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Agriculture, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 2016)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Strip Tillage and Early-Season Broadleaf Weed Control in Seeded Onion (Allium cepa)
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 11; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020011
Received: 28 October 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
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Abstract
Field experiments were conducted in 2007 and 2008 near Oakes, North Dakota (ND), USA, to evaluate if strip tillage could be incorporated into a production system of seeded onion (Allium cepa) to eliminate the standard use of a barley (Hordeum
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Field experiments were conducted in 2007 and 2008 near Oakes, North Dakota (ND), USA, to evaluate if strip tillage could be incorporated into a production system of seeded onion (Allium cepa) to eliminate the standard use of a barley (Hordeum vulgare) companion crop with conventional, full width tillage, yet support common early-season weed control programs. A split-factor design was used with tillage (conventional and strip tillage) as the main plot and herbicide treatments (bromoxynil, DCPA, oxyfluorfen, and pendimethalin) as sub-plots. Neither tillage nor herbicide treatments affected onion stand counts. Common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) densities were lower in strip tillage compared to conventional tillage up to three weeks after the post-emergence applied herbicides. In general, micro-rate post-emergence herbicide treatments provided greater early-season broadleaf weed control than pre-emergence herbicide treatments. Onion yield and grade did not differ among herbicide treatments because the mid-season herbicide application provided sufficient control/suppression of the early-season weed escapes that these initial weed escapes did not impact onion yield or bulb diameter. In 2007, onion in the strip tillage treatment were larger in diameter resulting in greater total and marketable yields compared to conventional tillage. Marketable onion yield was 82.1 Mg ha−1 in strip tillage and 64.9 Mg ha−1 in conventional tillage. Results indicate that strip tillage use in direct-seeded onion production was beneficial, especially when growing conditions were conducive to higher yields and that the use of strip tillage in onion may provide an alternative to using a companion crop as it did not interfere with either early-season weed management system. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effectiveness of Postharvest Treatment with Chitosan to Control Citrus Green Mold
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 12; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020012
Received: 28 November 2015 / Revised: 8 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
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Abstract
Control of green mold, caused by Penicillium digitatum, by fungicides raises several problems, such as emergence of resistant pathogens, as well as concerns about the environment and consumers’ health. As potential alternatives, the effects of chitosan on green mold disease and the
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Control of green mold, caused by Penicillium digitatum, by fungicides raises several problems, such as emergence of resistant pathogens, as well as concerns about the environment and consumers’ health. As potential alternatives, the effects of chitosan on green mold disease and the quality attributes of citrus fruits were investigated. Fruits were wounded then treated with different concentrations of chitosan 24 h before their inoculation with P. digitatum. The results of in vitro experiment demonstrated that the antifungal activity against P. digitatum was improved in concert to the increase of chitosan concentration. In an in vivo study, green mold was significantly reduced by chitosan treatments. In parallel, chitinase and glucanase activities were enhanced in coated fruits. Evidence suggested that effects of chitosan coating on green mold of mandarin fruits might be related to its fungitoxic properties against the pathogen and/or the elicitation of biochemical defense responses in coated fruits. Further, quality attributes including fruit firmness, surface color, juice content, and total soluble solids, were not affected by chitosan during storage. Moreover, the loss of weight was even less pronounced in chitosan-coated fruit. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Comparative Analysis of Productivity among Organic and Non-Organic farms in the West Mamprusi District of Ghana
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 13; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020013
Received: 25 August 2015 / Accepted: 22 January 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
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Abstract
The study was conducted in organic and conventional crop farms in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region of Ghana. The key issue the study sought to determine was whether there are productivity differences among organic and conventional crop farms and what
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The study was conducted in organic and conventional crop farms in the West Mamprusi District of the Northern Region of Ghana. The key issue the study sought to determine was whether there are productivity differences among organic and conventional crop farms and what factors account for these differences. The results indeed revealed that there are productivity differences among organic and conventional crop farms. However, both had negative total factor productivity growth, largely accounted for by a negative technical change over the period considered. The technical efficiency change, however, was positive for both but much higher for organic farms than conventional farms. More importantly, the study revealed that the type of agriculture practiced by farmers is not the most critical problem confronting farmers as indicated by the negative total productivity growth for both. Major constraints confronting farmers that need to be addressed include better organization on the farmers’ front, improved access to extension and improved access to farm inputs. These challenges notwithstanding, the study revealed that organic agriculture has the potential, in the long run, to achieve much more progress in total factor productivity, compared to conventional agriculture, if the right conditions exist for its uptake and optimal application. Full article
