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Agriculture, Volume 10, Issue 5 (May 2020) – 52 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Increased prominence is being given to the use of precision agriculture tools in order to improve [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Do Agricultural Package Programs Improve the Welfare of Rural People? Evidence from Smallholder Farmers in Ethiopia
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050190 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 489
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to assess the welfare status and analyze the impact of participation in farm package programs on the welfare of smallholder farmers. We used three round panel data of 789 households from the Eastern zone of Tigray, and [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to assess the welfare status and analyze the impact of participation in farm package programs on the welfare of smallholder farmers. We used three round panel data of 789 households from the Eastern zone of Tigray, and the fixed effect instrumental variable method was employed in the estimation. The study found that consumption expenditure, income, and asset per capita of the households increased across the survey years. The participation of households in the integrated package programs has a positive and statistically significant impact on the consumption expenditure and calorie per adult equivalent, but not the income and asset per capita of the households. Also, affects the consumption expenditure per adult equivalent of the married households. To enhance the welfare of the beneficiaries, the provision of the package programs should align with the local resource endowment, focus on youth, widowed and divorced households and the government should prioritize and limit the number of packages that households can participate in. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
Open AccessArticle
Autonomous Mowing and Turf-Type Bermudagrass as Innovations for An Environment-Friendly Floor Management of a Vineyard in Coastal Tuscany
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050189 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 349
Abstract
The establishment of permanent cover crops is becoming a common practice in vineyard floor management. Turfgrass science may provide species and techniques with a high potential for improving the sustainability of vineyard floor management. Based on this assumption, an experiment was carried out [...] Read more.
The establishment of permanent cover crops is becoming a common practice in vineyard floor management. Turfgrass science may provide species and techniques with a high potential for improving the sustainability of vineyard floor management. Based on this assumption, an experiment was carried out during 2018 and 2019 at the Donna Olimpia Vineyard, Bolgheri, Italy. The trial aimed at comparing an innovative floor management system based on a turf-type cultivar of bermudagrass mown with an autonomous mower with a conventional floor management system. Ground cover percentage, energy consumption, CO2 emissions, grapevine water status, leaf nitrogen content, fruit yield and must composition have been assessed in order to perform the comparison. The innovative vineyard floor management produced an almost complete ground cover (98%) at the end of the second growing season, with the resident species reduced to a small percentage (4%). Resident species growing under-trellis were efficiently controlled without herbicide applications. A lower primary energy consumption and a reduction in CO2 emissions were observed for the innovative management system compared to the conventional management system. Grapevine water status, leaf chlorophyll content, soil–plant analyses development (SPAD), fruit yields and must composition were similar between the different soil management systems. Based on results obtained in this trial, turf-type bermudagrass and innovative mowing machines may contribute to enhance the sustainability of vineyard floor management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Viticulture)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Cash Crop Production on Household Food Security for Smallholder Farmers: A Case of Shamva District, Zimbabwe
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050188 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 400
Abstract
Zimbabwe has recently experienced a considerable shift towards the production of more cash crops, such as tobacco, at the expense of food crops. Although cash cropping has been associated with increased income, the question is whether the income gained from cash crops would [...] Read more.
Zimbabwe has recently experienced a considerable shift towards the production of more cash crops, such as tobacco, at the expense of food crops. Although cash cropping has been associated with increased income, the question is whether the income gained from cash crops would be enough to provide the food needs of farming households. This research was conducted to analyse the impact of cash crops on household food security. A cross-sectional survey consisting of 281 randomly selected smallholder farmers in Shamva District was used for primary data collection. Data were analysed using the Tobit regression model and Propensity score matching (PSM). The household dietary diversity score (HDDS) was used to measure food security. The PSM results showed a positive impact of cash crop production on the HDDS. This could be attributed to the income effect of cash cropping. Furthermore, Tobit regression results showed that cash crop production (p < 0.1), non-farm income (p < 0.01), total arable land (p < 0.05) and access to draft power (p < 0.05) positively influenced household food security. Household size negatively impacted food security (p < 0.05). While the results from this study suggest the need to promote cash crop production, it should not be regarded as the panacea for addressing food insecurity. There is a need for further research to derive optimum combinations of cash and food crops in the crop mixture for smallholder farmers to achieve food security. Furthermore, opportunities for off-farm livelihood options should be developed, since non-farm income had a positive effect on food security. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Inclusiveness of Contract Farming along the Modern Food Supply Chain: Empirical Evidence from Taiwan
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050187 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 404
Abstract
One of the debates in the literature of contract farming concerns contracting firms’ preferences over large growers and if contract farming is inclusive of smallholders. The empirical evidence was mixed, which may be due to ignoring the stylized fact that modern food supply [...] Read more.
