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Agriculture, Volume 11, Issue 5 (May 2021) – 92 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Development of efficient in vitro regeneration protocols are required for recalcitrant solanaceous crops, such as tomato, that have variable regeneration efficiency mainly affected by the genotype. The local well-adapted varieties, Makedonia (landrace) and Areti (commercial), have exceptional qualitative traits and are of high economic importance for the Greek vegetable market. The importance of characterizing the regeneration efficiency of both varieties is significant for preventing further genetic erosion in cultivated tomato diversity and characterizing the stress resistance to abiotic and biotic factors in the frame of climate change. Therefore, despite tomato being mainly propagated by seeds, the development of such a type of regeneration system is a prerequisite in molecular breeding using genetic engineering and micrografting towards the development of more promising genotypes [...] Read more.
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Article
Evaluation of CH4 Emission in Two Paddy Field Areas, Khonkaen and Ayutthaya, in Thailand
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 467; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050467 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 835
Abstract
It is well known that submerged soils emit high levels of methane (CH4) due to oxygen deprivation and free iron oxide causing a quick reduction. However, there are other soil properties that control the reduction processes in soil, especially the amount [...] Read more.
It is well known that submerged soils emit high levels of methane (CH4) due to oxygen deprivation and free iron oxide causing a quick reduction. However, there are other soil properties that control the reduction processes in soil, especially the amount of soil organic carbon (SOC). This study aimed to investigate the major factors controlling CH4 production potential (CH4PP) in Thai paddy fields. Two provinces, Ayutthaya, a clay soil region, and Khonkaen, a sandy soil region, were selected to represent a wide range of soil textures. Soil characteristic analysis pre- and post-incubation, and weekly gas detection in an incubation experiment over two months, was conducted. Stepwise multiple regression analysis was employed to analyze major soil factors controlling CH4PP. For the regional prediction of CH4PP, a map dataset of Ayutthaya and Khonkaen by the Land Development Department, Thailand, and a soil texture map (with intersected point data using the soil property map in ArcGIS) by OpenLandMap, were used. CH4PP was correlated with 1:10 pH, Fe2+, and water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) measured after incubation. Although CH4PP showed no significant correlation with any soil properties measured before incubation, CH4PP was correlated with SOC, 1:10 electrical conductivity (EC), exchangeable ammonium (ExNH4), and sand content. It was thought that SOC and ExNH4 were related to organic matter decomposition, 1:10 EC was related to SO42− reduction and sand content was related to free oxides. Predicted regional CH4PP was similar in Ayutthaya and Khonkaen, although SOC, ExNH4 and 1:10 EC was higher, and sand content was lower in Ayutthaya than in Khonkaen. In both regions, the distribution of CH4PP corresponded to SOC, and CH4PP was lower with lower sand content and higher 1:10 EC. In clayey Ayutthaya, higher CH4PP was observed in the area with higher ExNH4. This indicates that soil properties other than soil texture and SOC influence CH4PP in the paddy fields in Thailand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Design Matching and Dynamic Performance Test for an HST-Based Drive System of a Hillside Crawler Tractor
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 466; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050466 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
In recent years, research into and development of hillside tractors has become a popular topic in the field of agricultural engineering in China. To solve the main problems associated with a low adjustment range of the working speed, complex operation, and low safety [...] Read more.
In recent years, research into and development of hillside tractors has become a popular topic in the field of agricultural engineering in China. To solve the main problems associated with a low adjustment range of the working speed, complex operation, and low safety for slope operation of medium-sized crawler tractors, a hydrostatic drive system that can be used for hillside crawler tractors was designed. According to the operation requirements of a hillside crawler tractor, the parameters of the three-cylinder diesel engine, hydrostatic transmission (HST), drive rear axle, and other key components of the drive system were matched after the force and motion analyses of the tractor, and then the main performance indicators, including the traction performance, system pressure and working speed of the drive system were verified. On this basis, a drive system performance test bench was built, and the traction performance and starting acceleration performance of the drive system was tested. The results of the traction bench test show that when the engine was at the maximum torque point of 1700 r/min, the maximum theoretical tractive force outputted by the tractor in Gear I was 114,563 N, and the maximum theoretical tractive force outputted by tractor in Gear II was 10,959.2 N, which were both larger than the traction resistance of 9550.6 N experienced by the hillside tractor ploughing on the slope. The results of the initial acceleration bench test show that the tractor driving speed can gradually increase with increasing output of the variable pump and can reach the maximum in 3 s. When the tractor was driving on flat ground, the maximum driving speeds of Gear I, Gear II, and Gear III were 4.65 km/h, 6.58 km/h, and 8.57 km/h, respectively, which are close to the theoretical values. When the tractor was driving on a 15° slope, the maximum driving speeds of Gear I, Gear II, and Gear III were 4.55 km/h, 6.25 km/h, and 8.28 km/h, respectively. It can be concluded that the design matching of the drive system is reasonable, the speed consistency is good and there is enough power reserve, which can meet the requirements for a large workload. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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Article
Strategic Successive Harvesting of Rocket and Spinach Baby Leaves Enhanced Their Quality and Production Efficiency
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 465; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050465 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 402
Abstract
Rocket and spinach baby leaves are valuable commodities since they are basic components of popular ready-made salads. Two methods may follow after harvesting: establishment of new cultivations or successive revegetations and harvests. This study aimed to investigate the yield and nutritional value of [...] Read more.
Rocket and spinach baby leaves are valuable commodities since they are basic components of popular ready-made salads. Two methods may follow after harvesting: establishment of new cultivations or successive revegetations and harvests. This study aimed to investigate the yield and nutritional value of rocket and spinach baby leaves after individual cultivations or successive revegetations in a floating system to improve their production strategy. The crops were cultivated in a greenhouse for seven weeks using a floating system with an adjusted nutrient solution. The leaves were either harvested and immediately replaced with a new set of plants (control) or harvested and placed again in the same tank in order to revegetate (revegetation). Revegetated rocket baby leaves in five cuts produced similar yield, with greater antioxidant capacity (DPPH scavenging activity) and total phenolic content, and greater nitrate content (eight times below the maximum allowed by EU) compared to control. Revegetated spinach produced more yield with enhanced antioxidant activity and total phenolic content and the same nitrate content compared to the control. Colour was not affected in either crop, thus eliminating the possibility for market rejection. Production efficiency was increased, as shown by the yields and the reduced resources provided in the revegetation tank. Thus, successive harvesting and revegetation are suggested for increased production efficiency and quality of rocket and spinach baby leaves. Full article
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Article
The Influence of Grain Legume and Tillage Strategies on CO2 and N2O Gas Exchange under Varied Environmental Conditions
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050464 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 532
Abstract
By this in vitro study addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from soil-plant mesocosms, we suggest a method to investigate the joint effects of environmental conditions, growth of plants, and agricultural soil management. Soils from two long-term agricultural trials in France were placed in [...] Read more.
