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Agriculture, Volume 11, Issue 9 (September 2021) – 101 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Reared in small flocks and under outdoor conditions, the productive performance of the hens changed according to genotype, season, and age. Productivity is highly influenced, also, by the rearing system and environmental factors, offering the local breeds opportunities to adapt livestock to low-input environment. Recognizing the diversity of these breeds, in particular the Portuguese chicken breeds, admitting their unique qualities, and considering that the patrimony that they represent belongs to the whole society and, as such, must be supported and defended, it is therefore imperative that breeding strategies be implemented to value them, from their territory of production to consumers and society in general. View this paper.
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Article
Optimization Design and Experiment of Ear-Picking and Threshing Devices of Corn Plot Kernel Harvester
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 904; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090904 - 21 Sep 2021
Viewed by 386
Abstract
In order to solve the problems of easy-to-break kernels and substantial harvest losses during kernel harvesting in breeding trials plot of corn, an ear-picking device and a threshing device of corn plot kernel harvester has been optimized. To automatically change the gap of [...] Read more.
In order to solve the problems of easy-to-break kernels and substantial harvest losses during kernel harvesting in breeding trials plot of corn, an ear-picking device and a threshing device of corn plot kernel harvester has been optimized. To automatically change the gap of the ear-picking plate, a self-elastic structure with compression spring and connecting rod is used. The ear-picking plate is glued, and an elastic rubber gasket is placed underneath it, which effectively improves the adaptability of the ear-picking device and reduces corn kernel collision damage during ear-picking. To ensure the self-purification of the ear-picking device, a combination of auger sieve hole cleaning device and lateral pneumatic auxiliary cleaning system is used. A dual-axial flow threshing device is designed, which uses a “U”-shaped conveying system to transport maize ears in the threshing chamber. The spacing of the concave sieve may be adjusted, and the residual kernels in the threshing chamber can be cleaned up after harvesting one plot by combining three cleanings, which meets the requirements of no mixing between plots. The force analysis of corn ears in the threshing chamber determines the best design plan for the forward speed, the speed of the second threshing drum, and the threshing gap. The breakage rate and non-threshing rate regression models were created using the quadratic regression orthogonal combination test, and the parameters were optimized using MATLAB. The verification test results showed that when the forward speed was 0.61 m/s, the second threshing drum speed was 500 r/min, and the threshing gap was 40 mm, the breakage rate was 1.47%, and the non-threshing rate was 0.89%, which met the kernel harvesting requirements in corn plots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Structures and Mechanization)
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Article
Soil Particulate and Mineral-Associated Organic Matter Increases in Organic Farming under Cover Cropping and Manure Addition
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 903; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090903 - 19 Sep 2021
Viewed by 451
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration rate and soil organic matter (SOM) composition in conventional rotational cropping with mineral fertilization compared with organic cover cropping with and without composted manure addition during 2008–2018 to specify the SOM stabilization [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration rate and soil organic matter (SOM) composition in conventional rotational cropping with mineral fertilization compared with organic cover cropping with and without composted manure addition during 2008–2018 to specify the SOM stabilization under different farming systems. The SOC proportion in particulate organic matter (POM) (63–2000 µm) and mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM) (<63 µm) fractions were estimated in different treatments, and the SOM composition in the fractions was characterized by FTIR spectroscopy. The SOC sequestration rate was treatment-dependent, with the higher SOC sequestration rate (1.26 Mg ha−1 y−1) in the organic treatment with cover crop and composted manure. Across all treatments, 57.3%–77.8% of the SOC stock was in the MAOM fraction. Mineral N fertilization increased POM-C concentration by 19%–52% compared with the unfertilized control. Under the organic treatments, the POM-C concentration was 83%–95% higher than the control. The MAOM-C concentration increased by 8%–20%. The mineral N fertilization and organic treatments (with and without cover crops and composted manure) increased the SOC stock proportion of POM. The highest proportion of SOC stock related to POM was in the cover cropping system, reducing the proportion of C related to the MAOM fraction, but the addition of composted manure with cover cropping also increased the proportion of C in MAOM. Compared with MAOM, the POM had a less resistant organic matter composition, and the POM resistance was higher in organic than conventional treatments. In general, the recalcitrance of SOM increased with SOC concentration. The POM fraction had higher aromaticity (or degree of decomposition) than the MAOM fraction. The aromaticity in POM and MAOM fractions was higher in the organic farming system and depended on mineral N fertilization and cover cropping, but the effect of manure was not significant. Although the SOC sequestration rate was higher under manure addition, resulting in the highest formation of both POM and MAOM in the soil, manure addition had little effect on overall SOM composition compared with cover crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Experimental Research on Grape Cluster Vibration Signals during Transportation and Placing for Harvest and Post-Harvest Handling
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 902; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090902 - 19 Sep 2021
Viewed by 577
Abstract
Berry dropping or shattering is an important factor during the harvest and post-harvest handling of fresh eating grapes until they reach the supermarkets. There are a lot of methods to measure post-harvest placing damage and the detachment force for single fruits. However, until [...] Read more.
Berry dropping or shattering is an important factor during the harvest and post-harvest handling of fresh eating grapes until they reach the supermarkets. There are a lot of methods to measure post-harvest placing damage and the detachment force for single fruits. However, until now, there has been no objective method to observe and analyze the berry dropping mechanism of cluster fruits during robotic post-harvest handling. Therefore, in this paper, the effect of a cluster’s vibration on berry drop during vertical transportation and the impact of different packaging materials on fresh grape clusters during robotic placing were analyzed. For this purpose, a lead screw lathe, along with an attached actuator, three grape cluster samples (0.48, 0.50, 0.53 kg), three packaging materials (rigid plastic box, corrugated fiberboard box, expandable polystyrene box), four transportation speeds (0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1.0 m/s), and four acceleration excitations (6, 8, 10, 12 m/s2) that were given in a mechanical system (actuator) were studied. In order to analyze the berry drop mechanism of grape clusters before and after the impact with packaging material, a force sensor and high-speed video camera were used. It was concluded from the vertical transportation test that with the increase in speed and acceleration excitations, the change in hanging force increased positively (R2 = 0.92). Additionally, the force after the striking of the grape cluster with packaging materials decreased negatively (R2 = 0.97), and the corresponding index of berry deflection increased. It was also observed from the high-speed camera images that rigid plastic boxes caused the maximum deflection of the grape berries, with the highest change in force of 8.6 N after the impact. Experimental results showed a negative correlation between the hanging force signals and the force after impact of the cluster, with a goodness of fit of R2 = 0.95 at different speeds. Overall, the proposed findings can be used as a reference study for improving robotic post-harvest handling, providing a useful visual and technical understanding of the berry fall susceptibility of cluster fruits, and can be used to develop a post-harvest robotic placing tool for avoiding berry drop damage on both industrial and farm levels. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Methionine Sources in Protein Reduced Diets for Turkeys in the Late Finishing Period Regarding Performance, Footpad Health and Liver Health
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 901; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090901 - 19 Sep 2021
Viewed by 491
Abstract
Footpad dermatitis and hepatic lipidosis are health problems in fattening turkeys where a positive influence of higher methionine content in feed is discussed. The effects of the methionine supplements DL-methionine (DLM) and liquid methionine hydroxyl analogue free acid (MHA-FA) under the aspect of [...] Read more.