One of the debates in the literature of contract farming concerns contracting firms’ preferences over large growers and if contract farming is inclusive of smallholders. The empirical evidence was mixed, which may be due to ignoring the stylized fact that modern food supply chain is characterized by large organized retailers who often contract with farmers. The present study aims at addressing this issue by incorporating sales to supermarket and hypermarket chains as one of the determinants of contract farming participation. Based on a nationally-representative farm household data set in Taiwan, this study presents empirical evidence to support the positive effects of selling farm produce to supermarkets and/or hypermarkets on the probability of contract farming participation. However, the increase in the share of chain stores, convenience stores, as well as local grocers was found to lower the probability of contract farming participation. The results suggest the effect of organized retailing on the participation of contract farming varies with different food retailers in the modern supply chain. Moreover, based on the predicted probability from the participation-determining model, contracting firms in Taiwan are found to exhibit preferences towards large-scale growers. A further analysis of the interaction between grower’s scale and membership of farmer organizations indicates participation in the farmer organizations can effectively mitigate contracting firms’ scale bias. The significance of the moderating effect of farmer organizations suggests their important role in the inclusion of smallholders into modern food supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Weed Flora and Soil Seed Bank Composition as Affected by Tillage System in Three-Year Crop Rotation
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050186 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 415
Abstract
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest around agricultural science and practice in conservation tillage systems that are compatible with sustainable agriculture. The aim of this study was to assess the qualitative and quantitative changes in weed flora and soil seed [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been an increasing interest around agricultural science and practice in conservation tillage systems that are compatible with sustainable agriculture. The aim of this study was to assess the qualitative and quantitative changes in weed flora and soil seed bank under reduced tillage and no-till (direct sowing) in comparison with traditional ploughing. In the crop rotation: pea/rape—winter wheat—winter wheat the number and dry weight of weeds increased with the simplification of tillage. The seed bank was the largest under direct sowing and about three times smaller in traditional ploughing. Under direct sowing, most weed seeds were accumulated in the top soil layer 0–5 cm, while in the ploughing system most weed seeds occurred in deeper layers: 5–10 and 10–20 cm. In the reduced and no-till systems, a greater percentage of perennial and invasive species, such as Conyza canadensis L., was observed. The results show that it is possible to maintain weed infestation in the no-till system at a level that does not significantly affect winter wheat yield and does not pose a threat of perennial and invasive weeds when effective herbicide protection is applied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and New Approaches for Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Phytotoxic Effect of Herbicides on Various Camelina [Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz] Genotypes and Plant Chlorophyll Fluorescence
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050185 - 23 May 2020
Viewed by 539
Abstract
Camelina is an oil plant classified as a minor crop. The small acreage is the main cause of the small amount of plant protection products that are registered for use on camelina plantations. This contributes to difficulties in the protection of this plant. [...] Read more.
Camelina is an oil plant classified as a minor crop. The small acreage is the main cause of the small amount of plant protection products that are registered for use on camelina plantations. This contributes to difficulties in the protection of this plant. In the conducted experiment, the genetic similarity of genotypes of camelina was compared. The effect of selected herbicides (propaquizafop at rate 70 g a.i. ha−1, quizalofop-p-ethyl at rate 50 g a.i. ha−1, clopyralid at rate 90 g a.i. ha−1, and picloram at rate 24 g a.i. ha−1 applied in the three-four-leaves growth stage of camelina) on six individual genotypes of the plant and plant chlorophyll fluorescence after the use of these substances was also determined. The Przybrodzka variety showed the lowest level of damage in the assessment carried out 42 days after herbicide application and the damages of plants after quizalofop-p-ethyl and propaquizafop was completely gone. The variety Przybrodzka had the lowest genetic similarity to all analyzed genotypes. In other cases, genetic similarity of analyzed genotypes could not be linked to herbicide-related damage. Picloram contributed to the greatest damage to test plants and had the greatest impact on the operation of photosystem II (PSII). However, the level of plant chlorophyll fluorescence parameter values indicates small PSII damage for all substances and the possibility of subsequent plant regeneration. The results of the presented research indicate that it is worth referring to several plant varieties in phytotoxicity studies of herbicides towards arable crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and New Approaches for Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Competitiveness of Portuguese Montado Ewe Production Systems among the European Ewe Production Systems
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050184 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 372
Abstract
The number of ewes in Portugal registers a decrease since 1998. This decrease is felt particularly in the south of the country, which concentrates almost half of the existing ewes, mainly for meat production. One of the most important ewe production systems is [...] Read more.
