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Agriculture, Volume 10, Issue 3 (March 2020) – 39 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The requirements of animal welfare in German pig farming have increased rapidly during the last few years. One possibility to improve the welfare of conventionally kept pigs might be to provide a solid lying area. The greatest challenge after integrating a solid lying area is to ensure that it is used for lying and not for elimination. To reduce the fouling of the lying area, it is important to direct the division of the functional areas by the pigs. Among other influences, it is known that pigs prefer dim areas for resting or lying. Therefore, an increased light intensity above the slatted area, a designated elimination area, helps to separate the solid lying area from the elimination area. The aim of this measure was to make the elimination area less attractive for lying through an increased light intensity. View this paper
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Article
Wireless Sensor Network Synchronization for Precision Agriculture Applications
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030089 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1771
Abstract
The advent of Internet of Things has propelled the agricultural domain through the integration of sensory devices, capable of monitoring and wirelessly propagating information to producers; thus, they employ Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). These WSNs allow real time monitoring, enabling intelligent decision-making to [...] Read more.
The advent of Internet of Things has propelled the agricultural domain through the integration of sensory devices, capable of monitoring and wirelessly propagating information to producers; thus, they employ Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs). These WSNs allow real time monitoring, enabling intelligent decision-making to maximize yields and minimize cost. Designing and deploying a WSN is a challenging and multivariate task, dependent on the considered environment. For example, a need for network synchronization arises in such networks to correlate acquired measurements. This work focuses on the design and installation of a WSN that is capable of facilitating the sensing aspects of smart and precision agriculture applications. A system is designed and implemented to address specific design requirements that are brought about by the considered environment. A simple synchronization scheme is described to provide time-correlated measurements using the sink node’s clock as reference. The proposed system was installed on an olive grove to assess its effectiveness in providing a low-cost system, capable of acquiring synchronized measurements. The obtained results indicate the system’s overall effectiveness, revealing a small but expected difference in the acquired measurements’ time correlation, caused mostly by serial transmission delays, while yielding a plethora of relevant environmental conditions. Full article
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Article
Land Equivalent Ratio in the Intercropping of Cucumber with Lettuce as a Function of Cucumber Population Density
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030088 - 23 Mar 2020
Viewed by 1578
Abstract
Lettuce and cucumber are two important vegetables cultivated in greenhouses. Intercropping can increase the yield without increasing the demands for inputs. A more efficient use of resources in production systems can reduce costs and environmental impacts. We evaluated the land equivalent ratio (LER) [...] Read more.
Lettuce and cucumber are two important vegetables cultivated in greenhouses. Intercropping can increase the yield without increasing the demands for inputs. A more efficient use of resources in production systems can reduce costs and environmental impacts. We evaluated the land equivalent ratio (LER) of intercropping cucumber and lettuce as a function of the cucumber population. An experiment was conducted in a greenhouse to evaluate the cucumber population density (100, 85, 70, and 55% of 2.35 plants m−2) and two lettuce cultivars, ‘Lucy Brown’ and ‘Vanda’. The cucumber population density affected the amount of photosynthetically active radiation that reached the lettuce. The higher the density, the lower the total fresh mass and yield of the two lettuce cultivars. Fruit yield per plant and per area decreased and increased, respectively, as the density increased. LER was highest when cucumber was intercropped with ‘Vanda’ lettuce. LER increased with the density of ‘Vanda’ but decreased for ‘Lucy Brown’. ‘Lucy Brown’ produced commercial traits (head formation) only at the lowest density (55%). The presence of lettuce did not affect the cucumber yield per plant or per area. The intercropped system used land more efficiently than monocultured crops of lettuce and cucumber, with better results for ‘Vanda’ than ‘Lucy Brown’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Article
Reducing Phosphorus Fertilizer Input in High Phosphorus Soils for Sustainable Agriculture in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030087 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
High rates of phosphorus (P) currently being applied to soils for the production of vegetables in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, has led to concern regarding negative effects on the economy and the environment. This research presents a comprehensive study on the determination of [...] Read more.
High rates of phosphorus (P) currently being applied to soils for the production of vegetables in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, has led to concern regarding negative effects on the economy and the environment. This research presents a comprehensive study on the determination of P supplying capacity in this region of Vietnam to examine the possibility of reducing P fertilizer input. In total, 120 soil samples were collected to evaluate total P and Bray 1 available P in the soils. Phosphorus maximum sorption, degree of P saturation, P release, and the effect of P fertilizer on corn (Zea mays L.) yield in greenhouses and fields were also determined. Total P concentrations in 57% of the soil samples evaluated yielded high P concentrations (>560 mg P/kg), while 74% of the samples had high Bray 1 available P concentrations (>20 mg P/kg soil). Maximum P sorption ranged from 149 to 555 mg P/kg soil, respectively, and had negative correlation with available P (r = −0.63*). The percentages of P saturation ranged from 0.63% to 5.5% and correlated with available P (r = 0.98**). Maximum P release ranged from 1.2 to 62 mg P/kg soil, respectively, and correlated with available P (r = 0.96**). Corn grown in soils with available P concentrations >15 mg P/kg did not respond to P fertilizer in greenhouse or field experiments. We conclude that many farmers in this region can reduce P fertilizer input, thus increasing their profits and reducing negative environmental impacts associated with excess soil P for sustainable agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Sodium Hypochlorite Treatment: The Impact on Bacteria and Endotoxin Concentrations in Drinking Water Pipes of A Pig Nursery
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030086 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
Poor drinking water quality can affect pigs’ health and performance. The disinfection of water may enhance microbial water quality. In this study, bacteria and endotoxins in sodium hypochlorite-treated and -untreated water from one pig nursery were analyzed. Water samples were taken from incoming [...] Read more.
