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Agriculture, Volume 11, Issue 3 (March 2021) – 91 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): When Brassica seeds are exposed to cold, wet conditions, the seedlings can exhibit failure of the apical meristem, a condition known as “blindness”. To assess whether a seed’s physical and physiological characteristics are associated with susceptibility to blindness, we measured the chlorophyll fluorescence, multispectral reflectance and respiration rates of individual seeds from six kohlrabi seed lots before and after an induction treatment. Chlorophyll fluorescence and reflectance of wavelengths related to chlorophyll were strongly associated with blindness and viability loss, indicating that less mature seeds were more susceptible to the induction conditions. Following the induction treatment, individual seed respiration rates were also correlated with seed quality. Our results indicate that both spectral and respiration data can be used to screen seed lots for susceptibility to [...] Read more.
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Article
Simulation of Fuel Consumption Based on Engine Load Level of a 95 kW Partial Power-Shift Transmission Tractor
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 276; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030276 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1040
Abstract
This study is focused on the estimation of fuel consumption of the power-shift transmission (PST) tractor based on PTO (power take-off) dynamometer test. The simulation model of PST tractor was developed using the configurations and powertrain of the real PST tractor. The PTO [...] Read more.
This study is focused on the estimation of fuel consumption of the power-shift transmission (PST) tractor based on PTO (power take-off) dynamometer test. The simulation model of PST tractor was developed using the configurations and powertrain of the real PST tractor. The PTO dynamometer was installed to measure the engine load and fuel consumption at various engine load levels (40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90%), and verify the simulation model. The axle load was also predicted using tractor’s specifications as an input parameter of the simulation model. The simulation and measured results were analyzed and compared statistically. It was observed that the engine load, as well as fuel consumption, were directly proportional to the engine load levels. However, it was statistically proved that there was no significant difference between the simulation and measured engine torque and fuel consumption at each load level. The regression equations show that there was an exponential relationship between the fuel consumption and engine load levels. However, the specific fuel consumptions (SFC) for both simulation and measured were linear relationships and had no significant difference between them at each engine load level. The results were statistically proved that the simulation and measured SFCs were similar trends. The plow tillage operation could be performed at the gear stage of 7.65 km/h with higher working efficiency at low fuel consumption. The drawback of this study is to use a constant axle load instead of dynamic load. This study can provide useful information for both researchers and manufacturers related to the automated transmission of an agricultural tractor, especially PST tractor for digital farming solutions. Finally, it could contribute to the manufacturers developing a new agricultural tractor with higher fuel efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Innovations in Agriculture)
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Article
Qualitative Analysis of Lambda-Cyhalothrin on Chinese Cabbage Using Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy Combined with Fuzzy Feature Extraction Algorithms
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 275; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030275 - 23 Mar 2021
Viewed by 753
Abstract
Excess pesticide residues on cabbage are harmful to humans. In this study, we propose an innovative strategy for a quick and nondestructive qualitative test of lambda-cyhalothrin residues on Chinese cabbage. Spectral profiles of Chinese cabbage leaf samples with different concentrations of surface residues [...] Read more.
Excess pesticide residues on cabbage are harmful to humans. In this study, we propose an innovative strategy for a quick and nondestructive qualitative test of lambda-cyhalothrin residues on Chinese cabbage. Spectral profiles of Chinese cabbage leaf samples with different concentrations of surface residues of lambda-cyhalothrin were collected with an Agilent Cary 630 FTIR Spectrometer. Standard normal variate (SNV), multiplicative scatter correlation (MSC), and principle component analysis (PCA) were utilized to preprocess the spectra. Then, fuzzy Foley-Sammon transformation (FFST), fuzzy linear discriminant analysis (FLDA), and fuzzy uncorrelated discriminant transformation (FUDT) were employed to extract features from the spectra data. Finally, k-nearest neighbor (kNN) was applied to classify samples according to the concentration of lambda-cyhalothrin residue. The highest identification accuracy rates of FFST, FLDA, and FUDT were 100%, 97.22%, and 100%, respectively. FUDT performed the best considering the combination of accuracy rate and required computing time. We believe that mid-infrared spectroscopy combined with fuzzy uncorrelated discriminant analysis is an effective method to accurately and quickly conduct qualitative analyses of lambda-cyhalothrin residues on Chinese cabbages. This method may have applications in other crops and other pesticide residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
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Article
Assessing Sustainability of Organic Livestock Farming in Sicily: A Case Study Using the FAO SAFA Framework
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 274; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030274 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 886
Abstract
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and pollutants, soil erosion and groundwater pollution are some of the negative aspects blamed on livestock farming, so their level of sustainability needs to be assessed, taking into account the territory in which they operate. The research focuses on [...] Read more.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and pollutants, soil erosion and groundwater pollution are some of the negative aspects blamed on livestock farming, so their level of sustainability needs to be assessed, taking into account the territory in which they operate. The research focuses on the assessment of sustainability performance in the four dimensions of good governance: environmental integrity, economic resilience and social well-being, considered by the ‘‘Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems’’ (SAFA) tool developed by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The objective of applying this methodology is to highlight the sustainability dimensions in which the ten analyzed farms are weakest and the ones in which they show the most strength, in order to provide farmers a tool to understand the criticalities on which to intervene. The farms considered follow the principles of agroecology and organic farming, which are decisive in the pursuit of sustainable development. The overall results show a satisfactory level of sustainability with high prospects for improvement, in line with the EU commitments undertaken in the Green Deal and the Millennium Development Goals. Livestock farms must, therefore, be encouraged and accompanied with targeted technical assistance strategies and appropriate agroecological protocols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Marketing, Economics and Policies)
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Article
Multi-Feature Patch-Based Segmentation Technique in the Gray-Centered RGB Color Space for Improved Apple Target Recognition
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 273; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030273 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 750
Abstract
In the vision system of apple-picking robots, the main challenge is to rapidly and accurately identify the apple targets with varying halation and shadows on their surfaces. To solve this problem, this study proposes a novel, multi-feature, patch-based apple image segmentation technique using [...] Read more.