The number of ewes in Portugal registers a decrease since 1998. This decrease is felt particularly in the south of the country, which concentrates almost half of the existing ewes, mainly for meat production. One of the most important ewe production systems is the Montado, a High Nature Value ecosystem, occupying ca. 1.2 million ha in Portugal. The competitiveness of this system among the European ewe production systems is an important issue for the future of the Montado ecosystem. So, the objective of this paper is to analyze the ewe production systems in the Montado, using the agri benchmark database, and compare these systems with other European countries’ systems, ranking their competitiveness and efficiency among other systems in the European Union. We concluded that this methodology facilitated an in-depth understanding not only of the competitiveness and efficiency of ewe production systems in Portugal but also of their positioning regarding other systems in the European Union. The pattern of returns assures that these farms are competitive in the sense that they depend on the market on their decisions, and thus it is important that market values sheep products. Nevertheless, the diversification to other income sources would be a good option for the future sustainability of these farms and the opportunities and risks that these systems will deal with in a new green economy, with probable new functions and new opportunities for land, will be a challenge for the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
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Open AccessArticle
Agricultural Land Price Convergence: Evidence from Polish Provinces
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050183 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 668
Abstract
This research deals with the problem of agricultural land market efficiency using the spatial market integration concept as well as the present value (PV) model. Empirically, it aims to test the convergence of agricultural land prices across Polish provinces. In order to check [...] Read more.
This research deals with the problem of agricultural land market efficiency using the spatial market integration concept as well as the present value (PV) model. Empirically, it aims to test the convergence of agricultural land prices across Polish provinces. In order to check the law of one price (LOP), good-quality, medium-quality and bad-quality land sales markets are examined separately. Furthermore, this study is complemented by an analysis of the drivers behind agricultural land price convergence. The main method of testing price convergence is the log t regression. The latter was performed in two configurations, i.e., based on trend components of time series extracted using the Hodrick–Prescott filter and the Hamilton filter. Additionally, traditional β- and σ-convergence tests were applied. The obtained results indicated that agricultural land prices tend to converge in relative terms, which means that the provinces share a common long-run growth path. This finding and estimates of traditional convergence tests prove the increasing integration in the agricultural land market in Poland. There is no evidence, however, to support the conclusion that the absolute version of the long-run LOP holds. Moreover, using dynamic fixed effects models, it was identified that for good-, medium- and bad-quality land prices almost the same drivers of convergence apply. The only differences concern the strength of the influence of independent variables on prices of farmland of various types. Additionally, bad-quality land prices are the only ones which are affected by livestock density. Furthermore, estimates of the present value model finally confirmed that the agricultural land sales market in Poland cannot be considered as efficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Low-Cost Semantic Monitoring System for Vineyards Using Autonomous Robots
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050182 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 426
Abstract
Many tasks involved in viticulture are labor intensive. Farmers frequently monitor the vineyard to check grape conditions, damage due to infections from pests and insects, grape growth, and to estimate optimal harvest time. Such monitoring is often done manually by the farmers. Manual [...] Read more.
