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Bioengineering Approach for Agricultural Advancement in Egypt
The increase in mineral nitrogen fertilizers prices and environmental concerns, which produces significant increases in grain yield or even total yield gains, is one of the main constraints in semi -arid regions.
By Tamer Abdel-Wahab
Sep. 22, 2015

The most important feature of recent years has been the greatly increased importance of maize growing, which has developed with the availability of water of more irrigation water from the High Dam and reclamation schemes. Maize is grown throughout the Nile Valley and Delta, principally in the North Delta and Middle Egypt. Sound nitrogen management for maize makes good economic sense. Optimal nitrogen fertilization is essential for achieving a successful, high yielding maize crop. Inadequate nitrogen inputs result in loss of grain yield. Excessive nitrogen inputs reduce profitability and can delay maturity for grain maize. Applying the optimal fertilizer nitrogen rate achieves good crop yield and results in maximum economic return. Good nitrogen management also makes good environmental sense. Excess fertilizer nitrogen application increases environmental losses of nitrogen, including nitrate leaching to groundwater and emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas. Good nitrogen management represents an effective and practical means for producers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Accordingly, the increase in mineral nitrogen fertilizers prices and environmental concerns, which produces significant increases in grain yield or even total yield gains, is one of the main constraints in semi -arid regions.

Recently, to solve these constraints that have persisted throughout history, the practice of bioengineering has been investigated in crop intensification field for agricultural advancement under Egyptian conditions. Intercropping soybean with maize is regarded as an important agricultural practice to improve maize productivity and environmental quality in the regions with intensive agricultural production, e.g., North Delta in Egypt. A research studied responses of maize crop and its yield attributes to decrease mineral nitrogen inputs by growing soybean with two maize plant distributions under three cropping systems. This research was carried out at Sakha Agricultural Experiments and Research Station, Agricultural Research Center (A.R.C.), Kafr El – Sheikh governorate (31°06'42"N, 30°56'45"E, 17 m a.s.l.), Egypt, during 2012 and 2013 summer seasons. Local maize variety T.W.C. 310 was grown under intercropping and sole cultures in one row/ridge in one and two plants/hill spaced at 30 and 60cm, respectively, that received three mineral N fertilizer rates (4, 5 and 6 g N/plant), while local variety of soybean seeds Giza 82 were drilled in two rows/ridge. Bioengineering approach included the interaction among cropping systems, maize plant distributions and mineral nitrogen fertilizer rates in addition to varieties of both species and environmental (climatic and edaphic) conditions such as temperature, relative humidity, sunshine hours, water duty, mechanical, chemical and biological soil structure. In this study, the authors concluded that soybean improved N use efficiency (NUE) for maize plant by growing soybean on both sides of maize ridge that distributed to two plants/hill spaced at 60 cm with adding 5 g to the plant instead of 6 g to the plant (238.0 kg N/ha instead of 285.6 kg N/ha). This system decreased 47.6 kg N/ha of the recommended mineral N rate of maize plants and achieved US$ 879/ha which formed the best bioengineered treatment under Egyptian conditions.

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