Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Possible Noise Reduction Arrangements inside Olive Oil Mills: A Case Study
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 88; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100088 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Apulia (Southern Italy) is the leading Italian region for the production of olive oil (115 × 106 kg of oil/year), and the olive oil chain is really important from a business point of view. Currently, the extraction of olive oil is essentially
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Apulia (Southern Italy) is the leading Italian region for the production of olive oil (115 × 106 kg of oil/year), and the olive oil chain is really important from a business point of view. Currently, the extraction of olive oil is essentially performed by using a mechanical pressing process (traditional olive oil mills), or by the centrifugation process (modern olive oil mills). The aim of this paper is to evaluate in detail the noise levels within a typical olive oil mill located in the northern part of the Apulia region during olive oil extraction. The feasibility of this study focusing on the assessment of workers’ exposure to noise was tested in compliance with the Italian-European Regulations and US standards and criteria. Several measurements of the noise emission produced by each machine belonging to the productive cycle were carried out during olive oil production. The results obtained were then used to evaluate possible improvements to carry out in order to achieve better working conditions. An effective reduction in noise could probably be achieved through a combination of different solutions, which obviously have to be assessed not only from a technical point of view but also an economic one. A significant reduction in noise levels could be achieved by increasing the area of the room allotted to the olive oil extraction cycle by removing all the unnecessary partition walls that might be present. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring and Precision Spraying for Orchid Plantation with Wireless WebCAMs
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 87; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100087 -
Abstract
Through processing images taken from wireless WebCAMs on the low altitude remote sensing (LARS) platform, this research monitored crop growth, pest, and disease information in a dendrobium orchid’s plantation.Vegetetative indices were derived for distinguishing different stages of crop growth, and the infestation
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Through processing images taken from wireless WebCAMs on the low altitude remote sensing (LARS) platform, this research monitored crop growth, pest, and disease information in a dendrobium orchid’s plantation.Vegetetative indices were derived for distinguishing different stages of crop growth, and the infestation density of pests and diseases. Image data was processed through an algorithm created in MATLAB® (The MathWorks, Inc., Natick, USA). Corresponding to the orchid’s growth stage and its infestation density, varying levels of fertilizer and chemical injections were administered. The acquired LARS images from wireless WebCAMs were positioned using geo-referencing, and eventually processed to estimate vegetative-indices (Red = 650 nm and NIR = 800 nm band center). Good correlations and a clear cluster range were obtained in characteristic plots of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the green normalized difference vegetation index (GNDVI) against chlorophyll content. The coefficient of determination, the chlorophyll content values (μmol m−2) showed significant differences among clusters for healthy orchids (R2 = 0.985–0.992), and for infested orchids (R2 = 0.984–0.998). The WebCAM application, while being inexpensive, provided acceptable inputs for image processing. The LARS platform gave its best performance at an altitude of 1.2 m above canopy. The image processing software based on LARS images provided satisfactory results as compared with manual measurements. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Adapting Agricultural Production Systems to Climate Change—What’s the Use of Models?
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 86; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100086 -
Abstract
Climate change poses a challenge to agricultural production and its impacts vary depending on regional focus and on the type of production system. To avoid production losses and make use of emerging potentials, adaptations in agricultural management will inevitably be required. Adaptation responses
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Climate change poses a challenge to agricultural production and its impacts vary depending on regional focus and on the type of production system. To avoid production losses and make use of emerging potentials, adaptations in agricultural management will inevitably be required. Adaptation responses can broadly be distinguished into (1) short-term incremental responses that farmers often choose autonomously in response to observed changes and based on local knowledge and experiences, and (2) long-term transformative responses that require strategic planning, and which are usually implemented at a larger spatial scale. Models can be used to support decision making at both response levels; thereby, different features of models prove more or less valuable depending on the type of adaptation response. This paper presents a systematic literature review on the state-of-the-art in modelling for adaptation planning in agricultural production systems, investigating the question of which model types can be distinguished and how these types differ in the way they support decision making in agricultural adaptation planning. Five types of models are distinguished: (1) empirical crop models; (2) regional suitability models; (3) biophysical models; (4) meta-models; and (5) decision