Many tasks involved in viticulture are labor intensive. Farmers frequently monitor the vineyard to check grape conditions, damage due to infections from pests and insects, grape growth, and to estimate optimal harvest time. Such monitoring is often done manually by the farmers. Manual monitoring of large vineyards is time and labor consuming process. To this end, robots have a big potential to increase productivity in farms by automating various tasks. We propose a low-cost semantic monitoring system for vineyards using autonomous robots. The system uses inexpensive cameras, processing boards, and sensors to remotely provide timely information to the farmers on their computer and smart phone. Unlike traditional systems, the proposed system logs data ‘semantically’, which enables pin-pointed monitoring of vineyards. In other words, the farmers can monitor only specific areas of the vineyard as desired. The proposed algorithm is robust for occlusions, and intelligently logs image data based on the movement of the robot. The proposed system was tested in actual vineyards with real robots. Due to its compactness and portability, the proposed system can be used as an extension in conjunction with already existing autonomous robot systems used in vineyards. The results show that pin-pointed remote monitoring of desired areas of the vineyard is a very useful and inexpensive tool for the farmers to save a lot of time and labor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Viticulture)
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Open AccessArticle
Grafting and Shading—The Influence on Postharvest Tomato Quality
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050181 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 415
Abstract
Interaction of grafting and shading on tomato physical properties and chemical composition after 15 days of storage at 10 °C and 90% relative humidity was investigated in ungrafted and grafted tomato cultivars ‘Optima F1’ and ‘Big beef F1’ grown [...] Read more.
Interaction of grafting and shading on tomato physical properties and chemical composition after 15 days of storage at 10 °C and 90% relative humidity was investigated in ungrafted and grafted tomato cultivars ‘Optima F1’ and ‘Big beef F1’ grown under shading nets (red and pearl net) and nonshaded conditions. For grafted plants ‘Maxifort’ rootstock was used. The effects of two weeks of storage was statistically significant when taking into account the effects of grafting, shading and variety for all tomato fruit composition parameters, except total phenols. A principal component analysis demonstrated that the changes in tomato fruit traits during the studied storage period were the main source of differentiation in tomato fruit quality. Beside a slight loss of firmness, tomato fruits were generally expected to have lower lycopene, sugar, malic and citric acid contents, higher succinic acid content, more elastic fruit skin and higher ascorbic acid content. Additionally, after storage, fruits from grafted plants had lower total phenol, higher ascorbic acid and higher succinic acid contents compared to fruits from ungrafted plants. Storage diminishes the differences in quality achieved through convenient grafting and shading combinations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Research on a Low-Cost, Open-Source, and Remote Monitoring Data Collector to Predict Livestock’s Habits Based on Location and Auditory Information: A Case Study from Vietnam
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050180 - 19 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 377
Abstract
The supervision and feeding of grazing livestock are always difficult missions. Since animals act based on habits, the real-time monitoring data logger has become an indispensable instrument to assist farmers in recognizing the status of livestock. Position-tracked and acoustic monitoring have become commonplace [...] Read more.
The supervision and feeding of grazing livestock are always difficult missions. Since animals act based on habits, the real-time monitoring data logger has become an indispensable instrument to assist farmers in recognizing the status of livestock. Position-tracked and acoustic monitoring have become commonplace as two of the best methods to characterize feeding performance in ruminants. Previously, the existing methods were limited to desktop computers and lacked a sound-collecting function. These restrictions impacted the late interventions from feeders and required a large-sized data memory. In this work, an open-source framework for a data collector that autonomously captures the health information of farm animals is introduced. In this portable hardware, a Wireless Location Acoustic Sensing System (WiLASS) is integrated to infer the health status through the activities and abnormal phenomena of farming livestock via chew–bite sound identification. WiLASS involves the open modules of ESP32-WROOM, GPS NEO-6M, ADXL335 accelerometer, GY-MAX4466 amplifier, temperature sensors, and other signal processing circuits. By means of wireless communication, the ESP32-WROOM Thing micro-processor offers high speed transmission, standard protocol, and low power consumption. Data are transferred in a real-time manner from the attached sensing modules to a digital server for further analysis. The module of GPS NEO-6M Thing brings about fast tracking, high precision, and a strong signal, which is suitable for highland applications. Some computations are incorporated into the accelerometer to estimate directional movement and vibration. The GY-MAX4466 Thing plays the role of microphone, which is used to store environmental sound. To ensure the quality of auditory data, they are recorded at a minimum sampling frequency of 10 KHz and at a 12-bit resolution. Moreover, a mobile software in pocket devices is implemented to provide extended mobility and social convenience. Converging with a cloud-based server, the multi-Thing portable platform can provide access to simultaneously supervise. Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol with low bandwidth, high reliability, and bi-direction, and which is appropriate for most operating systemsOS, is embedded into the system to prevent data loss. From the experimental results, the feasibility, effectiveness, and correctness of our approach are verified. Under the changes of climate, the proposed framework not only supports the improvement of farming techniques, but also provides a high-quality alternative for poor rural areas because of its low cost and its ability to carry out a proper policy for each species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Advanced Data Analysis as a Tool for Net Blotch Density Estimation in Spring Barley
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050179 - 19 May 2020
Viewed by 347
Abstract
A novel data analysis method for the evaluation of plant disease risk that utilizes weather information is presented in this paper. This research considers two different datasets: open weather data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and long-term (1991–2017) plant disease severity observations in [...] Read more.