Footpad dermatitis and hepatic lipidosis are health problems in fattening turkeys where a positive influence of higher methionine content in feed is discussed. The effects of the methionine supplements DL-methionine (DLM) and liquid methionine hydroxyl analogue free acid (MHA-FA) under the aspect of low protein diets were investigated in this study based on performance parameters, footpad health, liver health and oxidative stress. In this study, 80 female turkeys (B.U.T. Big 6) of 63 day-old, were randomly assigned to four groups characterising a 2 × 2 factorial design with five replicates each over five weeks. The groups were fed with diets differing in methionine source (DLM vs. MHA-FA, assuming a biological activity of MHA-FA of 65%) and crude protein content (15% vs. 18%) for 35 days. The results showed no significant interactions between the protein content and methionine source. Strong protein reduction significantly impaired water intake, feed intake, weight gain and feed conversation ratio, but improved footpad health. DLM and MHA-FA addition had no significant effect on weight gain, crude fat and protein contents in the liver, but DLM resulted in a significant increase in livers antioxidative capacity compared to MHA-FA. Although the protein reduction resulted in reduced performance, the study showed that MHA-FA can be replaced by DLM in a 100:65 weight ratio without compromising performance but with certain advantages in the antioxidative capacity of the liver. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry: Breeding, Health, Nutrition, and Management)
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Article
Potential Benefits of Boswellia sacra Resin on Immunity, Metabolic Status, Udder and Uterus Health, and Milk Production in Transitioning Goats
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 900; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090900 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 466
Abstract
As an attempt to prevent transition-period-associated metabolic disorders and/or diseases, the potential benefits of Boswellia sacra (Bs) resin on hematology, immunity, metabolic status, udder and uterus health biomarkers, and milk production were examined in transitioning goats. From 2 weeks prepartum to 7 weeks [...] Read more.
As an attempt to prevent transition-period-associated metabolic disorders and/or diseases, the potential benefits of Boswellia sacra (Bs) resin on hematology, immunity, metabolic status, udder and uterus health biomarkers, and milk production were examined in transitioning goats. From 2 weeks prepartum to 7 weeks postpartum, goats (n = 7/treatment) orally received 0 (control, nBS), 2 (BsL), or 4 (BsH) g of Bs resin/goat/day. The results showed that both Bs treatments significantly improved the activity of phagocytes. Both Bs treatments significantly decreased the concentrations of blood plasma urea, non-esterified fatty acids, hydroxybutyric acid, and interleukin-1β, whereas they increased the total antioxidant capacity compared with the nBS treatment. Both Bs treatments significantly decreased the uterine horn diameter and tended to decrease the intrauterine fluid content, indicating improved uterine involution compared with no treatment. Compared with the nBS treatment, both Bs treatments significantly decreased the milk somatic cell count. The lowest milk interleukin-1β content was observed in goats that received the BsL treatment, followed by those that received the BsH and nBS treatments. The BsL treatment significantly increased the concentration of immunoglobulin M (IgM) in the colostrum compared with the other treatments. Both Bs treatments significantly increased the daily milk yield compared with the nBS treatment but did not affect milk composition or the fat-to-protein ratio. In conclusion, supplementing lactating goats in the transition period with Bs resin at a dose of 2 g/goat/day positively affected the body lipid metabolism, udder and uterus health, colostrum IgM content, and milk yield due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Hygiene on Farms - Realising Animal Health Prevention)
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Article
Moisture–Conductivity Calibration for Electrical Imaging of Horticultural Substrate
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 899; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090899 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 344
Abstract
Electrical imaging studies of laboratory- and small-scale plant root zones are gaining increasing attention. However, for essential moisture–conductivity calibrations on numerous substrate columns with variability in dry density, the use of one conventional strategy is relatively laborious or complicated. Thus, in this work, [...] Read more.
Electrical imaging studies of laboratory- and small-scale plant root zones are gaining increasing attention. However, for essential moisture–conductivity calibrations on numerous substrate columns with variability in dry density, the use of one conventional strategy is relatively laborious or complicated. Thus, in this work, a relatively convenient calibration method is presented, and the objective is to identify its feasibility and potential to assess the effects of factors (e.g., volumetric water content (VWC), and dry density) on conductivity and establish necessary moisture–conductivity curves for porous materials (e.g., soils and substrates). In the method, with a specially designed fixture, variable VWCs, dry densities and related complex conductivities of the samples can be easily acquired through static compaction. The results show that the in-phase conductivity (or magnitude of conductivity) increases with the increasing VWC or dry density, primarily owing to the increase in the dominant pore water connectivity. Moreover, the effect of dry density on conductivity is relatively smaller than that of VWC. Thus, for the substrates at dry densities with certain variability, good power law relations (R2 ≥ 0.99) between in-phase conductivity (or magnitude of conductivity) and VWC at different frequencies can be established. Overall, the proposed approach is practical, promising, and relatively time- and labor-saving. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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Article
Anthocyanin Accumulation and Related Gene Expression Profile in ‘Red Zaosu’ Pear and Its Green Mutant
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 898; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090898 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Red-skinned pear is a promising commercial fruit due to its attractive appearance and nutritious value. Anthocyanin is the determinant of the red coloration of the pear peel. However, differences in anthocyanin accumulation exist among red pear cultivars with different genetic backgrounds. In this [...] Read more.