By this in vitro study addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from soil-plant mesocosms, we suggest a method to investigate the joint effects of environmental conditions, growth of plants, and agricultural soil management. Soils from two long-term agricultural trials in France were placed in climate chambers. The rotation trial was with or without grain legumes, and the tillage trial used plowing or reduced tillage. Environmental conditions consisted of two contrasting temperature regimes combined with ambient (400 ppm) or high (700 ppm) CO2 concentrations in climate chambers. The plant growth went from seeding to vegetative growth. Carbon dioxide gas exchange measurements were conducted in both soil types for a period representing initial plant growth. The CO2 exchange was influenced by the growing plants increasing the mesocosm respiration and gross ecosystem production. The environmental settings had no noticeable impact on the CO2 exchange in the soils from the legume trial. The CO2 exchange from the tillage trial soils exhibited variations induced by the environmental conditions depending on the tillage treatment. The N2O emission measurements in the legume trial soils showed little variability based on rotation, however, in soils with legumes, indications that higher temperatures will lead to more N2O emission were seen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for Nitrous Oxide Emission Mitigation in Agrosystems)
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Review
Response and Defence Mechanisms of Vegetable Crops against Drought, Heat and Salinity Stress
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 463; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050463 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 761
Abstract
Environmental pollution, increasing CO2 atmospheric levels and the greenhouse effect are closely associated with the ongoing climate change and the extreme climatic events we are witnessing all over the Earth. Drought, high temperature and salinity are among the main environmental stresses that [...] Read more.
Environmental pollution, increasing CO2 atmospheric levels and the greenhouse effect are closely associated with the ongoing climate change and the extreme climatic events we are witnessing all over the Earth. Drought, high temperature and salinity are among the main environmental stresses that negatively affect the yield of numerous crops, challenging the world food safety. These effects are more profound in vegetable crops which are generally more susceptible to climate change than field or tree crops. The response to single or combined environmental stressors involves various changes in plant morphology and physiology or in molecular processes. Knowing the mechanisms behind these responses may help towards the creation of more tolerant genotypes in the long-term. However, the imediacy of the problem requires urgently short-term measures such as the use of eco-sustainable agricultural practices which can alleviate the negative effects of environmental pollution and allow vegetable crops to adapt to adverse climatic conditions. In this review, the main abiotic stressors were examined, namely drought, heat and salinity stress, focusing on the mechanisms involved in the most common vegetable crops responses. Moreover, the use of eco-sustainable cultural techniques, such as biostimulants, grafting and genomic sequencing techniques, to increase the quality of tomato crop under adverse environmental conditions are also presented. Full article
Article
Evaluating the Impacts of Smallholder Farmer’s Participation in Modern Agricultural Value Chain Tactics for Facilitating Poverty Alleviation—A Case Study of Kiwifruit Industry in Shaanxi, China
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 462; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050462 - 19 May 2021
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Market-based initiatives like agriculture value chain (AVC) are becoming progressively pervasive to support smallholder rural farmers and assist them in entering larger market interventions and providing a pathway of enhancing their socioeconomic well-being. Moreover, it may also foster staggering effects towards the post-era [...] Read more.
Market-based initiatives like agriculture value chain (AVC) are becoming progressively pervasive to support smallholder rural farmers and assist them in entering larger market interventions and providing a pathway of enhancing their socioeconomic well-being. Moreover, it may also foster staggering effects towards the post-era poverty alleviation in rural areas and possessed a significant theoretical and practical influence for modern agricultural development. The prime objective of the study is to explore the effects of smallholder farmers’ participation in the agricultural value chain for availing rural development and poverty alleviation. Specifically, we have crafted the assessment employing pre-production (improved fertilizers usage), in-production (modern preservation technology), and post-production (supply chain) participation and interventions of smallholder farmers. The empirical data has been collected from a micro survey dataset of 623 kiwifruit farmers from July to September in Shaanxi, China. We have employed propensity score matching (PSM), probit, and OLS models to explore the multidimensional poverty reduction impact and heterogeneity of farmers’ participation in the agricultural value chain. The results show that the total number of poor farmers who have experienced one-dimensional and two-dimensional poverty is relatively high (66.3%). We also find that farmers’ participation in agricultural value chain activities has a significant poverty reduction effect. The multidimensional poverty level of farmers using improved fertilizer, organizational acquisition, and using storage technology (compared with non-participating farmers) decreased by 30.1%, 46.5%, and 25.0%, respectively. The multidimensional poverty reduction degree of male farmers using improved fertilizer and participating in the organizational acquisition is greater than that of women. The multidimensional poverty reduction degree of female farmers using storage and fresh-keeping technology has a greater impact than the males using storage and improved storage technology. Government should widely promote the value chain in the form of pre-harvest, production, and post-harvest technology. The public–private partnership should also be strengthened for availing innovative technologies and infrastructure development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Marketing, Economics and Policies)
Review
Crop Diversification for Improved Weed Management: A Review
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 461; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050461 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 658
Abstract
Weeds are among the major constraints to any crop production system, reducing productivity and profitability. Herbicides are among the most effective methods to control weeds, and reliance on herbicides for weed control has increased significantly with the advent of herbicide-resistant crops. Unfortunately, over-reliance [...] Read more.
