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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 (2015), 16(4), 361-384

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 detailDes bandes fleuries pour la lutte biologique : état des lieux, limites et perspectives en Wallonie – Une synthèse bibliographique.
Hatt, Séverin ULg; Uyttenbroeck, Roel ULg; Bodson, Bernard ULg et al

in Entomologie Faunistique = Faunistic Entomology (2015), 68

Managing field margins takes part of the Agri-Environmental Measures supported by the European Union in Wallonia. Among possible infrastructures, wildflower strips are known to conserve a wide diversity ... [more ▼]

Managing field margins takes part of the Agri-Environmental Measures supported by the European Union in Wallonia. Among possible infrastructures, wildflower strips are known to conserve a wide diversity of insects, including natural enemies that can be mobilized to biologically control pests. However, the efficiency of pest control is not guaranteed. It depends mainly on the ability of flowers to attract natural enemies at the right time and to keep them in this environment while favoring their migration into adjacent crops. A reflection on the composition of the floral mixtures may optimize their capacity in biological control. In this context, this review paper put forward the interest of considering functional traits of flowers and presents the concept of functional diversity. Furthermore, the sown perennial wildflower strips should be maintained by regular mowing. However, mowing affects both insect and plant populations due to momentary destruction of the habitat. An appropriate management of field margins is therefore needed to optimize the pest control service provided. [less ▲]

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See detailImpacts of Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria on Wheat Growth under Greenhouse and Field Conditions
Nguyen, Minh ULg; du Jardin, Patrick ULg; Jijakli, Haissam ULg et al

Poster (2015, June 16)

Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) are well-known on stimulating root growth, enhancing mineral availability, and nutrient use efficiency in crops, and therefore become promising tool for ... [more ▼]

Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) are well-known on stimulating root growth, enhancing mineral availability, and nutrient use efficiency in crops, and therefore become promising tool for sustainable agriculture. The aim of this project is to screen PGPR strains to enhance wheat growth and yield in combination with an optimised nitrogen (N) fertilizer dose, and thus finally reduce the use of N fertilizer with equivalent yield as the recommended N dose. A list of PGPR has been collected, including (1) Mix1 (a mix of Azospirillum sp., Azorhizobium sp., and Azoarcus sp.), (2) Mix2 (a mix of Mix1 plus with two strains phosphorus-solubilizing Bacillus sp.), (3) Bacillus amyloliquefaciens a, (4) Bacillus subtilis, and (5) Bacillus amyloliquefaciens b. The PGPR were screened in both greenhouse and field condition 2014. There was significant increase in root dry weight and in root per shoot ratio of plants inoculated with Mix1 in the greenhouse. Under field condition, besides the first factor PGPR, an additional factor, i.e. four N fertilizer doses, was applied in the combination with PGPR. Without or at low N fertilizer doses, the results showed that the grain yield declined significantly. The highest grain yield increase was fifteen per cent above the control and achieved by inoculating Bacillus subtilis without application of N fertilizer. However, there was statistically insignificant in all treatments due to variability between plot replicates. Based on these results, a modified protocol plus new strategies for PGPR selection has been built up for 2015 trial to reduce the influence of variability on field and possibly achieve the higher yield increase. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison of PLS and SVM discriminant analysis for NIR hyperspectral data of wheat roots in soil
Eylenbosch, Damien ULg; Fernández Pierna, Juan Antonio; Baeten, Vincent et al

Poster (2015, June)

The aim of this work was to compare the chemometric tools PLS and SVM on near infrared spectra in order to reach the most accurate discrimination between spectra of soil, root and crop residues of winter ... [more ▼]

The aim of this work was to compare the chemometric tools PLS and SVM on near infrared spectra in order to reach the most accurate discrimination between spectra of soil, root and crop residues of winter wheat on hyperspectral images. [less ▲]

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See detailLa cécidomyie équestre quelle nuisibilité sur le blé?
Censier, Florence ULg; Chavalle, Sandrine ULg; San Martin Y Gomez, Gilles et al

in Phytoma : La Défense des Végétaux (2015), 685

Une équipe belge a évalué la nuisibilité de la cécidomyie Haplodiplosis marginata et en tire des conseils pour la protection du blé tendre d'hiver. Le tout est valable en France aussi!

