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Agriculture, Volume 11, Issue 1 (January 2021) – 82 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Incorporating manure into soil can add nutrients, improve soil structure and enhance biodiversity, improving the sustainability of vegetable production. Manure can contain human pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. While these bacteria can potentially contaminate vegetables, populations in soil often decline rapidly over time. Our trials found that E. coli populations in soil fell close to or below detectable levels within 50 days under Australian field conditions. At least 99% of Salmonella spp. died within 3 weeks, but the bacteria remained occasionally detectable (with enrichment) after 50 days. Listeria spp. was the most persistent in soil, but was not detected on lettuce at harvest maturity. The results suggest that Australia’s current guideline for at least 90 days between manure application and harvest reduces contamination risk. View [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Yield and Economic Results of Different Mechanical Pruning Strategies on “Navel Foyos” Oranges in the Mediterranean Area
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 82; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010082 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Pruning is one of the most manpower-consuming agricultural operations in citrus production. Mechanical pruning can help to reduce pruning time and costs. In order to obtain the knowledge of its effects on the important orange variety “Navel Foyos”, several pruning strategies that include [...] Read more.
Pruning is one of the most manpower-consuming agricultural operations in citrus production. Mechanical pruning can help to reduce pruning time and costs. In order to obtain the knowledge of its effects on the important orange variety “Navel Foyos”, several pruning strategies that include manual pruning and various intensities of mechanical pruning were tested for three years. The results showed that in “Navel Foyos” oranges, the mechanical pruning strategies did not affect the yield nor the size of the fruit in comparison with manual pruning. In conclusion, mechanical strategies are a potential alternative to manual pruning because they reduce the time necessary to prune and the pruning costs, thereby maintaining or even increasing the yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Systems and Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Dynamic of Nitrogen Uptake from Different Sources by Pea (Pisum sativum L.)
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 81; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010081 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 415
Abstract
Nitrogen uptake from various sources by plants capable of biological reduction of N2 in symbiotic systems with root nodule bacteria is influenced by many factors. The aim of the study was to examine the influence of the development stage and variety of [...] Read more.
Nitrogen uptake from various sources by plants capable of biological reduction of N2 in symbiotic systems with root nodule bacteria is influenced by many factors. The aim of the study was to examine the influence of the development stage and variety of pea (Pisum sativum L.) cultivated in years with different temperature and precipitation conditions on the dynamics of nitrogen uptake from the atmosphere (Ndfa), fertilizer (Ndff), and soil (Ndfs). Pre-sowing nitrogen fertilization with the 15N isotope and the isotope dilution method were used in the research. The highest rate of Ndfa uptake was noted between the three-internode stage and the stage of the first visible flower buds outside the leaves, while Ndff and Ndfs uptake was highest between the 4-leaf stage and the 3-internode stage. The lowest rate of Ndfa uptake was noted from sowing to the four-leaf stage, while Ndff and Ndfs uptake was lowest between the stage when 50% of pods were of typical length and full maturity. Nitrogen uptake from all sources was similar for all pea cultivars, but significantly depended on the variable temperature and precipitation conditions (years of the study). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions in Organic Farming)
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Open AccessArticle
Meteorological Conditions in a Temperate Climate for Colletotrichum acutatum, Strawberry Pathogen Distribution and Susceptibility of Different Cultivars to Anthracnose
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 80; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010080 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 422
Abstract
Previously, Colletotrichum spp. has been considered a warmer climate pathogen as these meteorological conditions are most optimal for its development. However, climate change is fostering the spread of plant disease and complicating the ability to predict meteorological conditions for disease development. This study [...] Read more.
Previously, Colletotrichum spp. has been considered a warmer climate pathogen as these meteorological conditions are most optimal for its development. However, climate change is fostering the spread of plant disease and complicating the ability to predict meteorological conditions for disease development. This study aims to determine meteorological conditions for anthracnose development, evaluate the susceptibility of different strawberry cultivars and detect the distribution of strawberry pathogens in temperate climate conditions. The experiment was carried out in the Institute of Horticulture Lithuanian Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry (LAMMC) in Lithuania during the 2018–2019 strawberry growing season. To evaluate the contamination levels (fungal and bacterial pathogens) of strawberry plant parts, soil and susceptibility to Colletotrichumacutatum, samples were collected at four different locations in Lithuania from eleven cultivars. The results revealed that Colletotrichum spp. was not equally prevalent in the soil at all strawberry farms tested. The evaluation indicated that strawberry leaves and stems were similarly contaminated with pathogenic fungi. The most frequently isolated fungi from the leaves and stems were Mycosphaerella spp., Alternaria spp., Fusarium spp., Colletotrichum spp., Phytophthora spp., and Botrytis spp. Our study confirmed that the response of cultivar susceptibility to C. acutatum was unequal. The most suitable temperature for C.acutatum development was 25 °C. Monitoring of meteorological conditions, evaluation of inoculum source and appropriate cultivar selection could reduce or avoid yield losses caused by the C. acutatum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pest and Weeds)
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Open AccessArticle
Grain Yield and Total Protein Content of Organically Grown Oats–Vetch Mixtures Depending on Soil Type and Oats’ Cultivar
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 79; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010079 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 378
Abstract
The yield and quality of crop mixtures depend on natural and agrotechnical factors and their relationships. This research aimed to analyze the grain yield, its components and total protein content of the organically grown oat–vetch mixture on two different soils and depending on [...] Read more.