Weeds are among the major constraints to any crop production system, reducing productivity and profitability. Herbicides are among the most effective methods to control weeds, and reliance on herbicides for weed control has increased significantly with the advent of herbicide-resistant crops. Unfortunately, over-reliance on herbicides leads to environmental-health issues and herbicide-resistant weeds, causing human health and ecological concerns. Crop diversification can help manage weeds sustainably in major crop production systems. It acts as an organizing principle under which technological innovations and ecological insights can be combined to manage weeds sustainably. Diversified cropping can be defined as the conscious inclusion of functional biodiversity at temporal and/or spatial levels to improve the productivity and stability of ecosystem services. Crop diversification helps to reduce weed density by negatively impacting weed seed germination and weed growth. Additionally, diversified farming systems are more resilient to climate change than monoculture systems and provide better crop yield. However, there are a few challenges to adopting a diversified cropping system, ranging from technology innovations, government policies, farm-level decisions, climate change, and market conditions. In this review, we discuss how crop diversification supports sustainable weed management, the challenges associated with it, and the future of weed management with respect to the diversification concept. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weeds in Diversified Cropping)
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Article
A Motor-Driven and Computer Vision-Based Intelligent E-Trap for Monitoring Citrus Flies
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 460; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050460 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 520
Abstract
Citrus flies are important quarantine pests in citrus plantations. Electronic traps (e-traps) based on computer vision are the most popular types of equipment for monitoring them. However, most current e-traps are inefficient and unreliable due to requiring manual operations and lack of reliable [...] Read more.
Citrus flies are important quarantine pests in citrus plantations. Electronic traps (e-traps) based on computer vision are the most popular types of equipment for monitoring them. However, most current e-traps are inefficient and unreliable due to requiring manual operations and lack of reliable detection and identification algorithms of citrus fly images. To address these problems, this paper presents a monitoring scheme based on automatic e-traps and novel recognition algorithms. In this scheme, the prototype of an automatic motor-driven e-trap is firstly designed based on a yellow sticky trap. A motor autocontrol algorithm based on Local Binary Pattern (LBP) image analysis is proposed to automatically replace attractants in the e-trap for long-acting work. Furthermore, for efficient and reliable statistics of captured citrus flies, based on the differences between two successive sampling images of the e-trap, a simple and effective detection algorithm is presented to continuously detect the newly captured citrus flies from the collected images of the e-trap. Moreover, a Multi-Attention and Multi-Part convolutional neural Network (MAMPNet) is proposed to exploit discriminative local features of citrus fly images to recognize the citrus flies in the images. Finally, extensive simulation experiments validate the feasibility and efficiency of the designed e-trap prototype and its autocontrol algorithm, as well as the reliability and effectiveness of the proposed detection and recognition algorithms for citrus flies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pest and Weeds)
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Article
A Comparison of Cereal and Cereal/Vetch Crops for Fodder Conservation
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 459; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050459 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 407
Abstract
Experiments were conducted at three sites across southern New South Wales, Australia, over three years (2008 to 2010), to evaluate the agronomic and quality parameters of two wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), two barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), two oat (Avena sativa [...] Read more.
Experiments were conducted at three sites across southern New South Wales, Australia, over three years (2008 to 2010), to evaluate the agronomic and quality parameters of two wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), two barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), two oat (Avena sativa L.) and one triticale (× Triticosecale) variety, grown as monocultures or in combination with purple vetch (Vicia benghalensis L.). Harvests occurred when individual cereal varieties were at the boot, anthesis, milk and soft/mid dough stage of maturity; though drought conditions or lodging forced some soft/mid dough stage harvests to be abandoned. Yield and species composition of mixed crops were measured and digestibility, crude protein, water soluble carbohydrates and fibre content were determined. Yield differed between years reflective of growing season rainfall, which varied from 185 to 479 mm. Drought conditions in 2008 were associated with low yield, vetch inclusion and fibre content and high digestibility, water soluble carbohydrates and cereal crude protein content. Conversely, very favourable conditions in 2010 were associated with high yield and fibre content, and lower digestibility, water soluble carbohydrates and cereal crude protein content. Addition of vetch increased crude protein content all crops in 2009 and 2010, and 50% of the crops in 2008. Lodging was observed in later harvests of cereal/vetch crops in 2009 and 2010. Full article
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Article
The Essence of Agritourism and Its Profitability during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 458; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050458 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 608
Abstract
The article aims to present the essence of agritourism in the literature regarding the subject of its profitability during the COVID-19 pandemic. To verify the goal, data from our own research was applied. The research was conducted in 2019 and 2020 with the [...] Read more.
The article aims to present the essence of agritourism in the literature regarding the subject of its profitability during the COVID-19 pandemic. To verify the goal, data from our own research was applied. The research was conducted in 2019 and 2020 with the exploratory survey method and an interview questionnaire. Thirty-two service providers running agritourism activities in randomly selected rural communes of the Podlaskie province (communes of Mielnik, Suchowola, Giby, Płaska, and Hajnówka) participated in the study. The Ward cluster analysis method was used to group the counties of the Podlaskie Province in terms of spatial differentiation in the development of agritourism. For this purpose, data provided by the Central Statistical Authority in Poland reported for 2019 and the primary data (research by M. Roman) was applied. In the first part of the article, the authors describe and explain the basic concepts of rural tourism and agritourism based on the literature. The figures were also quoted, for example, the number of agritourism farms in Poland and other European countries. The last part of the study provides the results of our own research. The study demonstrates that in 2020 agritourism was profitable, as the owners of the farms recorded a profit. The research confirms the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agritourism. During a pandemic, many people choose places with few people (e.g., rural areas). The research also considered the importance of innovation on agritourism farms and business profitability. The issues discussed in the study relate to current events—scientific studies examining the impact of COVID-19 on agritourism concern other countries; however, the authors were not able to find studies focusing on agritourism farms in Poland. A new element of methodology in this article was to organize the concepts of agritourism and to present the impact of coronavirus pandemic on the profitability of agritourism. It was also essential to present the classification of rural tourism. According to the authors of the study, the problems covered here are new and point to new trends in the development of agritourism during the pandemic. Full article
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Review
Remote Sensing Vegetation Indices in Viticulture: A Critical Review
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 457; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050457 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 836
Abstract
One factor of precision agriculture is remote sensing, through which we can monitor vegetation health and condition. Much research has been conducted in the field of remote sensing and agriculture analyzing the applications, while the reviews gather the research on this field and [...] Read more.