models. The potential and limitations of these model types for providing decision-support to short- and long-term adaptation planning are discussed. The risk of maladaptation—adaptation that implies negative consequences either in the long term or in a wider context—is identified as a key challenge of adaptation planning that needs more attention. Maladaptation is not only a risk of decision making in the face of incomplete knowledge of future climate impacts on the agricultural production system; but it can also be a threat if the connectedness of the agroecosystem is not sufficiently acknowledged when management adaptations are implemented. Future research supporting climate change adaptation efforts should thus be based on integrated assessments of risk and vulnerabilities (considering climate variability and uncertainty). To secure adaptation success in the long term, frameworks for monitoring management adaptations and their consequences should be institutionalised. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Magnesium on Gas Exchange and Photosynthetic Efficiency of Coffee Plants Grown under Different Light Levels
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 85; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100085 -
Abstract
The aimof the present study was to investigate the effects of magnesium on the gas exchange and photosynthetic efficiency of Coffee seedlings grown in nutrient solution under different light levels. The experiment was conducted under controlled conditions in growth chambers and nutrient
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The aimof the present study was to investigate the effects of magnesium on the gas exchange and photosynthetic efficiency of Coffee seedlings grown in nutrient solution under different light levels. The experiment was conducted under controlled conditions in growth chambers and nutrient solution at the Department of Plant Pathology of the Federal University of Lavras. The treatments consisted of five different Mg concentrations (0, 48, 96, 192 and 384 mg·L−1) and four light levels (80, 160, 240 and 320 µmol photon m−2·s−1). Both the Mg concentration and light levels affected gas exchange in the coffee plants. Photosynthesis increased linearly with the increasing light, indicating that the light levels tested were low for this crop. The highest CO2 assimilation rate, lowest transpiration, and highest water use efficiency were observed with 250 mg·Mg·L−1, indicating that this concentration was the optimal Mg supply for the tested light levels. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Whole-Body Vibration in Farming: Background Document for Creating a Simplified Procedure to Determine Agricultural Tractor Vibration Comfort
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 84; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100084 -
Abstract
Operator exposure to high levels of whole-body vibration (WBV) presents risks to health and safety and it is reported to worsen or even cause back injuries. Work activities resulting in operator exposure to whole-body vibration have a common onset in off-road work such
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Operator exposure to high levels of whole-body vibration (WBV) presents risks to health and safety and it is reported to worsen or even cause back injuries. Work activities resulting in operator exposure to whole-body vibration have a common onset in off-road work such as farming. Despite the wide variability of agricultural surface profiles, studies have shown that with changing soil profile and tractor speed, the accelerations resulting from ground input present similar spectral trends. While on the one hand such studies confirmed that tractor WBV emission levels are very dependent upon the nature of the operation performed, on the other, irrespective of the wide range of conditions characterizing agricultural operations, they led researchers to set up a possible and realistic simplification and standardization of tractor driver comfort testing activities. The studies presented herewith indicate the usefulness, and the possibility, of developing simplified procedures to determine agricultural tractor vibration comfort. The results obtained could be used effectively to compare tractors of the same category or a given tractor when equipped with different seats, suspension, tyres, etc. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Geostatistical Determination of Soil Noise and Soil Phosphorus Spatial Variability
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 83; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100083 -
Abstract
This research studies the effect of stratifying soil samples to try and find a suitable depth to establish a geospatial relationship for a practical soil sampling grid in New Zealand hill country. Cores were collected from 200 predetermined sites in grids at two
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This research studies the effect of stratifying soil samples to try and find a suitable depth to establish a geospatial relationship for a practical soil sampling grid in New Zealand hill country. Cores were collected from 200 predetermined sites in grids at two trial sites at “Patitapu” hill country farm in the Wairarapa, New Zealand. Trial 1 was a 200 m × 100 m grid located in a gently undulating paddock. Trial 2 was a 220 m × 80 m grid located on a moderately sloped paddock. Each grid had cores taken at intervals of 5 m, 10 m, or 20 m. Core sites were mapped out prior to going into the field; these points were found using a Leica Geo Systems GS15 (real time kinematic GPS) and marked with pigtail pegs and spray-paint on the ground. Cores were taken using a 50 mm-diameter soil core sampler. Cores were cut into three sections according to depth: A—0–30 mm, B—30–75 mm, and C—75–150 mm. Olsen P lab results were obtained for half of the total 1400 samples due to financial constraints. The results indicate that there was a significant decrease in variability from Section A to Section B for both trials. Section B and C for Trial 1 had similar variability, whereas there was another significant drop in variability from Section B to C in Trial 2. Measuring samples below the top 3 cm appeared to effectively reduce noise when sampled from 3 to 15 cm. However, measuring from 7.5 cm to 15 cm on the slope in Trial 2 reduced variability so much that all results were almost identical, which may mean that there is no measurable representation of plant available P. The reduction in noise by removing the top 3 cm of soil samples is significant for improving current soil nutrient testing methods by allowing better geospatial predictions for whole paddock soil nutrient variability mapping. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Efficacy of the Herbicide Lancelot 450 WG (Aminopyralid + Florasulam) on Broadleaf and Invasive Weeds and Effects on Yield and Quality Parameters of Maize
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 82; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100082 -
Abstract
Reduced efficacy of several herbicides on some important broadleaf weeds might be due to the extended use of the specific active ingredients. In our study, field experiments were carried out in Greece in 2014 and 2015 to study the efficacy of the herbicide
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Reduced efficacy of several herbicides on some important broadleaf weeds might be due to the extended use of the specific active ingredients. In our study, field experiments were carried out in Greece in 2014 and 2015 to study the efficacy of the herbicide Lancelot 450 WG (aminopyralid 300 g ai/kg + florasulam 150 g ai/kg) compared to other herbicides against broadleaf weeds in maize. Effects on crop yield and quality parameters (nitrogen, protein, and oil content) were also evaluated. Our results showed that the ready mixture of aminopyralid + florasulam at the recommended dose of 33 g/ha resulted in a very good control of Xanthium strumarium, Amaranthus retroflexus, Cirsium arvense, and Solanum nigrum even at 28 DAT, providing a long-term effect. Efficacy of the specific mixture was also very efficient against the invasive weed species Physalis angulata L. Moreover, there were not any significant differences between the two doses of Lancelot 450 WG (33 and 66 g/ha) and Callisto 10 SC at double the recommended dose (1500 mL/ha) regarding yield of maize, with untreated plots and treated with Callisto 10 SC at the recommended dose (750 mL/ha) showing significantly lower yields. It has to be noted that even double the recommended dose of Lancelot 450 WG (66 g/ha) was highly selective to the crop, without any adverse effects on yield and quality parameters. Conclusively, Lancelot 450 WG could be proposed as a very efficient herbicide for the control of the major broadleaf weeds and alien, invasive species in maize crop. Full article
Open AccessCommentary
Establishing a Risk Profile for New Zealand Pastoral Farms
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 81; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100081 -
Abstract
In this paper, the risk profile of two pastoral production systems in New Zealand are examined. All farmers must manage and mitigate a multitude of risks. Traditionally, a farm budget is solely undertaken to satisfy a lending institution. Limited variance analysis takes place,
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In this paper, the risk profile of two pastoral production systems in New Zealand are examined. All farmers must manage and mitigate a multitude of risks. Traditionally, a farm budget is solely undertaken to satisfy a lending institution. Limited variance analysis takes place, usually for output prices and inputs such as: interest rates, energy costs, and fertiliser. The authors of this paper use “@Risk”, a risk profiling plug-in tool for Microsoft Excel to demonstrate how farm budgets can be more relevant to farmers. Many risk factors that affect farm financial performance, such as climate and commodity prices, are not controlled by the farmer. Wet summers help hill country sheep and beef pastoral farmers, as more grass growth occurs, which thereby reduces the cost of production and increases revenue, as more stock is finished. Whereas in drought years income falls as stock must be sold prior to finishing, in severe droughts capital stock may also be sold. Input costs also rise as pasture weed invasion occurs; health issues such as rye grass staggers may also add cost. Monte Carlo simulations on model farm budgets for a North Island sheep and beef property and a Canterbury dairy farm help demonstrate the risk profile of each farm type. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Morphological Characterization and Determination of Aflatoxin-Production Potentials of Aspergillus flavus Isolated from Maize and Soil in Kenya
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 80; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100080 -
Abstract
This study aimed at morphologically identifying Aspergillus flavus in soil and maize and at determining their aflatoxin-producing potentials. Five hundred and fourteen isolates obtained from maize and soil in Kenya were cultivated on Czapeck Dox Agar, Malt Extract Agar, Sabouraud Dextrose Agar, Potato