Poor drinking water quality can affect pigs’ health and performance. The disinfection of water may enhance microbial water quality. In this study, bacteria and endotoxins in sodium hypochlorite-treated and -untreated water from one pig nursery were analyzed. Water samples were taken from incoming water and from compartments with treated and untreated water at the beginning and end of pipes and from nipples. The farm was visited 14 times to measure total bacteria counts and concentrations of Pseudomonas spp. and endotoxins. Additionally, the occurrence of coliform bacteria was analyzed. A mixed model analysis revealed significant reductions in total bacteria counts and Pseudomonas spp. in treated water at the beginning of pipes and at nipple drinkers. The differences between bacteria concentrations at the end of pipes had no clear trend. Endotoxin concentrations were approximately equal at the beginning of pipes and at nipple drinkers but were found to have differences at the end of pipes. The occurrence of coliform bacteria was significantly reduced in treated water. The application of sodium hypochlorite can significantly reduce bacteria in water pipes. Endotoxin concentrations were mostly unaffected by water treatment. Disinfection of the dead-end pipe sections failed, and thus these parts should be regarded as potential contamination sources. Full article
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Article
The Effectiveness of the Application of a Chemical Agent (Dressing) to Seed Potatoes by Means of an Innovative Valve Enabling Intermittent Flow of a Liquid
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030085 - 19 Mar 2020
Viewed by 793
Abstract
The protection of potatoes from pests and diseases, especially at an early stage of their development, is an indispensable element of cultivation. Pesticides are most commonly used for protection, but their high doses may adversely affect the natural environment, including soil and water. [...] Read more.
The protection of potatoes from pests and diseases, especially at an early stage of their development, is an indispensable element of cultivation. Pesticides are most commonly used for protection, but their high doses may adversely affect the natural environment, including soil and water. This study compares the losses of a chemical agent emitted during the dressing of seed potatoes by means of an innovative valve enabling intermittent outflow of the liquid and by means of a standard valve with a continuous outflow. The research proved that the intermittent outflow of the working liquid decreased the amount of the chemical agent emitted into the environment ten times. The article also describes the site at which the innovative valve was tested and compares the results of laboratory tests for three distances of the sprayer from the potato fall path (50, 100, 150 mm) and four different pressures of the working liquid (1–4 kPa). The research showed that the amount of losses, i.e., emissions of the chemical agent into the environment from the innovative valve (intermittent stream of the working liquid) depended on the difference in the air and liquid pressure. The solution is environmentally friendly. The results showed that the distance between the sprayer valve and the seed potato falling path had minimal influence on the amount of the agent left on the surface of seed potatoes when a continuous stream was applied, but it had considerable influence when an intermittent stream was applied. The distance had negative effect on the ratio of retention of the applied liquid at pressures of 100 and 200 kPa, but it had positive effect at pressures of 300 and 400 kPa (at an intermittent flow). When a continuous stream was applied and the distance between the spray valve and the seed potato falling path increased from 100 to 150 mm, it had positive effect on the retention coefficient for all the four pressures tested (100, 200, 300, 400 kPa). Full article
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Article
Effects of Drip Irrigation with Plastic on Photosynthetic Characteristics and Biomass Distribution of Muskmelon
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030084 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1111
Abstract
An experiment was conducted in China to develop guidelines for the mulching drip irrigation of commercial muskmelon crops. Three sets of factors were laid out in rows to give a three × three factorial design. First, plastic covers were placed over the entire [...] Read more.
An experiment was conducted in China to develop guidelines for the mulching drip irrigation of commercial muskmelon crops. Three sets of factors were laid out in rows to give a three × three factorial design. First, plastic covers were placed over the entire growing area (rows and inter-rows, or full), over the rows (half), or no plastic applied (none). Second, there was one irrigation pipe per row (T1), three pipes for four rows (T3/4), or one pipe for two rows (T1/2). Finally, the plants were irrigated when the soil water content fell to 60%, 70%, or 80% of field water capacity (FC). Information was collected on net CO2 assimilation (Pn), plant growth, and yield. Overall, maximum Pn occurred with half plastic covering, one irrigation pipe for two rows, and irrigation at 80% FC. Plant fresh weight was higher with half plastic covering, one irrigation pipe per row, and irrigation at 70% or 80% FC. Yield was higher with half plastic covering, and irrigation at 70% or 80% FC. There were only small differences in the yield across numbers of irrigation pipes. These results suggest that overall productivity was better with plastic covers over the rows and irrigation at 70% or 80% FC. Differences in productivity with different numbers of irrigation lines per row were small. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
Seed Dressing Maize with Imazapyr to Control Striga hermonthica in Farmers’ Fields in the Savannas of Nigeria
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030083 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 721
Abstract
Use of small doses of imazapyr and pyrithiobac for seed coatings of imazapyr-resistant maize hybrids (IR-Maize) offers an effective means to control Striga hermonthica. Field trials were conducted in Bauchi and Kano States of Nigeria in 2014 and 2015 under heavy Striga [...] Read more.
Use of small doses of imazapyr and pyrithiobac for seed coatings of imazapyr-resistant maize hybrids (IR-Maize) offers an effective means to control Striga hermonthica. Field trials were conducted in Bauchi and Kano States of Nigeria in 2014 and 2015 under heavy Striga infestation to evaluate the potential effectiveness of herbicide coated hybrids maize on Striga control in farmers’ field. Results showed that herbicide coated seeds reduced number of emerged Striga per m2 and Striga damage symptoms in farmers’ fields in all the locations. In Kano the number of emerged Striga was 4.9 to 7.9 times less in herbicide treated hybrids in comparison with those of the same hybrids planted without herbicide treatment. The Striga-resistant open pollinated variety (OPV) (TZL COMP1 SYN) had 6.7 to 8.0 times more Striga than the treated hybrids. In Bauchi, the number of emerged Striga on the untreated IR-maize hybrids were over four-times higher on the treated IR-maize hybrids than on the untreated hybrids. The Striga-resistant OPV check had four-times more Striga than the treated IR-maize hybrids and twice more than the untreated IR-maize hybrids across the two years. However, the effects of herbicide seed coating on grain yields were not consistent because of strong seasonal effects. The result revealed that coating of imazapyr-resistant hybrid maize seeds with imazapyr was effective in reducing Striga infestation in farmers’ fields. Although herbicide seed coating did not give consistent yield advantages of the hybrids over the untreated checks, a combination of herbicide seed treatment and genetic resistance to Striga would serve as an effective integrated approach that could significantly reduce the parasite seed bank from the soil and prevent production of new seeds. The IR-hybrids and the OPV checks contained Striga resistance/tolerant genes that protected them against drastic yield loss in the Striga infested fields in both Bauchi and Kano. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
Influence of Harvest Stage and Rootstock Genotype on Compositional and Sensory Profile of the Elongated Tomato cv. “Sir Elyan”
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030082 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1053
Abstract
The present experiment addressed the effects of two harvest stages, namely breaker (S1) and turning (S2), on compositional and sensory profile of grafted, greenhouse elongated tomatoes cv. “Sir Elyan”. The rootstocks “He-Man”, “Interpro”, and “Armstrong” were used. The S [...] Read more.