One factor of precision agriculture is remote sensing, through which we can monitor vegetation health and condition. Much research has been conducted in the field of remote sensing and agriculture analyzing the applications, while the reviews gather the research on this field and examine different scientific methodologies. This work aims to gather the existing vegetation indices used in viticulture, which were calculated from imagery acquired by remote sensing platforms such as satellites, airplanes and UAVs. In this review we present the vegetation indices, the applications of these and the spatial distribution of the research on viticulture from the early 2000s. A total of 143 publications on viticulture were reviewed; 113 of them had used remote sensing methods to calculate vegetation indices, while the rejected ones have used proximal sensing methods. The findings show that the most used vegetation index is NDVI, while the most frequently appearing applications are monitoring and estimating vines water stress and delineation of management zones. More than half of the publications use multitemporal analysis and UAVs as the most used among remote sensing platforms. Spain and Italy are the countries with the most publications on viticulture with one-third of the publications referring to regional scale whereas the others to site-specific/vineyard scale. This paper reviews more than 90 vegetation indices that are used in viticulture in various applications and research topics, and categorized them depending on their application and the spectral bands that they are using. To summarize, this review is a guide for the applications of remote sensing and vegetation indices in precision viticulture and vineyard assessment. Full article
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Article
Influence of Tillage on the Production Inputs, Outputs, Soil Compaction and GHG Emissions
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 456; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050456 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 560
Abstract
Fertilizer inputs, crop yields, the composition of technological operations and intensity of treatment with different types of pesticides in both basic approaches were evaluated. A comprehensive comparison of impacts showed that all crops, except sugar beet, achieved better economic and emission parameters of [...] Read more.
Fertilizer inputs, crop yields, the composition of technological operations and intensity of treatment with different types of pesticides in both basic approaches were evaluated. A comprehensive comparison of impacts showed that all crops, except sugar beet, achieved better economic and emission parameters of production based on the evaluation of GHG production by using reduced tillage compared to ploughing. The total reduction of GHG emissions based on CO2eq on average of all crops per ton as a result of the technological processes was 6% using reduced tillage. The most significant CO2eq reductions were achieved for rye and oat (13%), and spring barley (8%). The reduction of crop yields ranges from about 1% (spring barley) to 4% (grain maize). Cost reduction per tone was in the range of 14% (rye) to 2% (silage maize). The energy gain was at reduced tillage improved at poppy (8%), rape (4%), oat (3%), rye (3%) and spring and winter barley (2%). From the evaluation of the number of chemical protections, a lower number of total protections was found at the no-till system for most crops. In most cases, there was no difference between ploughing and reduced tillage. There was an increase in specific nitrogen consumption per tonne of production in marginal areas, reduced tillage led to an increase in soil compaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cropping Systems: Implications on Climate and Environment)
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Article
Farming Systems Changes in the Urban Shadow: A Mixed Approach Based on Statistical Analysis and Expert Surveys
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 455; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050455 - 18 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 420
Abstract
Due to the growth of the “urban shadow”, farming systems in metropolitan areas (MAs) are characterized by specific environmental, economic, and social pressures. Urbanization pressure and its related threats, as well as the opportunities resulting from a convenient location close to consumers’ markets, [...] Read more.
Due to the growth of the “urban shadow”, farming systems in metropolitan areas (MAs) are characterized by specific environmental, economic, and social pressures. Urbanization pressure and its related threats, as well as the opportunities resulting from a convenient location close to consumers’ markets, cause rapid farming systems changes. The present study provides a quali-quantitative overview of change in farming systems in selected Polish metropolitan areas. Various statistical methods were applied to analyze changes in farming systems. First, farming system changes were characterized for the study area by the exploratory factor analysis. In addition, experts’ opinions (qualitative data) on changes in farming systems until 2027 are presented. The research conducted showed that there are a few main patterns in changes to/adaptations of farming systems: Horizontal growth of farms, farmland concentration, process of specialization (horticulture, orchards), trajectories towards more multifunctional farming practices (off-farm diversification, as well as “deepening” and “broadening” strategies), reduction of livestock farming, deintensification and farmland abandonment. Those processes vary in space, and they are only partially explained in terms of distance to the core city (location). Experts forecast that the identified trends will continue, paying attention to the growing importance of multifunctional agriculture and the intensification of recessive processes, including farmland abandonment and excessive deintensification of production. According to the experts surveyed, most farmers will continue to apply traditional development strategies, which will be ineffective without the possibility of increasing the area of farms. Full article
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Article
Effects of Adding Pre-Fermented Fluid Prepared from Red Clover or Lucerne on Fermentation Quality and In Vitro Digestibility of Red Clover and Lucerne Silages
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 454; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050454 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 467
Abstract
This study examined the effects of chopping or chopping + blender maceration of red clover or lucerne on pre-fermented juice (PFJ) and determined the effects of PFJs on the quality of red clover silage or lucerne silage. The PFJs from chopping red clover [...] Read more.
This study examined the effects of chopping or chopping + blender maceration of red clover or lucerne on pre-fermented juice (PFJ) and determined the effects of PFJs on the quality of red clover silage or lucerne silage. The PFJs from chopping red clover (PFJ-RC) or lucerne (PFJ-LC) had a higher lactic acid bacteria (LAB) count than that from chopping + blender maceration (p < 0.05) and were used as additives. Compared with the Control of both silages, adding PFJ increased LAB, lactic acid (LA), and in vitro digestibility of dry matter (IVDMD) (p < 0.05), while pH, acetic acid (AA), and ammonia nitrogen/total nitrogen (NH3-N/TN) were decreased (p < 0.05). For red clover silages, the PFJ-RC treatment contained the greatest LAB and LA and the lowest pH and NH3-N/TN among treatments (p < 0.05); similar results were observed in PFJ-LC treatment for lucerne silages (p < 0.05). The IVDMD of both silages correlated negatively with pH, AA, and NH3-N/TN and positively with LA (p < 0.05). Overall, chopping alone was a better method for preparing PFJ. Adding PFJ at ensiling increased LA and decreased the pH, AA, and NH3-N/TN of both silages. Ensiling lucerne or red clover with PFJ from the ensiling material had a more positive effect on the fermentation parameters mentioned above. Satisfactory fermentation parameters detected in the present study contributed to improving the IVDMD of both silages. Full article
Review
Intercropping—Evaluating the Advantages to Broadacre Systems
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 453; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050453 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Intercropping is considered by its advocates to be a sustainable, environmentally sound, and economically advantageous cropping system. Intercropping systems are complex, with non-uniform competition between the component species within the cropping cycle, typically leading to unequal relative yields making evaluation difficult. This paper [...] Read more.