Red-skinned pear is a promising commercial fruit due to its attractive appearance and nutritious value. Anthocyanin is the determinant of the red coloration of the pear peel. However, differences in anthocyanin accumulation exist among red pear cultivars with different genetic backgrounds. In this study, we analyzed the anthocyanin content and gene expression patterns in the fruits and different tissues of the red pear ‘Red Zaosu’ at different developmental stages and found a difference in anthocyanin accumulation between ‘Red Zaosu’ pear and its green mutant. The data showed that the expression profiles of transcripts that encoded critical anthocyanin biosynthetic genes were basically consistent with a tendency to a decreased anthocyanin content during fruit development, indicating that a synergistic effect of these genes was responsible for anthocyanin biosynthesis and regulation. Tissue-specific expression analysis of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes showed that they could be expressed in all tissues but at different levels. PbF3H, PbDFR, and PbANS were mainly expressed during the early flowering period, which explained the reduced levels of anthocyanin content in petals. Additionally, the content of anthocyanins and the expression levels of PbDFR, PbANS, and PbMYB10 significantly decreased in the green mutant of ‘Red Zaosu’, suggesting that PbDFR, PbANS, and PbMYB10 probably play a decisive role in determining the skin coloration of ‘Red Zaosu’ and its green mutant. Full article
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Article
A Grain Yield Sensor for Yield Mapping with Local Rice Combine Harvester
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 897; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090897 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 367
Abstract
Rice grain yield was estimated from a locally made Thai combine harvester using a specially developed sensing and monitoring system. The yield monitoring and sensing system, mounted on the rice combine harvester, collected and logged grain mass flow rate and moisture content, as [...] Read more.
Rice grain yield was estimated from a locally made Thai combine harvester using a specially developed sensing and monitoring system. The yield monitoring and sensing system, mounted on the rice combine harvester, collected and logged grain mass flow rate and moisture content, as well as pertinent information related to field, position and navigation. The developed system comprised a yield meter, GNSS receiver and a computer installed with customized software, which, when assembled on a local rice combine, mapped real-time rice yield along with grain moisture content. The performance of the developed system was evaluated at three neighboring (identically managed) rice fields. ArcGIS® software was used to create grain yield map with geographical information of the fields. The average grain yield values recorded were 3.63, 3.84 and 3.60 t ha−1, and grain moisture contents (w.b.) were 22.42%, 23.50% and 24.71% from the three fields, respectively. Overall average grain yield was 3.84 t ha−1 (CV = 63.68%) with 578.10 and 7761.58 kg ha−1 as the minimum and maximum values, respectively. The coefficients of variation in grain yield of the three fields were 57.44%, 63.68% and 60.41%, respectively. The system performance was evaluated at four different cutter bar heights (0.18, 0.25, 0.35 and 0.40 m) during the test. As expected, the tallest cutter bar height (0.40 m) offered the least error of 12.50% in yield estimation. The results confirmed that the developed grain yield sensor could be successfully used with the local rice combine harvester; hence, offers and ‘up-gradation’ potential in Thai agricultural mechanization. Full article
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Article
Evaluation of Agronomic Performance of Maize (Zea mays L.) under a Fertilization Gradient in Transylvanian Plain
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 896; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090896 - 18 Sep 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
In the last few years, Romania has become a top maize producer. Export potential is sustained by ensuring high-quantity and -quality maize. Success of maize crop is highly dependent on inputs. In this context, insight into the potential of different fertilizers to maximize [...] Read more.
In the last few years, Romania has become a top maize producer. Export potential is sustained by ensuring high-quantity and -quality maize. Success of maize crop is highly dependent on inputs. In this context, insight into the potential of different fertilizers to maximize crop performance could shed light on best practices to enhance yields and other traits of interest. The aim of this study was to assess the agronomic performance of maize under a fertilization gradient. Six fertilizer regimes were tested on three maize hybrids between 2018 and 2020, in conditions from the Transylvanian Plain. Results showed that fertilization had a significant influence on yield, thousand kernels weight, grain quality (starch and protein content) and crop health. The experimental year also played a significant role in the expression of productivity potential of maize genotypes. Different fertilizer regimes could be used for targeting desired outcomes, but top performance across all or multiple agronomic components remains a challenge and should receive further attention for optimization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Continuous Practice of Conservation Agriculture for 3–5 Years in Intensive Rice-Based Cropping Patterns Reduces Soil Weed Seedbank
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 895; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090895 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 604
Abstract
When farmers first shift from conventional tillage (CT) to conservation agriculture (CA) practices, the control of weeds may be more difficult, due to the absence of tillage. However, continuous CA, over several years, may alter the weed seedbank. The nature of the weed [...] Read more.
When farmers first shift from conventional tillage (CT) to conservation agriculture (CA) practices, the control of weeds may be more difficult, due to the absence of tillage. However, continuous CA, over several years, may alter the weed seedbank. The nature of the weed seedbank changes over time, in intensively cropped rice-based rotations that are typical of the Eastern Gangetic Plain, are not well understood. Two on-farm CA experiments were sampled (in Beluapara after 3 years and Digram after 5 years) in Bangladesh for the effects of strip planting (SP) and bed planting (BP) at both the sites, plus no-tillage (NT) in Beluapara, and increased retention of the residue of previous crops (20% vs. 50%). The conventional tillage (CT) and 20% residue was the control treatment. The weed seedbank in 0–15 cm soil was quantified by assessing the emergence of weeds from soils collected from the field after irrigation, (Boro) rice in Digram and wheat in Beluapara, and they were allowed to emerge in trays in a shade-house experiment. The year-round count of emerged weeds at both the locations revealed the fewest number of weed species (especially broadleaf weeds), and the lowest weed density and biomass in SP, followed by CT, BP, and NT, with 50% crop residue mulch. Relative to CT, the SP, BP, and NT produced relatively more perennials weeds, as follows: Alternanthera denticulata ((R.) Brown.), Cyperus rotundus (L.), Dentella repens (L.), Jussia deccurence (Walt.), Leersia hexandra (L.), and Solanum torvum (Sw.), which was the opposite of CT that was enriched with the following annual weeds: Cyperus iria (L.), Digitaria sanguinalis (L.), Euphorbia parviflora (L.), Fimbristylis miliacea (L.), Lindernia antipoda (L.), L. hyssopifolia (L.), and Monochoria hastata (L.). The soil weed seed bank reduced by 13% in SP, while it increased by 19% and 76% in BP and NT, respectively, compared with CT. The species diversity reduced in SP and NT, by 24% and 11%, respectively, but increased by 2% in BP. In 50% residue, the soil weed seed bank and species diversity reduced by 16% and 14%, respectively, relative to that of 20% residue. The continuous practice of CA, for 3 or more years, in two rice-based crop rotations, decreased the size of the weed seedbank, but increased the relative proliferation of specific perennial weeds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Agriculture and Management of Soil and Water)
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Article
The Effect of Feeding Hens a Peanut Skin-Containing Diet on Hen Performance, and Shell Egg Quality and Lipid Chemistry
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 894; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090894 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Peanut skins are a considerable waste product with little current economic value or use. We aimed to determine the dietary effects of peanut skins on layer production performance and egg quality and chemistry of the eggs produced. Two hundred commercial hens were randomly [...] Read more.