A novel data analysis method for the evaluation of plant disease risk that utilizes weather information is presented in this paper. This research considers two different datasets: open weather data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute and long-term (1991–2017) plant disease severity observations in different hardiness zones in Finland. Historical net blotch severity data on spring barley were collected from official variety trials carried out by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the analysis was performed with existing data without additional measurements. Feature generation was used to combine different datasets and to enrich the information content of the data. The t-test was applied to validate features and select the most suitable one for the identification of datasets with high net blotch risk. Based on the analysis, the selected daily measured variables for the estimation of net blotch density were the average temperature, minimum temperature, and rainfall. The results strongly indicate that thorough data analysis and feature generation methods enable new tools for plant disease prediction. This is crucial when predicting the disease risk and optimizing the use of pesticides in modern agriculture. Here, the developed system resolves the correlation between weather measurements and net blotch observations in a novel way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pest and Weeds)
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Open AccessArticle
ANN-Based Continual Classification in Agriculture
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050178 - 18 May 2020
Viewed by 383
Abstract
In the area of plant protection and precision farming, timely detection and classification of plant diseases and crop pests play crucial roles in the management and decision-making. Recently, there have been many artificial neural network (ANN) methods used in agricultural classification tasks, which [...] Read more.
In the area of plant protection and precision farming, timely detection and classification of plant diseases and crop pests play crucial roles in the management and decision-making. Recently, there have been many artificial neural network (ANN) methods used in agricultural classification tasks, which are task specific and require big datasets. These two characteristics are quite different from how humans learn intelligently. Undoubtedly, it would be exciting if the models can accumulate knowledge to handle continual tasks. Towards this goal, we propose an ANN-based continual classification method via memory storage and retrieval, with two clear advantages: Few data and high flexibility. This proposed ANN-based model combines a convolutional neural network (CNN) and generative adversarial network (GAN). Through learning of the similarity between input paired data, the CNN part only requires few raw data to achieve a good performance, suitable for a classification task. The GAN part is used to extract important information from old tasks and generate abstracted images as memory for the future task. Experimental results show that the regular CNN model performs poorly on the continual tasks (pest and plant classification), due to the forgetting problem. However, our proposed method can distinguish all the categories from new and old tasks with good performance, owing to its ability of accumulating knowledge and alleviating forgetting. There are so many possible applications of this proposed approach in the agricultural field, for instance, the intelligent fruit picking robots, which can recognize and pick different kinds of fruits; the plant protection is achieved by automatic identification of diseases and pests, which can continuously improve the detection range. Thus, this work also provides a reference for other studies towards more intelligent and flexible applications in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Neural Networks in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Soil Oxalate Phosphorus using Visible and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy in Natural and Cultivated System Soils of Madagascar
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050177 - 16 May 2020
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Phosphorus is among the main limiting nutrients for plant growth and productivity in both agricultural and natural ecosystems in the tropics, which are characterized by weathered soil. Soil bioavailable P measurement is necessary to predict the potential growth of plant biomass in these [...] Read more.