Intercropping is considered by its advocates to be a sustainable, environmentally sound, and economically advantageous cropping system. Intercropping systems are complex, with non-uniform competition between the component species within the cropping cycle, typically leading to unequal relative yields making evaluation difficult. This paper is a review of the main existing metrics used in the scientific literature to assess intercropping systems. Their strengths and limitations are discussed. Robust metrics for characterising intercropping systems are proposed. A major limitation is that current metrics assume the same management level between intercropping and monocropping systems and do not consider differences in costs of production. Another drawback is that they assume the component crops in the mixture are of equal value. Moreover, in employing metrics, many studies have considered direct and private costs and benefits only, ignoring indirect and social costs and benefits of intercropping systems per se. Furthermore, production risk and growers’ risk preferences were often overlooked. In evaluating intercropping advantage using data from field trials, four metrics are recommended that collectively take into account all important differences in private costs and benefits between intercropping and monocropping systems, specifically the Land Equivalent Ratio, Yield Ratio, Value Ratio and Net Gross Margin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intercropping Systems for Sustainable Agriculture)
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Article
Evaluation of Nutritive Values through Comparison of Forage Yield and Silage Quality of Mono-Cropped and Intercropped Maize-Soybean Harvested at Two Maturity Stages
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 452; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050452 - 17 May 2021
Viewed by 555
Abstract
Maize and soybean intercropping is a cereal-legume intercropping pattern that not only increases grain yield but also improves the nutritional value of silage. Experiments were conducted in the summer season to compare the yield and nutritional composition of the forage and silage quality [...] Read more.
Maize and soybean intercropping is a cereal-legume intercropping pattern that not only increases grain yield but also improves the nutritional value of silage. Experiments were conducted in the summer season to compare the yield and nutritional composition of the forage and silage quality of mono-cropped maize and intercropped maize-soybean harvested at two stages of maturity. The main treatments were one sole crop maize (SM) and four maize-soybean intercropping patterns (one-row maize to one-row soybean (1M1S), one-row maize to two-row soybean (1M2S), one-row maize to three-row soybean (1M3S), and two-row maize to one-row soybean (2M1S). The crops were harvested when the maize reached the milk (R3) and maturity (R6) stages. Results indicated a significant increase in the fresh biomass and dry-matter production of maize fodder alone compared with those of maize intercropped with soybean fodder. After 60 days of ensiling period, silage samples were analyzed for pH, organic acids, dry matter, crude protein (CP), ether extract, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), and other mineral compositions. All intercropped silages showed higher CP values (1M1S, 12.1%; 1M2S, 12.2%; 1M3S, 12.4%; and 2M1S, 12.1%) than the SM silage (8.7%). Higher organic acids were produced in 1M3S than in the other silages. Correlation data showed that CP was highly correlated with lactic acid but negatively associated with crude fiber, nitrogen-free extract, and NDF. Thus, the intercropping of maize and soybean silage is recommended due its enhanced crop production, nutritional values in dairy animals, and prolific animal feedings and because it was scientifically evaluated as a feed stuff. This study indicated that 1M3S was the most preferable among intercropped silages in terms of nutrient composition. Full article
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Article
Classification of Grain Storage Inventory Modes Based on Temperature Contour Map of Grain Bulk Using Back Propagation Neural Network
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 451; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050451 - 16 May 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Inventory modes classification can reduce the workload of grain depot management and it is time-saving, not labor-intensive. This paper proposed a method of using a temperature contour map converted from digital temperature data to classify stored grain inventory modes in a large bulk [...] Read more.
Inventory modes classification can reduce the workload of grain depot management and it is time-saving, not labor-intensive. This paper proposed a method of using a temperature contour map converted from digital temperature data to classify stored grain inventory modes in a large bulk grain warehouse, which mainly included detection of inventory changes and routine operations performed (aeration). The back propagation (BP) neural network was used in this method to identify and classify grain storage inventory modes based on the temperature contour map for helping grain depot management work. The method extracted and combined color coherence vector (CCV), texture feature vector (TFV) and smoothness feature vector (SFV) of temperature contour maps as the input vector of the BP neural network, and used inventory modes as the output vector. The experimental results indicated that the accuracy of the BP neural network with vector (CCV and TFV and SFV) as the input vector was about 93.9%, and its training time and prediction time were 320 and 0.12 s, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Analysis Techniques in Agriculture)
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Article
3D Point Cloud on Semantic Information for Wheat Reconstruction
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 450; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050450 - 16 May 2021
Viewed by 601
Abstract
Phenotypic analysis has always played an important role in breeding research. At present, wheat phenotypic analysis research mostly relies on high-precision instruments, which make the cost higher. Thanks to the development of 3D reconstruction technology, the reconstructed wheat 3D model can also be [...] Read more.
Phenotypic analysis has always played an important role in breeding research. At present, wheat phenotypic analysis research mostly relies on high-precision instruments, which make the cost higher. Thanks to the development of 3D reconstruction technology, the reconstructed wheat 3D model can also be used for phenotypic analysis. In this paper, a method is proposed to reconstruct wheat 3D model based on semantic information. The method can generate the corresponding 3D point cloud model of wheat according to the semantic description. First, an object detection algorithm is used to detect the characteristics of some wheat phenotypes during the growth process. Second, the growth environment information and some phenotypic features of wheat are combined into semantic information. Third, text-to-image algorithm is used to generate the 2D image of wheat. Finally, the wheat in the 2D image is transformed into an abstract 3D point cloud and obtained a higher precision point cloud model using a deep learning algorithm. Extensive experiments indicate that the method reconstructs 3D models and has a heuristic effect on phenotypic analysis and breeding research by deep learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Analysis Techniques in Agriculture)
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Article
Influence of Mechanical and Intelligent Robotic Weed Control Methods on Energy Efficiency and Environment in Organic Sugar Beet Production
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 449; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050449 - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 590
Abstract
Rapidly warming climate, tightening environmental requirements, an aging society, rising wages, and demand for organic products are forcing farming to be more efficient and sustainable. The main aim of this study was to perform an analytical analysis and to determine the energy use [...] Read more.
