Agricultural and Food Science 2023-03-31T07:55:29+03:00 Tuula Puhakainen Open Journal Systems <p>Agricultural and Food Science (AFSci) publishes original research reports on agriculture and food research in relation to primary production in boreal agriculture. Acceptable papers must be of international interest and have a northern dimension. We especially welcome papers related to agriculture in Boreal and Baltic Sea Region.</p> Evaluation of the Finnish action plan for the sustainable use of pesticides 2018–2022 2023-02-06T09:43:04+02:00 Sari Autio Emilia Laitala Kaija Kallio-Mannila <p>The Finnish National Action Plan (NAP) on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products for 2018–2022 was evaluated by a survey indicated to the experts involved in its implementation in 2022. The survey revealed several successes such as the training and certification system of professional users, retailers and advisers, regular inspection of spray equipment, and the web-based register of plant protection products (PPP). Measures, where further improvement is necessary, are, e.g., setting of environmental quality standards for all active substances, and monitoring of surface and ground waters for PPP residues, which has suffered from a lack of resources during the NAP period. Overall screening of the sustainability goals revealed progress in all aspects, though targeting, resourcing, and monitoring remained the area with least progress compared to the same screening conducted in 2015. The perception of the experts on the constraints that limit the fulfilment of the NAP most seriously remained similar compared to their views in 2014. </p> 2023-03-31T00:00:00+03:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Sari Autio, Emilia Laitala, Kaija Kallio-Mannila Response of forage maize yield and quality to mulch film and harvest time in Northern Europe 2023-02-22T09:12:29+02:00 Anniina Lehtilä Auvo Sairanen Seija Jaakkola Tuomo Kokkonen Kaisa Kuoppala Tapani Jokiniemi Daniel Wasonga Pirjo Mäkelä <p>Forage maize (<em>Zea</em> <em>mays</em> L.) yield and nutritional quality fluctuate markedly in Northern Europe due to weather conditions. A field experiment was conducted in Southern Finland (Helsinki, 2018–2020) and in Central Finland (Maaninka, Kuopio, 2019–2020) to study the effect of harvest time and use of mulch film, in order to optimize the dry matter (DM) yield and quality. Treatments included oxo-biodegradable mulch film and no mulch, and three harvest times (the latter only in Helsinki). Mulch film increased DM yield on average by 2.3 Mg ha<sup>-1</sup> in Helsinki and by 3.8 Mg ha<sup>-1</sup> in Maaninka. Mulch film had a minor effect on the quality, and overall, the quality improved, although DM yield accumulation had already ceased. Nevertheless, the starch contents fluctuated and remained mostly below the target rate – 300 g kg<sup>-1</sup> DM – especially in Central Finland. The results indicate that mulch film improves forage maize yield, but a late harvest is still required to improve forage quality. However, climate conditions still restrict starch accumulation to ears in Northern European climate conditions, especially in the important milk production area in Central Finland.</p> 2023-03-31T00:00:00+03:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Anniina Lehtilä, Auvo Sairanen, Seija Jaakkola, Tuomo Kokkonen, Kaisa Kuoppala, Tapani Jokiniemi, Daniel O. Wasonga, Pirjo S.A. Mäkelä Action-oriented knowledge for sustainable management of organic soils in Finnish agriculture 2022-11-03T07:52:46+02:00 Ellen Huan-Niemi Suvi Huttunen Ari Paloviita Antti Puupponen Heikki Lehtonen Jyrki Niemi <p>Agriculture is a contributing force to climate change due to unsustainable changes in land use with the usage of peatlands for food production in Finland. The use of organic soils in food production is a complex and politically driven issue, thus multistakeholder and participatory approaches to policy development, implementation and evaluation are essential. This study is integrating qualitative and quantitative methods in an iterative process to produce action-oriented knowledge for supporting actions to sustainably manage peatlands and reduce the enormous greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural peatlands. This study has engaged inter-disciplinary researchers and transdisciplinary actors in the Finnish food system via farmers, regional and ministry officials, food industry representatives along with education and research representatives to produce action-oriented knowledge for sustainability. The results indicate that actions are needed to develop a shared understanding between relevant actors and stakeholders in the food system to create activities and effective policy measures to remove peatlands from active production in Finland. Therefore, there is a necessity to identify and define incentives from both the public and private sectors to remove peatlands from food production, and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Interventions that account for local, regional, and national perspectives should be co-created among the inter-disciplinary researchers and transdisciplinary actors in the food system to generate transformative and system-wide change in the transition towards a low-carbon society.</p> 2023-03-31T00:00:00+03:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Ellen Huan-Niemi, Suvi Huttunen, Ari Paloviita, Antti Puupponen, Heikki Lehtonen, Jyrki Niemi Acknowledgement of referees 2023-03-14T10:09:28+02:00 Tuula Puhakainen <p>Agricultural and Food Science expresses its sincere thanks to the following referees for their constructive critical reviews of one or more manuscripts during the year 2022.</p> 2023-03-31T00:00:00+03:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Tuula Puhakainen Increasing selenium concentration in Finnish organic milk using participatory action approach 2023-02-02T15:02:47+02:00 Eeva Kuusela Laura Okker Juho Kopra <p>Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for animals. In Finland, Se supplementary feeding and Se-enriched macronutrient fertilisers are used in conventional farming because the Se availability from soil is extremely low. The objective of this study was to improve Se concentration in organic milk by replacing sodium selenite (SS) in mineral-vitamin mixture with selenium yeast (SY) either completely or partly (50/50). The feeding experiment was conducted on 15 certified organic dairy farms in Eastern Finland during spring 2008. The cross-over design consisted of three treatments (SS treatment, SY treatment, and SS/SY treatment), three experimental periods (28 days each), and three farm groups (different order of treatments). Replacing SS with the same amount (0.2 mg Se kg<sup>-1</sup> feed dry matter) of SY more than doubled Se concentration in organic milk and their mixture resulted in slightly lower Se concentrations. In conclusion, SY supplementary feeding is needed to improve Se concentration in organic milk and Se supply to cows, their calves, and consumers.</p> 2023-03-31T00:00:00+03:00 Copyright (c) 2023 Eeva Kuusela, Laura Okker, Juho Kopra