Peanut skins are a considerable waste product with little current economic value or use. We aimed to determine the dietary effects of peanut skins on layer production performance and egg quality and chemistry of the eggs produced. Two hundred commercial hens were randomly assigned to four treatments (five replicates) and fed ad libitum for 8 weeks: conventional control diet, diet containing 24% high-oleic peanut (HOPN), diet containing 3% peanut skin (PN Skin), and a diet with 2.5% oleic acid (OA). Hens fed the HOPN diet had significantly reduced body weights relative to the control and PN Skin treatments, producing fewer total eggs over the 8-week experimental period. Eggs weights were similar between the control and PN Skin treatments at weeks 2 and 4, while eggs from the PN Skin treatment group were heavier than other treatments at weeks 6 and 8 of the experiment. Eggs produced from the HOPN treatment had reduced saturated fatty acid (FA) content in comparison to the other treatment groups, while similar between PN Skin and control eggs at week 8 of the experiment. This study suggests that PN skins may be a suitable alternative layer feed ingredient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety and Efficacy of Feed Additives in Animal Production)
Review
Effects of Triazole Fungicides on Soil Microbiota and on the Activities of Enzymes Found in Soil: A Review
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 893; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090893 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Triazole fungicides can manifest toxicity to a wide range of non-target organisms. Within this study we present a systematic review of the effects produced on the soil microbiota and activity of soil enzymes by the following triazole fungicides: cyproconazole, difenoconazole, epoxiconazole, flutriafol, hexaconazole, [...] Read more.
Triazole fungicides can manifest toxicity to a wide range of non-target organisms. Within this study we present a systematic review of the effects produced on the soil microbiota and activity of soil enzymes by the following triazole fungicides: cyproconazole, difenoconazole, epoxiconazole, flutriafol, hexaconazole, metconazole, myclobutanil, paclobutrazole, propiconazole, tebuconazole, tetraconazole, triadimenol, triadimefon, and triticonazole. Known effects of the triazole fungicides on the soil activity are dose dependent. High doses of triazole fungicides strongly affects the structure of the microbial communities in soil and usually decrease the soil microbial population and the activities of enzymes found in soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Potential of Postharvest Coatings to Maintain Freshness of Red-Fleshed Pitaya (Hylocereus costaricensis)
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 892; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090892 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 450
Abstract
Pitaya is a non-climacteric fruit that has white or red flesh with numerous small, black seeds. It has a high moisture content; however, water loss during handling and storage negatively affects the fresh weight, firmness and appearance of the fruit, decreasing market value. [...] Read more.
Pitaya is a non-climacteric fruit that has white or red flesh with numerous small, black seeds. It has a high moisture content; however, water loss during handling and storage negatively affects the fresh weight, firmness and appearance of the fruit, decreasing market value. Application of compatible postharvest coatings has been shown to benefit postharvest quality of many crops. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of two commercial coatings on weight loss and quality of pitaya during storage. Pitaya fruit were commercially harvested and sorted for uniformity of size and freedom from defects. Fruit were briefly immersed in either a vegetable oil-based coating (VOC; Sta-Fresh® 2981) or a carnauba-based coating (CC; Endura-Fresh™ 6100) according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Fruit immersed in tap water served as a control. Fruit were fan-dried at room temperature for 20 min, then stored at 7 °C with 85% relative humidity (RH) and evaluated for selected physical quality parameters each 5 days during 20 days. After each evaluation, fruit were peeled and frozen for later analysis of soluble solids content (SSC), total titratable acidity (TTA); on day 15 fresh samples were evaluated by an untrained consumer sensory panel. CC prevented exocarp shriveling for 15 days of storage, compared to uncoated pitaya (16.3% area affected); shriveling in VOC was intermediate and not significantly different from the other treatments. Mesocarp firmness remained constant throughout 15 days of storage regardless of treatment. Fruit exocarp h* angle increased slightly by day 20, becoming slightly less red, and there were no negative treatment effects for the other quality factors measured: SSC (11.33%), TTA (0.25%), weight loss (5.5%) or sensory evaluations (appearance, flavor, texture, firmness, and juiciness). After 20 days storage, appearance for fruit from all treatments was rated unacceptable due to development of anthracnose lesions. It was concluded that both CC and VOC maintained quality of pitaya for 15 days at 7 °C and 85% RH by delaying exocarp shriveling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
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Article
Analysis of Heat and Mass Distribution in a Single- and Multi-Span Greenhouse Microclimate
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 891; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090891 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 603
Abstract
Recently, heat and mass distributions within a greenhouse were assumed to be homogeneous. Heat is gained or lost in absolute terms, and crop contribution in a greenhouse or its effect is not considered. In this study, statistical analyses were conducted to establish the [...] Read more.
Recently, heat and mass distributions within a greenhouse were assumed to be homogeneous. Heat is gained or lost in absolute terms, and crop contribution in a greenhouse or its effect is not considered. In this study, statistical analyses were conducted to establish the significance of heat and mass variation at sensor nodes in two single-span and multi-span greenhouses. Three greenhouses were used in this study, 168 m2 floor area a single-layered (SLG), double-layered (DLG) single-span gothic roof type greenhouses, and 7572.6 m2 floor area multi-span greenhouse (MSG). The microclimatic parameters investigated were temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), solar radiation (SR), carbon dioxide (CO2), and vapor pressure deficit (VPD). To check their horizontal distribution, all microclimate data collected from each sensor node in each greenhouse were subjected to descriptive statistics and Tukey honestly significant difference (HSD) test. The lowest minimum temperatures of 2.93 °C, 3.33 °C and 10.50 °C were recorded at sensor points in SLG, DLG, and MSG, respectively, whereas the highest maximum temperatures of 29.17 °C, 29.07 °C and 27.20 °C were recorded at sensor point, in SLG, DLG, and MSG, respectively. The difference between the center and the side into the single-span was approximately 0.88–1.0 °C and in the MSG was approximately 1.03 °C. Significant variation was observed in the horizontal distribution of T, RH, SR, and VPD within SLG, DLG, and MSG. Also significant was CO2 in the MSG. Estimating the energy demand of greenhouses should be done based on the distribution rather than assuming microclimatic parameters homogeneity, especially for T, with VPD as a control parameter. Such estimation should also be done using a crop model that considers instant changes in air and crop temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Greenhouse Technology and Management)
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Article
Lettuce Growth Pattern Analysis Using U-Net Pre-Trained with Arabidopsis
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 890; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090890 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 638
Abstract
To overcome the challenges related to food security, digital farming has been proposed, wherein the status of a plant using various sensors could be determined in real time. The high-throughput phenotyping platform (HTPP) and analysis with deep learning (DL) are increasingly being used [...] Read more.