In the vision system of apple-picking robots, the main challenge is to rapidly and accurately identify the apple targets with varying halation and shadows on their surfaces. To solve this problem, this study proposes a novel, multi-feature, patch-based apple image segmentation technique using the gray-centered red-green-blue (RGB) color space. The developed method presents a multi-feature selection process, which eliminates the effect of halation and shadows in apple images. By exploring all the features of the image, including halation and shadows, in the gray-centered RGB color space, the proposed algorithm, which is a generalization of K-means clustering algorithm, provides an efficient target segmentation result. The proposed method is tested on 240 apple images. It offered an average accuracy rate of 98.79%, a recall rate of 99.91%, an F1 measure of 99.35%, a false positive rate of 0.04%, and a false negative rate of 1.18%. Compared with the classical segmentation methods and conventional clustering algorithms, as well as the popular deep-learning segmentation algorithms, the proposed method can perform with high efficiency and accuracy to guide robotic harvesting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Analysis Techniques in Agriculture)
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Article
Silicon and Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria Pseudomonas psychrotolerans CS51 Mitigates Salt Stress in Zea mays L.
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 272; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030272 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 907
Abstract
Salinity is a significant abiotic stress for crop plants and a threat to global food security. Optimizing yield without adversely affecting the ecosystem is necessary for a sustainable agriculture. Silicon and plant growth-promoting bacteria were reported for mitigating several abiotic and biotic stress [...] Read more.
Salinity is a significant abiotic stress for crop plants and a threat to global food security. Optimizing yield without adversely affecting the ecosystem is necessary for a sustainable agriculture. Silicon and plant growth-promoting bacteria were reported for mitigating several abiotic and biotic stress in plants. In our study, we identified the salt-tolerant rhizobacterium Pseudomonas psychrotolerans CS51. This species produces several plant-growth-promoting biochemicals like indole-3-acetic acid (33 ± 1.8 ng/mL) and gibberellic acid (GA3; 38 ± 1.3 and GA4; 23 ± 1.2 ng/mL) in Luria-Bertani(LB) media, and LB media spiked with 200 mM NaCl (indole-3-acetic acid(IAA); 17.6 ± 0.4 ng/mL, GA3; 21 ± 0.9 and GA4; 19 ± 1.0 ng/mL). In the current study, we aimed to investigate the effect of isolate CS51 and exogenous silicon (3 mM) on maize under salinity stress (200 mM). Our results showed that the sole application of isolate CS51, Si, and combined CS51 + Si significantly enhanced maize biomass and chlorophyll content under normal and salinity stress. Phytohormonal results showed that salinity stress increased abscisic acid (ABA; three folds) and jasmonic acid (JA; 49.20%). However, the sole and combined isolate CS51 + Si application markedly reduced ABA (1.5 folds) and JA content (14.89%). Besides, the sole and isolate CS51 + Si co-application strengthened the antioxidant system, such as flavonoid (97%) and polyphenol (19.64%), and lowered the proline content (57.69%) under NaCl stress. Similarly, the CS51 and Si inoculation (solely or combined) significantly enhanced the Si uptake (4 folds) and reduced the Na+ uptake (42.30%) in maize plants under NaCl stress. In conclusion, the current finding suggests that combining CS51 with Si can be used against salinity stress in maize plants and may be commercialized as a biofertilizer. Full article
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Article
Zinc Seed Priming Improves Spinach Germination at Low Temperature
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 271; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030271 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 933
Abstract
Low temperature during germination hinders germination speed and early seedling development. Zn seed priming is a useful and cost-effective tool to improve germination rate and resistance to low temperature stress during germination and early seedling development. Spinach was tested to improve germination and [...] Read more.
Low temperature during germination hinders germination speed and early seedling development. Zn seed priming is a useful and cost-effective tool to improve germination rate and resistance to low temperature stress during germination and early seedling development. Spinach was tested to improve germination and seedling development with Zn seed priming under low temperature stress conditions. Zn priming increased seed Zn concentration up to 48 times. The multispectral imaging technique with VideometerLab was used as a non-destructive method to differentiate unprimed, water- and Zn-primed spinach seeds successfully. Localization of Zn in the seeds was studied using the 1,5-diphenyl thiocarbazone (DTZ) dying technique. Active translocation of primed Zn in the roots of young seedlings was detected with laser confocal microscopy. Zn priming of spinach seeds at 6 mM Zn showed a significant increase in germination rate and total germination under low temperature at 8 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Seed Technology)
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Communication
Clostridia in Insect Processed Animal Proteins—Is an Epidemiological Problem Possible?
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 270; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030270 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 870
Abstract
The aim of this study was the evaluation of the insect processed animal protein (IPAP) contamination level by Clostridium spp. Particularly, we screened for the occurrence of pathogenic species of Clostridia. The samples of IPAP were derived from yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was the evaluation of the insect processed animal protein (IPAP) contamination level by Clostridium spp. Particularly, we screened for the occurrence of pathogenic species of Clostridia. The samples of IPAP were derived from yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) and black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) available in the Polish market. The IPAPs were added to experimental feeds for poultry. The differences between the contamination levels of the control (without the addition of IPAP) and experimental (with the addition of IPAP) groups were monitored. The samples were also examined by culture and PCR-based methods to detect 16S rDNA and genes determining botulinum toxin (BoNT) production. Statistical significance was noticed among the feed with the IPAP addition, as well as an increase of contamination by Clostridium spp. In one sample of IPAP, the occurrence of ntnh and bont/D genes determining the production of BoNT/D was noticed. However, a positive result was noticed only at the step of the liquid culture; the Clostridium botulinum type D strain was not isolated. Phenotypically, and according to the 16S rDNA analysis, genetically similar strains to C. botulinum species were isolated. Considering the microbiological safety of IPAP and expanding possibility of its use in livestock animal feed, it seems to be reasonable to provide complex risk assessment on the potential transfer of Clostridia into feed compounds, to assure the safety and sustainable development of insect PAP industry. Full article
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Article
Temporal Changes in Sensitivity of Zymoseptoria tritici Field Populations to Different Fungicidal Modes of Action
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 269; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030269 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 894
Abstract
Septoria tritici blotch (STB; Zymoseptoria tritici), one of the most important foliar diseases in wheat, is mainly controlled by the intensive use of fungicides during crop growth. Unfortunately, Z. tritici field populations have developed various extents of resistance to different groups of [...] Read more.