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This study aimed at morphologically identifying Aspergillus flavus in soil and maize and at determining their aflatoxin-producing potentials. Five hundred and fourteen isolates obtained from maize and soil in Kenya were cultivated on Czapeck Dox Agar, Malt Extract Agar, Sabouraud Dextrose Agar, Potato Dextrose Agar, and Rose-Bengal Chloramphenicol Agar. Isolates were identified using macro-morphological characteristics. Micromorphological characteristics were determined using slide cultures. Aflatoxin production was determined by direct visual determination of the UV fluorescence of colonies on Coconut Agar Medium, Yeast Extract Sucrose agar, and Yeast Extract Cyclodextrin Sodium Deoxycholate agar and by Thin Layer Chromatography. Forty-three presumptive A. flavus isolates were identified; aflatoxin was detected in 23% of the isolates by UV fluorescence screening and in 30% by Thin-Layer Chromatography (TLC). The aflatoxins produced were: aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), aflatoxin B2 (AFB2), and aflatoxin G1 (AFG1); some isolates produced only AFB1, whereas others produced either AFB1 and AFB2 or AFB1 and AFG1. The highest incidence of A. flavus (63%) and aflatoxin production (28%) was recorded in samples from Makueni District. Isolates from Uasin Gishu (21%) and Nyeri (5%) were non-aflatoxigenic. Bungoma District recorded 11% positive isolates of which 2% were aflatoxin producers. The occurrence of aflatoxin-producing A. flavus emphasises the need for measures to eliminate their presence in food crops. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Energy and Carbon Impact of Precision Livestock Farming Technologies Implementation in the Milk Chain: From Dairy Farm to Cheese Factory
Agriculture 2017, 7(10), 79; doi:10.3390/agriculture7100079 -
Abstract
Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) is being developed in livestock farms to relieve the human workload and to help farmers to optimize production and management procedure. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the consequences in energy intensity and the related carbon impact,
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Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) is being developed in livestock farms to relieve the human workload and to help farmers to optimize production and management procedure. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the consequences in energy intensity and the related carbon impact, from dairy farm to cheese factory, due to the implementation of a real-time milk analysis and separation (AfiMilk MCS) in milking parlors. The research carried out involved three conventional dairy farms, the collection and delivery of milk from dairy farms to cheese factory and the processing line of a traditional soft cheese into a dairy factory. The AfiMilk MCS system installed in the milking parlors allowed to obtain a large number of information related to the quantity and quality of milk from each individual cow and to separate milk with two different composition (one with high coagulation properties and the other one with low coagulation properties), with different percentage of separation. Due to the presence of an additional milkline and the AfiMilk MCS components, the energy requirements and the related environmental impact at farm level were slightly higher, among 1.1% and 4.4%. The logistic of milk collection was also significantly reorganized in view of the collection of two separate type of milk, hence, it leads an increment of 44% of the energy requirements. The logistic of milk collection and delivery represents the process which the highest incidence in energy consumption occurred after the installation of the PLF technology. Thanks to the availability of milk with high coagulation properties, the dairy plant, produced traditional soft cheese avoiding the standardization of the formula, as a result, the energy uses decreased about 44%, while considering the whole chain, the emissions of carbon dioxide was reduced by 69%. In this study, the application of advance technologies in milking parlors modified not only the on-farm management but mainly the procedure carried out in cheese making plant. This aspect makes precision livestock farming implementation unimportant technology that may provide important benefits throughout the overall milk chain, avoiding about 2.65 MJ of primary energy every 100 kg of processed milk. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fluorescence and Reflectance Sensor Comparison in Winter Wheat
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 78; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090078 -
Abstract
Nitrogen (N) is the most important macronutrient in plant production. For N application, legislation requirements have raised, and the purchasing costs have increased. Modern sensors can help farmers to save costs, to apply the right quantity, and to reduce their impact on the
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Nitrogen (N) is the most important macronutrient in plant production. For N application, legislation requirements have raised, and the purchasing costs have increased. Modern sensors can help farmers to save costs, to apply the right quantity, and to reduce their impact on the environment. Two spectrometers and one fluorescence sensor have been used on a vehicle sensor platform for N detection in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) field trials over three years. The research fields were divided into plots, and the N input ranged from 60 to 180 kg N ha−1 in six levels. The OSAVI (optimized soil-adjusted vegetation index) showed a similar value pattern to the NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) and the CropSpec index for the investigated factors. The red-edge inflection point (REIP) index showed high correlations to N (indicated by r2 between 0.6 and 0.8), especially in June and July. The developed models from the fluorescence indices FERARI, NBIR, FLAV, and the spectrometer indices CropSpec and HVI show high correlations (r2 = 0.5–0.8) to yield and may be used for future yield predictions. The Multiplex Research™ fluorescence sensor (Force-A, Orsay, France) was the most convenient sensor with a simple measurement method and a non-proprietary file output. The implementation into existing agricultural vehicle networks is still necessary, being able to use it on a farm for online N recommendations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Near Infrared Spectrometry for Rapid Non-Invasive Modelling of Aspergillus-Contaminated Maturing Kernels of Maize (Zea mays L.)