Open AccessArticle Determinants of Food Crop Diversity and Profitability in Southeastern Nigeria: A Multivariate Tobit Approach
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 14; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020014
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
The present study jointly determines the factors influencing decisions to diversify into multiple food crops (i.e., rice, yam and cassava) vis-à-vis profitability of 400 farmers from Ebonyi and Anambra states of Southeastern Nigeria using a multivariate Tobit model. Model diagnostic reveals
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The present study jointly determines the factors influencing decisions to diversify into multiple food crops (i.e., rice, yam and cassava) vis-à-vis profitability of 400 farmers from Ebonyi and Anambra states of Southeastern Nigeria using a multivariate Tobit model. Model diagnostic reveals that the decisions to diversify into multiple crops and profits generated therefrom are significantly correlated, thereby justifying use of a multivariate approach. Results reveal that 68% of the farmers grew at least two food crops and profitability is highest for only rice producers followed by joint rice and yam producers, which are mainly for sale. Farm size is the most dominant determinant of crop diversity vis-à-vis profitability. A rise in the relative price of plowing significantly reduces profitability of yam and rice. High yield is the main motive for growing yam and cassava whereas ready market is for rice. Other determinants with varying level of influences are proximity to market and/or extension office, extension contact, training, agricultural credit, subsistence pressure and location. Policy recommendations include investments in market infrastructure and credit services, land and/or tenurial reform and input price stabilization to promote food crop diversity vis-à-vis profitability in Southeastern Nigeria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Social Factors That Influence Use of ICT in Agricultural Extension in Southern Africa
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 15; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020015
Received: 17 December 2015 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
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Abstract
Farmbook is a novel information communication technology (ICT) tool for agricultural extension that is currently being field tested by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Southern and East Africa. Farmbook enables extension agents to assess productivity and profitability of farming enterprises in a
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Farmbook is a novel information communication technology (ICT) tool for agricultural extension that is currently being field tested by the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Southern and East Africa. Farmbook enables extension agents to assess productivity and profitability of farming enterprises in a faster and more reliable manner, so as to increase farmer incomes and achieve food security. This study looked at the relationship between challenges faced by extension agents testing the Farmbook application and select socio-economic indicators influencing their work. Specific objectives were to identify and categorize the challenges facing extension agents in the field as they used Farmbook, assess gender differences in the use of Farmbook by extension agents, understand the relationship between socio-economic status of extension agents and the challenges faced in using Farmbook. Data were collected through document reviews, administration of a structured questionnaire and focus group meetings with field agents. Descriptive statistics and multivariate techniques were used to analyze data. The results show that personal and wider socio-economic conditions do have an impact on the proficiency of extension agents using Farmbook. The study goes on to recommend measures to improve the training and ICT proficiency of extension agents adopting Farmbook. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Intensification of Mediterranean Goat Production Systems: A Case Study in Northern Morocco
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 16; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020016
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 14 April 2016
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Abstract
Goats are important contributors to both food and financial security of the resource poor, particularly in marginal environments such as those in the Mediterranean region. To fully understand the feasibility and potential consequences of any intensification or husbandry changes that could contribute to
