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Gregory M. Peck, Ian A. Merwin, Christopher B. Watkins, Kathryn W. Chapman and Olga I. Padilla-Zakour

systems study should match cultivar and rootstock, plant age, and soil type by using paired orchards or replicated treatments within the same orchard to minimize external variables. In the current study, we measured the maturity and quality of fruit from

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J.P. Mueller, M. E. Barbercheck, M. Bell, C. Brownie, N.G. Creamer, A. Hitt, S. Hu, L. King, H.M. Linker, F.J. Louws, S. Marlow, M. Marra, C.W. Raczkowski, D.J. Susko and M.G. Wagger

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is dedicated to farming systems that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Established in 1994 at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDACS) Cherry Farm near Goldsboro, N.C.; CEFS operations extend over a land area of about 800 ha (2000 acres) [400 ha (1000 acres) cleared]. This unique center is a partnership among North Carolina State University (NCSU), North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University (NCATSU), NCDACS, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), other state and federal agencies, farmers and citizens. Long-term approaches that integrate the broad range of factors involved in agricultural systems are the focus of the Farming Systems Research Unit. The goal is to provide the empirical framework to address landscape-scale issues that impact long-run sustainability of North Carolina's agriculture. To this end, data collection and analyses include soil parameters (biological, chemical, physical), pests and predators (weeds, insects and disease), crop factors (growth, yield, and quality), economic factors, and energy issues. Five systems are being compared: a successional ecosystem, a plantation forestry-woodlot, an integrated crop-animal production system, an organic production system, and a cash-grain [best management practice (BMP)] cropping system. An interdisciplinary team of scientistsfrom the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU and NCATSU, along with individuals from the NCDACS, NGO representatives, and farmers are collaborating in this endeavor. Experimental design and protocol are discussed, in addition to challenges and opportunities in designing and implementing long-term farming systems trials.

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N.G. Creamer and J.P. Mueller

The Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) is dedicated to developing farming systems that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Established in 1994 at the North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture Cherry Farm near Goldsboro, CEFS has >2000 acres (1000 cleared). This unique center is a partnership among North Carolina State Univ., North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State Univ., North Carolina Dep. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, nongovernmental organizations, and other state and federal agencies, farmers, and citizens. Long-term cropping systems that integrate the broad range of factors involved in agricultural systems is the focus of the Cropping Systems Unit at CEFS. The USDA SARE program has provided funding to help establish a comprehensive long-term, large-scale experiment. Data collection and analyses include comprehensive soil and water quality, pests and predators (weeds, insects, and disease), crop factors (growth, yield, and quality), economic factors (viability, on/off farm impact, and community), and energy issues. Systems being compared are a successional ecosystem, plantation forestry/wood lot, integrated crop/animal production system, organic production system, and a cash-grain cropping system (BMP). An interdisciplinary team of scientists from almost every department from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, along with faculty from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State Univ., NGO representatives, and farmers are collaborating in this endeavor. Challenges and opportunities in building collaborative teams and setting up such long-term trials will be discussed.

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Ralph Scorza

The genetically available range in tree fruit architecture has not been fully utilized for tree fruit breeding or production. Higher planting densities, new training systems, high coats of pruning, the need to eliminate ladders in the orchard, and mechanized harvesting require a re-evaluation of tree architecture. Dwarf, semidwarf, columnar, and spur-type trees may be more efficient than standard tree forms, especially when combined with specific production systems. Studies of the growth of novel tree types and elucidation of the inheritance of growth habit components may allow breeders to combine canopy growth characteristics to produce trees tailored to evolving production systems.

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J. Farias-Larios, S. Guzman-Gonzalez and A. Michel-Rosales

The productivity of marginal soils frequently found in the arid tropics might be improved by using VAM fungi as “biofertilizer” and as a tool of sustainable agricultural systems. Study of mycorrhizas of fruit trees was performed in 1987 in western Mexico. More progress has been made in resources, taxonomy, anatomy and morphology, physiology, ecology, effects, and application of mycorrhizas in fruit trees and ornamental plants production. Currently, five genera has been identified and inoculated plants showed significant difference in respect to plants not inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi. Citrus trees were highly dependent on mycorrhizae for normal growth and development, while the banana plants showed lower levels of root colonization by different strains of VAM fungi. The added endomycorrhizal inoculum significantly increased root fungal colonization in fruit trees and reduce the time in nursery. The current status and research trends in the study of fruit tree mycorrhizas in western Mexico are introduced, and the application prospects in sustainable agriculture also are discussed.

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Yun Kong and Youbin Zheng

levels for the growth of many halophytes have been shown to be 50–250 m m NaCl ( Flowers and Colmer, 2008 ). Suboptimal NaCl concentration may reduce plant growth, which is especially evident in hydroponic system studies; for example, 5–10 vs. 200 m m

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Susannah Amundson, Dennis E. Deyton, Dean A. Kopsell, Walt Hitch, Ann Moore and Carl E. Sams

per plant and fruit weight, while increasing the risk for diseases and pests. High plant densities are best used in situations with high light or where fruit size is not of great concern. Expt. 2. In the production systems study, the treatment effect

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Yuan Zhang, Chen Wang, HongZheng Ma and SiLan Dai

, A.P. 2010 Microsatellites for the mangrove tree Avicennia germinans (Acanthaceae): Tools for hybridization and mating system studies Amer. J. Bot. 97 e79 e81 Nei, M. 1978 Estimation of average heterozygosity and genetic distance from a small number

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Guangyao Wang and Mathieu Ngouajio

without affecting cucumber establishment. Therefore, the rapid growth of cucumber and the weed suppression from integration of cover crops and conservation tillage provide the rationale for reduced herbicide rates in cucumber production systems. Studies

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Ajay Nair and Brandon Carpenter

proper pH, aeration, and optimum water and nutrient retention for uniform seed germination and development of a healthy root system. Studies have shown that a high-quality transplant with a healthy root system has a positive effect on the vigor and