The present experiment addressed the effects of two harvest stages, namely breaker (S1) and turning (S2), on compositional and sensory profile of grafted, greenhouse elongated tomatoes cv. “Sir Elyan”. The rootstocks “He-Man”, “Interpro”, and “Armstrong” were used. The S1 fruits showed a higher dry matter content, firmness and titratable acidity when compared to the S2 ones (by 6%, 3%, and 15%, respectively). They showed, also, the highest L-ascorbic acid concentration and antioxidant activity. Differently, soluble solid content, lycopene and β-carotene increased in the S2 fruits (by 4%, 92%, and 26%, respectively). Excepting methyl salicylate, all the volatiles detected peaked in the S2 fruits, which were scored by panelists as sweeter and more flavorful than the S1 ones. Among the rootstock genotypes, “He-Man” promoted fruits firmness, carotenoids concentration and antioxidant activity, irrespective of the harvest stage. “Interpro” enhanced the sensory attributes of the S1 fruits in terms of bitterness, sourness, sweetness and flavor. Differently, sweetness, sourness, and tomato flavor of the S2 fruits were promoted by “Armstrong”. The results highlight the influence of rootstock genotype on the nutraceutical and sensorial profile of “Sir Elyan” fruits harvested at early ripening stages. Full article
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Article
Energy and Economic Efficiency of Maize Agroecosystem under Three Management Strategies in the Frailesca, Chiapas (Mexico)
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030081 - 15 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
Analysis of energy flows and economic dynamics allows the diversity of variables involved in the agroecosystem production to be observed in the same dimension. In this way, efficiency and performance can be analysed integrally to identify critical points to be improved. The objective [...] Read more.
Analysis of energy flows and economic dynamics allows the diversity of variables involved in the agroecosystem production to be observed in the same dimension. In this way, efficiency and performance can be analysed integrally to identify critical points to be improved. The objective of this study was to analyse the energy-economic efficiency within three management strategies (Management I, Management II and Management III) of the maize agroecosystem in the Frailesca region of Chiapas (Mexico). The hypothesis was that systemic typologies, defined by modes of production, can lead to different efficiencies for the system performance. The study was descriptive; case studies were selected as representative based on their technological variants. The efficiency analysis was conducted using a balance of inputs and outputs expressed in energy and economic terms. Management III resulted in better energy use efficiency, with 6.47, while Management I and Management II were more economically feasible, with a benefit/cost ratio of 1.56 pesos. Full article
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Article
The Effects of Preharvest 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) Treatment on the Fruit Quality Parameters of Cold-Stored ‘Szampion’ Cultivar Apples
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030080 - 15 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1271
Abstract
Postharvest treatment by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) for ‘Szampion’ cultivar apples inhibits ripening of climacteric fruit by blocking ethylene receptors, preventing ethylene from binding and eliciting its action. It is also possible to apply 1-MCP preharvest, which so far has not been studied for the [...] Read more.
Postharvest treatment by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) for ‘Szampion’ cultivar apples inhibits ripening of climacteric fruit by blocking ethylene receptors, preventing ethylene from binding and eliciting its action. It is also possible to apply 1-MCP preharvest, which so far has not been studied for the ‘Szampion’ cultivar. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of preharvest 1-MCP treatment on the fruit quality parameters of cold-stored ‘Szampion’ cultivar apples in a Polish experiment. Two identical groups of apple trees (6 years, experimental orchard in Warsaw) were included, to obtain studied apples (preharvest 1-MCP treatment with HarvistaTM, 150 g/ha, 7 days before the optimum harvesting window, OHW) and control apples (1-MCP not applied). Apples for the studied group were harvested twice—on 28 September (OHW) and 24 October (delayed harvesting)—and for control group once—on 28 September, as before 24 October the majority of apples fell from trees. Afterwards, apples were stored in an Ultra Low Oxygen chamber (1.2% CO2, 1.2% O2). Apples were assessed in the preharvest period (weekly, six measurements for the studied group, and five measurements for the control group) and postharvest period (monthly, three measurements separately for each harvest time for the studied group and control group). The following parameters were assessed: internal ethylene content (IEC), firmness, total soluble solids (TSS) content, starch index, Streif index, titratable acidity (TA), and color for blush. For the preharvest period, statistically significant differences between the studied group and the control group were observed for IEC, the a* coordinate of color (p < 0.05; for apples treated with 1-MCP lower results), firmness, Streif index, TA (p < 0.05; higher results), and starch index (p < 0.05; no defined trend). For the postharvest period, statistically significant differences between the studied group and the control group were observed for apples harvested in the OHW for firmness (p < 0.05; for apples treated with 1-MCP higher results) and IEC (p < 0.05; no defined trend), while for delayed harvesting the differences were only minor. It may be concluded, that preharvest 1-MCP application makes it possible not only to obtain better results for ‘Szampion’ cultivar apples’ quality parameters, but also allows delayed harvesting without deterioration in quality. Full article
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Review
The Effect of Pesticides on the Microbiome of Animals
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030079 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2289
Abstract
In recent decades an increase in the use of pesticides to protect plants from pests, diseases and weeds has been observed. There are many studies on the effects of various pesticides on non-target organisms. This review aims to analyze and summarize published scientific [...] Read more.