Septoria tritici blotch (STB; Zymoseptoria tritici), one of the most important foliar diseases in wheat, is mainly controlled by the intensive use of fungicides during crop growth. Unfortunately, Z. tritici field populations have developed various extents of resistance to different groups of fungicides. Due to the complete resistance to quinone outside inhibitors (QoIs), fungicidal control of STB relies mainly on demethylation inhibitors (DMIs) and succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors (SDHIs) as well as multi-site inhibitors. In this study, temporal changes in the sensitivity of Z. tritici to selected DMIs (tebuconazole, propiconazole, prothioconazole, prochloraz), SDHIs (boscalid, bixafen), and multi-site inhibitors (chlorothalonil, folpet) were determined in microtiter assays using Z. tritici field populations isolated in 1999, 2009, 2014, and 2020 in a high-disease-pressure and high-fungicide-input area in Northern Germany. For the four tested DMI fungicides, a significant shift towards decreasing sensitivity of Z. tritici field populations was observed between 1999 and 2009, whereby concentrations inhibiting fungal growth by 50% (EC50) increased differentially between the four DMIs. Since 2009, EC50 values of tebuconazole, propiconazole, and prochloraz remain stable, whereas for prothioconazole a slightly increased sensitivity shift was found. A shift in sensitivity of Z. tritici was also determined for both tested SDHI fungicides. In contrast to DMIs, EC50 values of boscalid and bixafen increased continuously between 1999 and 2020, but the increasing EC50 values were much smaller compared to those of the four tested DMIs. No changes in sensitivity of Z. tritici were observed for the multi-site inhibitors chlorothalonil and folpet over the last 21 years. The sensitivity adaptation of Z. tritici to both groups of single-site inhibitors (DMIs, SDHIs) mainly used for STB control represents a major challenge for future wheat cultivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pest and Weeds)
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Article
Genetic Mapping of the Gamete Eliminator Locus, S2, Causing Hybrid Sterility and Transmission Ratio Distortion Found between Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima Cross Combination
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 268; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030268 - 20 Mar 2021
Viewed by 973
Abstract
Hybrid sterility is a reproductive barrier that prevents gene flow between species. In Oryza species, some hybrid sterility loci, which are classified as gamete eliminators, cause pollen and seed sterility and sex-independent transmission ratio distortion (siTRD) in hybrids. However, the molecular [...] Read more.
Hybrid sterility is a reproductive barrier that prevents gene flow between species. In Oryza species, some hybrid sterility loci, which are classified as gamete eliminators, cause pollen and seed sterility and sex-independent transmission ratio distortion (siTRD) in hybrids. However, the molecular basis of siTRD has not been fully characterized because of lacking information on causative genes. Here, we analyze one of the hybrid sterility loci, S2, which was reported more than forty years ago but has not been located on rice chromosomes. Hybrids between African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and a near-isogenic line that possesses introgressed chromosomal segments from Asian rice (Oryza sativa) showed sterility and siTRD, which confirms the presence of the S2 locus. Genome-wide SNP marker survey revealed that the near-isogenic line has an introgression on chromosome 4. Further substitution mapping located the S2 locus between 22.60 Mb and 23.54 Mb on this chromosome. Significant TRD in this chromosomal region was also observed in a calli population derived from cultured anther in hybrids of another cross combination of African and Asian rice species. This indicates that the pollen abortion caused by the S2 locus occurs before callus induction in anther culture. It also suggests the wide existence of the S2-mediated siTRD in this interspecific cross combination. Chromosomal location of the S2 locus will be valuable for identifying causative genes and for understanding of the molecular basis of siTRD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rice Breeding and Genetics)
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Article
Structural Break and Causal Analyses of U.S. Corn Use for Ethanol and Other Corn Market Variables
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 267; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030267 - 20 Mar 2021
Viewed by 853
Abstract
The causal basis for many of the relationships in models used to estimate the indirect effects of U.S. biofuels on global agricultural markets has not been adequately established. This paper addresses this gap by examining causal interactions among corn market variables through which [...] Read more.
The causal basis for many of the relationships in models used to estimate the indirect effects of U.S. biofuels on global agricultural markets has not been adequately established. This paper addresses this gap by examining causal interactions among corn market variables through which the indirect effects of U.S. corn use for ethanol would be transmitted. Specifically, structural break and causal analyses of U.S. corn supply, uses, trade, and price are performed using quarterly data for marketing years 1986 to 2017. The structural break analysis identifies three breaks in corn use for ethanol that reflect the policy-driven evolution of U.S. corn ethanol production and other market factors. The causality analysis finds that U.S. corn use for ethanol is not a driver of the corn price and net corn exports. Changes in corn supply and domestic corn use are found to be the key factors in accommodating the large increase in corn use for ethanol between 2003 and 2010. These results mean that common assumptions linking U.S. corn ethanol production to large reductions in corn availability and exports, and higher global corn prices merit reconsideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Article
Flavouring Extra-Virgin Olive Oil with Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Essential Oils Stabilizes Oleic Acid Composition during Photo-Oxidative Stress
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 266; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030266 - 20 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 809
Abstract
Essential oils (EOs) from medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) are well-known as natural antioxidants. Their addition to extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) can contribute to reducing fat oxidation. The main aim of this study was to improve both food shelf-life and aromatic flavour of [...] Read more.