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 77; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090077 -
Abstract
Aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus spp. produce carcinogenic metabolites that contaminate maize. Maize kernel absorbance patterns of near infrared (NIR) wavelengths (800–2600 nm) were used to non-invasively identify kernels of milk-, dough- and dent-stage maturities with four doses of Aspergillus sp. contamination. Near infrared spectrometry (NIRS)
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Aflatoxin-producing Aspergillus spp. produce carcinogenic metabolites that contaminate maize. Maize kernel absorbance patterns of near infrared (NIR) wavelengths (800–2600 nm) were used to non-invasively identify kernels of milk-, dough- and dent-stage maturities with four doses of Aspergillus sp. contamination. Near infrared spectrometry (NIRS) spectral data was pre-processed using first derivative Savitzky-Golay (1d-SG) transformation and multiplicative scatter correction on spectral data. Contaminated kernels had higher absorbance between 800–1134 nm, while uninoculated samples had higher absorbance above 1400 nm. Dose and maturity clusters seen in Principal Component Analysis (PCA) score plots were due to bond stretches of combination bands, CH and C=O functional groups within grain macromolecules. The regression model at 2198 nm separated uninoculated and inoculated kernels (p < 0.0001, R2 = 0.88, root mean square error = 0.15). Non-invasive identification of Aspergillus-contaminated maize kernels using NIR spectrometry was demonstrated in kernels of different maturities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Eco-Egalitarian Solution to the Capitalist Consumer Paradox: Integrating Short Food Chains and Public Market Systems
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 76; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090076 -
Abstract
Presently, alternative agri-food networks are in a renaissance, utilizing an economy of proximity to compete against transnational agri-business and food distributors. While this is positive ecologically and socioeconomically, the overreliance on market mechanisms in short food chains has led to class distinctions in
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Presently, alternative agri-food networks are in a renaissance, utilizing an economy of proximity to compete against transnational agri-business and food distributors. While this is positive ecologically and socioeconomically, the overreliance on market mechanisms in short food chains has led to class distinctions in food distribution and consumption. The result has been a capitalist consumer paradox exacerbating inequality in the alternative agri-food networks. To resolve this inequality, we focused on how public policy can leverage state investment in public markets to reduce or overcome the capitalist consumer paradox in short food chains. To clarify our argument, we began by examining the benefits of short food chains in the urban food system. Then, we explained how type of consumption and policy regime effect food access. After this, we utilized Mexico City and New York City’s public market systems as representative of an alternative policy regime and the effects of moving away from state-oriented development. We concluded by describing possible conflicts and complements to the integration of public markets into short urban food chains. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Low-Input Maize-Based Cropping Systems Implementing IWM Match Conventional Maize Monoculture Productivity and Weed Control
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 74; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090074 -
Abstract
Conventional Maize Monoculture (MM), a dominant Cropping System in South-Western France, is now questioned for environmental reasons (nitrate leaching, pesticide use and excessive irrigation). Three low-input Cropping Systems (CS) using diverse weeding strategies (MMLI, a Low-Input MM implementing ploughing, a combination
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Conventional Maize Monoculture (MM), a dominant Cropping System in South-Western France, is now questioned for environmental reasons (nitrate leaching, pesticide use and excessive irrigation). Three low-input Cropping Systems (CS) using diverse weeding strategies (MMLI, a Low-Input MM implementing ploughing, a combination of on-row spraying and in-between row cultivation and cover crops; MMCT, Conservation Tillage MM implementing chemical control and cover crops; Maize-MSW, maize managed similar to MMLI but rotated with soybean & wheat) were compared to a reference system (MMConv, a conventional MM with tillage and a high quantity of inputs). Potential of Infestation of weeds (PI), weed biomass and crop production of these CS were compared during the first five years after their establishment. Yields were also assessed in weed-free zones hand-weeded weekly in 2014 and 2015. Weed communities did not drastically differ among CS. PI and weed biomass were higher in MMCT, especially for Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P.Beauv. and were comparable between MMConv, MMLI and Maize-MSW. Analysis of covariance between CS and weed biomass did not reveal a significant interaction, suggesting that weed biomass affected yield similarly among the CS. Comparison between weedy and weed-free zones suggested that weeds present at maize maturity negatively affected yields to the same extent for all four CS, despite having different weed biomasses. Grain yields in MMConv (11.3 ± 1.1 t ha−1) and MMLI (10.6 ± 2.3 t ha−1) were similar and higher than in MMCT (8.2 ± 1.9 t ha−1. Similar yields, weed biomasses and PI suggest that MMLI and Maize-MSW are interesting alternatives to conventional MM in terms of weed control and maize productivity and should be transferred to farmers to test their feasibility under wider, farm-scale conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Cultivation Pattern to Increase Revenue and Reduce Water Use: Application of Linear Programming to Arjan Plain in Fars Province