Rapidly warming climate, tightening environmental requirements, an aging society, rising wages, and demand for organic products are forcing farming to be more efficient and sustainable. The main aim of this study was to perform an analytical analysis and to determine the energy use and GHG emissions of organic sugar beet production using different weed control methods. Seven different methods of non-chemical weed control were compared. Mechanical inter-row loosening, inter-row cutting and mulching with weeds, weed smothering with catch crops, and thermal inter-row steaming were performed in field experiments at the Experimental Station of Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania, 2015–2017). The other three, namely, automated mechanical inter-row loosening with cameras for row-tracking, inter-row loosening with a diesel-powered robot, and inter-row loosening with an electric robot were calculated analytically. The results showed that the average total energy use of organic sugar beet production was 27,844 MJ ha−1, of which manure costs accounted for 48–53% and diesel fuel for 29–35%. An average energy efficiency ratio was 7.18, while energy productivity was 1.83 kg MJ ha−1. Analysis of GHG emissions showed that the total average GHG emissions to the environment from organic sugar beet production amounted to 4552 kg CO2eq ha−1, and the average GHG emissions ratio was 4.47. The most sustainable organic sugar beet production was achieved by using mechanical inter-row loosening with a diesel-powered robot for weed control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Structures and Mechanization)
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Article
Can Sustained Deficit Irrigation Save Water and Meet the Quality Characteristics of Mango?
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 448; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050448 - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Mango is one of the most cultivated tropical fruits worldwide and one of few drought-tolerant plants. Thus, in this study the effect of a sustained deficit irrigation (SDI) strategy on mango yield and quality was assessed with the aim of reducing irrigation water [...] Read more.
Mango is one of the most cultivated tropical fruits worldwide and one of few drought-tolerant plants. Thus, in this study the effect of a sustained deficit irrigation (SDI) strategy on mango yield and quality was assessed with the aim of reducing irrigation water in mango crop. A randomized block design with four treatments was developed: (i) full irrigation (FI), assuring the crop’s water needs, and three levels of SDI receiving 75%, 50%, and 33% of irrigation water (SDI75, SDI50, and SDI33). Yield, morphology, color, titratable acidity (TA), total soluble solids (TSS), organic acids (OA), sugars, minerals, fiber, antioxidant activity (AA), and total phenolic content (TPC) were analyzed. The yield was reduced in SDI conditions (8%, 11%, and 20% for SDI75, SDI50, and SDI33, respectively), but the irrigation water productivity was higher in all SDI regimes. SDI significantly reduced the mango size, with SDI33 generating the smallest mangoes. Peel color significantly changed after 13 days of ripening, with SDI75 being the least ripe. The TA, AA, and citric acid were higher in SDI75, while the TPC and fiber increased in all SDI levels. Consequently, SDI reduced the mango size but increased the functionality of samples, without a severe detrimental effect on the yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future of Irrigation in Agriculture)
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Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Expression of the PIN Auxin Efflux Carrier Gene Family in Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 447; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050447 - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 499
Abstract
As one of the world’s most popular fruits, watermelon (Citrus lanatus) is cultivated in more than 3 million hectares across the globe, with a yearly yield of more than 100 million tons. According to ‘97103’ genome version 1, a previous study [...] Read more.
As one of the world’s most popular fruits, watermelon (Citrus lanatus) is cultivated in more than 3 million hectares across the globe, with a yearly yield of more than 100 million tons. According to ‘97103’ genome version 1, a previous study has shown that the watermelon genome consists of 11 PIN genes. However, the higher quality ‘97103’ genome version 2 was recently assembled by using PacBio long reads with the benefit of fast development sequencing technology. Using this new assembly, we conducted a new genome-wide search for PIN genes in watermelon and compared it with cucumber and melon genomes. We identified nine, nine, and eight PINs in watermelon, cucumber, and melon, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a distinct evolutionary history of PIN proteins in watermelon, which is shown by the orphan PIN6 in watermelon. We further conducted an expression analysis of the watermelon PIN genes in silico and by qRT-PCR. ClaPIN6 might not play an essential role during shoot regeneration, which is closely related to species-specific evolution. However, the up-regulated expression patterns of ClaPIN1-1 and ClaPIN1-3 indicated their important roles during shoot regeneration. The result of this research will benefit future studies to understand the regulating mechanisms of auxin in watermelon shoot regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Auxin Mediated Regulation of Growth and Development in Plants)
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Article
Cultivating for the Industry: Cropping Experiences with Hypericum perforatum L. in a Mediterranean Environment
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 446; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050446 - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Hypericum perforatum is an intensively studied medicinal plant, and much experimental activity has been addressed to evaluate its bio-agronomical and phytochemical features as far. In most cases, plant material used for experimental purposes is obtained from wild populations or, alternatively, from individuals grown [...] Read more.
Hypericum perforatum is an intensively studied medicinal plant, and much experimental activity has been addressed to evaluate its bio-agronomical and phytochemical features as far. In most cases, plant material used for experimental purposes is obtained from wild populations or, alternatively, from individuals grown in vases and/or pots. When Hypericum is addressed to industrial purposes, the most convenient option for achieving satisfactory amounts of plant biomass is field cultivation. Pot cultivation and open field condition, however, are likely to induce different responses on plant’s metabolism, and the obtained yield and composition are not necessarily the same. To compare these management techniques, a 4-year cultivation trial (2013–2016) was performed, using three Hypericum biotypes obtained from different areas in Italy: PFR-TN, from Trento province, Trentino; PFR-SI, from Siena, Tuscany; PFR-AG, from Agrigento province, Sicily. Both managements gave scarce biomass and flower yields at the first year, whereas higher yields were measured at the second year (in open field), and at the third year (in pots). Plant ageing induced significant differences in phytochemical composition, and the total amount of phenolic substances was much higher in 2015 than in 2014. A different performance of genotypes was observed; the local genotype was generally more suitable for field cultivation, whereas the two non-native biotypes performed better in pots. Phytochemical profile of in-pots plants was not always reflecting the actual situation of open field. Consequently, when cultivation is intended for industrial purposes, accurate quality checks of the harvested material are advised. Full article
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Article
Changes in Bacterial and Fungal Soil Communities in Long-Term Organic Cropping Systems
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 445; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050445 - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 697
Abstract
Long-term organic farming aims to reduce synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use in order to sustainably produce and improve soil quality. To do this, there is a need for more information about the soil microbial community, which plays a key role in a sustainable [...] Read more.