Essential oils (EOs) from medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) are well-known as natural antioxidants. Their addition to extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) can contribute to reducing fat oxidation. The main aim of this study was to improve both food shelf-life and aromatic flavour of EVOO, adding different EOs of Sicilian accessions of common sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme. The morphological and production characteristics of 40 accessions of MAPs were preliminarily assessed. EOs from the most promising accessions of MAPs were analysed by gas-chromatography and mass spectrometry. Photo-oxidative studies of the EOs were carried out and the determination of the EVOO fatty acids obtained from 4 Italian olive varieties was also made. EO content was on average 1.45% (v/w) for common sage, 3.97% for oregano, 1.42% for rosemary and 5.90% for thyme accessions. The highest average EO yield was found in thyme (172.70 kg ha−1) whilst the lowest (9.30 kg ha−1) in rosemary accessions. The chemical composition of EOs was very different in the four MAPs in the study. No significant change of oleic acid percentage was detected in the mixture of EVOO with EO samples. The results seem to highlight the presence of an antioxidant effect of EOs on EVOO. Full article
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Article
Impact of Tillage and Crop Residue Management on the Weed Community and Wheat Yield in a Wheat–Maize Double Cropping System
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 265; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030265 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 725
Abstract
Weeds are often harmful to crop growth due to the competition for space and resources. A field experiment containing four treatments with three replications in a complete randomized design was conducted at Yucheng Comprehensive Experiment Station, Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2008 to [...] Read more.
Weeds are often harmful to crop growth due to the competition for space and resources. A field experiment containing four treatments with three replications in a complete randomized design was conducted at Yucheng Comprehensive Experiment Station, Chinese Academy of Sciences since 2008 to assess the impact of shifting from conventional tillage to no-till with crop residue management on weeds and wheat production at the North China Plain. We found that both aboveground weed density and species richness were higher under continuous no-till (NT) than conventional tillage (CT) in the regrowth and stem elongation stage of wheat growth. On the other hand, aboveground weed density in the stage of flowering and filling decreased with crop residue mulching. The density of the soil seed bank in crop residue removal treatments was significantly higher than that of crop residue retention. Besides, either crop residue mulching or incorporating into the soil significantly increased the wheat yield compared with crop residue removal regardless of tillage management. In conclusion, crop residue retention could decrease the weed density and species richness both aboveground and in the soil seed bank and inhibit the growth of broadleaf weeds by the residue layer. Moreover, crop residue retention could improve the wheat yield. Full article
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Article
Impact of Rice Straw Mulch on Soil Physical Properties, Sunflower Root Distribution and Yield in a Salt-Affected Clay-Textured Soil
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 264; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030264 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 870
Abstract
Puddling of clay soils for rice transplanting causes a loss of soil structure and vertical shrinkage cracks that are hypothesized to hamper sunflower root growth in the following dry season. To alleviate soil constraints for sunflower root growth and yield, we examined the [...] Read more.
Puddling of clay soils for rice transplanting causes a loss of soil structure and vertical shrinkage cracks that are hypothesized to hamper sunflower root growth in the following dry season. To alleviate soil constraints for sunflower root growth and yield, we examined the effects of three levels of mulch and two irrigation regimes in the dry season on a clay-textured soil in the coastal zone of Bangladesh. These treatments were no-mulch, rice straw mulch at 5 t ha−1 and 10 t ha−1, irrigation applied to the field capacity (I1) and a water supply double that of the I1 treatment (I2). The rice straw mulch significantly increased soil water content by 3–9% and decreased soil penetration resistance by 28–77% and crack volume by 84–91% at A 0–30 cm soil depth relative to the no-mulch treatment. The better root development with the rice straw mulch increased sunflower yield by 23%. No benefit or further reduction in soil penetration resistance or yield improvement was obtained from increasing the level of mulch from 5 to 10 t ha−1 or the volume of irrigation water. It is concluded that ameliorating soil constraints by mulch application led to better root growth in the upper root zone and the increased yield in the clay soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Water Management)
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Article
Exploring the Link between Food Security and Food Price Dynamics: A Bibliometric Analysis
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 263; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030263 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 746
Abstract
An evaluation of research studies is considered an important task to make future adjustments for securing and adjusting policies. This article presents the results of a study that explored the research that has been published with food security, price volatility, and price transmission [...] Read more.
An evaluation of research studies is considered an important task to make future adjustments for securing and adjusting policies. This article presents the results of a study that explored the research that has been published with food security, price volatility, and price transmission as keywords. The study involved a bibliometric evaluation of statistical outcomes from 899 scientific publications from 1979 to June 2020 related to the subject, registered in the Web of Science database. The collected articles were used to measure bibliometric indicators and evaluate the research work on food security and agricultural products’ price movement. An analysis of the development and the identification of the related topics of greatest interest on this subject was also carried out. The analysis results found that a rising number of studies have been registered over the years, emphasizing the following keywords: food security, climate change, agriculture, health, nutrition, consumption, and income. The analysis proves that the shift in scientific research trends associated with food security analysis is linked with health and food nutrition status. Furthermore, the word "impact" was significantly present in the analyzed papers, which reveals that econometric analysis should address the relationship between price movement and nutrient intake to achieve nutritional security. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
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Editorial
Weed Ecology and New Approaches for Management
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 262; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030262 - 19 Mar 2021
Viewed by 570
Abstract
The rich biodiversity of agricultural fields and their surroundings enhances natural ecosystems and has a positive impact on their productivity and resistance, e [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and New Approaches for Management)
Article
Assessing Seasonal Methane and Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Furrow-Irrigated Rice with Cover Crops
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 261; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030261 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 641
Abstract
Improved irrigation management is identified as a potential mitigation option for methane (CH4) emissions from rice (Oryza sativa). Furrow-irrigated rice (FR), an alternative method to grow rice, is increasingly adopted in the Mid-South U.S. However, FR may provide a [...] Read more.