To overcome the challenges related to food security, digital farming has been proposed, wherein the status of a plant using various sensors could be determined in real time. The high-throughput phenotyping platform (HTPP) and analysis with deep learning (DL) are increasingly being used but require a lot of resources. For botanists who have no prior knowledge of DL, the image analysis method is relatively easy to use. Hence, we aimed to explore a pre-trained Arabidopsis DL model to extract the projected area (PA) for lettuce growth pattern analysis. The accuracies of the extract PA of the lettuce cultivar “Nul-chung” with a pre-trained model was measured using the Jaccard Index, and the median value was 0.88 and 0.87 in two environments. Moreover, the growth pattern of green lettuce showed reproducible results in the same environment (p < 0.05). The pre-trained model successfully extracted the time-series PA of lettuce under two lighting conditions (p < 0.05), showing the potential application of a pre-trained DL model of target species in the study of traits in non-target species under various environmental conditions. Botanists and farmers would benefit from fewer challenges when applying up-to-date DL in crop analysis when few resources are available for image analysis of a target crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Innovations in Agriculture)
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Perspective
Metrology, Agriculture and Food: Literature Quantitative Analysis
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 889; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090889 - 16 Sep 2021
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Great attention has been given in recent years to the relationships between metrology, agriculture, and food. This study aims at providing an analysis of the literature regarding the relationships between metrology, agriculture, and food. The Scopus online database has been used to extract [...] Read more.
Great attention has been given in recent years to the relationships between metrology, agriculture, and food. This study aims at providing an analysis of the literature regarding the relationships between metrology, agriculture, and food. The Scopus online database has been used to extract bibliometric data throughout the search string: TITLE-ABS-KEY (Metrology* AND Agriculture* OR Food*), and the VOSviewer bibliometric software was used to visualize results as bubble maps. The novelty character of this perspective paper is to indicate and point out the main research themes/lines addressing the relationships between metrology, agriculture, and food by analyzing: (i) the authors of the published papers; (ii) the type of paper; (iii) the countries and institutions where the research is developed. Bibliometrics allows one to holistically examine entire scientific areas or sub-fields to get new qualitative and quantitative insights. These results represent a useful tool for identifying emerging research directions, collaboration networks, and suggestions for more in-depth literature searches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Traits of Agriculture/Food Quality Interface)
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Article
Effects of Wheat and Rapeseed Production on Soil Water Storage in Mongolian Rangeland
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 888; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090888 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 656
Abstract
In recent years, Mongolia has witnessed an increase in not only wheat fields, which have been present for a long time, but also rapeseed fields. This has led to increasing concerns about soil degradation due to inappropriate cultivation. This study aims to determine [...] Read more.
In recent years, Mongolia has witnessed an increase in not only wheat fields, which have been present for a long time, but also rapeseed fields. This has led to increasing concerns about soil degradation due to inappropriate cultivation. This study aims to determine the impacts of rapeseed production on soil water storage in Mongolia. The soil water content and matric potential were measured in wheat and rapeseed fields and adjacent steppe rangeland for five years, including crop production and fallow years, and the soil water storages in the fields were compared. The results demonstrated that the matric potential below the root zone in the rapeseed field and both rangelands was drier than the wilting point, whereas the potential in the wheat field was usually almost the same or wetter than this point. The comparison of the amount of soil water storage during the fallow year with that of the adjacent rangeland showed it to be 5–10% higher for the wheat field and almost equal for the rapeseed field. Field management must consider the fact that rapeseed fields use more water than is required by wheat fields and that less water is stored during fallow periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Trends in Maize Grain Yields across Five Maturity Groups in a Long-Term Experiment with Changing Genotypes
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 887; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090887 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
Combining experimental studies on grain yield variability with crop model simulations in maize could assist in choosing the optimum maturity group for a certain location, counteracting the effect of climate change. However, studies considering specificities in Southeast Europe are lacking. The objectives were [...] Read more.
Combining experimental studies on grain yield variability with crop model simulations in maize could assist in choosing the optimum maturity group for a certain location, counteracting the effect of climate change. However, studies considering specificities in Southeast Europe are lacking. The objectives were to put various environmental covariates including stress degree days (SDD) into FAO maturity settings to determine the impact of climate change on maize growing in Southeast Europe and to compare trends for grain yields over twenty years of maize experimental and simulation data grouped in five FAO maturity groups (FAO 200–FAO 600). Pre-registration yield trials of maize planted in one location in Croatia grown from 1996 to 2015 were used to determine “potential yield”. Correlation coefficients between 12 climate covariates and grain yield (GY) across the maturity groups revealed the tightest negative associations between SDD and GY that were weakened by later-maturity groups. Similar trends in GY were obtained by both experimental and simulation data, highlighting FAO 600 as a nearly no yield-reducing FAO group over the two decades. Our results indicate that choosing early maize hybrids in Southeast Europe does not seem to be an optimum option in the future, since these hybrids are more sensitive to omnipresent heat stress than late hybrids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
Restoration of Rangelands Invaded by Amelichloa clandestina (Hack.) Arriaga & Barkworth after 12 Years of Agriculture Abandonment (Coahuila, Mexico)
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 886; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090886 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Abandonment of agricultural land is currently one of the main land use changes in developed countries. This change has an impact at the economic level and from the point of view of conservation. Therefore, recovering these areas after abandonment is, in many cases, [...] Read more.