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Goats are important contributors to both food and financial security of the resource poor, particularly in marginal environments such as those in the Mediterranean region. To fully understand the feasibility and potential consequences of any intensification or husbandry changes that could contribute to higher outputs, it is important to have a thorough prior understanding of the functional dynamics of these systems. Here the current performance of ten goat holdings in the northern region of Morocco, classified as either commercial milk producers, commercial cheese producers or non-commercial dairy producers, was recorded, based on the Food and Agricultural Organisation and International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (FAO-CIHEAM) technical and economic indicators, to assess whether intensification of dairy production was financially viable. Fecundity and prolificacy rates were comparatively lower than those achieved by many European Mediterranean herds. Both kid and doe mortality were higher on commercial dairy holdings, where dairy sales provided an additional, rather than alternative, source of income to goat sales. Despite this, due to significantly higher expenditure on supplementary feed, gross margin per doe did not differ significantly between holding types. With the exception of indigenous Greek herds, all European Mediterranean herds outperform those of northern Morocco. The study suggests that a low level of supplementary feeding is constraining goat dairy production in northern Morocco, and that the current high cost and limited availability of additional supplementary feed restricts the financial viability of intensification. Alternative feeding strategies within a participatory approach that might ameliorate these problems, and value chain constraints, are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Knowledge, Attitude and Practices towards Leptospirosis among Lakeshore Communities of Calamba and Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 18; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020018
Received: 9 December 2015 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
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Abstract
Leptospirosis is a serious and potentially fatal zoonotic disease, but often neglected owing to lack of awareness. This study examined the knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning leptospirosis among agricultural (n = 152) and non-agricultural (n = 115) workers in the lakeshore
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Leptospirosis is a serious and potentially fatal zoonotic disease, but often neglected owing to lack of awareness. This study examined the knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning leptospirosis among agricultural (n = 152) and non-agricultural (n = 115) workers in the lakeshore communities of Calamba and Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. The findings showed no significant differences for the knowledge and attitude scores between agricultural and non-agricultural workers. However, agricultural workers had significantly lower prevention practice scores than non-agricultural workers. The ordinary least squares regression model identified gender, use of broadcast media as a source of health information, and knowledge and attitudes about leptospirosis as significant predictors of prevention practices common to both workers. Higher educational attainment was significantly associated with prevention practices among agricultural workers, while higher age and income level were significantly associated with prevention practices among non-agricultural workers. Public health interventions to improve leptospirosis knowledge and prevention practices should include health education and promotion programs, along with the strengthening of occupational health and safety programs in the agricultural sector. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Bioenergy in Enhancing Energy, Food and Ecosystem Sustainability Based on Societal Perceptions and Preferences in Asia
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 19; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020019
Received: 6 April 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 25 April 2016
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Abstract
This paper discussed the analysis of the survey on sustainability of bioenergy conducted in the Philippines, India and China. It acquired general perceptions of the people by asking them (a) specific questions about their level of familiarity with bioenergy; (b) relationship of their
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This paper discussed the analysis of the survey on sustainability of bioenergy conducted in the Philippines, India and China. It acquired general perceptions of the people by asking them (a) specific questions about their level of familiarity with bioenergy; (b) relationship of their work to bioenergy; and (c) their opinion on contribution of various feedstock on the economy and impact of bioenergy production on food security. In addition to these questions, we estimated preference weights of various feedstock based on the conjoint choices on bioenergy’s contribution to social stability, social welfare and ecological balance. The estimates revealed significant trade-offs not only among these three dimensions of sustainability but also the relative importance of energy security, food security and ecosystem capacity to other economic, social and environmental objectives. The types of first generation feedstock that are currently used for biofuel production in the respective countries and those that offer alternative household use are perceived as important to the economy and preferred bioenergy feedstock. Based on the results of the study, the preferred role of bioenergy for sustainable development reflects the social and economic concerns in the respective Asian countries, e.g., energy security in China, food security in India, and ecosystem degradation in the Philippines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture)
Open AccessArticle Unlocking the Energy Potential of Manure—An Assessment of the Biogas Production Potential at the Farm Level in Germany
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 20; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020020
Received: 16 October 2015 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 26 April 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (744 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Residues from animal husbandry are one of the major greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources in agriculture. The production of biogas from agricultural residues can reduce GHG emissions through an improved handling of the material streams such as manure storage. Additionally, biogas can substitute