Improved irrigation management is identified as a potential mitigation option for methane (CH4) emissions from rice (Oryza sativa). Furrow-irrigated rice (FR), an alternative method to grow rice, is increasingly adopted in the Mid-South U.S. However, FR may provide a potential risk to yield performance and higher emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O). This study quantified the grain yields, CH4 and N2O emissions from three different water management practices in rice: multiple-inlet rice irrigation (MIRI), FR, and FR with cereal rye (Secale cereale) and barley (Hordeum vulgare) as preceding winter cover crops (FRCC). CH4 and N2O fluxes were measured from May to September 2019 using a static chamber technique. Grain yield from FR (11.8 Mg ha−1) and MIRI (12.0 Mg ha−1) was similar, and significantly higher than FRCC (8.5 Mg ha−1). FR and FRCC drastically reduced CH4 emissions compared to MIRI. Total seasonal CH4 emissions decreased in the order of 44 > 11 > 3 kg CH4-C ha−1 from MIRI, FR, and FRCC, respectively. Cumulative seasonal N2O emissions were low from MIRI (0.1 kg N2O-N ha−1) but significantly higher from FR (4.4 kg N2O-N ha−1) and FRCC (3.0 kg N2O-N ha−1). However, there was no net difference in global warming potential among FR, FRCC and MIRI. These results suggest that the increased N2O flux from furrow-irrigated rice may not greatly detract from the potential benefits that furrow-irrigation offers rice producers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Response of Apricot Fruit Quality to Protective Netting
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 260; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030260 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 496
Abstract
The cultivation of fruit trees in protected environments is a technique that has been developed in recent years for peaches and nectarines, but not for apricots. This study was conducted to investigate the chemical composition of the fruits and their quality indices variations [...] Read more.
The cultivation of fruit trees in protected environments is a technique that has been developed in recent years for peaches and nectarines, but not for apricots. This study was conducted to investigate the chemical composition of the fruits and their quality indices variations of the variety ‘Mikado’ as a function of its cultivation under a protective net or outdoors. As a practical agronomic assay, a homogeneous experimental plot was used in this study, where half of the apricot trees were cultivated under protective netting, and the other half without it. The data showed that for the total yield, no statistically significant differences were found with respect to ‘Mikado’ trees cultivated with or without a net. The trees cultivated under protective nets showed higher fruit weights. The results showed that the technique of using protective nets for the cultivation of extra-early apricot ‘Mikado’ is a profitable alternative for farmers, and their use does not affect fruit production or quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
Article
Mitigation of Airborne PRRSV Transmission with UV Light Treatment: Proof-of-Concept
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 259; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030259 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1212
Abstract
Proper treatment of infectious air could potentially mitigate the spread of airborne viruses such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). The objective of this research is to test the effectiveness of ultraviolet (UV) in inactivating aerosolized PRRSV, specifically, four UV lamps, [...] Read more.
Proper treatment of infectious air could potentially mitigate the spread of airborne viruses such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). The objective of this research is to test the effectiveness of ultraviolet (UV) in inactivating aerosolized PRRSV, specifically, four UV lamps, UV-A (365 nm, both fluorescent and LED-based), “excimer” UV-C (222 nm), and germicidal UV-C (254 nm), were tested. The two UV-C lamps effectively irradiated fast-moving PRRSV aerosols with short treatment times (<2 s). One-stage and two-stage UV inactivation models estimated the UV doses needed for target percentage (%) reductions on PRRSV titer. UV-C (254 nm) dose needed for 3-log (99.9%) reduction was 0.521 and 0.0943 mJ/cm2, respectively, based on one-stage and two-stage models. An order of magnitude lower UV-C (222 nm) doses were needed for a 3-log reduction, i.e., 0.0882 and 0.048 mJ/cm2, based on one-stage and two-stage models, respectively. However, the cost of 222 nm excimer lamps is still economically prohibitive for scaling-up trials. The UV-A (365 nm) lamps could not reduce PRRSV titers for tested doses up to 4.11 mJ/cm2. Pilot-scale or farm-scale testing of UV-C on PRRSV aerosols simulating barn ventilation rates are recommended based on its effectiveness and reasonable costs comparable to HEPA filtration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Swine Diseases: Prevention, Control and Food Safety)
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Article
The Effect of Antecedence on Empirical Model Forecasts of Crop Yield from Observations of Canopy Properties
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 258; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030258 - 18 Mar 2021
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Identification of yield deficits early in the growing season for cereal crops (e.g., Triticum aestivum) could help to identify more precise agronomic strategies for intervention to manage production. We investigated how effective crop canopy properties, including leaf area index (LAI), leaf chlorophyll [...] Read more.
Identification of yield deficits early in the growing season for cereal crops (e.g., Triticum aestivum) could help to identify more precise agronomic strategies for intervention to manage production. We investigated how effective crop canopy properties, including leaf area index (LAI), leaf chlorophyll content, and canopy height, are as predictors of winter wheat yield over various lead times. Models were calibrated and validated on fertiliser trials over two years in fields in the UK. Correlations of LAI and plant height with yield were stronger than for yield and chlorophyll content. Yield prediction models calibrated in one year and tested on another suggested that LAI and height provided the most robust outcomes. Linear models had equal or smaller validation errors than machine learning. The information content of data for yield prediction degraded strongly with time before harvest, and in application to years not included in the calibration. Thus, impact of soil and weather variation between years on crop phenotypes was critical in changing the interactions between crop variables and yield (i.e., slopes and intercepts of regression models) and was a key contributor to predictive error. These results show that canopy property data provide valuable information on crop status for yield assessment, but with important limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
Effect of Combination of Salt and pH on Functional Properties of Frozen-Thawed Egg Yolk
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 257; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030257 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 914
Abstract
Egg yolk undergoes an irreversible gelation process at temperatures below −6 °C, which greatly impairs its application and increases its apparent viscosity. This work was aimed to investigate the effect of salt and pH in preventing the gelation of frozen-thawed egg yolk. Before [...] Read more.