In recent decades an increase in the use of pesticides to protect plants from pests, diseases and weeds has been observed. There are many studies on the effects of various pesticides on non-target organisms. This review aims to analyze and summarize published scientific data on the effects of pesticides on the animal microbiome. Pesticides can affect various parameters of the animal microbiome, such as the taxonomic composition of bacteria, bacterial biodiversity, and bacterial ratios and modify the microbiome of various organisms from insects to mammals. Pesticide induced changes in the microbiome reducing the animal’s immunity. The negative effects of pesticides could pose a global problem for pollinators. Another possible negative effect of pesticides is the impact of pesticides on the intestinal microbiota of bumblebees and bees that increase the body’s sensitivity to pathogenic microflora, which leads to the death of insects. In addition, pesticides can affect vitality, mating success and characteristics of offspring. The review considers methods for correcting of bee microbiome. Full article
Article
Agricultural Management Practices and Factors Affecting Technical Efficiency in Zimbabwe Maize Farming
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030078 - 14 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 962
Abstract
Integrating best management practices and improving the technical efficiency of smallholder maize farmers is critical in raising overall agricultural output. However, there is not much information, besides marginalization and high rehabilitation and maintenance costs, which adequately explains why productivity of smallholder irrigation farmers [...] Read more.
Integrating best management practices and improving the technical efficiency of smallholder maize farmers is critical in raising overall agricultural output. However, there is not much information, besides marginalization and high rehabilitation and maintenance costs, which adequately explains why productivity of smallholder irrigation farmers drop at very high rates. Therefore, this study measured technical efficiency, identified factors affecting technical efficiency, and identified best management practices adopted by smallholder maize irrigation farmers at Tokwane-Ngundu (Zimbabwe). The Data Envelopment Analysis, Double Bootstrap Approach in a Principal Component Regression was used. Primary data were gathered using a questionnaire. Empirical results revealed that the mean technical efficiency of the respondents was 77%, which indicated a potential for them to increase their efficiency by 30%. The factors that increased technical efficiency included human capital, extension contacts and compliance with best management practices. The policy implication of this study is the need for robust group incentive schemes to promote farmer-to-farmer skills transfer to boost the technical efficiency of smallholder maize irrigation farmers in Zimbabwe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Systems and Management)
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Article
Genetic Diversity Patterns and Discrimination of 172 Korean Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merrill) Varieties Based on SSR Analysis
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030077 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 940
Abstract
The soybean development goal in Korea has changed over time, but the pattern of genetic diversity in modern varieties has not yet been well characterized. In this study, 20 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are shown to generate a total of 344 alleles, [...] Read more.
The soybean development goal in Korea has changed over time, but the pattern of genetic diversity in modern varieties has not yet been well characterized. In this study, 20 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are shown to generate a total of 344 alleles, where the number of alleles ranges from 7 to 29, with an average of 17.2 per locus, and the polymorphism informative content (PIC) values range from 0.6799 to 0.9318, with an average of 0.8675. Five different clusters are classified using the unweighted pair group mean arithmetic (UPGMA) method. The genetic distance between clusters I and V (0.3382) is the farthest, and that between clusters III and IV (0.0819) is the closest. The genetic distance between all pairings of groups, according to the time period of their release, is lowest (0.1909) between varieties developed in the 1990s and those from 2000 onward, and highest (0.5731) between varieties developed in the 1980s and those from 2000 onward. Model-based structure analysis revealed the presence of three sub-populations and 17 admixtures in the Korean soybean varieties. All 172 Korean soybean varieties were tested for discrimination using six SSR markers. The numbers of varieties that were clustered in each step are as follows: 7 (4.1%) in step 1 (Sat_076), 73 (42.4%) in step 2 (Sat_417), 69 (40.1%) in step 3 (Sat_043), 13 (7.6%) in step 4 (Satt197), 8 (4.6%) in step 5 (Satt434), and 2 (1.2%) in step 6 (Satt179). These results, based on the analysis of genetic resources, can contribute to the creation of a core collection for soybean conservation and breeding, as well as to the development of future varieties with useful traits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Breeding of Soybean)
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Article
A Decision Support Method for Choosing an Agricultural Machinery Service Workshop Based on Fuzzy Logic
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030076 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1017
Abstract
The quality of technical services is one of the main criteria for assessing the service processes of agricultural machinery, and it has a significant impact on the decision-making process when choosing a service provider. Technical service quality has a significant role in maintaining [...] Read more.
The quality of technical services is one of the main criteria for assessing the service processes of agricultural machinery, and it has a significant impact on the decision-making process when choosing a service provider. Technical service quality has a significant role in maintaining agricultural machinery in optimal technical condition, thus ensuring its high reliability and durability. The purpose of this study is to present a decision support method for choosing the right agricultural machinery service facility. The method is based on fuzzy inference. The choice of service workshop is based on decision criteria individually accepted by farmers (experts). The method was checked by way of research carried out among 25 farmers facing the choice of a service facility. The decision-making process allows for ranking the decision criteria and decision-makers. The results of the presented research can be used by farm owners and service companies to plan their development directions. Full article
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Article
Influence of Species Composition and Management on Biomass Production in Missouri
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030075 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
Perennial biofuel crops help to reduce both dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions while utilizing nutrients more efficiently compared to annual crops. In addition, perennial crops grown for biofuels have the potential to produce high biomass yields, are capable of increased [...] Read more.