The yield and quality of crop mixtures depend on natural and agrotechnical factors and their relationships. This research aimed to analyze the grain yield, its components and total protein content of the organically grown oat–vetch mixture on two different soils and depending on the oat cultivar. The three-year field experiment with two crop rotations was carried out. The experiment was set up in the southern Poland on two soils: Stagnic Luvisol (S.L.) and Haplic Cambisol (H.C.). One of four oat cultivars (‘Celer’, ‘Furman’, ‘Grajcar’ and ‘Kasztan’) was grown with the common vetch cv. ‘Hanka’. The results showed that the grain yield of mixtures was affected mainly by weather conditions. During the dry season, the share of vetch in the grain yield was 46% lower than in the season of regular rainfall. The share of vetch seeds in the mixture’s yield was ca. 21% higher when the mixtures were grown on the S.L. than the H.C. soil. The selection of oats’ cultivar for the mixture with vetch affected significantly the thousand seed mass and protein content in the vetch seeds, 46.2–50.4 g and 270–280 g kg−1, respectively. The mixture with Kasztan cultivar yielded the best and this oat cultivar seemed to be the most appropriate for organic conditions; however, in years with high variability of rainfall distribution its usefulness was less. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productive and Ecological Aspects of Mixed Cropping System)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Policy and Factor Intensity on Sustainable Value of European Agriculture: Exploring Trade-Offs of Environmental, Economic and Social Efficiency at the Regional Level
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 78; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010078 - 18 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 392
Abstract
Although sustainable development is a topic broadly discussed in the literature in relation to existing policy stimulus, a holistic approach to the implementation of sustainability in agriculture—for which there are three dimensions (economic, social and environmental)—is still missing. A regional approach, which averages [...] Read more.
Although sustainable development is a topic broadly discussed in the literature in relation to existing policy stimulus, a holistic approach to the implementation of sustainability in agriculture—for which there are three dimensions (economic, social and environmental)—is still missing. A regional approach, which averages the entire EU region, could therefore be useful in the long term for recommending directional guidelines for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The objective of this study is to investigate the impact of key groups of CAP instruments and factor intensity on the three above-mentioned aspects of sustainability in the 2004–2017 period, with the assumption that they are all reciprocally related. This goal was achieved by measuring sustainability using the modified sustainable value approach combined with frontier-based nonparametric assessment and applying structural equation modelling, including multilevel random intercept. This research highlights trade-offs between environmental, economic and social efficiency and checks the impact of the EU CAP schemes on the sustainability of environmental, economic, and social dimensions in agriculture. Despite common indications of trade-offs, particularly between economic performance and eco-efficiency, our study shows that in the long term, such feedback has not occurred in any EU regions. Moreover, there are positive interactions between all three dimensions of sustainability from a cross-sectional perspective. The analysis of the impact of CAP subsidies proves that the current system of agri-environmental, set-aside and rural development payments has been effective in the long term, although broader implementation of environmental schemes in regions with lower labour productivity may negatively affect social sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Propylene Glycol and Non-Destructive DNA Extractions Enable Preservation and Isolation of Insect and Hosted Bacterial DNA
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 77; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010077 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 478
Abstract
Plant bio-protection and biosecurity programs worldwide use trap-based surveillance for the early detection of agricultural pests and pathogens to contain their incursions and spread. This task is reliant on effective preservation in insect traps, which is required to maintain specimen quality for extended [...] Read more.
Plant bio-protection and biosecurity programs worldwide use trap-based surveillance for the early detection of agricultural pests and pathogens to contain their incursions and spread. This task is reliant on effective preservation in insect traps, which is required to maintain specimen quality for extended periods under variable environmental conditions. Furthermore, with traditional morphological examinations now increasingly paired with modern molecular diagnostic techniques, insect traps are required to preserve both the specimens’ morphology and the DNA of insects and vectored bacterial pathogens. Here, we used psyllids (Hemiptera) and their hosted bacteria as a model to test the preservative ability of propylene glycol (PG): a non-flammable, easily transportable preservative agent that could be used in pitfall, suction or malaise traps. We tested preservation using various PG concentrations, at different temperatures and for multiple time periods, paired with non-destructive DNA extraction methods, which allow isolation of both insect and arbobacterial DNA while retaining a morphological voucher of the insect host specimens. PG concentrations between 40% and 100% performed best for both insect and bacterial DNA preservation up to 28 days. Ultimately, given the viscous nature of PG at high concentrations, we recommend using it at a concentration between 40% and 60% to enable insects to sink into the solution, thus enhancing DNA preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pest and Weeds)
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Open AccessArticle
Content and Uptake of Ash and Selected Nutrients (K, Ca, S) with Biomass of Miscanthus × giganteus Depending on Nitrogen Fertilization
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 76; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010076 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 391
Abstract
Fertilisation has a significant impact not only on the yielding, but also on the quality of the harvested biomass. Among energy crops, Miscanthus × giganteus are some of the most important plants used for combustion process. The chemical composition of biomass has significant [...] Read more.
Fertilisation has a significant impact not only on the yielding, but also on the quality of the harvested biomass. Among energy crops, Miscanthus × giganteus are some of the most important plants used for combustion process. The chemical composition of biomass has significant impact on the quality of combustion biomass. The effect of nitrogen fertilisation (with dose of 60 kg N ha−1) in different terms of biomass sampling on the content and uptake of crude ash, potassium, calcium and sulphur by rhizomes, stems, leaves and the aboveground part of miscanthus was evaluated in the paper. Nitrogen fertilisation contributed to the increase of ash content in the rhizomes and the aboveground part of plants. Independently of nitrogen fertilisation potassium content decreased in the whole vegetation period; in the case of stems this decrease amounted 60%. Calcium content in various parts of plants was highly differentiated compared to potassium content. Average calcium content in the aboveground parts was 2.68 higher compared to rhizomes. Nitrogen fertilisation affected significantly on potassium, calcium and sulphur uptake in all examined parts of plants (except stems in the case of calcium uptake). Uptake of crude ash under nitrogen fertilisation was significantly higher in all examined parts of plants during the whole vegetation period. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Elucidating the Rhizosphere Associated Bacteria for Environmental Sustainability
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 75; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010075 - 18 Jan 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
The abundance of nutrient accumulation in rhizosphere soils has placed the rhizosphere as an “epicenter” of bacterial concentrations. Nonetheless, over the years, little attention has been given to bacterial inoculants and soil-like substrates. The reason is that many farmers and experiments have focused [...] Read more.