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 73; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090073 -
Abstract
Because the available water resources of the Arjan plain region in Iran do not fully meet the watering requirements for plants in farmlands, the crops suffer from water stress, a situation that causes them to wilt. The aim of this study is to
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Because the available water resources of the Arjan plain region in Iran do not fully meet the watering requirements for plants in farmlands, the crops suffer from water stress, a situation that causes them to wilt. The aim of this study is to develop a water resources planning model that helps decision-makers determine an appropriate cultivation pattern, optimize the exploitation from surface water resources, and specify the method of allocating water across different farm crops to minimize the detrimental effects of water shortage. Through investigating various models of water resources planning and properties along with the governing conditions for each of these models, the linear programming model was selected as a suitable option due to its simplicity and practical applicability to water resource allocation planning. The model was run for a five-year period by considering gradual variations through the determination of the most appropriate exploitation pattern from the available water resources (surface and groundwater). Results reveal that the negative water balance can be improved gradually as positive, where it will reach +20 million m3 per year in 2040 from the current deficit of 236 million m3 with an 8% increased net profit. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Effect of High Pressure Processing on the Microbial Inactivation in Fruit Preparations and Other Vegetable Based Beverages
Agriculture 2017, 7(9), 72; doi:10.3390/agriculture7090072 -
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to review the effects of High Hydrostatic Pressure Processing (HPP) on the safety of different fruit derivatives (juices, nectars, jams, purees, pastes…), considering the types established in the European legislation and some other vegetable-based beverages (mainly juices
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The purpose of this study is to review the effects of High Hydrostatic Pressure Processing (HPP) on the safety of different fruit derivatives (juices, nectars, jams, purees, pastes…), considering the types established in the European legislation and some other vegetable-based beverages (mainly juices and smoothies). The main inactivation processes and mechanisms on microorganisms are reviewed. Studies have revealed that HPP treatment is capable of destroying most microorganisms, depending on the application conditions (amplitude of the pressure, duration time, temperature, and the mode of application), the properties of the fresh and processed fruit/vegetables (pH, nutrient composition, water activity, maturity stage), and the type of microorganisms or viruses. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Innovative Solution for Reducing the Run-Down Time of the Chipper Disc Using a Brake Clamp Device
Agriculture 2017, 7(8), 71; doi:10.3390/agriculture7080071 -
Abstract
Wood-chippers are widely used machines in the forestry, urban and agricultural sectors. The use of these machines implies various risks for workers, primarily the risk of contact with moving and cutting parts. These machine parts have a high moment of inertia that can
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Wood-chippers are widely used machines in the forestry, urban and agricultural sectors. The use of these machines implies various risks for workers, primarily the risk of contact with moving and cutting parts. These machine parts have a high moment of inertia that can lead to entrainment with the cutting components. This risk is particularly high in the case of manually fed chippers. Following cases of injury with wood-chippers and the improvement of the technical standard (ComitéEuropéen de Normalisation-European Norm) EN 13525: 2005 + A2: 2009, this technical note presents the prototype of an innovative system to reduce risks related to the involved moving parts, based on the “brake caliper” system and electromagnetic clutch for the declutching of the power take-off (PTO). The prototype has demonstrated its potential for reducing the run-down time of the chipper disc (95%) and for reducing the worker’s risk of entanglement and entrainment in the machine’s feed mouth. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
What Is the Role of Agro-Met Information Services in Farmer Decision-Making? Uptake and Decision-Making Context among Farmers within Three Case Study Villages in Maharashtra, India
Agriculture 2017, 7(8), 70; doi:10.3390/agriculture7080070 -
Abstract