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Residues from animal husbandry are one of the major greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources in agriculture. The production of biogas from agricultural residues can reduce GHG emissions through an improved handling of the material streams such as manure storage. Additionally, biogas can substitute fossil energy carriers in the provision of heat, power, and transport fuels. The aim of this work is to estimate the manure potential for biogas production in Germany under the consideration of the farm size of livestock production. In Germany, cattle and pig farming is of major relevance with more than 130,000 farms throughout the country. To unlock the biogas potential of manure, the low energy density of manure, depending on the dry matter content, needs to be considered, meaning that biogas installations need to be built close to the manure production on the farm site. This not only results in a high number of biogas plants, but also due to the wide range of farm sizes in Germany, a huge number of very small biogas plants. Small biogas installations have higher specific investment costs. Together with the relatively low methane yields from manure, costs for power generation would be very high. Co-substrates with higher methane yield can lower the costs for biogas. Thus, the use of a co-substrate could help to use small manure potentials. Biogas plants with the necessary minimum size of 50 kWel installed power could be established at farms representing 12% of all cattle and 16.5% of all pigs respectively in Germany. Using excrement from pigs, farms representing 16.5% of the total amount of pigs could establish a biogas plant. The use of manure in combination with energy crops can increase the size of biogas plants on a farm site significantly. At cattle farms, the share would increase to 31.1% with 40% co-substrate and to 40.8% with 60% co-substrate. At pig farms, the share would increase to 36% if co-substrates were used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Waste Management)
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Open AccessArticle Competitiveness, Profitability, Input Demand and Output Supply of Maize Production in Bangladesh
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 21; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020021
Received: 4 December 2015 / Revised: 6 May 2016 / Accepted: 16 May 2016 / Published: 23 May 2016
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Abstract
The study assesses international competitiveness, profitability, output supply and input demand of maize production using a farm survey data of 165 farmers from two major maize growing areas (i.e., Dinajpur and Lalmonirhat districts) of northwestern Bangladesh. Results revealed that maize production
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The study assesses international competitiveness, profitability, output supply and input demand of maize production using a farm survey data of 165 farmers from two major maize growing areas (i.e., Dinajpur and Lalmonirhat districts) of northwestern Bangladesh. Results revealed that maize production is globally competitive and, therefore, can successfully substitute its import. Maize production is also profitable at the farm level (Benefit Cost Ratio = 1.21) with no adverse influence of farm size on yield and profitability. Maize farmers are also responsive to changes in market prices of inputs and outputs. A 1% increase in maize price will increase output supply by 0.4%. The most dominant driver of maize supply and other input demands is land. A 1% increase in available land will increase maize supply by a substantial 3.9%. In addition, landless laborers will benefit through an increase in hired labor demand when land area increases. Policy implications include investments in R&D, tenurial reform to consolidate land holding and smooth functioning of the hired labor market in order to increase maize production and profitability in Bangladesh. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Small Scale Farmers’ Indigenous Agricultural Adaptation Options in the Face of Declining or Stagnant Crop Yields in the Fako and Meme Divisions of Cameroon
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 22; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020022
Received: 27 February 2016 / Revised: 12 May 2016 / Accepted: 18 May 2016 / Published: 24 May 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1636 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Research has proven that, at a national scale in Cameroon, arable crop production is either declining or stagnant. In the face of these trends, governments, local and international organizations, communities and peasant farmers have developed adaptation options to sustain arable production and reduce
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Research has proven that, at a national scale in Cameroon, arable crop production is either declining or stagnant. In the face of these trends, governments, local and international organizations, communities and peasant farmers have developed adaptation options to sustain arable production and reduce poverty. Given this general context, and based on population perceptions and four study sites in the Southwest region of Cameroon, this study aims at verifying current trends in arable production and farmers’ adaptation options based on their indigenous knowledge. These analyses are based on the administration of 200 questionnaires and two focus group discussions (FGDs). The data were analysed using SPSS version 20 in which frequencies, percentages and means were calculated. In addition, the chi-squared statistical test of goodness of fit was calculated and the stated hypothesis was validated accordingly. The FGDs were analysed through verbatim transcriptions and with the aid of the context analysis software, Wordstat 7. The results show that current yields (2010–2014) in