The abundance of nutrient accumulation in rhizosphere soils has placed the rhizosphere as an “epicenter” of bacterial concentrations. Nonetheless, over the years, little attention has been given to bacterial inoculants and soil-like substrates. The reason is that many farmers and experiments have focused on chemical fertilizers as an approach to improve plant growth and yield. Therefore, we focused on assessing the application of rhizosphere soil and its associated bacteria for biotechnological applications. This review has been structured into major subunits: rhizosphere soil as a treasure trove for bacterial community concentration, biodegradation of lignocellulose for biofuel production, rhizosphere soil and its bacteria as soil amendments, and the role of rhizosphere soil and its bacteria for bioremediation and biofiltration. Hence, the efficient use of rhizosphere soil and its bacteria in an environmentally friendly way can contribute to healthy and sustainable environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Smooth Golden Fleece and Prickly Golden Fleece as Potential New Vegetables for the Ready-to-Eat Production Chain
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 74; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010074 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 870
Abstract
Smooth golden fleece (Urospermum dalechampii (L.) F.W. Schmidt) and prickly golden fleece (Urospermum picroides (L.) Scop. ex F.W. Schmid) are two wild edible plants used in traditional cuisine and folk medicine. In this research, the domestication of both species was tested [...] Read more.
Smooth golden fleece (Urospermum dalechampii (L.) F.W. Schmidt) and prickly golden fleece (Urospermum picroides (L.) Scop. ex F.W. Schmid) are two wild edible plants used in traditional cuisine and folk medicine. In this research, the domestication of both species was tested for the first time using a floating system and two plant densities (412 and 824 plants m−2) to evaluate yield and quality. Some quality traits were also compared in cultivated plants and wild ones gathered in grasslands. The results show that both species are suitable for cultivation, although prickly golden fleece showed highest total phenols (132 mg 100 g−1 fresh weight—f.w.) and total antioxidant activity (0.19 mg 100 g−1 f.w.). At low sowing density, smooth golden fleece showed a nitrate content of about 7200 mg kg−1 f.w., 38% higher than plants of the same species grown at high density and plants of prickly golden fleece. These results suggest that high density can be used to optimize yield in two harvests. By permitting modulation of nutrients and a product without soil residues, the floating system used in this study proved suitable for growing U. dalechhampii and U. picroides as new vegetables for the ready-to-eat production chain. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Durability of Zambia’s Agricultural Exports
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 73; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010073 - 17 Jan 2021
Viewed by 643
Abstract
This paper establishes the determinants of the export durability of agriculture products in Zambia with specific attention to maize, sugar, cotton, and tobacco between 1996 and 2019. We find that approximately 39% of Zambia’s agricultural products were exported beyond the first year of [...] Read more.
This paper establishes the determinants of the export durability of agriculture products in Zambia with specific attention to maize, sugar, cotton, and tobacco between 1996 and 2019. We find that approximately 39% of Zambia’s agricultural products were exported beyond the first year of trading and less than 10% lasted up to 6 years of trading. The mean and median duration of exporting agricultural products in Zambia was 1.7 years and 1 year, respectively. Among the products, maize had the highest export duration after the first year of trading, followed by sugar, tobacco, and cotton. Results of the discrete-time logit and probit models with random effects revealed that the duration of total agricultural products was significantly impacted by common colony, contiguity, partner’s gross domestic product (GDP), Zambia’s GDP, initial exports, and total exports. Of these factors, colonial history and Zambia’s GDP reduced export duration, while contiguity, partner’s GDP, initial exports, and total exports increased the durability of exports in Zambia. The effect of Zambia’s GDP was uniform across all individual agricultural products. Total exports also significantly impacted all other agriculture products in a similar manner except for maize. Export durability for cotton was significantly impacted by the Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs), while the export durability of tobacco was significantly impacted by distance, contiguity, and partner’s GDP. To increase the duration of agriculture exports, we propose the exporting of finished agriculture products (and not just raw materials), which have a higher market value and duration probability. Farmers also need support with export subsidies, increased foreign market access (especially to economies with higher buying power), and negotiated favorable trade terms in the region and around the globe. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Three Deep Machine-Learning Algorithms in a Construction Assessment Model of Farmland Quality at the County Scale: Case Study of Xiangzhou, Hubei Province, China
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 72; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010072 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Constructing a scientific and quantitative quality-assessment model for farmland is important for understanding farmland quality, and can provide a theoretical basis and technical support for formulating rational and effective management policies and realizing the sustainable use of farmland resources. To more accurately reflect [...] Read more.
Constructing a scientific and quantitative quality-assessment model for farmland is important for understanding farmland quality, and can provide a theoretical basis and technical support for formulating rational and effective management policies and realizing the sustainable use of farmland resources. To more accurately reflect the systematic, complex, and differential characteristics of farmland quality, this study aimed to explore an intelligent farmland quality-assessment method that avoids the subjectivity of determining indicator weights while improving assessment accuracy. Taking Xiangzhou in Hubei Province, China, as the study area, 14 indicators were selected from four dimensions—terrain, soil conditions, socioeconomics, and ecological environment—to build a comprehensive assessment index system for farmland quality applicable to the region. A total of 1590 representative samples in Xiangzhou were selected, of which 1110 were used as training samples, 320 as test samples, and 160 as validation samples. Three models of entropy weight (EW), backpropagation neural network (BPNN), and random forest (RF) were selected for training, and the assessment results of farmland quality were output through simulations to compare their assessment accuracy and analyze the distribution pattern of farmland quality grades in Xiangzhou in 2018. The results showed the following: (1) The RF model for farmland quality assessment required fewer parameters, and could simulate the complex relationships between indicators more accurately and analyze each indicator’s contribution to farmland quality scientifically. (2) In terms of the average quality index of farmland, RF > BPNN > EW. The spatial patterns of the quality index from RF and BPNN were similar, and both were significantly different from EW. (3) In terms of the assessment results and precision characterization indicators, the assessment results of RF were more in line with realities of natural and socioeconomic development, with higher applicability and reliability. (4) Compared to BPNN and EW, RF had a higher data mining ability and training accuracy, and its assessment result was the best. The coefficient of determination (R2) was 0.8145, the mean absolute error (MAE) was 0.009, and the mean squared error (MSE) was 0.012. (5) The overall quality of farmland in Xiangzhou was higher, with a larger area of second- and third-grade farmland, accounting for 54.63%, and the grade basically conformed to the trend of positive distribution, showing an obvious pattern of geographical distribution, with overall high performance in the north-central part and low in the south. The distribution of farmland quality grades also varied widely among regions. This showed that RF was more suitable for the quality assessment of farmland with complex nonlinear characteristics. This study enriches and improves the index system and methodological research of farmland quality assessment at the county scale, and provides a basis for achieving a threefold production pattern of farmland quantity, quality, and ecology in Xiangzhou, while also serving as a reference for similar regions and countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Shoot Girdling Improves Rooting Performance of Kalamata Olive Cuttings by Upregulating Carbohydrates, Polyamines and Phenolic Compounds
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 71; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010071 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 323
Abstract
Girdling (a ring of bark approximately 5 mm wide) was applied on olive mother plants to investigate its effect on the rooting ability of cuttings. Treatment was applied in autumn and in spring. The cuttings were then immersed for 5 s into 2000 [...] Read more.