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See detailAdapting Nitrogen management to the increasing climatic uncertainty
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Basso, Bruno; Bodson, Bernard ULg et al

in Shirmohammadi, Adel; Bosch, David; Muñoz-Carpena, Rafa (Eds.) Proceedings of the 1st ASABE Climate Change Symposium - Adaptation and Mitigation (2015, May)

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See detailA comparison of within-season yield prediction algorithms based on crop model behaviour analysis
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Basso, Bruno; Leemans, Vincent ULg et al

in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology (2015), 204

The development of methodologies for predicting crop yield, in real-time and in response to different agro-climatic conditions, could help to improve the farm management decision process by providing an ... [more ▼]

The development of methodologies for predicting crop yield, in real-time and in response to different agro-climatic conditions, could help to improve the farm management decision process by providing an analysis of expected yields in relation to the costs of investment in particular practices. Based on the use of crop models, this paper compares the ability of two methodologies to predict wheat yield (Triticum aestivum L.), one based on stochastically generated climatic data and the other on mean climate data. It was shown that the numerical experimental yield distribution could be considered as a log-normal distribution. This function is representative of the overall model behaviour. The lack of statistical differences between the numerical realisations and the logistic curve showed in turn that the Generalised Central Limit Theorem (GCLT) was applicable to our case study. In addition, the predictions obtained using both climatic inputs were found to be similar at the inter and intra-annual time-steps, with the root mean square and normalised deviation values below an acceptable level of 10% in 90% of the climatic situations. The predictive observed lead-times were also similar for both approaches. Given (i) the mathematical formulation of crop models, (ii) the applicability of the CLT and GLTC to the climatic inputs and model outputs, respectively, and (iii) the equivalence of the predictive abilities, it could be concluded that the two methodologies were equally valid in terms of yield prediction. These observations indicated that the Convergence in Law Theorem was applicable in this case study. For purely predictive purposes, the findings favoured an algorithm based on a mean climate approach, which needed far less time (by 300-fold) to run and converge on same predictive lead time than the stochastic approach. [less ▲]

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See detailEvaluation of soil structural changes through macroscopic and microscopic measurement
Parvin, Nargish ULg; Degré, Aurore ULg; Chelin, Marie ULg et al

Poster (2015, April 16)

The heterogeneity of soil structure and pore size distribution are highly influenced by external factors like tillage systems and other agricultural management practices. However, changes in soil ... [more ▼]

The heterogeneity of soil structure and pore size distribution are highly influenced by external factors like tillage systems and other agricultural management practices. However, changes in soil hydrodynamic behavior are not fully understood and are still under research. Also, researchers have explained the impact of tillage practices on soil hydraulic properties related to pore size distribution, connectivity and orientation are involved but the characterization of these modifications and consequences remains a challenge. Furthermore, the relation between macroscopic measurements and microscopic investigation of the soil structure remains scarce. Recently, X-ray tomography (X- μCT) has been used in order to characterize changes in soil pore size distribution in various contexts and the method is able to link microtomography information to hydrodynamic measurement. In our study, X-μCT has been used in order to characterize changes in soil pore system. Since, tomography does not count most of the micropores, Richards’ pressure plate and evaporation method was also combined to get complete range of pore size distribution. We found good match between evaporation data with X-μCT at the macropore scale and evaporation data with pressure plate method at micropore scale. X-μCT data refines retention and hydraulic curves near saturation where Richards’ data alone can lead to numerous sets of fitted parameters. On the otherhand, evaporation data (Hyprop apparatus ©) provide comparable datasets with X-μCT. Combining micro and macroscopic measurements allows us to validate X-μCT information, which is otherwise not so obvious. [less ▲]

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See detailUse of NIR-HIS and dichotomist classification tree based on SVMDA models in order to discriminate roots and crop residues of winter wheat
Eylenbosch, Damien ULg; Fernández Pierna, Juan Antonio; Baeten, Vincent et al

in EARSeL 2015: 9th EARSeL SIG Imaging Spectroscopy workshop, Luxembourg 14-16 April 2015 (2015, April 14)

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See detailUse of NIR Hyperspectral Imaging and dichotomist classification tree based on SVM in order to discriminate roots and crop residues of winter wheat
Eylenbosch, Damien ULg; Fernández Pierna, Juan Antonio; Baeten, Vincent et al

Poster (2015, April 14)

NIR Hyperspectral Imaging coupled with SVM chemometric tool is proposed as an alternative method to the tedious and time-consuming hand sorting step needed before root quantification using the soil coring ... [more ▼]