Abandonment of agricultural land is currently one of the main land use changes in developed countries. This change has an impact at the economic level and from the point of view of conservation. Therefore, recovering these areas after abandonment is, in many cases, necessary for ecological restoration, especially as they can be invaded by exotic or dominant species, preventing recovery of the original plant species community. The objective of this study is to examine changes in plant species richness and composition after the application of different treatments to eliminate Amelichloa clandestina, a species that dominates pastures abandoned 12 years ago in an area located in northern Mexico. The area is a semi-desert grassland dominated by buffalo grass Bouteloua dactyloides. We used different eradication techniques such as burning, herbicides, and clipping. Although the treatments had significant effects on species richness and composition and resulted in a relative reduction of the target species, the abundance of Amelichloa clandestina was still substantial. Burning is effective, favoring the increase of species richness and provoking a lower presence of A. clandestine but with a dominance of annuals. The most important impact on the total cover of A. clandestina is shown by the herbicide treatment. However, monitoring of these areas will still be required to consider the long-term impact and success of treatments. Full article
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Article
Preliminary Study of Slaughter Value and Meat Characteristics of 18 Months Ostrich Reared in Hungary
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 885; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090885 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 378
Abstract
The study aimed to evaluate the slaughter value and meat characteristics of ten ostrich females reared and slaughtered at the age of 18 months in Hungary. The ratio of selected body parts, the main organs and the lean meat parts were examined. The [...] Read more.
The study aimed to evaluate the slaughter value and meat characteristics of ten ostrich females reared and slaughtered at the age of 18 months in Hungary. The ratio of selected body parts, the main organs and the lean meat parts were examined. The nutritive composition, the colour, the technological and organoleptic characteristics of five valuable meat parts (outside strip—M. flexor cruris lateralis, oyster—M. iliofemoralis externus, tip—M. femorotibialis medius, outside leg—M. gastrocnemius pars externa, medal—M. ambiens) and the amino acid, fatty acid and mineral composition of outside strip (M. flexor cruris lateralis) were also evaluated. The ratio of body parts and the main organs as the percentage of live weight, and the lean meat part as the percentage of carcass weight showed 16.74 ± 0.01%, 6.16 ± 0.01% and 57.29 ± 0.59%, respectively. The dry matter content of the examined valuable meat parts ranged between 24.89 ± 0.08 and 26.23 ± 0.13%, the protein ratio took on values between 18.40 ± 0.09 and 20.62 ± 0.16%, the fat content showed values between 2.36 ± 0.07 and 4.50 ± 1.09% and the hydroxyproline content ranged between 0.01 ± 0.001 and 0.08 ± 0.001%. The amino acid content of the outside strip showed a range between 0.15 and 3.33%. The ratio of SFA, MUFA and PUFA was 35.10 ± 0.53, 37.37 ± 1.52 and 27.54 ± 1.01. The n-6/n-3 ratio showed 3.91 ± 0.43 and the SFA/UFA ratio was 0.54 ± 0.02. Among the examined minerals, the content of Ca, K, Mg, Na and P was the highest in the meat. In the case of the colour, regarding L* value, we could reveal no significant difference between the examined meat parts. For a* and b* values, the outside leg had the lowest data of all. We could not reveal a significant difference between the pH values of the meat parts. Regarding technological parameters, meat differed only in thawing loss. The significantly lowest thawing loss could be detected in the outside leg (2.72 ± 0.01%) and in the medal (2.32 ± 0.01%). The results of the organoleptic evaluation showed that the outside strip and the tip had the best flavour and tenderness. In comparison with the younger birds (10–14 months of age) in the literature, the 18-month-old ostriches in our study showed similar or slightly lower slaughter weight, skin weight and head ratio, greater liver weight, lighter meat, lower protein and higher fat content, higher essential amino acid and lower non-essential amino acid content and higher SFA content in some cases. However, data on nutrition and population size were not always available. In comparison with other ratites (emu and rhea), ostrich meat has lower dry matter and protein, but higher fat, SFA, MUFA and PUFA content and lower n-6/n-3 ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Poultry: Breeding, Health, Nutrition, and Management)
Article
Exploring the Governance and Fairness in the Milk Value Chain: A Case Study in Vietnam
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 884; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090884 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 521
Abstract
Governance and fairness in the food value chain have gained considerable attention from both policymakers and scholars, especially in developing countries. This study analysed the milk value chain, exploring its governance and fairness, and assessed the regulatory interventions across the milk value chain [...] Read more.
Governance and fairness in the food value chain have gained considerable attention from both policymakers and scholars, especially in developing countries. This study analysed the milk value chain, exploring its governance and fairness, and assessed the regulatory interventions across the milk value chain in Vietnam using a qualitative framework and the global value chain governance model. The results show that Vietnam’s milk production and dairy market have developed notably since the reforms. The value chain is structured according to three governance models, i.e., relational, captive, and hierarchy models. Vietnam’s milk value chain has progressed through three building phases, expanding in breadth, and undergoing in-depth development, and the governance models have adjusted accordingly. However, Vietnamese dairy farms have been exposed to a low level of fairness across the supply chain. Although dairy farmers in the relational model may benefit from more power and fairness in the short term, farmers in the captive model may gain benefits and potential fairness in the long term. Vietnam has diverse regulatory interventions to enhance farmers’ fairness and welfare, and the results are notable. However, not all farmers have benefitted from these policies, and measures regarding fairness and welfare should be diverse, gradual, and inclusive. Full article
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Article
Introgression of QTLs for Drought Tolerance into Farmers’ Preferred Sorghum Varieties
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 883; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090883 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 474
Abstract
Sorghum is a major staple food crop for the people in semi-arid areas of Africa and Asia. Post-flowering drought is a global constraint of sorghum production. The study aimed to improve stay-green (STG) characteristics of farmer-preferred sorghum varieties in Tanzania using marker-assisted backcrossing. [...] Read more.
Sorghum is a major staple food crop for the people in semi-arid areas of Africa and Asia. Post-flowering drought is a global constraint of sorghum production. The study aimed to improve stay-green (STG) characteristics of farmer-preferred sorghum varieties in Tanzania using marker-assisted backcrossing. A total of 752 individuals representing five BC2F1 populations and their parents were genotyped using previously reported KASP markers linked with STG 3A and STG 3B quantitative trait loci (QTL). In the BC2F1 populations, the maximum number of individuals with heterozygous alleles were observed in S35*Pato background (37) whereas only seven individuals derived from the B35*Wahi parents’ background contained heterozygous alleles. Of the 30 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, favourable alleles were observed at 18 loci in BC2F1 populations. In the BC2F1 generation, the highest (0.127 kg/panicle) grain yield was observed in the B35*NACO Mtama 1 background population. The genotypic analysis revealed the presence of favourable alleles in homozygous conditions at markers loci associated with STG 3A and STG 3B QTLs in BC2F3 populations, suggesting successful introgression of STG QTLs from the donor parents to the recurrent parents. Across water irrigation regimes, the highest (0.068 kg/panicle) mean grain weight was observed in the genotype NA316C. Therefore, our study demonstrated the utility of marker-assisted backcrossing for drought tolerance improvement of locally adapted sorghum varieties in Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Breeding and Genetics)
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Article
Factors Limiting the Development of the Organic Food Sector—Perspective of Processors, Distributors, and Retailers
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 882; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090882 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 746
Abstract
Our study aimed to explore the factors limiting the development of the organic food sector in Poland from the perspective of processing, distributing, and retailing companies. We used a qualitative approach with in-depth semi-structured interviews with the management board representatives of 17 large- [...] Read more.