all the study sites are declining due to deforestation, poor governance, inadequate access to farm inputs such as fertilizers, increased economic opportunities elsewhere and a breakdown of cultural practices, while 10 years (2000–2010) previously, they had been increasing. It has also been found that the main adaptation options/coping mechanisms reported by the respondents in order of highest frquencies are: expansion of farm size, help from relatives and dependents that live on the farm, supplemental occupations or livelihood diversification and usage of organic fertilizers. From the chi-squared test, the alternate hypothesis that, “there is some difference between population proportions for different adaptation options or coping mechanisms” is validated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Involvement of Secondary Metabolites in Response to Drought Stress of Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 23; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020023
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 22 April 2016 / Accepted: 23 May 2016 / Published: 26 May 2016
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Abstract
In this study, responses of rice under drought stress correlating with changes in chemical compositions were examined. Among 20 studied rice cultivars, Q8 was the most tolerant, whereas Q2 was the most susceptible to drought. Total phenols, total flavonoids, and antioxidant activities, and
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In this study, responses of rice under drought stress correlating with changes in chemical compositions were examined. Among 20 studied rice cultivars, Q8 was the most tolerant, whereas Q2 was the most susceptible to drought. Total phenols, total flavonoids, and antioxidant activities, and their accumulation in water deficit conditions were proportional to drought resistance levels of rice. In detail, total phenols and total flavonoids in Q8 (65.3 mg gallic acid equivalent (GAE) and 37.8 mg rutin equivalent (RE) were significantly higher than Q2 (33.9 mg GAE/g and 27.4 mg RE/g, respectively) in both control and drought stress groups. Similarly, the antioxidant activities including DPPH radical scavenging, β-carotene bleaching, and lipid peroxidation inhibition in Q8 were also higher than in Q2, and markedly increased in drought stress. In general, contents of individual phenolic acids in Q8 were higher than Q2, and they were significantly increased in drought stress to much greater extents than in Q2. However, p-hydroxybenzoic acid was found uniquely in Q8 cultivars. In addition, only vanillic acid was found in water deficit stress in both drought resistant and susceptible rice, suggesting that this phenolic acid, together with p-hydroxybenzoic acid, may play a key role in drought-tolerance mechanisms of rice. The use of vanillic acid and p-hyroxybenzoic acid, and their derivatives, may be useful to protect rice production against water shortage stress. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using Optical Sensors to Identify Water Deprivation, Nitrogen Shortage, Weed Presence and Fungal Infection in Wheat
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 24; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020024
Received: 28 October 2015 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 20 April 2016 / Published: 26 May 2016
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Abstract
The success of precision agriculture relies largely on our ability to identify how the plants’ growth limiting factors vary in time and space. In the field, several stress factors may occur simultaneously, and it is thus crucial to be able to identify the
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The success of precision agriculture relies largely on our ability to identify how the plants’ growth limiting factors vary in time and space. In the field, several stress factors may occur simultaneously, and it is thus crucial to be able to identify the key limitation, in order to decide upon the correct contra-action, e.g., herbicide application. We performed a pot experiment, in which spring wheat was exposed to water shortage, nitrogen deficiency, weed competition (Sinapis alba L.) and fungal infection (Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici) in a complete, factorial design. A range of sensor measurements were taken every third day from the two-leaf stage until booting of the wheat (BBCH 12 to 40). Already during the first 10 days after stress induction (DAS), both fluorescence measurements and spectral vegetation indices were able to differentiate between non-stressed and stressed wheat plants exposed to water shortage, weed competition or fungal infection. This meant that water shortage and fungal infection could be detected prior to visible symptoms. Nitrogen shortage was detected on the 11–20 DAS. Differentiation of more than one stress factors with the same index was difficult. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote sensing for crop production and management)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Using Ecophysiology to Improve Farm Efficiency: Application in Temperate Dairy Grazing Systems
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 17; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020017
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 18 April 2016
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Abstract
Information on the physiological ecology of grass-dominant pastures has made a substantial contribution to the development of practices that optimise the amount of feed harvested by grazing animals in temperate livestock systems. However, the contribution of ecophysiology is often under-stated, and the need