Girdling (a ring of bark approximately 5 mm wide) was applied on olive mother plants to investigate its effect on the rooting ability of cuttings. Treatment was applied in autumn and in spring. The cuttings were then immersed for 5 s into 2000 mg L−1 indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) in a 45% v/v ethanolic solution. Thirty days after girdling, cuttings were taken from girdled and control shoots from the part just above the girdle zone (basal), as well as from the part right above (middle). The base of the cuttings was collected, and the concentration of polyamines, phenolic compounds and soluble carbohydrates was determined. Girdling enhanced the rooting performance of the cuttings, while autumn proved to be a better season for rooting compared to spring. Girdling positively affected the concentration of all the measured parameters. The main characteristics of autumn cuttings were the high levels of glucose, mannitol, free and total polyamines, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, verbascoside, oleuropein, quercetin and luteolin. The cuttings taken from the middle part of the girdled shoot exhibited high sucrose, glucose, mannitol, free polyamines, hydroxytyrosol, luteolin-7-glucoside, total phenols and flavanol concentrations. Nonetheless, further research is needed in order to draw conclusions on the overall efficiency of girdling on inducing rooting of olive cuttings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genome-Wide Association Study Using a Multiparent Advanced Generation Intercross (MAGIC) Population Identified QTLs and Candidate Genes to Predict Shoot and Grain Zinc Contents in Rice
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 70; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010070 - 16 Jan 2021
Viewed by 482
Abstract
Zinc (Zn) is an essential trace element for the growth and development of both humans and plants. Increasing the accumulation of Zn in rice grains is important for the world’s nutrition and health. In this study, we used a multiparent advanced generation intercross [...] Read more.
Zinc (Zn) is an essential trace element for the growth and development of both humans and plants. Increasing the accumulation of Zn in rice grains is important for the world’s nutrition and health. In this study, we used a multiparent advanced generation intercross (MAGIC) population constructed using four parental lines and genotyped using a 55 K rice SNP array to identify QTLs related to Zn2+ concentrations in shoots at the seedling stage and grains at the mature stage. Five QTLs were detected as being associated with shoot Zn2+ concentration at the seedling stage, which explained 3.7–5.7% of the phenotypic variation. Six QTLs were detected as associated with grain Zn2+ concentration at the mature stage, which explained 5.5–8.9% of the phenotypic variation. Among the QTLs, qSZn2-1/qGZn2 and qSZn3/qGZn3 were identified as being associated with both the shoot and grain contents. Based on gene annotation and literature information, 16 candidate genes were chosen in the regions of qSZn1, qSZn2-1/qGZn2, qSZn3/qGZn3, qGZn7, and qGZn8. Analysis of candidate genes through qRT-PCR, complementation assay using the yeast Zn-uptake-deficient double-mutant ZHY3, and sequencing of the four parental lines suggested that LOC_Os02g06010 may play an important role in Zn2+ accumulation in indica rice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rice Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Responses of Branch Number and Yield Component of Soybean Cultivars Tested in Different Planting Densities
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11010069 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 372
Abstract
Increasing planting density is one of the key management practices to enhance soybean yield. A 2-yr field experiment was conducted in 2018 and 2019 including six planting densities and two soybean cultivars to determine the effects of planting density on branch number and [...] Read more.
Increasing planting density is one of the key management practices to enhance soybean yield. A 2-yr field experiment was conducted in 2018 and 2019 including six planting densities and two soybean cultivars to determine the effects of planting density on branch number and yield, and analyze the contribution of branches to yield. The yield of ZZXA12938 was 4389 kg ha−1, which was significantly higher than that of ZH13 (+22.4%). In combination with planting year and cultivar, the soybean yield increased significantly by 16.2%, 31.4%, 41.4%, and 46.7% for every increase in density of 45,000 plants ha−1. Yield will not increase when planting density exceeds 315,000 plants ha−1. A correlation analysis showed that pod number per plant increased with the increased branch number, while pod number per unit area decreased; thus, soybean yield decreased. With the increase of branch number, the branch contribution to yield increased first, and then plateaued. ZH13 could produce a high yield under a lower planting density due to more branches, while ZZXA12938 had a higher yield potential under a higher planting density due to the smaller branch number and higher tolerance to close planting. Therefore, seed yield can be increased by selecting cultivars with a little branching capacity under moderately close planting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antiarthritic Potential of Calotropis procera Leaf Fractions in FCA-Induced Arthritic Rats: Involvement of Cellular Inflammatory Mediators and Other Biomarkers
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 68; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010068 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 302
Abstract
Calotropis procera (commonly known as Swallow wort) is described in the Ayurvedic literature for the treatment of inflammation and arthritic disorders. Therefore, in the present work, the antiarthritic activity of potential fractions of Swallow wort leaf was evaluated and compared with standards (indomethacin [...] Read more.