Egg yolk undergoes an irreversible gelation process at temperatures below −6 °C, which greatly impairs its application and increases its apparent viscosity. This work was aimed to investigate the effect of salt and pH in preventing the gelation of frozen-thawed egg yolk. Before freezing, 5% of salt was added into the pasteurized liquid egg yolk, then pH was adjusted to different levels (5.7, 6.0 and 6.3) with citric acid. After that, the yolk was stored at −18 °C for four weeks. Rheological and thermal properties of the fresh and frozen-thawed egg yolk were measured. In addition, the colour, turbidity and emulsifying properties were also determined. The results showed that pH of all samples increased during frozen storage, but at different rates. The combination of 5% of salt and pH at 6.0 and 6.3 could prevent the gelation, resulting in rheological properties more like the fresh liquid egg yolk. In addition, emulsifying properties also obtained better results for treated yolk. Moreover, L* value of treated egg yolk was higher before freezing and became lower after storage compared to control. The results of this work found that the combination of 5% of salt and adjusted pH could prevent the gelation of frozen-thawed liquid yolk. Full article
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Article
Effect of Sucrose and Lactic Acid Bacteria Additives on Fermentation Quality, Chemical Composition and Protein Fractions of Two Typical Woody Forage Silages
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 256; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030256 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 706
Abstract
Paper mulberry (PM) and mulberry (MU) have been considered potential substitutes for traditional forages in response to the increasing demand for high-protein feed for livestock. To improve the utility of these two typical woody forages, our study investigated the effects of sucrose and [...] Read more.
Paper mulberry (PM) and mulberry (MU) have been considered potential substitutes for traditional forages in response to the increasing demand for high-protein feed for livestock. To improve the utility of these two typical woody forages, our study investigated the effects of sucrose and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) additives on the fermentation quality, nutritive value, and protein fractions of their leaf silages. Collected leaves were separately subjected to ensiling treatments, either with or without sucrose (S), in combination with Lactobacillus plantarum (LP), or Lactobacillus casei (LC). The silage was sampled and analyzed for fermentation parameters, carbohydrates, and protein fractions after ensiling for 60 days. The pH value of paper mulberry silages with S was 19% lower than that without S, while LAB-treated mulberry silages showed decreased ammonia nitrogen (by 71%) and fraction A in crude protein (by 15%) compared with no LAB additives. In summary, adding S improved the fermentation quality, with no positive effect on protein fractions, in PM silage, whereas LAB additives improved the potential utilization of protein in MU silage. Full article
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Article
Grain Yield Stability of Cereal-Legume Intercrops Is Greater Than Sole Crops in More Productive Conditions
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 255; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030255 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1656
Abstract
The intercropping of two or more crop species on the same piece of land at a given time has been hypothesized to enhance crop yield stability. To address this hypothesis, we assessed the grain yield stability of various barley-pea and wheat-faba bean mixtures [...] Read more.
The intercropping of two or more crop species on the same piece of land at a given time has been hypothesized to enhance crop yield stability. To address this hypothesis, we assessed the grain yield stability of various barley-pea and wheat-faba bean mixtures grown in seven experimental field trials (locations) across Europe during two years with contrasting weather (2017 and 2018). Three different yield stability measures were used, all based on the expected yield variability of the mixture components grown as sole crops, and the corresponding observed yield variability of the same components grown in 50:50 mixtures in a replacement design. Stability indices were calculated as ratios between the expected and observed variabilities, with values > 1 indicating greater stability of the intercrops. Mean grain yields tended to be higher in intercrops than sole crops. However, in contrast to our hypothesis, the observed (intercrop) yield stability was similar or lower than the expected (sole crop) stability in most locations except one. Furthermore, yield stability significantly increased with increasing mean yields when assessed across differentially productive locations. The results are relevant for the designing of intercropping systems as a means to increase yield stability and the resilience of cropping systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intercropping Systems for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Communication
Search for Candidate Genes Causing the Excessive Ca Accumulation in Roots of Tipburn-Damaged Lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) Cultivars
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 254; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030254 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 576
Abstract
Occurrence of tipburn is a severe problem in the production of lisianthus cultivars. Previous studies have shown excessive Ca accumulation in the roots of tipburn-damaged cultivars, where the distribution of Ca to the tips of the top leaves is inhibited. However, few studies [...] Read more.
Occurrence of tipburn is a severe problem in the production of lisianthus cultivars. Previous studies have shown excessive Ca accumulation in the roots of tipburn-damaged cultivars, where the distribution of Ca to the tips of the top leaves is inhibited. However, few studies have investigated the association between Ca accumulation and gene expression in horticultural crops. To provide a list of candidate target genes that might be causing the excessive Ca accumulation in roots, we focused Ca2+ transporter and pectin methylesterase (PME) genes and RNA-seq of upper leaves and roots in tipburn-occurrence cultivar (“Voyage peach”: VP) and non-occurrence cultivar (“Umi honoka”: UH) was conducted. In both the upper leaves and roots of VP, genes encoding the glutamate receptors (GLRs), cation/Ca2+ exchangers 4 (CCX4), Na+/Ca2+ exchanger-like protein (NCL), and PMEs were upregulated, and a gene encoding the cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel 9 (CNGC9) was downregulated. In contrast, genes encoding the vacuolar cation/proton exchanger 5 (CAX5), calcium-transporting ATPase 1 and 12 (ACA1 and ACA12) showed differential expression in each organ. Among them, only CAX5 was upregulated and ACA12 was downregulated in the roots of VP. Based on these results, we suggested that CAX5 and ACA12 are the candidate genes causing the excessive Ca accumulation in the roots of tipburn-occurrence lisianthus cultivars. Future studies should investigate the temporal changes in gene expression using quantitative PCR and conduct functional analysis of candidate genes in tipburn-damaged lisianthus cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
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Article
The Impact of RDP Measures on the Diversification of Agriculture and Rural Development—Seeking Additional Livelihoods: The Case of Poland
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 253; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030253 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 905
Abstract
The paper’s main aim is to assess the measures implemented within the Rural Development Program (RDP) 2007–2013 in Poland. This programme is dedicated to the diversification of business activities in rural areas and rural livelihood and, thus, the improvement of the multifunctionality of [...] Read more.