Our study aimed to explore the factors limiting the development of the organic food sector in Poland from the perspective of processing, distributing, and retailing companies. We used a qualitative approach with in-depth semi-structured interviews with the management board representatives of 17 large- and medium-sized enterprises and the owners of 10 small and medium companies. The potential limiting factors, including legal, economic, technological, and environmental factors, were identified by reviewing the corporate and market reports of processing and retailing companies operating in the Polish organic sector. We used a thematic analysis recommended in the literature to analyze qualitative data. The main factors indicated by the managers were the legal concerns, limitations resulting from a lack of constant supply of organic raw materials, and increased competition on domestic and international markets. In addition, business activities in the Polish organic sector were affected by the instability of the financial situation in terms of financial liquidity, adequate cost, capital structure, and credits. The results of the study may be of value for policymakers to ensure sustainable development of the organic food sector in Poland. Full article
Article
Induced Agricultural Production Organizations under the Transition of Rural Land Market: Evidence from China
by and
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 881; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090881 - 15 Sep 2021
Viewed by 582
Abstract
This paper focuses on the impact of a new rural land reform, the Separation of Three Rights Reform, on changes in China’s agricultural production organizations. We illustrate the impact of market and nonmarket mechanisms on allocating agricultural production factors under the new rural [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the impact of a new rural land reform, the Separation of Three Rights Reform, on changes in China’s agricultural production organizations. We illustrate the impact of market and nonmarket mechanisms on allocating agricultural production factors under the new rural land market transition through a land system and factor allocation model. Based on the expansion paths of different types of factors in the model, we classify the development of Chinese agricultural production entities into “extensional expansion,” “labor-intensive expansion,” “land-intensive expansion,” and “exit of agricultural production.” These agricultural production paths correspond to agricultural enterprises, family farms, agricultural cooperatives, and small farmers’ exit. Further, empirical and economic geography analysis results show that the interaction of market and nonmarket mechanisms is the main drive that induces the current diversified organizations in rural China. Thus, this paper provides a comprehensive explanation of changing patterns of an agricultural production organization under the transition of the rural land market. Full article
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Article
The Influence of New Agricultural Business Entities on the Economic Welfare of Farmer’s Families
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 880; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090880 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 430
Abstract
Promoting the coordinated development of new agricultural business entities and small farmers is an important way to realize rural revitalization. It is undoubtedly of great significance to clarify the impact and its mechanism of new agricultural business entities on the economic welfare of [...] Read more.
Promoting the coordinated development of new agricultural business entities and small farmers is an important way to realize rural revitalization. It is undoubtedly of great significance to clarify the impact and its mechanism of new agricultural business entities on the economic welfare of farmers’ families. Based on the 2015 China Household Finance Survey (CHFS) data, this paper builds a theoretical analytical framework of “new agricultural business entities—non-agricultural employment and agricultural output—economic welfare of farmers’ family”. From the intermediary perspective of the non-agricultural employment and agricultural output, it empirically tests the impact of new agricultural business entities on the economic welfare of farmers’ families by combining the analysis methods of the benchmark regression and intermediary effect. The research shows that: (1) New agricultural business entities promote the improvement of the economic welfare of farmers’ families. The specific manifestation is that the existence of new agricultural business entities can not only increase the per capita annual income of farmers’ families, but also promote the per capita consumption expenditure of farmers’ families in the village. (2) Non-agricultural employment and agricultural output have a significant mediating effect in the impact of new agricultural business entities on the economic welfare of farmers’ families. (3) In addition to key variables, variables such as education, political status, and family status are also key factors affecting the economic welfare of farmers’ families. Finally, this paper puts forward some policy recommendations such as cultivating high-quality new agricultural business entities, strengthening farmers’ technical training, and optimizing rural residents’ policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Review
Controlling Stored Products’ Pests with Plant Secondary Metabolites: A Review
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 879; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090879 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 399
Abstract
To date, only a handful of pesticides have been authorized by the European Council for the protection of stored grains. Resistance issues and ecotoxicity concerns necessitate the development of ecofriendly tools in that direction. In this review, we refer to the recent findings [...] Read more.
To date, only a handful of pesticides have been authorized by the European Council for the protection of stored grains. Resistance issues and ecotoxicity concerns necessitate the development of ecofriendly tools in that direction. In this review, we refer to the recent findings on plant extracts and pure plant-derived substances with promising biological activity and the potential to be used as biopesticides for stored products. The main aim of biopesticides is to be effective against target pests, without harming humans and the environment. Many plant species, among those reported herein, are part of the human diet, and are thus not harmful to humans. Edible plant extracts produced with inorganic solvents represent safe candidates for use as repellants, fumigants or contact pesticides. Cinnamon, rosemary, parsley, garlic, oregano and basil are found in products destined for human consumption but also display significant biological activities. Interestingly, cinnamon is one of the most widely tested botanical matrixes, exhibiting the best lethal effects on almost all insect and mite taxa reported herein (Acaroidea, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera), followed by basil and garlic. Prunus persica,Azadirachta indica A. Juss and Carum sp. seem to be very promising too as miticides and/or insecticides, with A. indica already being represented commercially by a plant-derived acaricidal formulation. Full article
Article
Increasing Snow–Soil Interface Temperature in Farmland of Northeast China from 1979 to 2018
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 878; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090878 - 14 Sep 2021
Viewed by 532
Abstract
The presence of seasonal snow cover in the cold season can significantly affect the thermal conditions of the ground. Understanding the change of the snow–soil interface temperature (TSS) and its environmental impact factors is essential for predicting subnivean species changes [...] Read more.
