial for the pea, while strip cropping was more efficient for the wheat. Concerning beneficials, their abundance was also significantly higher in monocultures, comparing with the other treatments. This study shows that increasing diversity within crops can prevent them from aphid infestations. However, additional methods are needed to attract more efficiently the aphidophagous beneficials, in order to promote the natural control of aphids. [less ▲]

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See detailDiversity of Bacterial Communities in a Profile of a Winter Wheat Field: Known and Unknown Members
Stroobants, Aurore ULg; Degrune, Florine ULg; Olivier, Claire et al

in Microbial Ecology (2014)

In soils, bacteria are very abundant and diverse. They are involved in various agro-ecosystem processes such as the nitrogen cycle, organic matter degradation, and soil formation. Yet, little is known ... [more ▼]

In soils, bacteria are very abundant and diverse. They are involved in various agro-ecosystem processes such as the nitrogen cycle, organic matter degradation, and soil formation. Yet, little is known about the distribution and composition of bacterial communities through the soil profile, particularly in agricultural soils, as most studies have focused only on topsoils or forest and grassland soils. In the present work, we have used bar-coded pyrosequencing analysis of the V3 region of the 16S rRNA gene to analyze bacterial diversity in a profile (depths 10, 25, and 45 cm) of a well-characterized field of winter wheat. Taxonomic assignment was carried out with the Ribosomal Database Project (RDP) Classifier program with three bootstrap scores: a main run at 0.80, a confirmation run at 0.99, and a run at 0 to gain information on the unknown bacteria. Our results show that biomass and bacterial quantity and diversity decreased greatly with depth. Depth also had an impact, in terms of relative sequence abundance, on 81 % of the most represented taxonomic ranks, notably the ranks Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteridae, and Acidobacteria. Bacterial community composition differed more strongly between the topsoil (10 and 25 cm) and subsoil (45 cm) than between levels in the topsoil, mainly because of shifts in the carbon, nitrogen, and potassium contents. The subsoil also contained more unknown bacteria, 53.96 % on the average, than did the topsoil, with 42.06 % at 10 cm and 45.59 % at 25 cm. Most of these unknown bacteria seem to belong to Deltaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Rhizobiales, and Acidobacteria. [less ▲]

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See detailAre agricultural ecosystems important BVOC « exchangers »? Evidences from 2 measurement years on croplands at Lonzée (Belgium)
Bachy, Aurélie ULg; Aubinet, Marc ULg; Schoon, Niels et al

Poster (2014, July 01)

For the last decades, agricultural ecosystems have been a key biome for diverse socio-economical, environmental and climatic issues. And one of these climatic issues is just BVOC (Biogenic Volatile ... [more ▼]

For the last decades, agricultural ecosystems have been a key biome for diverse socio-economical, environmental and climatic issues. And one of these climatic issues is just BVOC (Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds) emission from terrestrial ecosystems. Indeed, those compounds which are mostly emitted by plants play a great role in the atmospheric chemistry, thereby influencing the Earth surface radiative budget and the tropospheric air quality. However, so far, very few is known about BVOC exchange by crops, implying that huge uncertainties remain about qualifying, quantifying and determining sources/sinks and driving mechanisms of BVOC exchanges between croplands ecosystems and the atmosphere. We present here the first long term BVOC fluxes measurement study conducted on maize (2012) and winter wheat (2013), respectively the second and first most important worldwide crops (FAOSTAT). BVOC exchange was measured using the disjunct by mass scanning eddy covariance technique (+ PTR-MS, Ionicon) at the Lonzée Terrestrial Observatory (ICOS site) in Belgium. Main results are: (i) crops emit mainly methanol; (ii) BVOC fluxes from studied crops is lower than in literature, suggesting that agricultural ecosystems are poor BVOC exchangers; (iii) soil is a significant BVOC source. [less ▲]

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See detailSoil infrastructure evolution and its effect on water transfer processes under contrasted tillage systems - overview of methodologies with preliminary results
Parvin, Nargish ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg; Garré, Sarah ULg et al

Conference (2014, June 10)

The heterogeneity of soil structure and porosity are highly influenced by external factors like tillage systems and other land management approaches. The aim of this project is to investigate the effect ... [more ▼]