The paper’s main aim is to assess the measures implemented within the Rural Development Program (RDP) 2007–2013 in Poland. This programme is dedicated to the diversification of business activities in rural areas and rural livelihood and, thus, the improvement of the multifunctionality of rural areas. The analysis covered two measures from Axis 3, Improvement of the quality of life in rural areas and diversification of rural economy: M311, diversification into non-agricultural activities; and M312, Establishment and development of micro-enterprise. The study and the discussion are presented from a geographical perspective and, in a broader context, take into account several conditions (natural, urban, agricultural and historical) and the spatial diversity of the allocation of European Union (EU) funds. Models of a policy of multifunctional rural development, implemented after accession to the EU, are presented. The research’s spatial scope covers Poland’s territory on two spatial scales: the system of regions (16 NUTS2 units) and poviats (314 LAU level 1 units). The analysis covers all the projects implemented in Poland under the two measures of Axis 3 of the RDP 2007–2013. A set of conditions was prepared for all LAU1 units, forming the background for assessing the impact of the EU funds on the development of non-agricultural activities. To determine the relationship between the RDP measures and the selected groups of conditions, a synthetic index and a correlation index are used. They are also used to determine the mutual relations between the two analyzed activities in terms of the spatial scales used. Access to the EU funds (RDP) has considerably enlarged the opportunities for accelerating agricultural modernisation and restructuration towards multifunctional development, as well as the opportunities for implementing new development and work methods in the countryside in Poland. The attractiveness of the two studied RDP measures varied across regions. The beneficiaries’ activity depended on the local potential (resources), culture and tradition of the region, and size and potential of the farm. In the areas where agriculture is deeply rooted, beneficiaries were more willing to engage in ventures tapping into the resources available in their farms. Thus, they create additional livelihood of income and workplaces for household members. In turn, the beneficiaries from the areas where farms are smaller and economically weaker often undertake activities related to setting up a new business (outside farming). Full article
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Article
Effects of Camu-Camu (Myrciaria dubia) Powder on the Physicochemical and Kinetic Parameters of Deteriorating Microorganisms and Salmonella enterica Subsp. enterica Serovar Typhimurium in Refrigerated Vacuum-Packed Ground Beef
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 252; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030252 - 17 Mar 2021
Viewed by 681
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate the effects of camu-camu powder (CCP), Amazonian berry fruit with documented bioactive properties, physicochemical meat parameters, and the growth kinetics parameters of S. enterica ser. Typhimurium, psychrotrophic bacteria (PSY), and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in vacuum-packed ground beef. [...] Read more.
This study aims to evaluate the effects of camu-camu powder (CCP), Amazonian berry fruit with documented bioactive properties, physicochemical meat parameters, and the growth kinetics parameters of S. enterica ser. Typhimurium, psychrotrophic bacteria (PSY), and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in vacuum-packed ground beef. Batches of ground beef were mixed with 0.0%, 2.0%, 3.5%, and 5.0% CCP (w/w), vacuum-packed as 10 g portions, and stored at 5 °C for 16 days. Centesimal composition analyses (only on the initial day), pH, TBARS, and color were quantified on storage days 1, 7, and 15, while PSY and LAB were counted on days 0, 3, 6, 9, 13, and 16. Another experiment was conducted with the same camu-camu doses by inoculating S. enterica ser. Typhimurium microbial kinetic curves were modeled by the Huang growth and Weibull decay models. CCP decreased TBARS in beef from 0.477 to 0.189 mg MDA·kg−1. No significant differences in meat pH between treated and control samples were observed on day 15. CCP addition caused color changes, with color a* value decreases (from 14.45 to 13.44) and color b* value increases (from 17.41 to 21.25), while color L* was not affected. Higher CCP doses caused progressive LAB growth inhibition from 0.596 to 0.349 log CFU·day−1 at 2.0% and 5.0% CCP, respectively. Similarly, PSY growth rates in the treated group were lower (0.79–0.91 log CFU·day−1) compared to the control (1.21 log CFU·day−1). CCP addition at any of the investigated doses produced a steeper S. enterica ser. Typhimurium inactivation during the first cold storage day, represented by Weibull’s concavity α shape parameter, ranged from 0.37 to 0.51, in contrast to 1.24 for the control. At the end of the experiment, however, S. enterica ser. Typhimurium counts in beef containing CCP were not significantly different (p < 0.05) from the control. Although CCP affects bacterial kinetics, it does not protect ground beef against spoilage bacteria and Salmonella to the same degree it does against lipid peroxidation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Traits of Agriculture/Food Quality Interface)
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Article
Detection of Oil Palm Disease in Plantations in Krabi Province, Thailand with High Spatial Resolution Satellite Imagery
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 251; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030251 - 16 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1057
Abstract
Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) trees are an important contributor of recent economic development in Southeast Asia. The high product yield, and the consequent high profitability, has led to a widespread expansion of plantations in the greater region. However, oil palms are [...] Read more.
Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) trees are an important contributor of recent economic development in Southeast Asia. The high product yield, and the consequent high profitability, has led to a widespread expansion of plantations in the greater region. However, oil palms are susceptible to diseases that can have a detrimental effect. In this study we use hyper- and multi-spectral remote sensing to detect diseased oil palm trees in Krabi province, Thailand. Proximate spectroscopic measurements were used to identify and discern differences in leaf spectral radiance; the results indicate a relatively higher radiance in visible and near-infrared for the healthy leaves in comparison to the diseased. From a total of 113 samples for which the geolocation and the hyperspectral radiance were recorded, 59 and 54 samples were healthy and diseased oil palm trees, respectively. Moreover, a WorldView-2 satellite image was used to investigate the usability of traditional vegetation indices and subsequently detecting diseased oil palm trees. The results show that the overall maximum likelihood classification accuracy is 85.98%, the Kappa coefficient 0.71 and the producer’s accuracy for healthy and diseased oil palm trees 83.33 and 78.95, respectively. We conclude that high spatial and spectral resolutions can play a vital role in monitoring diseases in oil palm plantations. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Crop Diversification on the Economic Efficiency of Small Farms in Poland
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 250; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030250 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 737
Abstract
Crop diversification finds an important place in the strategy of dealing with risk and uncertainty related to climate change. It helps to increase the resilience of farmers, significantly improving their income stability, but at the same time, it can lower the economic efficiency [...] Read more.