Perennial biofuel crops help to reduce both dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions while utilizing nutrients more efficiently compared to annual crops. In addition, perennial crops grown for biofuels have the potential to produce high biomass yields, are capable of increased carbon sequestration, and are beneficial for reducing soil erosion. Various monocultures and mixtures of perennial grasses and forbs can be established to achieve these benefits. The objective of this study was to quantify the effects of feedstock mixture and cutting height on yields. The base feedstock treatments included a monoculture of switchgrass (SG) and a switchgrass:big bluestem 1:1 mixture (SGBBS). Other treatments included mixtures of the base feedstock with ratios of base to native forbs plus legumes of 100:0, 80:20, 60:40, and 20:80. The study was established in 2008. Biomass crops typically require 2 to 3 years to produce a uniform stand. Therefore, harvest data were collected from July 2010 to July 2013. Three harvest times were selected to represent (1) biomass for biofuel (March), (2) forage (July), and (3) forage and biomass (October). Annual mean yields varied between 4.97 Mg ha−1 in 2010 to 5.56 Mg ha−1 in 2011. However, the lowest yield of 2.82 Mg ha−1 in March and the highest yield of 7.18 Mg ha−1 in July were harvested in 2013. The mean yield was 5.21 Mg ha−1 during the 4 year study. The effect of species mixture was not significant on yield. The cutting height was significant (p < 0.001), with greater yield for the 15 cm compared to the 30 cm cutting height. Yield differences were larger between harvest times during the early phase of the study. Yield difference within a harvest time was not significant for 3 of the 10 harvests. Future studies should examine changes in biomass production for mixture composition with time for selection of optimal regional specific species mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Diversification)
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Article
New Evaluation of Small Farms: Implication for an Analysis of Food Security
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030074 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 886
Abstract
Farm structure is a multi-dimensional concept that can be measured through different criteria. Meanwhile, farm structure has been identified to discern small farms or well-endowed farms from the other farms. Distinguishing and identifying these two groups have practical implications for understanding the dynamics [...] Read more.
Farm structure is a multi-dimensional concept that can be measured through different criteria. Meanwhile, farm structure has been identified to discern small farms or well-endowed farms from the other farms. Distinguishing and identifying these two groups have practical implications for understanding the dynamics in rural areas and the effectiveness of target measures in these categories. The existing literature lacks a better definition of small farms based on the different criteria used. In this paper, we have developed composite indicators to apply to the concept of farm structure to re-define small farms and discover their role in achieving food security in Europe. By clustering countries using the composite indicator of farm structure, we estimate that more than 80 percent of food across Europe is produced by multi-criteria small and medium farms, but the partial productivities of agricultural land and labor in these countries that have the majority of multi-criteria small and medium farms are much lower than the large ones. Then, an estimate of a spatial econometric regression model was done to recognize how farm structure, a representative of farm size, can affect food availability, which is representative of food security. The results show that improving the structure of farms in a country not only improves its food security but also improves its neighbors’ food security. Hence, improving the structure of multi-criteria small farms is a major part of the solution to improve and achieve food security. Recognizing and understanding the diversity of multi-criteria small farms by considering the specific products and countries is necessary for designing appropriate innovations and policies for supporting more productive multi-criteria small farms. Full article
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Article
Effects of Temperatures and Viscosity of the Hydraulic Oils on the Proportional Valve for a Rice Transplanter Based on PID Control Algorithm
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030073 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1140
Abstract
This study was conducted to develop a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control algorithm considering viscosity for the planting depth control system of a rice transplanter using various hydraulic oils at different temperatures and to evaluate the performance of the control algorithm, and compare the performance [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to develop a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control algorithm considering viscosity for the planting depth control system of a rice transplanter using various hydraulic oils at different temperatures and to evaluate the performance of the control algorithm, and compare the performance of the PID control algorithm without considering viscosity and considering viscosity. In this study, the simulation model of the planting depth control system and a PID control algorithm were developed based on the power flow of the rice transplanter (ERP60DS). The primary PID coefficients were determined using the Ziegler-Nichols (Z-N) second method. Routh’s stability criteria were applied to optimize the coefficients. The pole and double zero points of the PID controller were also applied to minimize the sustained oscillations of the responses. The performance of the PID control algorithm was evaluated for three ISO (The International Organization for Standardization) standard viscosity grade (VG) hydraulic oils (VG 32, 46, and 68). The response characteristics were analyzed using statistical method (ANOVA) and Duncan’s multiple range test (DMRT) at a significant level of 0.05 were performed through the statistical software SPSS. The results show that the control algorithm considering viscosity is able to control the pressure of the proportional valve, which is associated with the actuator displacement for various types of hydraulic oils. It was noticed that the maximum pressure was 15.405 bars at 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 °C for all of the hydraulic oils. The settling time and steady-state errors were 0.45 s at 100 °C for VG 32 and 0% for all of the conditions. The maximum overshoots were found to be 17.50% at 100 °C for VG 32. On the other hand, the PID control algorithm without considering viscosity could not control the planting depth, because the response was slow and did not satisfy the boundary conditions. The PID control algorithm considering viscosity could sufficiently compensate for the nonlinearity of the hydraulic system and was able to perform for any of temperature-dependent viscosity of the hydraulic oils. In addition, the rice transplanter requires a faster response for accurately controlling and maintaining the planting depth. Planting depth is highly associated with actuator displacement. Finally, this control algorithm considering viscosity could be helpful in minimizing the tilting of the seedlings planted using the rice transplanter. Ultimately, it would improve the transplanter performance. Full article
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Article
Secondary Metabolites Produced by Macrophomina phaseolina Isolated from Eucalyptus globulus
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030072 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1623
Abstract
In the course of investigations on the role of secondary metabolites in plant-microbe interactions, the production of secondary metabolites by Macrophomina phaseolina isolates from Eucalyptus globulus, was studied. This fungus is responsible for several plant diseases which affect crop productivity and industry. [...] Read more.