Calotropis procera (commonly known as Swallow wort) is described in the Ayurvedic literature for the treatment of inflammation and arthritic disorders. Therefore, in the present work, the antiarthritic activity of potential fractions of Swallow wort leaf was evaluated and compared with standards (indomethacin and ibuprofen). This study was designed in Wistar rats for the investigation of antiarthritic activity and acute toxicity of Swallow wort. Arthritis was induced in Wistar rats by injecting 0.1 mL of Freund’s complete adjuvant (FCA) on the 1st and 7th days subcutaneously into the subplantar region of the left hind paw. Evaluation of our experimental findings suggested that antiarthritic activity of methanol fraction of Swallow wort (MFCP) was greater than ethyl acetate fraction of Swallow wort (EAFCP), equal to standard ibuprofen, and slightly lower than standard indomethacin. MFCP significantly reduced paw edema on the 17th, 21st, 24th, and 28th days. It also showed significant effect (p < 0.01) on arthritic score, paw withdrawal latency, and body weight. The inhibition of serum lysosomal enzymes and proinflammatory cytokines along with improvement of radiographic features of hind legs was also recorded with MFCP. Finally, it was concluded that MFCP can be a feasible therapeutic candidate for the treatment of inflammatory arthritis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Could the Content of Soluble Carbohydrates in the Young Shoots of Selected Willow Cultivars Be a Determinant of the Plants’ Attractiveness to Cervids (Cervidae, Mammalia)?
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 67; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010067 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 379
Abstract
Ten willow cultivars grown in experimental plots were evaluated for performance, attractiveness to foragers, and the content and composition of soluble carbohydrates. The survival of willow cuttings in a thicket and in browse plots differed subject to cultivar, soil quality, and soil moisture [...] Read more.
Ten willow cultivars grown in experimental plots were evaluated for performance, attractiveness to foragers, and the content and composition of soluble carbohydrates. The survival of willow cuttings in a thicket and in browse plots differed subject to cultivar, soil quality, and soil moisture content. The number of stump sprouts varied considerably, from 1.1 shoots in the weakest soils in Słonin, Poland, to 3.43 in the plot in Czempin, Poland. Browse plots were established in 2017. They were cut, and fencing was removed in early spring of 2019. Young shoots (10 cm shoot tip with buds, preferably eaten by animals) were sampled for analyses of soluble carbohydrates as potential attractors for foraging cervids. All willow cultivars contained the same soluble carbohydrates: glucose, fructose, galactose, sucrose, myo-inositol, galactinol, and raffinose. Total carbohydrate content ranged from 21.31 (S. amygdalina 1045) to 69.37 mg/g−1 DM (dry matter) (S. purpurea). Glucose was the predominant soluble sugar in the shoots of all willow cultivars, excluding S. viminalis. The fructose content of the shoots was approximately twice lower than their glucose content in all willow cultivars. Smaller differences were observed in the content of myo-inositol, which ranged from 4.61 (S. amygdalina 1045) to 8.26 mg/g−1 DM (S. fragilis cv. Kamon/Resko). The phloem of all willow species contained small quantities of galactinol and trace amounts of raffinose. Weak negative correlations were noted between total carbohydrate content, the content of glucose, fructose, and galactose vs. the attractiveness of willow shoots to foraging cervids. The remaining carbohydrates that occurred in smaller quantities in willow shoots were not correlated with their attractiveness to cervids. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Cellulase and Lactic Acid Bacteria Inoculant to Modify Ensiling Characteristics and In Vitro Digestibility of Sweet Corn Stover and Cassava Pulp Silage
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 66; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010066 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 463
Abstract
Improving the productive performance of agricultural residue silage has practical relevance to sustaining livestock production. Sweet corn stover (SCS) and cassava pulp (CSVP) are widespread in the tropics as low-cost feed resources. To efficiently prepare SCS and CSVP silage, the impact of adding [...] Read more.
Improving the productive performance of agricultural residue silage has practical relevance to sustaining livestock production. Sweet corn stover (SCS) and cassava pulp (CSVP) are widespread in the tropics as low-cost feed resources. To efficiently prepare SCS and CSVP silage, the impact of adding Acremonium cellulase (AC), Lactobacillus casei strain TH14 inoculant (TH14), and their combination (AC+TH14) on ensiling characteristics, microbial population, chemical compositions, and in vitro digestibility were tested in comparison to control (no additive). After 60 d of ensiling, the pH value and ammonia nitrogen content of silage were lower (p < 0.05) when AC was used as the additive. Compared with other treatments, TH14 provided abundant lactic acid fermentation in silage. All tested additives increased the crude protein (CP) content and decreased the neutral detergent fiber (NDF) content of SCS silage. In CSVP silage, only AC and AC+TH14 altered the CP and NDF content. In addition, AC and AC+TH14 provided greater in vitro dry matter digestibility and a lower in vitro fiber digestibility. Overall, optimized either AC or TH14 can be recommended as an attractive additive to improve the ensiling characteristics of SCS and CSVP silage. AC significantly modifies the in vitro digestibility of silage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
Open AccessReview
Recommended vs. Practice: Smallholder Fertilizer Decisions in Central Myanmar
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010065 - 14 Jan 2021
Viewed by 401
Abstract
Agriculture in Myanmar has substantial development potential given the abundance of land, water, and labor resources in the country. Despite this, agricultural productivity in Myanmar is low and farm incomes are amongst the lowest in Asia. The underperformance of crops and low yield [...] Read more.
Agriculture in Myanmar has substantial development potential given the abundance of land, water, and labor resources in the country. Despite this, agricultural productivity in Myanmar is low and farm incomes are amongst the lowest in Asia. The underperformance of crops and low yield is widely reported to be due to low fertilizer use by smallholders. This study investigated the perceptions of smallholders about fertilizer use for cereal crops by considering their motives and decision making. We reported results of a 600 smallholders’ survey and tested whether the reportedly low fertilizer use by smallholders is generally true for central Myanmar. We compared the fertilizer application timing against recommended “good management practices”. Among the surveyed rice farmers, the average fertilizer applied was much higher than previously reported national average fertilizer rates while the majority of the surveyed maize farmers were found to be applying less than the national recommended rates. With respect to timing, nearly half of the surveyed smallholders were not applying nitrogen at the estimated panicle initiation stage, which is often crucial to increase yield, and the majority (82%) of smallholders were applying phosphorus throughout the growth stages, when earlier applications are desirable. Smallholders may be able to reduce the cost of labor by reducing the number of P applications and avoiding late applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Drought Tolerant near Isogenic Lines (NILs) of Pusa 44 Developed through Marker Assisted Introgression of qDTY2.1 and qDTY3.1 Enhances Yield under Reproductive Stage Drought Stress
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010064 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 472
Abstract
Reproductive stage drought stress (RSDS) is detrimental for rice, which affects its productivity as well as grain quality. In the present study, we introgressed two major quantitative trait loci (QTLs), namely, qDTY2.1 and qDTY3.1, governing RSDS tolerance in a popular high yielding [...] Read more.