Long-term organic farming aims to reduce synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use in order to sustainably produce and improve soil quality. To do this, there is a need for more information about the soil microbial community, which plays a key role in a sustainable agriculture. In this paper, we assessed the long-term effects of two organic and one conventional cropping systems on the soil microbial community structure using high-throughput sequencing analysis, as well as the link between these communities and the changes in the soil properties and crop yield. The results showed that the crop yield was similar among the three cropping systems. The microbial community changed according to cropping system. Organic cultivation with manure compost and compost tea (Org_C) showed a change in the bacterial community associated with an improved soil carbon and nutrient content. A linear discriminant analysis effect size showed different bacteria and fungi as key microorganisms for each of the three different cropping systems, for conventional systems (Conv), different microorganisms such as Nesterenkonia, Galbibacter, Gramella, Limnobacter, Pseudoalteromonas, Pantoe, and Sporobolomyces were associated with pesticides, while for Org_C and organic cultivation with manure (Org_M), other types of microorganisms were associated with organic amendments with different functions, which, in some cases, reduce soil borne pathogens. However, further investigations such as functional approaches or network analyses are need to better understand the mechanisms behind this behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Biodiversity in Sustainable Agriculture)
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Article
The Relative Importance of Herbage Nutritive Value and Climate in Determining Daily Performance per Cow in a Pasture-Based Dairy Farm
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 444; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050444 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 473
Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the relative importance of herbage nutritive value (NV), herbage quantity and climate-related factors in determining daily performance per cow in a pasture-based dairy farm. Data on milk production, live weight, body condition score, weather, herbage [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to assess the relative importance of herbage nutritive value (NV), herbage quantity and climate-related factors in determining daily performance per cow in a pasture-based dairy farm. Data on milk production, live weight, body condition score, weather, herbage NV and herbage quantity were regularly collected from August 2016 to April 2017 and from July 2017 to April 2018 at Dairy 1, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression. Results indicated herbage NV was of higher relative importance in explaining the variation in performance per cow than herbage quantity and climate factors. The relative importance of the interaction between herbage metabolizable energy (ME) and crude protein (CP) on explaining variation in yields of milk, fat and protein was high (0.11 ≤ R2 ≤ 0.15). Herbage ME was of high relative importance in determining milk urea and body condition score, while neutral detergent fiber was a key driver of milk urea and liveweight (0.12 ≤ R2 ≤ 0.16). The quantity of herbage supplied at Dairy 1 might have been high enough to not limit cow performance. Developing feeding strategies aimed at improving the efficiency of cow feeding by exploiting the daily variation in herbage NV to better match supply and demand of nutrients may be useful to improve the overall performance per cow of pasture-based dairy farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
Article
Irrigation Scheduling with Soil Gas Diffusivity as a Decision Tool to Mitigate N2O Emissions from a Urine-Affected Pasture
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 443; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050443 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 500
Abstract
Pastures require year-round access to water and in some locations rely on irrigation during dry periods. Currently, there is a dearth of knowledge about the potential for using irrigation to mitigate N2O emissions. This study aimed to mitigate N2O [...] Read more.
Pastures require year-round access to water and in some locations rely on irrigation during dry periods. Currently, there is a dearth of knowledge about the potential for using irrigation to mitigate N2O emissions. This study aimed to mitigate N2O losses from intensely managed pastures by adjusting irrigation frequency using soil gas diffusivity (Dp/Do) thresholds. Two irrigation regimes were compared; a standard irrigation treatment based on farmer practice (15 mm applied every 3 days) versus an optimised irrigation treatment where irrigation was applied when soil Dp/Do was ≈0.033 (equivalent to 50% of plant available water). Cow urine was applied at a rate of 700 kg N ha−1 to simulate a ruminant urine deposition event. In addition to N2O fluxes, soil moisture content was monitored hourly, Dp/Do was modelled, and pasture dry matter production was measured. Standard irrigation practices resulted in higher (p = 0.09) cumulative N2O emissions than the optimised irrigation treatment. Pasture growth rates under treatments did not differ. Denitrification during re-wetting events (irrigation and rain) contributed to soil N2O emissions. These results warrant further modelling of irrigation management as a mitigation option for N2O emissions from pasture soils, based on Dp/Do thresholds, rainfall, plant water demands and evapotranspiration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strategies for Nitrous Oxide Emission Mitigation in Agrosystems)
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Review
Animal Welfare Policies and Human Rights in the Context of Slaughter Procedures
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 442; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050442 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 662
Abstract
Human rights, such as to non-discrimination and freedom of religion, are internationally recognized. In the meantime, the so-called global animal law is becoming more and more important. In this context, religious slaughter is increasingly becoming a matter for debate as a number of [...] Read more.
Human rights, such as to non-discrimination and freedom of religion, are internationally recognized. In the meantime, the so-called global animal law is becoming more and more important. In this context, religious slaughter is increasingly becoming a matter for debate as a number of special procedures, which avoid stunning methods, may lead to greater suffering for animals. Such procedures are common to Judaism and Islam and involve 25% of the global population, almost 2 billion people. Considering that about 94% of European public opinion in 2015 expressed concern over animal welfare, it is time to evaluate the legal perspective of these special treatments. Indeed, although they seem to violate animal welfare policies, at the same time states have a duty to uphold religious freedom (and its forms of expression) under International and European law. The aim of this study is to evaluate, through a multidisciplinary approach, the complex balance between human rights in general and animal welfare policies, which are gaining importance especially in the European Continent’s legal framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
Article
Soybean Relative Maturity, Not Row Spacing, Affected Interseeded Cover Crops Biomass
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 441; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050441 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 477
Abstract
Adoption of cover crop interseeding in the northwestern Corn Belt in the USA is limited due to inadequate fall moisture for establishment, short growing season, additional costs, and need for adapted winter-hardy species. This study evaluated three cover crop treatments—no cover crop, winter [...] Read more.