In the course of investigations on the role of secondary metabolites in plant-microbe interactions, the production of secondary metabolites by Macrophomina phaseolina isolates from Eucalyptus globulus, was studied. This fungus is responsible for several plant diseases which affect crop productivity and industry. Although secondary metabolites may play a role in disease development, there are very few reports on M. phaseolina metabolomics and, as far as we know, isolates from eucalypts have not been investigated for secondary metabolites production. In the present paper, metabolites typical of fungi, from the family Botryosphaeriaceae, were identified for the first time as products of M. phaseolina. Furthermore, the isolate under examination was grown in the presence and absence of host stem tissue, and metabolite profiles were compared. Five products are reported for the first time in this species and azelaic acid was exclusively produced in the presence of eucalypt stem. Finally, phytotoxicity and cytotoxicity tests of culture filtrates and crude organic extracts were also performed. Key Contribution: Lipophilic metabolites produced by M. phaseolina might play a role in the plant-fungus interactions responsible for serious diseases of E. globulus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Secondary Metabolites in Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Article
Application of Elemental Analysis via Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (ED-XRF) for the Authentication of Maltese Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030071 - 10 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1402
Abstract
Elemental analysis using energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence on extra virgin olive oils and seed oils revealed the presence of two major concentration related clusters, one containing elements of pedological origin, whilst the other consisted of heavy metals. Seed oils were found to contain a [...] Read more.
Elemental analysis using energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence on extra virgin olive oils and seed oils revealed the presence of two major concentration related clusters, one containing elements of pedological origin, whilst the other consisted of heavy metals. Seed oils were found to contain a higher concentration of titanium when compared to extra virgin olive oils, whilst extra virgin olive oils derived from the Maltese Islands had a significantly higher concentration of barium and phosphorus on using the Kruskal–Wallis one-way ANOVA (p-value < 0.05 for both elements). Application of stepwise linear canonical discriminate analysis proved to be highly superior to PCA, as it was able to distinguish between seed oils from extra virgin olive oils and distinguish between foreign and locally produced extra virgin olive oils. Full article
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Article
Environmental Stability of Elevated α-Linolenic Acid Derived from a Wild Soybean in Three Asian Countries
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030070 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1069
Abstract
Soybean has been consumed in Asia traditionally as a staple food. Soybean can be a source of essential fatty acids—linoleic (18:2, ω-6) and α-linolenic acid (18:3, ω-3)—for humans. Intake of fatty acids with high ω-3 concentration or low ω-6/ω-3 ratios is more desirable [...] Read more.
Soybean has been consumed in Asia traditionally as a staple food. Soybean can be a source of essential fatty acids—linoleic (18:2, ω-6) and α-linolenic acid (18:3, ω-3)—for humans. Intake of fatty acids with high ω-3 concentration or low ω-6/ω-3 ratios is more desirable for human health. However, in soybean, the unsaturated fatty acids are less stable than the saturated fatty acids in different environments. The objective of the present study is to expand the understanding of the environmental stability of elevated α-linolenic acid of soybean genotypes with alleles from wild soybean grown in three Asian countries. The results highlighted an environmental effect on the accumulation of 18:3, following the growth of soybean genotypes with elevated α-linolenic acid in eight environments. Particularly, temperature influenced the accumulation of 18:3 concentration. The soybean genotype, UT-385-4-4, produced the highest 18:3 concentration and is more stable than all the other soybean genotypes, excluding PT-100-3. UT-385-4-4 is a potential genetic resource to develop novel cultivars with high 18:3 concentration, which could be dietary sources of plant-derived ω-3 fatty acids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Breeding of Soybean)
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Article
Food-Based Composts Provide More Soil Fertility Benefits Than Cow Manure-Based Composts in Sandy Soils
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030069 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1088
Abstract
Nutrient concentration and availability vary substantially among composts depending on the materials used and the production process. Composts produced from agricultural operations typically utilize animal wastes such as manures, whereas composts produced in urban areas mainly incorporate food and yard waste. Our objective [...] Read more.
Nutrient concentration and availability vary substantially among composts depending on the materials used and the production process. Composts produced from agricultural operations typically utilize animal wastes such as manures, whereas composts produced in urban areas mainly incorporate food and yard waste. Our objective was to assess how different composts affect nutrient availability and cycling, mostly carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). In a laboratory incubation, we compared three composts derived from cow manure (composted dairy manure solids, vermicompost made from those manure solids, and Black KowTM) and two composts derived from food waste (composted food waste from the UF-IFAS Compost Cooperative and EcoscrapsTM). We used two sandy soils from Gainesville, FL: one from an area under perennial grasses and a second heavily-tilled soil lower in organic matter. Incubations were conducted for eight weeks at 24 and 30 °C, i.e., the annual and July mean soil temperature for the area. The composted and vermicomposted cow manure solids had the greatest CO2 emissions relative to the unamended soils. Soil nitrate was highest with composted food waste, whereas all three cow manure-derived composts resulted in lower soil nitrate compared to the unamended soils. This suggests that N was immobilized with cow manure-derived composts, consistent with the high CO2 emissions measured with these amendments. We found similar results for both soils. Our results indicate a greater potential for food-waste compost as a nutrient source than compost derived primarily from cow manure solids, which could be more beneficial to building soil C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Missions of Russian Cheese Producers: Principal Components and Relevance for Rural Communities
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030068 - 07 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 903
Abstract
Russia is one of the largest cheese producers in the world, which requires the well-balanced strategic management of all organizations involved. The content of ten mission statements of Russian cheese producers is analyzed by means of identification of the principal components according to [...] Read more.
Russia is one of the largest cheese producers in the world, which requires the well-balanced strategic management of all organizations involved. The content of ten mission statements of Russian cheese producers is analyzed by means of identification of the principal components according to the ’standard’ Pearce–David scheme. The analysis shows that the statements tend to deal with a variety of aspects, include, on average, 3.5 components; the most common components are philosophy (higher tasks of business) and product. These strategic declarations should be judged as modern and reflecting the strength of the Russian food industry and agriculture. Although it might be expected that the mission statements of Russian cheese producers should refer to rural communities, particularly since some of the enterprises are located in nationally important areas of milk agriculture, this expectation is only partly correct. The statements often deal with environmental issues, but ignore local social aspects. Cheese production opens perspectives for joint eco- and rural tourism development, which requires that cheese be considered as a kind of heritage. This is not the case in the mission statements under study, however, even though ideas about heritage value are implicitly present. The outcomes of the present study may have practical implications for Russian cheese producers, and emphasize the need for strategic management studies concerning cheese-producing organizations. Full article
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Article
Growth, Development and Ornamental Value of Miscanthus sinensis (Andersson) Species Depending on the Dose of Shrimp Biowaste
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030067 - 06 Mar 2020
Viewed by 731
Abstract
Crustaceans, including shrimps, are an important group of marine products processed in over 50 countries around the world. It is one of the most profitable and fast-growing processing branches. About 30 to 40% of crustaceans are used immediately after fishing, while 60–70% are [...] Read more.