Crop diversification finds an important place in the strategy of dealing with risk and uncertainty related to climate change. It helps to increase the resilience of farmers, significantly improving their income stability, but at the same time, it can lower the economic efficiency of small farms. The aim of the article is to identify the determinants of crop diversification and the impact of crop diversification on the economic efficiency of small farms in Poland. This article first provides a critical review of the literature on crop diversification, its role in stabilizing agricultural income and its impact on economic efficiency in small farms. Secondly, the level of crop diversification was determined and empirical research was conducted considering the economic, social and agronomic characteristics of farms. Thirdly, the economic efficiency of farms diversifying crops was compared with farms focused on one type of production. The research material consisted of small farms participating in the Polish system of collecting and using farm accountancy data (FADN) in 2018. The level of diversification was determined using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index. The factors influencing crop diversification were identified using the logit regression model. The Mann–Whitney U rank sum test was used to assess the significance of the differences in distributions. The research results indicate an average level of crop diversification in small farms in Poland and its regional differentiation. In addition, a statistically significant positive impact on the probability of crop diversification in small farms in Poland was found of variables such as the level of exposure of agricultural production to atmospheric and agricultural drought and the location of the farm in the frost hardiness zone and a statistically significant negative impact of the variable: value of fixed assets. The existence of significant differences in the level of economic efficiency of farms diversifying crops and farms focused on one profile of agricultural production was proved. The study is an important voice in the discussion on increasing measures to strengthen support for small farms that diversify crops so as to ensure their greater stability and economic efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Article
Assessing the Transformative Potential of Food Banks: The Case Study of Magazzini Sociali (Italy)
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 249; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030249 - 16 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1295
Abstract
Food poverty and/or food insecurity have become a substantial problem in the advanced capitalist world, with growing portions of people struggling to eat healthy food every day. At the same time, just in the European Union (EU), around 88 million tonnes of food [...] Read more.
Food poverty and/or food insecurity have become a substantial problem in the advanced capitalist world, with growing portions of people struggling to eat healthy food every day. At the same time, just in the European Union (EU), around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually. We call this paradox the “food paradox”. The question is, how to tackle food paradox? Food banks are usually presented as a win–win solution to tackle the food paradox, despite being quite controversial. Indeed, food banks are highly contested because, according to critics, they do not aim to address the structural causes, but rather they only intervene on the effects of the food paradox. This paper develops the PAHS conceptual framework, the acronym of prefiguration, autonomy, hybridization, and scalability, which provides the four categories through which to explore the transformative potential of food surplus redistribution initiatives. The PAHS is adopted to investigate the case study of Magazzini Sociali, a food bank project developed by IoPotentino, a not-for-profit organization operating in Potenza. The results show a good transformative potential of the organization and provide an example of social innovation that can be replicated in other contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Systems in Italy: Policies, Movements and Markets)
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Article
Structural Optimization and Performance Evaluation of Blocking Wheel-Type Screw Fertilizer Distributor
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 248; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030248 - 14 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 831
Abstract
In order to solve the problem where the amount of screw fertilizer distributor can only be adjusted by rotating speed and poor fertilization uniformity at low rotational speeds, a blocking wheel-type screw fertilizer distributor was designed. Single factor and L9(34 [...] Read more.
In order to solve the problem where the amount of screw fertilizer distributor can only be adjusted by rotating speed and poor fertilization uniformity at low rotational speeds, a blocking wheel-type screw fertilizer distributor was designed. Single factor and L9(34) orthogonal simulation tests based on EDEM software were carried out to optimize the distributor variables at a speed of 20 r/min. The bench verification test was built under the same conditions as the simulation tests to verify the results of the simulation. Finally, the bench performance tests were carried out to evaluate distributor performance. The results of simulation tests revealed that the minimum coefficient of variation of fertilization uniformity (CVFU) was 19.27%, with the structural parameter combination of the inner diameter (17 mm), pitch (45 mm), outlet distance (40 mm), and number of screw heads (1). The verification test results showed that the changing trend and values of the CVFU were almost the same as the simulation tests. The results of the performance test revealed that when the opening width of the blocking wheel was 10–30 mm and the rotation speed was 20–60 r/min, the amount of fertilizer per lap (FAPL) was in the range of 27.74–38.15 g/r; the maximum CVFU and the coefficient of variation of fertilization stability (CVFS) were 29.43% and 2.18%, respectively, which met the requirements of the industry standard. This research provides a good reference for optimizing the screw fertilizer distribution and for researchers in the field of precision fertilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Structures and Mechanization)
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Article
Quality Assessment of Raw Honey Issued from Eastern Romania
Agriculture 2021, 11(3), 247; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11030247 - 14 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1082
Abstract
Romania is known among the main European honey producers, due to the variety of landforms as well as the diversity of the flora. Thirty-four honey samples of the acacia, linden and multifloral types, produced in eastern Romania and collected during 2013–2018, were physico-chemically [...] Read more.
Romania is known among the main European honey producers, due to the variety of landforms as well as the diversity of the flora. Thirty-four honey samples of the acacia, linden and multifloral types, produced in eastern Romania and collected during 2013–2018, were physico-chemically analyzed using methods provided by the national and EU standards. The results of water-insoluble solids, color and refractive index were found to be 0.023–0.131%, 0.3–76.4 mm Pfund and 1.485–1.499, respectively. The moisture content ranged between 15.20% and 20.77%, solid substances content ranged between 79.23% and 84.80% and total soluble substances content ranged between 77.83 °Brix and 83.26 °Brix. The obtained values of specific gravity were from 1.414 to 1.450 g/cm3, pH ranged from 3.673 to 5.503 and free acidity ranged between 2.4 meq and 50 meq kg−1. The ash content and the electrical conductivity varied between 0.030 and 0.543% and 130 and 679 µS cm−1, respectively. Pearsonʹs correlation analysis showed an intense association of the ash content with electrical conductivity (r = 0.81). Our findings reveal the qualitative level of Romanian honey and the variation in quality parameters due to factors such as geographical region, climatic conditions, botanical origin and handling or storage conditions. Full article
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