NIR Hyperspectral Imaging coupled with SVM chemometric tool is proposed as an alternative method to the tedious and time-consuming hand sorting step needed before root quantification using the soil coring method. This method was applied to quantify roots under a winter wheat crop. [less ▲]

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See detailTillage as a tool to manage crop residue : impact on sugar beet production
Hiel, Marie-Pierre ULg; Degrune, Florine ULg; Parvin, Nargish ULg et al

Poster (2015, April)

Crop residues and plant cover represent a pool of organic matter that can be used either to restore organic matter in soils, and therefore maintain soil fertility, or that can be valorized outside of the ... [more ▼]

Crop residues and plant cover represent a pool of organic matter that can be used either to restore organic matter in soils, and therefore maintain soil fertility, or that can be valorized outside of the field (e.g. energy production). However, it is crucial that the exportation of residues is not done to the detriment of the system sustainability. Three long term experiments have been settled in the loamy region in Belgium. All of them are designed to study the effect of residues management by several tillage systems (conventional plowing versus reduced tillage) on the whole soil-water-plant system. SOLRESIDUS is a field experiment where we study the impact of crop residue management while in SOLCOUVERT and SOLCOUVERT-BIS, we study the impact of cover crop management. SOLRESIDUS was started in 2008. In this field, four contrasted crop residues managements are tested in order to contrast as much as possible the responses from the soil-water plant system. Two practices characterize the four modalities: soil tillage (ploughing at 25 cm depth or reduce tillage at 10 cm max) and residue management (exportation or restitution). SOLCOUVERT and SOLCOUVERT-BIS were started in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In those fields cover crop management is also diverse: destruction of the cover crop by winter ploughing, spring ploughing, strip tillage (with a chemical destruction if needed) or shallow tillage (with a decompaction before cover crop sowing). Although although the overall project aims at studying the impact of management on the whole soil-water-plant system, here we will only present the results concerning crop production (sugar beet) in SOLCOUVERT experiments. The presented data will include germination rate, crop development (biomass quantification and BBCH stages) weeds population, disease occurrence, pest occurrences, nitrogen uptake by plants, quality and quantity of harvested products.   [less ▲]

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See detailClimatic risk assessment to improve nitrogen fertilisation recommendations : A strategic crop model-based approach
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Basso, Bruno; Bodson, Bernard ULg et al

in European Journal of Agronomy (2015), 65(10-17),

Within the context of nitrogen (N) management, since 1950, with the rapid intensification of agriculture, farmers have often applied much larger fertiliser quantities than what was required to reach the ... [more ▼]

Within the context of nitrogen (N) management, since 1950, with the rapid intensification of agriculture, farmers have often applied much larger fertiliser quantities than what was required to reach the yield potential. However, to prevent pollution of surface and groundwater induced by nitrates, The European Community launched The European Nitrates Directive 91/6/76/EEC. In 2002, in Wallonia (Belgium), the Nitrates Directive has been transposed under the Sustainable Nitrogen Management in Agriculture Program (PGDA), with the aim of maintaining productivity and revenue for the country’s farmers, while reducing the environmental impact of excessive N application. A feasible approach for addressing climatic uncertainty lies in the use of crop models such as the one commonly known as STICS (simulateur multidisciplinaire pour les cultures standard). These models allow the impact on crops of the interaction between cropping systems and climatic records to be assessed. Comprehensive historical climatic records are rare, however, and therefore the yield distribution values obtained using such an approach can be discontinuous. In order to obtain better and more detailed yield distribution information, the use of a high number of stochastically generated climate time series was proposed, relying on the LARS-Weather Generator. The study focused on the interactions between varying N practices and climatic conditions. Historically and currently, Belgian farmers apply 180 kg N ha−1, split into three equal fractions applied at the tillering, stem elongation and flag-leaf stages. This study analysed the effectiveness of this treatment in detail, comparing it to similar practices where only the N rates applied at the flag-leaf stage were modified. Three types of farmer decision-making were analysed. The first related to the choice of N strategy for maximising yield, the second to obtaining the highest net revenue, and the third to reduce the environmental impact of potential N leaching, which carries the likelihood of taxation if inappropriate N rates are applied. The results showed reduced discontinuity in the yield distribution values thus obtained. In general, the modulation of N levels to accord with current farmer practices showed considerable asymmetry. In other words, these practices maximised the probability of achieving yields that were at least superior to the mean of the distribution values, thus reducing risk for the farmers. The practice based on applying the highest amounts (60–60–100 kg N ha−1) produced the best yield distribution results. When simple economical criteria were computed, the 60–60–80 kg N ha−1 protocol was found to be optimal for 80–90% of the time. There were no statistical differences, however, between this practice and Belgian farmers’ current practice. When the taxation linked to a high level of potentially leachable N remaining in the soil after harvest was considered, this methodology clearly showed that, in 3 years out of 4, 30 kg N ha−1 could systematically be saved in comparison with the usual practice. [less ▲]