Reproductive stage drought stress (RSDS) is detrimental for rice, which affects its productivity as well as grain quality. In the present study, we introgressed two major quantitative trait loci (QTLs), namely, qDTY2.1 and qDTY3.1, governing RSDS tolerance in a popular high yielding non-aromatic rice cultivar, Pusa 44, through marker-assisted backcross breeding (MABB). Pusa 44 is highly sensitive to RSDS, which restricts its cultivation across drought-prone environments. Foreground selection was carried out using markers, RM520 for qDTY3.1 and RM 521 for qDTY2.1. Background selection was achieved with 97 polymorphic SSR markers in tandem with phenotypic selection to achieve faster recurrent parent genome (RPG) recovery. Three successive backcrosses followed by three selfings aided RPG recoveries of 98.6% to 99.4% among 31 near isogenic lines (NILs). Fourteen NILs were found to be significantly superior in yield and grain quality under RSDS with higher drought tolerance efficiency (DTE) than Pusa 44. Among these, the evaluation of two promising NILs in the multilocational trial during Kharif 2019 showed that they were significantly superior to Pusa 44 under reproductive stage drought stress, while performing on par with Pusa 44 under normal irrigated conditions. These di-QTL pyramided drought-tolerant NILs are in the final stages of testing the All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project varietal trials for cultivar release. Alternately, the elite drought-tolerant Pusa 44 NILs will serve as an invaluable source of drought tolerance in rice improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rice Breeding and Genetics)
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Open AccessArticle
Research on Measurement Method of Leaf Length and Width Based on Point Cloud
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010063 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Leaf is an important organ for photosynthesis and transpiration associated with the plants’ growth. Through the study of leaf phenotype, it the physiological characteristics produced by the interaction of the morphological parameters with the environment can be understood. In order to realize the [...] Read more.
Leaf is an important organ for photosynthesis and transpiration associated with the plants’ growth. Through the study of leaf phenotype, it the physiological characteristics produced by the interaction of the morphological parameters with the environment can be understood. In order to realize the assessment of the spatial morphology of leaves, a method based on three-dimensional stereo vision was introduced to extract the shape information, including the length and width of the leaves. Firstly, a depth sensor was used to collect the point cloud of plant leaves. Then, the leaf coordinate system was adjusted by principal component analysis to extract the region of interest; and compared with a cross-sectional method, the geodesic distance method, we proposed a method based on the cutting plane to obtain the intersecting line of the three-dimensional leaf model. Eggplant leaves were used to compare the accuracy of these methods in the measurement of a single leaf. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Storage on Physiological Properties, Chemical Composition, and Bioactive Compounds on Cactus Pear Fruit (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.)
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010062 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 405
Abstract
Cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) fruit from ‘Orito’ cultivar were stored at 2 °C and 90% RH for 28 days plus three days at 20 °C (shelf life, SL). This research analysed the changes in fruit quality parameters (weight loss, firmness, [...] Read more.
Cactus pear (Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.) fruit from ‘Orito’ cultivar were stored at 2 °C and 90% RH for 28 days plus three days at 20 °C (shelf life, SL). This research analysed the changes in fruit quality parameters (weight loss, firmness, color, titratable acidity, and total soluble solids), ethylene production, respiration rate, antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds (total phenols and carotenoids) of cactus pear fruit during cold and shelf life storage. Under cold conditions, CO2 production decreased, and ethylene production increased slightly, while under shelf life conditions CO2 production increased and ethylene production increased more sharply. Firmness increased under cold conditions and did not change during shelf life period. The content of total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), pH, total carotenoids, and lipo-antioxidant activity (L-TAA) remained stable under both conservation conditions. However, hydro-antioxidant activity (H-TAA) increased under both cold and shelf life conditions, and total phenols remained stable during cold storage and increased under shelf life conditions. Besides, weight loss was acceptable under both storage conditions, and color changes were more pronounced under shelf life storage. These results show that the marketability of cactus pear fruit from ‘Orito’ cultivar was acceptable until the end of the storage under cold and shelf life conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce)
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Open AccessArticle
Root Distribution of Brassica napus and Vicia faba within the Sheath of Root or Earthworm Biopore
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010061 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 417
Abstract
Root growth through biopores is facilitated by low mechanical impedance and nutrient enrichment due to the deposition of organic material at the biopore sheath. Plant roots and earthworms impact biopore sheath properties differently. However, the literature lacks a quantitative study of the root [...] Read more.
Root growth through biopores is facilitated by low mechanical impedance and nutrient enrichment due to the deposition of organic material at the biopore sheath. Plant roots and earthworms impact biopore sheath properties differently. However, the literature lacks a quantitative study of the root distribution within the sheath of pores, which were originated by taproots or earthworms. According to previous literature on pore connectivity, it can be hypothesized that precrops encourage root growth into the biopore sheath in comparison to an earthworm characterized sheath. A pot experiment was performed to compare the root distribution of spring oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) and faba bean (Vicia faba L.) within the biopore sheath of two different biopore types. The biopore sheath was characterized by taprooted chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) or anecic earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris L.). Roots were sampled at the biopore lumen and at lateral distances of 0–2, 2–4, 4–8 (sheath) and 20–36 mm (bulk soil) from the biopore wall surface. In both pore types >50% of the root length (cm) and >70% fine roots of oilseed rape were found in a comparatively small soil area (Lumen + 2 mm). On the contrary, faba bean grew primarily through the bulk soil with >75% root length and rarely into the biopore sheath in both pore types. In both species there was a lateral decrease of the total nitrogen (Nt)-content from biopore wall (Mean ± SE: 0.061% ± 0.002%) to bulk soil (0.053% ± 0.002%), but no significant difference between the pore types. The results of the current study illustrate that the root growth of spring oilseed rape and faba bean was not encouraged by the precrop in comparison to the earthworm characterized sheath. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Root-Soil Interactions in Organic Farming)
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Open AccessArticle
Earthworm Inoculation Improves Upland Rice Crop Yield and Other Agrosystem Services in Madagascar
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 60; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010060 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 339
Abstract
The effects of earthworm inoculation and cropping systems on upland rice systems were examined over a four-year period in the Highlands of Madagascar. Each year, endogeic earthworms Pontoscolex corethrurus (Rhinodrilidae) were inoculated (EW+) at a density of 75 ind m−2 or were [...] Read more.