Adoption of cover crop interseeding in the northwestern Corn Belt in the USA is limited due to inadequate fall moisture for establishment, short growing season, additional costs, and need for adapted winter-hardy species. This study evaluated three cover crop treatments—no cover crop, winter rye (Secale cereale L.), and winter camelina (Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz)—which were interseeded at the R6 soybean growth stage, using two different soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) maturity groups (0.5 vs. 0.9) and two row spacings (30.5 vs. 61 cm). The objective was to evaluate these treatments on cover crop biomass, soil cover, plant density, and soybean yield. Spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grain yield was also measured the following year. The early-maturing soybean cultivar (0.5 maturity) resulted in increased cover crop biomass and soil cover, with winter rye outperforming winter camelina. However, the early-maturing soybean yielded 2308 kg·ha−1, significantly less compared with the later maturing cultivar (2445 kg·ha−1). Narrow row spacing had higher soybean yield, but row spacing did not affect cover crop growth. Spring wheat should not follow winter rye if rye is terminated right before seeding the wheat. However, wheat planted after winter camelina was no different than when no cover crop was interseeded in soybean. Interseeding cover crops into established soybean is possible, however, cover crop biomass accumulation and soil cover are limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intercropping Systems for Sustainable Agriculture)
Article
Nutritional Value of Jerusalem Artichoke Tubers (Helianthus tuberosus L.) Grown in Organic System under Lithuanian and Polish Conditions
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 440; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050440 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 479
Abstract
The aim of the study was to assess the nutritional value of H. tuberosus tubers grown in the organic farming system in Poland and Lithuania. The work was based on field experiments carried out in 2015–2017 in Parczew (Poland) and Akademija (Lithuania). The [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to assess the nutritional value of H. tuberosus tubers grown in the organic farming system in Poland and Lithuania. The work was based on field experiments carried out in 2015–2017 in Parczew (Poland) and Akademija (Lithuania). The experiments were carried out using the randomized block method in four replications. Two cultivars of Jerusalem artichoke (JA) ‘Albik’ and ‘Rubik’ were tested. After the harvest of tubers, an assessment of their quality was carried out by standard methods. Due to the relocation of JA cultivation from Central and Eastern Europe to Northeast Europe, there were changes in the chemical composition of H. tuberosus tubers. The tubers from crops in Lithuania were characterized by a lower content of inulin, crude fiber and protein, ascorbic acid, total and endogenous amino acids than in Poland, but a higher content of true protein and macroelements. Edaphic factors determined, to a greater extent than genetic factors, the nutritional value of tubers. Assessment of the influence of varietal characteristics, meteorological conditions, and geographic location on the amount of biologically active compounds in JA will allow growers and consumers to choose the most suitable cultivars. Full article
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Article
Effect of Hydrogen Cyanamide on Bud Break, Fruit Yield and Quality of Highbush Blueberry in Greenhouse Production
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 439; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050439 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Highbush blueberries need sufficient chilling exposure to induce bud break and flowering, which limits their cultivation in warm areas as well as the profitability of protected cultivation in greenhouses. Hydrogen cyanamide (H2CN2, HC), gibberellic acid (GA3), ethephon [...] Read more.
Highbush blueberries need sufficient chilling exposure to induce bud break and flowering, which limits their cultivation in warm areas as well as the profitability of protected cultivation in greenhouses. Hydrogen cyanamide (H2CN2, HC), gibberellic acid (GA3), ethephon (CE), mineral oil (MO), and potassium nitrate (KNO3) are often applied to deciduous fruit trees to advance bud break and fruit set. In this study, experiments were conducted in northeast China to determine the effects of different concentrations of HC or HC in combination with GA3, CE, MO, and KNO3 on bud break, fruit quality, and fruit yield in greenhouse-grown highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). The results showed that all of the treatment agents could advance bud break by at least 15 days and fruit ripening by 16 days compared to the control. In addition, all treatments could promote the development of flowers and fruits and shorten the flowering and harvest periods. Compared with the control, 0.5% HC or 0.67% HC treatment increased the fruit yield of 5-year-old and 7-year-old bushes, especially early yield. Experiments carried out over two consecutive years in two different varieties, namely ‘M7’ and ‘Brigitta’, further confirmed the positive effect of 0.67% HC application on fruit yield. The results also showed that 0.67% HC had no negative effects on fruit quality. These findings may encourage growers to consider spraying HC in greenhouses to increase fruit yield, especially early yield, in order to schedule the harvest time for a more lucrative marketing period. Full article
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Article
What Drives Farm Structural Change? An Analysis of Economic, Demographic and Succession Factors
Agriculture 2021, 11(5), 438; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11050438 - 12 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 528
Abstract
The evolution of farm size and land use are important determinants of the efficiency and profitability of agriculture and the configuration of the territory. In this paper, a conceptual framework of the evolution of the number of farms and land use is presented, [...] Read more.
The evolution of farm size and land use are important determinants of the efficiency and profitability of agriculture and the configuration of the territory. In this paper, a conceptual framework of the evolution of the number of farms and land use is presented, arguing that a major determinant of the change in the number of farms is the presence or absence of successors to ageing farmers and that these socio-demographic variables shape the evolution of the sector in terms of farm size, while they do not significantly affect the changes in the farmed area. This hypothesis was empirically tested with data drawn from individual farm records of the Italian Agricultural Censuses of 2000 and 2010—aggregated at the municipality level for an Italian region—by estimating regressions on the decrease rates of the number of farms, the utilised agricultural area and the total agricultural area. The results support the conclusion that the change in the number of farms was largely determined by the absence of successors in family farms and by the average operators’ age, unlike the change in the farmed area, for which natural land conditions were the main drivers. Full article
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