The heterogeneity of soil structure and porosity are highly influenced by external factors like tillage systems and other land management approaches. The aim of this project is to investigate the effect of soil tillage along with residue management on the changing pattern of soil structure. This investigation will help to emphasize the different water flow dynamics especially the preferential flow processes through the soil that are influenced by the changes in structural distribution in the soil profile. The experimentation has been started from June 2013 in the research field in Gembloux. Soil profile description together with soil sampling has been carried out in the four objects of land management. Soil samples will be used for the measurement of water retention capacity (done), hydraulic conductivity and x-ray microtomography. The assessment of soil water retention curves with pressure plate technique show significantly (p<0.05) higher water retention (Hwr) in WP than ST at 9.8 to 98 hPa, Hwr in WP than NI at 39 to 14710 hPa, Hwr in ST than NI at 294 to 14710 hPa and Hwr in WP than NO at 69 to 98 hPa. There was no significant difference in the water retention between NO and NI and ST and NO. Since, tillage practices generally increase soil porosity, the correlation between soil hydraulics and porosity distribution would expect to be different for different tillage systems. In our study, WP retains more water due to the increase of macroporosity than ST, NI and NO. As the changes in soil structure are usually noticed in the range of 9.8 to 98 hPa, so, we can conclude that there is certainly structural change between WP and conservation practices of ST, NI and NO. In our study, there will be also soil moisture sensors (Decagon 10HS, 5TM and ML3 Thetaprobe) to capture the total soil moisture networks in the field under four different trials. The soils from the different trials and also from different depths (0-15, 25-30 and 50-60 cm) were used for zone specific calibration of the sensors. All the experiments will be repeated twice a year. For the specific spatio-temporal comparison, the monitoring results from electrical resistance tomography will be available from the collaborated project of the same faculty. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of tillage practices and crop residue exportation on earthworm communities and soil physico-­chemical properties in silt loam arable soil (Belgium)
Lemtiri, Aboulkacem ULg; Colinet, Gilles ULg; Alabi, Taofic ULg et al

Poster (2014, June 08)

Earthworms are known to play integral roles in soils, and are often referred to as vital soil and ecosystem engineers due to their capacity to influence a wide range of chemical, physical, and biological ... [more ▼]

Earthworms are known to play integral roles in soils, and are often referred to as vital soil and ecosystem engineers due to their capacity to influence a wide range of chemical, physical, and biological properties of soil environments. Therefore, it is important to understand how earthworm communities are impacted by tillage systems and crop management practices. In the present study, earthworm and soil samples were collected from wheat cultivated fields in Gembloux, Belgium under the following four experimental treatments: (1) conventional tillage with crop residues left in the soil (CT/IN); (2) conventional tillage with crop residues removed from the field (CT/OUT); (3) reduced tillage with crop residues left in the soil (RT/IN); and (4) reduced tillage with crop residues removed from the field (RT/OUT). The different tillage systems were applied for four consecutive years prior to the initiation of the current study. Results indicated soil compaction was significantly higher in RT compared with CT up to a depth of 6–49 cm. Significant differences were not detected between residue incorporation depth systems, where results showed mean earthworm abundance was respectively 182.25 and 180 individuals.m-2 in CT and RT. Mean earthworm biomass was similarly not significantly different between CT and RT, where results were respectively 48.52 and 57.27 g.m-2. However, a significant difference was observed between IN and OUT treatments, suggesting the exportation of wheat residues will limit earthworm abundance and biomass in CT and RT plots. Data showed high representation of the endogeic earthworm ecological category, notably N. c. caliginosus regardless of treatment. Despite tillage system and exportation of crop residues, N. c. caliginosus, L. terrestris, and A. r. rosea exhibited high abundance, indicating tolerance to soil environmental conditions. For each depth, measures of soil physico-chemical properties showed significant differences among treatments. Furthermore, soil chemical property attributes were significantly higher in the first soil centimetres compared to lower soil layers. These results were attributable to earthworm activity and wheat residues, suggesting earthworms contributed to nutrient dynamics, particularly at increased soil depths. Overall, the results emphasise the influence of exportation of crop residues on earthworm community and also, the important influence of earthworm activity on soil physico-chemical properties change, processes which are closely linked. [less ▲]

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