The effects of earthworm inoculation and cropping systems on upland rice systems were examined over a four-year period in the Highlands of Madagascar. Each year, endogeic earthworms Pontoscolex corethrurus (Rhinodrilidae) were inoculated (EW+) at a density of 75 ind m−2 or were not inoculated (EW0). Inoculation was tested in three cropping systems: conservation agriculture (CA) and traditional tillage with or without residues restitution. Soil and plant properties were measured during the first three years while soil biological properties were assessed at the fourth year. At the end of the experiment, earthworm density was three-fold higher in EW+ than in EW0, demonstrating the success of the inoculation. Earthworm density was more important in CA than in tillage systems. Earthworm inoculation had higher significant effects on soil and plant properties than cropping systems. Earthworm inoculation had positive effects on soil macroaggregation (+43%), aboveground biomass (+27%), rice grain yield (+45%), and N grain amount (+43%). Intensifying earthworm activity in field conditions to meet the challenge of ecological transition is supported by our study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thematic of Soil Ecological Functions in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Key Competencies of Agricultural Managers in the Acute Stage of the COVID-19 Crisis
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 59; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010059 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 360
Abstract
The acute phase of the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated the need for managerial skills of agricultural managers, provoked another wave of discussion on content of managerial competencies in times of crisis, and revealed a significant research gap. The main goal of our study is [...] Read more.
The acute phase of the COVID-19 crisis exacerbated the need for managerial skills of agricultural managers, provoked another wave of discussion on content of managerial competencies in times of crisis, and revealed a significant research gap. The main goal of our study is to identify the impact of competencies of agricultural crisis managers on the performance of employees in the acute phase of the crisis, when the performance was influenced by their subjective perception and evaluation of their working conditions, satisfaction and safety. We used statistical mediation to examine the connections and deeper relationships between several variables. The hypothesis of dependence between competencies of crisis management and performance of employees, mediated by information sharing, teamwork and cognitive diversity, has been confirmed. Partial mediation has been identified, when only part of the effect is mediated by the mediator variables, however the substantial one. The remaining, smaller part is transmitted directly. Employees’ performance in an acute crisis phase can be influenced by competent crisis management and enhance its effect through information sharing and teamwork support. The cognitive diversity of crisis management did not prove significant in our study. The emphasis is on consistency and the resulting sense of security and safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Different Carbohydrate Sources on Alfalfa Silage Quality at Different Ensiling Days
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 58; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010058 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 354
Abstract
This study was evaluated the effects of different carbohydrate sources on the fermentation profiles, chemical compositions, and correlation of fermentation profiles and chemical compositions with water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) silage. Alfalfa was harvested at early flowering stage from [...] Read more.
This study was evaluated the effects of different carbohydrate sources on the fermentation profiles, chemical compositions, and correlation of fermentation profiles and chemical compositions with water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) silage. Alfalfa was harvested at early flowering stage from the third cutting in September 2018, wilted to 32% dry matter (DM) and chopped into 1–2 cm pieces. Treatments included the addition of pectin (PEC), starch (STA; powdered corn), molasses (MOL), and fructose (FRU), as well as distilled water as a control (CON). Afterward, 300 g of prepared alfalfa was packed into polyethylene bags, vacuumed, and sealed, after which they were stored at room temperature for 1, 3, 7, 15, and 30 d. FRU and PEC additions resulted in desirable fermentation profiles and chemical compositions throughout the ensiling period. FRU and PEC rapidly decreased the pH and increased Fleig’s point, exhibiting lower pH and higher Fleig’s point from 3 d to the end of ensiling. Acetic acid (AA), propionic acid (PA) and ammonia nitrogen (AN) contents of FRU and PEC were lower at 30 d after ensiling. Higher lactic acid (LA) contents were found in FRU and PEC from 7 d to the end of ensiling and higher LA:AA ratios from 15 d to the end of ensiling. Butyric acid (BA) was not detected at any point during the ensiling period. Additives exhibited higher DM content from 7 to 30 d after ensiling. The WSC content decreased as the number of ensiling days increased and was stable from 15 d to the end of ensiling. PEC, STA, and FRU exhibited higher WSC than CON. FRU and PEC improved the fermentation quality throughout the ensiling period. Thus, FRU and PEC or related agricultural byproducts may offer alternative additives for improving the alfalfa silage fermentation profile. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Sorghum Silage in Lactating Buffalo Cow Diet: Biochemical Profile, Milk Yield, and Quality
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010057 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 341
Abstract
The influence of replacing silage with sorghum silage in the diet of dairy buffalo cows on metabolic status and on milk yield, chemical characteristics, and fatty acid profile was studied. Forty dairy buffalo cows were included in the trial and divided into two [...] Read more.
The influence of replacing silage with sorghum silage in the diet of dairy buffalo cows on metabolic status and on milk yield, chemical characteristics, and fatty acid profile was studied. Forty dairy buffalo cows were included in the trial and divided into two homogeneous groups (SS, sorghum silage and CS, corn silage). Blood was collected at the end of the trial (120 days), individual milk yield was registered daily. Samples of milk were monthly collected and analyzed for fat, protein, and lactose. Moreover, fatty acid profiles of silages and milk were determined. Buffalo cows fed sorghum silage showed an average milk yield higher than group CS (kg/d 10.120 vs. 9.270; p < 0.05), probably due to the lower lignin content of sorghum silage (31.0 g/kg dry matter (DM)) compared to corn silage (47.0 g/kg DM) and, by consequence, to the higher digestibility of SS diet. The percentage of linoleic acid was significantly higher in milk of group CS (C18:2: 1.27 vs. 2.05%; p < 0.01) due to the higher content of these acids in corn than in sorghum silage. The omega 6/omega 3 ratio was significantly lower in milk from buffalo cows fed sorghum than those fed corn silage (7.8 vs. 12.9; p < 0.01). Serum biochemistry showed no negative effects of the corn replacing with sorghum. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Practicing Fair and Sustainable Local Food Systems: Elements of Food Citizenship in the Simeto River Valley
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010056 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 460
Abstract
This paper examines a community-based food system which emerged recently around the Simeto River Valley Agreement (SRA) in Sicily (Italy) through the lens of food citizenship. The concept of food citizenship develops an understanding of how food systems function to ensure that individuals [...] Read more.