The presence of seasonal snow cover in the cold season can significantly affect the thermal conditions of the ground. Understanding the change of the snow–soil interface temperature (TSS) and its environmental impact factors is essential for predicting subnivean species changes and carbon balance in future climatic conditions. An improved Snow Thermal Model (SNTHERM) is employed to quantify TSS in farmland of Northeast China (NEC) in a 39-year period (1979–2018) firstly. This study also explored the variation tendency of TSS and its main influencing factors on grid scale. The result shows that annual average TSS and the difference between TSS and air temperature (TDSSA) increased rapidly between 1979 and 2018 in the farmland of NEC, and we used the Mann–Kendall test to further verify the increasing trends of TSS and TDSSA on aggregated farmland of NEC. The correlation analysis showed that mean snow depth (MSD) is the most pivotal control factor in 95% of pixels and TDSSA increases as MSD increases. Snow depth can better predict the change of TSS in deep–snow regions than average winter temperature (TSA). The results of this study are of great significance for understanding the impact of snow cover on the energy exchange between the ground and the atmosphere in the cold climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Review
Hazard Analysis of Traditional Post-Harvest Operation Methods and the Loss Reduction Effect Based on Five Time (5T) Management: The Case of Rice in Jilin Province, China
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 877; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090877 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 352
Abstract
Traditional post-harvest operation methods applied in rice fields lack advanced management knowledge and technology, which has led to post-harvest losses. We proposed the concept of Five Time (5T) management for the first time. 5T management divides the whole life cycle of rice into [...] Read more.
Traditional post-harvest operation methods applied in rice fields lack advanced management knowledge and technology, which has led to post-harvest losses. We proposed the concept of Five Time (5T) management for the first time. 5T management divides the whole life cycle of rice into different growth time interval to complete process management. This paper mainly introduces the management of rice grain period, that is, the post-harvest management period, including the operation process management of harvesting, field stacking, drying, warehousing, and storing. In 2019, our research team formulated the 5T management method, which considers the entire post-harvest process, and carried out a pilot application of this method at the Jilin Rice Industry Alliance of Jilin Province. Moreover, to promote the 5T management method, our research team carried out follow-up experiments in rice production enterprises and found severe post-harvest rice losses. This paper combined a large number of literature and the basic theory research of rice post-harvest to analyze the traditional methods for post-harvest processing and the associated rice losses. By implementing the 5T management method, 4.33% of losses incurred during the T1 harvesting period could be recovered. In the T2 field period, drying rice within 48 h after harvesting could reduce losses by 2.5%. In the T3 drying period, the loss rate could be reduced by 1.6% if traditional drying methods were replaced by mechanical drying and by 0.6% if cyclic drying was implemented to prevent over-drying. In the T5 storage period, the loss rate of 7% could be reduced by adopting advanced grain storage technologies such as low-temperature storage. Overall, the rice loss rate could be reduced by 15.43%, which is equivalent to a yield of 32.68 million tonnes of rice. The important factors in each period are strictly controlled in the 5T management method to prevent the post-harvest losses caused by flawed concepts and improper management and to increase the amount of usable fertile land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Security and Economic Analysis)
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Review
Potentiality of Vermicomposting in the South Pacific Island Countries: A Review
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 876; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090876 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 556
Abstract
Incorporation of vermin culture in the composting system produces “vermicompost”, an enriched biofertilizer known to improve the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. It is applied in granular form and/or in liquid solution (vermiwash), and in both open fields and greenhouses. Vermicompost [...] Read more.
Incorporation of vermin culture in the composting system produces “vermicompost”, an enriched biofertilizer known to improve the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. It is applied in granular form and/or in liquid solution (vermiwash), and in both open fields and greenhouses. Vermicompost has been shown to contain plant growth hormones, which stimulate seed germination and improve crop yield, the ‘marketability’ of products, plant physiology, and their ability to fight against disease. In recent years, South Pacific island countries (SPICs) have placed an increasing emphasis on the importance of organic agricultural practices as a means of achieving more sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices. However, vermiculture is not practiced in South Pacific island countries (SPICs) largely due to the lack of awareness of this type of application. We consider the inclusion of vermiculture in this region as a potential means of achieving sustainable organic agricultural practices. This study represents a systematic review in which we collect relevant information on vermicomposting and analyze the applicability of this practice in the SPICs based on these nations’ physical, socioeconomic, and climatic conditions. The tropical climate of the SPICs means that they meet the combined requirements of a large available biomass for composting and the availability of earthworms. Perionyx excavatus and Pontoscolex corethrurus have been identified as potential native earthworm species for vermicomposting under the conditions of the SPICs. Eisenia fetida, a well-known earthworm species, is also effectively adapted to this region and reported to be an efficient species for commercial vermicomposting. However, as a new input into the local production system, there may be unforeseen barriers in the initial stages, as with other advanced technologies, and the introduction of vermiculture as a practice requires a steady effort and adaptive research to achieve success. Further experimental research is required to analyze the productivity and profitability of using the identified native earthworm species for vermiculture using locally available biomass in the SPICs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Article
Development and Application of a Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) Assay for the Detection of Pseudomonas syringae Pathovars pisi and syringae
Agriculture 2021, 11(9), 875; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/agriculture11090875 - 13 Sep 2021
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Pseudomonas syringae causes bacterial blight (BB) disease worldwide on economically important fruit and vegetable crops including field pea (Pisum sativum L.). The two pathovars responsible for BB in field pea are Pseudomonas syringae pathovar pisi (Psp) and syringae (Pss). In the field, [...] Read more.
Pseudomonas syringae causes bacterial blight (BB) disease worldwide on economically important fruit and vegetable crops including field pea (Pisum sativum L.). The two pathovars responsible for BB in field pea are Pseudomonas syringae pathovar pisi (Psp) and syringae (Pss). In the field, both pathovars cause indistinguishable symptoms on field pea and require laboratory diagnosis to determine the causal pathovar. To aid in-field and laboratory diagnosis, accurate, and robust loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assays for Psp and Pss were developed. The assays were able to detect Psp or Pss on live or heat-killed bacterial cells, plant exudates, seeds, and DNA extracts with no inhibitory effects. The two specific LAMP assays developed detected Psp and Pss accurately in less than 20 min and no cross-reaction was observed with 18 strains of closely related species of Pseudomonas syringae. Compared to the conventional PCR assays, the two LAMP assays were equally specific but have advantages of producing quicker and visual live results, enabling early detection and differentiation of Psp and Pss. Our results suggested a potential use of LAMP assays for laboratory testing and can be applied for in-field surveys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pest and Weeds)
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