Crustaceans, including shrimps, are an important group of marine products processed in over 50 countries around the world. It is one of the most profitable and fast-growing processing branches. About 30 to 40% of crustaceans are used immediately after fishing, while 60–70% are processed. This generates thousands of tons of waste, proper management of which becomes increasingly important. The study was conducted in the years 2015–2017. Planting material included rhizomes of Miscanthus sinensis and Miscanthus × giganteus. Shrimp shells, dried and fragmented into 2–3 mm long pieces, were added to the soil at a dose of 5%, 10% and 15%. Mineral soil without the dried waste served as control. pH and substrate salinity were determined both before and after the growing season, and vegetative and generative traits of the plants were assessed. Shrimp biowaste is rich in N, P, K, Ca and Mg, has alkaline pH and high salinity. Its effects on plants depend on its dose and plant species. Miscanthus sinensis turned out more sensitive to the substrate salinity but in both species shrimp biowaste improved their ornamental value. For Miscanthus sinensis the most beneficial dose was 5%, while for Miscanthus × giganteus it was 15%. Full article
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Article
Understanding the Quality of Local Vineyard Soils in Distinct Viticultural Areas: A Case Study in Alcubillas (La Mancha, Central Spain)
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030066 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
The essential features of the soils of a pilot zone in La Mancha (Central Spain), namely the Alcubillas municipability, have been characterized. The soil properties that may contribute to a better understanding of the impact of soil on grape production have also, been [...] Read more.
The essential features of the soils of a pilot zone in La Mancha (Central Spain), namely the Alcubillas municipability, have been characterized. The soil properties that may contribute to a better understanding of the impact of soil on grape production have also, been evaluated. For this, several soil profiles have been described and analyzed and the profiles have been mapped. The soils are mainly Entisols, Inceptisols and Alfisols, with their evolution controlled by the action of a xerophytic Mediterranean climate. Most of these soils have a loamy clay texture, with medium clay contents and sufficient nutrient contents (despite the low content in organic matter 1.39% and 1.04%, and the high concentrations of calcium carbonate 23.7% and 26.9% in the surface and subsurface horizons, respectively). Drainage problems were not observed and it can therefore be stated that the Alcubillas vineyards are based on a ‘terroir’ term for the production of high quality grapes. In general, the soils are not subjected to treatments to control possible diseases or pests and we have therefore postulated that the soils represent the ideal scenario to establish a distinctive zone and for the increasingly valued ecological and natural viticulture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Viticulture)
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Article
Estimation of Evapotranspiration of a Jujube/Cotton Intercropping System in an Arid Area Based on the Dual Crop Coefficient Method
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030065 - 06 Mar 2020
Viewed by 832
Abstract
An accurate estimation of crop evapotranspiration (ETc) in intercropping is critical for a theoretical basis for formulating an intercropping irrigation system of fruit trees and improving the soil moisture condition of orchards in arid regions of Southern Xinjiang. Herein, observational [...] Read more.
An accurate estimation of crop evapotranspiration (ETc) in intercropping is critical for a theoretical basis for formulating an intercropping irrigation system of fruit trees and improving the soil moisture condition of orchards in arid regions of Southern Xinjiang. Herein, observational data such as soil moisture and plant physiological indicators were measured in jujube/cotton intercropping in the Aksu region from 2015 to 2017. The evapotranspiration of single-crop jujube and cotton was estimated using the modified dual crop coefficient method. Then, based on the proportion of intercropping crops, the soil water stress coefficient was introduced to estimate the evapotranspiration of the jujube/cotton intercropping. The results show that the model has good applicability to simulate single-crop jujube and cotton, and jujube/cotton intercropping. However, compared with single cropping, the accuracy of simulated daily evapotranspiration was decreased. In addition, adjusting the cotton irrigation amount caused the simulation accuracy to further decrease. From the perspective of interspecies complementarity and competition, cotton dominated the intercropping system and had better tolerance to external environmental changes than jujube trees. Intercropping had negative effects on jujube trees in general, and very obvious positive effects on cotton. Based on the 3-year crop yield, 5-year-old jujube trees are recommended for intercropping. During this time, the yield of cotton under the effect of interspecific complementation increased by 26.47%, and the yield of intercropping jujube was similar to that of single crop. As the jujube tree age increases, the effect of increasing cotton production gradually diminishes. The jujube trees also had a significant reduction in yield due to interspecific competition. Our research supports the dual crop coefficient method as appropriate to estimate crop ETc in intercropping and may be further used to improve irrigation scheduling for jujube/cotton intercropping. Full article
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Editorial
Sustainable Agri-Food Economies: Re-Territorialising Farming Practices, Markets, Supply Chains, and Policies
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030064 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1805
Abstract
Today, technological global agri-food economies dominated by vertically integrated large enterprises are failing in meeting the challenge of feeding a growing global population within the limits of the “Planetary Boundaries”, and are characterised by a “triple fracture” between agri-food economies and their three [...] Read more.
Today, technological global agri-food economies dominated by vertically integrated large enterprises are failing in meeting the challenge of feeding a growing global population within the limits of the “Planetary Boundaries”, and are characterised by a “triple fracture” between agri-food economies and their three constitutive elements: nature, consumers, and producers. In parallel to this crisis, new eco-ethical-driven agri-food economies are built around new farming and food distribution practices to face the challenge of food system transition to sustainability. By exploring these new emerging agri-food economies in both developing and developed countries, this Special Issue aims to develop a multidisciplinary discussion on “re-territorialisation” as a strategy to face the existing global agri-food economies crisis. These new agri-food economies are built starting from the farm level, involve the construction of innovative supply chains and markets and are developed through the support of public policies. Full article
Article
Has Rural Migration Weakened Agricultural Cultivation? Evidence from the Mountains of Southwest China
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030063 - 05 Mar 2020
Viewed by 910
Abstract
Linkages between rural migration and agricultural restructuring have become a key aspect of rapid urbanization in developing countries and a research focus for optimizing rural–urban development and rural reconstruction. Using continuous statistical data from the mountains of Southwest China, we examined the structure, [...] Read more.