This paper examines a community-based food system which emerged recently around the Simeto River Valley Agreement (SRA) in Sicily (Italy) through the lens of food citizenship. The concept of food citizenship develops an understanding of how food systems function to ensure that individuals and communities have agency, access, and engagement with their food. It allows for comparative analysis between global/industrial and community/alternative systems. This paper follows a methodological integration between action research and a case study approach. The action research process produced a networked governance structure derived from multiple initiatives which are currently initiating many thematic projects—amongst them, a local food system. Results indicate that formalizing governance structures derived from self-organizing behavior have led to an inclusive platform with a shared vision and goals. The governing structures, however, require continued efforts and capacity to engage collaboratively in implementing their strategic plans. Findings suggest that actors developing a food citizenship-focused system should (1) consider how the governance organizational structure enables fluid communication among members and leads to building trust, (2) seek alternatives to engage youth (especially in rural areas) and promote citizen engagement, and (3) develop strategies to seek technical and programmatic support for initiatives. These three aspects are key features which may be adapted to other such efforts in sustainable and local food systems. The complex networked approach to governance presented here and the shared vision for sustainability are considered key elements in fostering a successful alternative food system with the fundamentals of food citizenship at its core. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
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Open AccessArticle
Black Oat (Avena strigosa Schreb.) Ontogenesis and Agronomic Performance in Organic Cropping System and Pannonian Environments
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010055 - 12 Jan 2021
Viewed by 385
Abstract
This study examined the influence of agroecological conditions on the ontogenesis and production yield traits of black oat (Avena strigosa Schreb.). Understanding the agronomic and phenological properties related to productive properties of black oats can enable more successful introduction into new areas [...] Read more.
This study examined the influence of agroecological conditions on the ontogenesis and production yield traits of black oat (Avena strigosa Schreb.). Understanding the agronomic and phenological properties related to productive properties of black oats can enable more successful introduction into new areas of oat cultivation. Field microexperiments were performed during the three consecutive years (2017–2019) on the two localities in South Banat, in Serbia, which differed in soil type: carbonate chernozem and humogley, respectively. The results showed that all investigated traits of oat in the chernozem soil type were higher when compared with measured traits obtained from the humogley soil type. The average value of yields of aboveground biomass, yield and protein content were significantly higher in relation to the humogley, by 13%, 17% and 11%, respectively for all three seasons. Observed by years, all productivity parameters differed significantly, which confirmed that the productivity of the cultivated plants was strongly influenced by different agroecological, soil and climatic conditions in Pannonian environments. The aboveground biomass and grain yield obtained from the humogley soil type indicate that this species can be successfully grown and utilized in production as a cover or fodder crop even in less favorable soil conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Examining the Input and Output Linkages in Agricultural Production Systems
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 54; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010054 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 406
Abstract
This paper conducts a comprehensive analysis of the agricultural sector’s resource allocation and production decisions. This paper uses the differential systems with quasi-fixity to evaluate the complete agricultural production system, which examines the input and output linkages in terms of elasticities. The differential [...] Read more.
This paper conducts a comprehensive analysis of the agricultural sector’s resource allocation and production decisions. This paper uses the differential systems with quasi-fixity to evaluate the complete agricultural production system, which examines the input and output linkages in terms of elasticities. The differential systems are estimated using the maximum likelihood estimation technique based on the two-step profit-maximizing procedure in theory. The results reveal that livestock production requires more intermediate inputs, but crop production depends on all the inputs, such as labor, capital, and intermediate inputs. In addition, the results show that input demand is inelastic, indicating that the agricultural sector has little flexibility in adjusting the demand for inputs in response to changes in input prices. Substitutable relationships among labor, capital, and intermediate inputs exist, which may reduce the pressures on production costs when input prices rise. Regarding the quasi-fixed input, land expansion changes the composition of labor and intermediate inputs, showing that the agricultural sector reduces the intensive margin when it pursues the extensive margin. Furthermore, the results show that agricultural supply is not very responsive to the respective price changes. Along with the inelastic output supply, there exist substitutable relationships between livestock and crop supply, showing that relative price changes can alter output composition in supply. The agricultural sector also reallocates more land areas into crop production rather than livestock production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Climate Change on the Production of Coffea arabica at Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Agriculture 2021, 11(1), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11010053 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Adapting coffee production to climate change is a significant challenge requiring a detailed understanding of local climatic change patterns and the consequences, both real and perceived, for coffee production. To this end, we examined changes in precipitation at Mt. Kilimanjaro over the last [...] Read more.
Adapting coffee production to climate change is a significant challenge requiring a detailed understanding of local climatic change patterns and the consequences, both real and perceived, for coffee production. To this end, we examined changes in precipitation at Mt. Kilimanjaro over the last two decades and conducted twelve focus group discussions to obtain farmers’ perceptions on climate change, the impact of extreme weather events on coffee production and the potential of shade trees as an adaptation strategy. Despite an increase in total annual precipitation, farmers are still confronted with droughts due to a shift in seasons. We found a delayed onset of the main rainy season and showed that a positive Indian Ocean Dipole contributes to the increase in precipitation during the short rainy season. Farmers clearly described the impacts of drought or excess rainfall on coffee production during flowering, maturation, and harvest. Thus, adaptation strategies need to be tailored such that specific coffee development stages are buffered against the effects of droughts, shorter wet seasons, and less frequent but heavier rainfall events. To develop the potential of shade trees as an effective adaptation strategy, optimum shade density, specific tree species, and management practices need to be identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture)
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