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Information on the physiological ecology of grass-dominant pastures has made a substantial contribution to the development of practices that optimise the amount of feed harvested by grazing animals in temperate livestock systems. However, the contribution of ecophysiology is often under-stated, and the need for further research in this field is sometimes questioned. The challenge for ecophysiolgists, therefore, is to demonstrate how ecophysiological knowledge can help solve significant problems looming for grassland farming in temperate regions while also removing constraints to improved productivity from grazed pastures. To do this, ecophysiological research needs to align more closely with related disciplines, particularly genetics/genomics, agronomy, and farming systems, including systems modelling. This review considers how ecophysiological information has contributed to the development of grazing management practices in the New Zealand dairy industry, an industry that is generally regarded as a world leader in the efficiency with which pasture is grown and utilised for animal production. Even so, there are clear opportunities for further gains in pasture utilisation through the refinement of grazing management practices and the harnessing of those practices to improved pasture plant cultivars with phenotypes that facilitate greater grazing efficiency. Meanwhile, sub-optimal persistence of new pastures continues to constrain productivity in some environments. The underlying plant and population processes associated with this have not been clearly defined. Ecophysiological information, placed in the context of trait identification, grounded in well-designed agronomic studies and linked to plant improvements programmes, is required to address this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forage Plant Ecophysiology) Printed Edition available
Open AccessReview Phosphorus Bioavailability: A Key Aspect for Conserving this Critical Animal Feed Resource with Reference to Broiler Nutrition
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 25; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020025
Received: 8 March 2016 / Revised: 20 May 2016 / Accepted: 23 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
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Abstract
Phosphorus (P) is an essential element, and the majority of animal feed phosphate is derived from phosphate rock that is a non-renewable resource. Current global P reserves may be depleted in 50–100 years. This poses the challenge of securing future P supply for
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Phosphorus (P) is an essential element, and the majority of animal feed phosphate is derived from phosphate rock that is a non-renewable resource. Current global P reserves may be depleted in 50–100 years. This poses the challenge of securing future P supply for the global animal feed industries. Currently, nutritionists formulate diets with substantial safety margins to guarantee that animals do not become P deficient. Excessive dietary P concentrations increase, not only the cost of diets, but also P excretion and pollution of the environment. We contend that understanding P bioavailability is central to the sustainable use of this mineral in animal agriculture. Poultry accounts for approximately 50% of animal feed phosphate consumption worldwide and for this reason we use the meat chicken or broiler as a case study to explore the nuances of P bioavailability. We conclude that, to tackle the challenge of dietary P bioavailability, cooperative research on a global scale is needed to standardise measurement procedures in order to produce a robust and reliable database which can be used by nutritionists to formulate diets to meet the bird’s P requirements precisely. Achievement of this goal will assist endeavours to sustain the global supply of phosphorus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional Toxicology and Animal Nutrition)
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Open AccessReview Selection and Breeding of Suitable Crop Genotypes for Drought and Heat Periods in a Changing Climate: Which Morphological and Physiological Properties Should Be Considered?
Agriculture 2016, 6(2), 26; doi:10.3390/agriculture6020026
Received: 19 April 2016 / Revised: 24 May 2016 / Accepted: 25 May 2016 / Published: 1 June 2016
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Abstract
Selection and breeding of genotypes with improved drought/heat tolerance become key issues in the course of global change with predicted increased frequency of droughts or heat waves. Several morphological and physiological plant traits must be considered. Rooting depth, root branching, nutrient acquisition, mycorrhization,
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Selection and breeding of genotypes with improved drought/heat tolerance become key issues in the course of global change with predicted increased frequency of droughts or heat waves. Several morphological and physiological plant traits must be considered. Rooting depth, root branching, nutrient acquisition, mycorrhization, nodulation in legumes and the release of nutrients, assimilates or phytohormones to the shoot are relevant in root systems. Xylem embolism and its repair after a drought, development of axillary buds and solute channeling via xylem (acropetal) and phloem (basipetal and acropetal) are key processes in the stem. The photosynthetically active biomass depends on leaf expansion and senescence. Cuticle thickness and properties, epicuticular waxes, stomatal regulation including responses to phytohormones, stomatal plugs and mesophyll resistance are involved in optimizing leaf water relations. Aquaporins, dehydrins, enzymes involved in the metabolism of compatible solutes (e.g., proline) and Rubisco activase are examples for proteins involved in heat or drought susceptibility. Assimilate redistribution from leaves to maturing fruits via the phloem influences yield quantity and quality. Proteomic analyses allow a deeper insight into the network of stress responses and may serve as a basis to identify suitable genotypes, although improved stress tolerance will have its price (often lowered productivity under optimal conditions). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
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