Linkages between rural migration and agricultural restructuring have become a key aspect of rapid urbanization in developing countries and a research focus for optimizing rural–urban development and rural reconstruction. Using continuous statistical data from the mountains of Southwest China, we examined the structure, changes and regional differences in agricultural cultivation under urbanization, analyzed the reasons for the restructuring of agricultural cultivation, and revealed the adaptation linkages between the rural–urban transition and agricultural restructuring. The results showed that land-use changes and rural migration caused by urbanization significantly affected the cultivation structure and its change trends: the proportion of food crops decreased, while the proportion of vegetables and orchards increased. However, regional differences in the agricultural cultivation structure were significant in the various township zones. Rural migration weakened agricultural cultivation in the lake basin and nationality townships but enhanced agricultural cultivation in the river valley townships. On the basis of the adaptation linkages of urbanization, rural migration, agricultural intensification, cultivation structure and economic development, chain-type changes and adaptation processes between rural migration and agricultural restructuring were demonstrated. These findings indicate that favorable locations and appropriate policies can promote the integration and restructuring of smallholder agriculture for commercialization and intensification and vice versa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Article
Biochar Amendment Enhances Water Retention in a Tropical Sandy Soil
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030062 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1296
Abstract
The use of biochar, which is the solid product of biomass pyrolysis, in agricultural soils, has been shown as a strategic solution for building soil carbon stocks and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. However, biochar amendment might also benefit other key soil processes and [...] Read more.
The use of biochar, which is the solid product of biomass pyrolysis, in agricultural soils, has been shown as a strategic solution for building soil carbon stocks and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. However, biochar amendment might also benefit other key soil processes and services, such as those that are related to water retention, particularly in sandy soils. Here, we conducted an experiment to investigate the potential of biochar to enhance pore size distribution and water retention properties in a tropical sandy soil. Three biochar rates were incorporated (equivalent to 6.25, 12.5, and 25 Mg ha−1) into plastic pots containing a sandy Oxisol sampled from a sugarcane field in Brazil. Undisturbed samples of the mixture were collected at two evaluation times (50 and 150 days) and used to determine water retention curves and other soil physical properties. The results showed that biochar amendment decreased soil bulk density and increased water retention capacity, micropore volume, and available water content. Higher soil water retention in amended soil is associated with the inherent characteristics of biochar (e.g., internal porosity) and potential improvements in soil structure. Microporosity and water retention were enhanced with intermediate biochar rate (12.5 Mg ha−1), instead of the highest rate (25 Mg ha−1) tested. Further studies are needed to validate these results under field conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Microbiota Characterization of Agricultural Green Waste-Based Suppressive Composts Using Omics and Classic Approaches
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030061 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1165
Abstract
While the control of soil-borne phytopathogenic fungi becomes increasingly difficult without using chemicals, concern over the intensive use of pesticides in agriculture is driving more environmentally sound crop protection managements. Among these approaches, the use of compost to suppress fungal diseases could have [...] Read more.
While the control of soil-borne phytopathogenic fungi becomes increasingly difficult without using chemicals, concern over the intensive use of pesticides in agriculture is driving more environmentally sound crop protection managements. Among these approaches, the use of compost to suppress fungal diseases could have great potential. In this study, a multidisciplinary approach has been applied to characterize microbiota composition of two on-farm composts and assess their suppress and biostimulant activities. The on-farm composting system used in this study was able to produce two composts characterized by an antagonistic microbiota community able to suppress plant pathogens and biostimulate plant growth. Our results suggest a potential role for Nocardiopsis and Pseudomonas genera in suppression, while Flavobacterium and Streptomyces genera seem to be potentially involved in plant biostimulation. In conclusion, this study combines different techniques to characterize composts, giving a unique overview on the microbial communities and their role in suppressiveness, helping to unravel their complexity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Composting and Organic Soil Amendments)
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Article
Modelling Climate Change Impact on Irrigation Water Requirement and Yield of Winter Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and Fodder Maize (Zea mays L.) in the Semi-Arid Qazvin Plateau, Iran
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030060 - 03 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 952
Abstract
It is very important to determine the irrigation water requirement (IR) of crops for optimal irrigation scheduling under the changing climate. This study aimed to investigate the impact of climate change on the future IR and yield of three strategic crops (winter wheat, [...] Read more.
It is very important to determine the irrigation water requirement (IR) of crops for optimal irrigation scheduling under the changing climate. This study aimed to investigate the impact of climate change on the future IR and yield of three strategic crops (winter wheat, barley, fodder maize) in the semi-arid Qazvin Plateau, Iran, for the periods 2016–2040, 2041–2065, and 2066–2090. The Canadian Earth System Model (CanESM2), applying IPCC scenarios rcp2.6, rcp4.5, and rcp8.5, was used to project the monthly maximum and minimum temperatures and monthly precipitation of the region. The results indicated that the maximum and minimum temperatures will increase by 1.7 °C and 1.2 °C, respectively, under scenario rcp8.5 in the period 2066–2090. The precipitation will decrease (1%–13%) under all scenarios in all months of the future periods, except in August, September, and October. The IR of winter wheat and barley will increase by 38%–79% under scenarios rcp2.6 and rcp8.5 in the future periods. The increase in the IR of fodder maize will be very slight (0.7%–4.1%). The yield of winter wheat and barley will decrease by ~50%–100% under scenarios rcp2.6 and rcp8.5 in the future periods. The reduction in the yield of maize will be ~4%. Serious attention has to be paid to the water resources management of the region. The use of drought-tolerant cultivars in the region can be a good strategy to deal with the predicted future climatic conditions. Full article
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