Scientific studies of climate and meteorology focusing on India show significant increase in the variability and frequency of extreme precipitation events. The increased variability of weather patterns places a huge constraint on farmer’s ability to make strategic agricultural practice decisions. In response, public
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Scientific studies of climate and meteorology focusing on India show significant increase in the variability and frequency of extreme precipitation events. The increased variability of weather patterns places a huge constraint on farmer’s ability to make strategic agricultural practice decisions. In response, public and private agro-met information services disseminate agro-met information to farmers. Yet, studies still show that there are constraints related to access and understanding of the information. An agro-met information service is based on scientific input from meteorology coupled with agricultural information and this information package is disseminated to farmers. Based on a study in three villages in Maharashtra, India, we show that the relevance of agro-met information differs depending on the decision-making situation. Several factors play an important role in farmer’s agricultural decision-making. The usefulness of the agro-met information from farmer perspectives depends on the access, salience, and credibility of the information. Some subscribers complained about the credibility and the salience of services, while others painted a more positive picture of the service, arguing that there was value in receiving such information. The subscribers mainly valued agro-met information for the ability to undertake precautionary actions. We found that agricultural decision-making was discussed in different arenas; these arenas represented possibilities for farmers to contextualize agro-met information and thereby translate information to timely and appropriate actions suited to the specific local context. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Length of Operational Life and Its Impact on Life-Cycle Costs of a Tractor in Switzerland
Agriculture 2017, 7(8), 68; doi:10.3390/agriculture7080068 -
Abstract
Assuming full exhaustion of their estimated service life—also referred to as estimated technical working life—the low annual utilisation of agricultural machines in Switzerland leads to a long operational life. To determine the costs of an additional year’s service, we calculate the life-cycle costs
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Assuming full exhaustion of their estimated service life—also referred to as estimated technical working life—the low annual utilisation of agricultural machines in Switzerland leads to a long operational life. To determine the costs of an additional year’s service, we calculate the life-cycle costs (LCCs), which encompass all costs for an 82 kW four-wheel-drive tractor over its entire operational life. Assuming full utilisation of the estimated service life of 10,000 h, five operating versions are compared, each with an operational life of between 10 and 30 years and matched annual utilisations between 1000 h and 333 h. A key finding is that an additional year in service increases LCCs by 4.5% of the tractor’s purchase price. In addition, we carry out a sensitivity analysis by applying discount rates of between 0% and 4%, finding that a comparatively high discount rate of 3% leads to almost identical LCCs for all operating versions. We conclude that the annual utilisation and the resulting duration of operational life have a strong impact on LCCs. A short operational life associated with high annual utilisation is a promising strategy for substantially cutting machinery costs. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Adoption of Web-Based Spatial Tools by Agricultural Producers: Conversations with Seven Northeastern Ontario Farmers Using the GeoVisage Decision Support System
Agriculture 2017, 7(8), 69; doi:10.3390/agriculture7080069 -
Abstract
This paper reports on the findings of a multi-site qualitative case study research project designed to document the utility and perceived usefulness of weather station and imagery data associated with the online resource GeoVisage among northeastern Ontario farmers. Interviews were conducted onsite at
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This paper reports on the findings of a multi-site qualitative case study research project designed to document the utility and perceived usefulness of weather station and imagery data associated with the online resource GeoVisage among northeastern Ontario farmers. Interviews were conducted onsite at five participating farms (three dairy, one cash crop, and one public access fruit/vegetable) in 2014–2016, and these conversations were transcribed and returned to participants for member checking. Interview data was then entered into Atlas.ti software for the purpose of qualitative thematic analysis. Fifteen codes emerged from the data and findings center around three overarching themes: common uses of weather station data (e.g., air/soil temperature, rainfall); the use of GeoVisage Imagery data/tools (e.g., acreage calculations, remotely sensed imagery); and future recommendations for the online resource (e.g., communication, secure crop imagery, mobile access). Overall, weather station data and tools freely accessible through the GeoVisage site were viewed as representing a timely, positive, and important addition to contemporary agricultural decision-making in northeastern Ontario farming. Full article
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