Agronomic management factors impacting yield, quality stability, and environmental footprints of barley in a mediterranean environment

Michele Andrea De Santis, Davide Cammarano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Context or Problems: The impact of different agronomic strategies (such as sowing, fertilization, and tillage) under different environmental conditions (soil type, and long-term weather conditions) can provide an increased knowledge on how barley grain yield, quality and environmental footprints can be optimized. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to: i) understand what are the different agronomic and environmental combinations that optimize grain quality and minimize environmental impacts; ii) which environmental-agronomic combination allow production and quality stability to be achieved over time, while providing lower environmental footprints. Methods: An existing crop simulation model was calibrated on a nitrogen response experiment and evaluated on an independent dataset of nitrogen response. Results: Overall, the interaction of sowing, soil type, fertilization and tillage impacted grain quality more than grain yield. The optimization of the environmental, economic and quality outcome is strongly soil-climate dependent to optimizing grain quality and minimizing environmental impacts. Rainfall in pre-sowing, vegetative and reproductive stages is the most important environmental parameter impacting grain yield. While grain quality needed for malting/distilling is impacted by interaction of weather and agronomic practices. Conclusions: In Mediterranean environments, optimizing for quality, yield and lower environmental impacts is challenging, and crop simulations can help to provide useful information on the dynamic interactions of those factors. Implications: The tradeoff indicator can be derived considering how agronomy-soil-weather interactions impact the relationship between net income and environmental implications (in terms of nitrogen losses). This indicator can be used for building a tool to be used with system-based models to evaluate at different spatial scales the impacts of different agronomic management (as impacted by weather variability) on economic and environmental sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109334
JournalField Crops Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • Barley
  • Crop modelling
  • Nitrogen use efficiency
  • Sowing date
  • Tillage


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