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See detailAssociations of Wheat with Pea Can Reduce Aphid Infestations
Chevalier Mendes Lopes, Thomas ULg; Bodson, Bernard ULg; Francis, Frédéric ULg

in Neotropical Entomology (2015)

Increasing plant diversity within crops can be beneficial for pest control. In this field study, the effects of two wheat and pea associations (mixed cropping and strip cropping) on aphid populations were ... [more ▼]

Increasing plant diversity within crops can be beneficial for pest control. In this field study, the effects of two wheat and pea associations (mixed cropping and strip cropping) on aphid populations were compared with pure stands of both crops by observations on tillers and plants. Pea was more susceptible to infestations than wheat. As expected, the density of aphid colonies was significantly higher in pure stands during the main occurrence periods, compared with associations. Additionally, flying beneficials, such as not only aphidophagous adult ladybirds but also parasitoid, hoverfly and lacewing species that feed on aphids at the larval stage, were monitored using yellow pan traps. At specific times of the sampling season, ladybirds and hoverflies were significantly more abundant in the pure stand of pea and wheat, respectively, compared with associations. Few parasitoids and lacewings were trapped. This study showed that increasing plant diversity within crops by associating cultivated species can reduce aphid infestations, since host plants are more difficult to locate. However, additional methods are needed to attract more efficiently adult beneficials into wheat and pea associations. [less ▲]

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See detailOptimisation of the Nitrogen fertilisation in the context of climate change
Dumont, Benjamin ULg; Basso, Bruno; Bodson, Bernard ULg et al

in Soussana, Jean-Francois (Ed.) Proceedings of the Climate Smart Agriculture 2015 conference (2015, March)

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See detailDoes the production of Belgian bioethanol fit with European requirements on GHG emissions? Case of wheat
Belboom, Sandra ULg; Bodson, Bernard ULg; Léonard, Angélique ULg

in Biomass & Bioenergy (2015), 74

This paper undertakes an environmental evaluation of bioethanol production, using wheat cultivated in Belgium. Cultivation steps are modelled using Belgian specific data. Wheat transformation in ethanol ... [more ▼]

This paper undertakes an environmental evaluation of bioethanol production, using wheat cultivated in Belgium. Cultivation steps are modelled using Belgian specific data. Wheat transformation in ethanol relies on industrial data. GHG emissions of the whole life cycle are calculated and compared with the default values given by the European Renewable Energy Directive. Belgian wheat bioethanol achieves a 5% higher GHG reduction than the one mentioned in the European directive but impact repartition is different with a higher importance of cultivation step in our case. Belgian wheat bioethanol complies with the current sustainability criteria but is also able to conform to further ones. Sensitivity analyses are performed on the importance of N fertilizers and associated emissions known as main important parameters. These analyses reveal non negligible variations and then a range of available GHG reduction when using wheat bioethanol. [less ▲]

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See detail10. Perspectives - 2. Utilisation de l'imagerie hyperspectrale proche infrarouge pour estimer la biomasse racinaire d'une culture de froment
Eylenbosch, Damien ULg; Fernandez Pierna, Juan Antonio; Baeten, Vincent et al

in Watillon, Bernard; Bodson, Bernard (Eds.) Livre Blanc Céréales (2015, February 25)

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See detail4. La fumure azotée
Meza Morales, Walter ULg; Monfort, Bruno; Dumont, Benjamin ULg et al

in Watillon, Bernard; Bodson, Bernard (Eds.) Livre Blanc Céréales (2015, February 25)

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See detail2. Implantation des cultures
Eylenbosch, Damien ULg; Meza Morales, Walter ULg; Monfort, Bruno et al

in Watillon, Bernard; Bodson, Bernard (Eds.) Livre Blanc Céréales (2015, February 25)

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See detailLivre Blanc Céréales
Watillon, Bernard ULg; Bodson, Bernard ULg

Book published by Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech - Edition février 2015 (2015)

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