Phosphorus is among the main limiting nutrients for plant growth and productivity in both agricultural and natural ecosystems in the tropics, which are characterized by weathered soil. Soil bioavailable P measurement is necessary to predict the potential growth of plant biomass in these ecosystems. Visible and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (Vis-NIRS) is widely used to predict soil chemical and biological parameters as an alternative to time-consuming conventional laboratory analyses. However, quantitative spectroscopic prediction of soil P remains a challenge owing to the difficulty of direct detection of orthophosphate. This study tested the performance of Vis-NIRS with partial least square regression to predict oxalate-extractable P (Pox) content, representing available P for plants in natural (forest and non-forest including fallows and degraded land) and cultivated (upland and flooded rice fields) soils in Madagascar. Model predictive accuracy was assessed based on the coefficient of determination (R2), the root mean squared error of cross-validation (RMSECV), and the residual predictive deviation (RPD). The results demonstrated successful Pox prediction accuracy in natural (n = 74, R² = 0.90, RMSECV = 2.39, and RPD = 3.22), and cultivated systems (n = 142, R² = 0.90, RMSECV = 48.57, and RPD = 3.15) and moderate usefulness at the regional scale incorporating both system types (R² = 0.70, RMSECV = 71.87 and RPD = 1.81). These results were also confirmed with modified bootstrap procedures (N = 10,000 times) using selected wavebands on iterative stepwise elimination–partial least square (ISE–PLS) models. The wavebands relevant to soil organic matter content and Fe content were identified as important components for the prediction of soil Pox. This predictive accuracy for the cultivated system was related to the variability of some samples with high Pox values. However, the use of “pseudo-independent” validation can overestimate the prediction accuracy when applied at site scale suggesting the use of larger and dispersed geographical cover sample sets to build a robust model. Our study offers new opportunities for P quantification in a wide range of ecosystems in the tropics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Betaine Reduces the Negative Effects of Cyclic Heat Exposure on Growth Performance, Blood Gas Status and Meat Quality in Broiler Chickens
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050176 - 16 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 405
Abstract
Heat stress (HS) impairs growth performance and has a severe impact on lipid and protein metabolism, leading to serious adverse effects on meat quality. Forty-eight day-old-male Ross-308 chicks were assigned to two temperature conditions, thermoneutral or cyclical HS, and fed with either a [...] Read more.
Heat stress (HS) impairs growth performance and has a severe impact on lipid and protein metabolism, leading to serious adverse effects on meat quality. Forty-eight day-old-male Ross-308 chicks were assigned to two temperature conditions, thermoneutral or cyclical HS, and fed with either a control diet (CON) or the CON plus betaine (BET). Heat stress increased rectal temperature (p < 0.001), respiration rate (p < 0.001) and increased blood pH (p = 0.017), indicating that HS caused respiratory alkalosis. Heat stress reduced body weight during the final stage of growing period (p = 0.005), while BET improved it (p = 0.023). Heat stress tended to reduce breast muscle water content and drip loss (p = 0.089 and p = 0.082), while both were improved with BET (p = 0.008 and p = 0.001). Heat stress tended to reduce the myofibril fragmentation index (p = 0.081) whereas it increased with BET (p = 0.017). Heat stress increased thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (p = 0.017), while BET improved it (p = 0.008). Meat tenderness was not affected by HS, but was improved with BET (p < 0.001). In conclusion, BET improved growth performance over the latter stages of the growing period, and improved product quality of broiler chickens when chickens exposed to HS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flooding Stress and High-Pressure Treatment Enhance the GABA Content of the Vegetable Soybean (Glycine max Merr.)
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050175 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 353
Abstract
γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and of substantial physiological significance to mammals. The GABA content of plants is generally low; however, it increases significantly when plants encounter stress. The present study investigates the effects of [...] Read more.
γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and of substantial physiological significance to mammals. The GABA content of plants is generally low; however, it increases significantly when plants encounter stress. The present study investigates the effects of flooding stress and high-pressure processing on GABA content enrichment in the vegetable soybean (Glycine max Merr.) cultivar Kaohsiung No. 9 and potential mechanisms. Results indicate that flooding stress increased the GABA content of vegetable soybean kernels, with the possible mechanism involving the upregulation of glutamic acid decarboxylase 5 (GAD5) and aminoaldehyde dehydrogenase (AMADH) and downregulation of succinate semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH). High-pressure treatment increased the GABA content through increased GAD activity. A specific combination of flooding stress, high-pressure treatment, and storage treatment enhanced vegetable soybean GABA content up to 696.6 ± 65.7 mg/100 g. Flooding treatment prior to harvesting did not cause differences in consumption quality. These results show that flooding stress and high pressure treatment can increase GABA content and enhance the functional value of the vegetable soybean cultivar Kaohsiung No. 9. Full article
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Open AccessPerspective
Seeds of n-GM Soybean Varieties Cultivated in Poland and Their Processing Products as High-Protein Feeds in Cattle Nutrition
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050174 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) is a source of high-quality edible protein and oil for humans, but also a high-quality feed in livestock feeding. In Poland, imported genetically modified soybean meal covers 65%, and leguminous seeds that are cultivated locally cover 11% [...] Read more.
Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) is a source of high-quality edible protein and oil for humans, but also a high-quality feed in livestock feeding. In Poland, imported genetically modified soybean meal covers 65%, and leguminous seeds that are cultivated locally cover 11% of the protein requirement in livestock nutrition. The implementation of the Polish national program and the European strategy supporting the growth of the leguminous area resulted in adaptation to local agro-climatic conditions of 36 varieties of non-genetically modified soybean (n-GM), which achieved an average seed yield of about 3.7 t·ha−1 with a content of about 38% protein and 23% fat in dry matter. The 27-fold increase in n-GM soybean cultivation area observed over the past eight years resulted in the opportunities in the use of this high-protein feed in feeding cattle, the section providing 26% of gross agricultural production. In cattle feeding, soybean seeds are utilized as whole, cracked, roasted, and extruded full-fat seed; after oil pressing as cold press cakes and extruded oil cakes; and moreover, late-ripening soybean plants with late maturity are used as fodder plants. The presented review is based on literature and analysis of data on the use of each of these forms in cattle nutrition, including the limitation of their use as components of feed rations, which is caused by the high rate of nitrogen release in the rumen and the effects of fat and saponin on microbial fermentation in the rumen due to the role of endogenous seminal enzymes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Nutrition Approaches in a Changing Environment)
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Quality of Ananas comosus Cultivation Land in the Papaloapan Basin Region of Mexico after Wastes Addition as Fertilizer Supplement
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050173 - 15 May 2020
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Three pineapple (Ananas comosus L.) cultivation soils of the south-east Mexico were analyzed in relation to the amendment effect of two agro-industrial wastes: sugar mill filter cake (SC) and paper mill sludge (CR) jointly added by weight. The plot P50 was cultivated [...] Read more.
Three pineapple (Ananas comosus L.) cultivation soils of the south-east Mexico were analyzed in relation to the amendment effect of two agro-industrial wastes: sugar mill filter cake (SC) and paper mill sludge (CR) jointly added by weight. The plot P50 was cultivated with only chemical fertilizer, P51 was lying fallow with only wastes added, and P52 was cultivated and fertilized by both ways. After 14 months the soils were analyzed again. The plots texture was found to be sandy loam whose organic matter widely increased, and the pH shifted from acidic to rather neutral. Low concentrations of N, P, and K were found in CR, although its content of Ca2+ and Mg2+ was high, while the SC contained P, N, and K in higher amounts than CR. Initially, the plots showed a low level of N, P, and K, in the specific case of P51 values clearly increased up to 522%, 190%, and 204%, respectively, due to the synergy effect of CR and SC combined as soil amendment. The cation exchange capacity (CEC) changed only in P51, increased 11.8%, but in the other two plots CEC did not change significantly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Phosphorus Availability and Potential Environmental Risk Assessment in Alkaline Soils
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050172 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 349
Abstract
Soil phosphorus (P) is an essential element that is often limiting in ecosystems. Excessive use of P fertilizers has led to P loss from soil and introduction into the environment. However, the behavior and potential risk assessment of P in alkaline soils is [...] Read more.
Soil phosphorus (P) is an essential element that is often limiting in ecosystems. Excessive use of P fertilizers has led to P loss from soil and introduction into the environment. However, the behavior and potential risk assessment of P in alkaline soils is not well studied. Therefore, soil sampling was performed in alkaline soils in the northern Nile Delta, Egypt. Three analytical procedures (i.e., Mehlich 3 (PM3), Olsen (POlsen), and Bray 1 (PBray) solutions) were used to evaluate P availability and potential environmental risk from P loss. Selected soil properties were determined using standard methods. Mean values of P extracted were in the order PM3 > Polsen > PBray, and were significantly correlated with each other. The PM3 was the highest in silt clay loam and lowest in sandy and loamy soils. To predict potential P loss from the soils, degree of P saturation (DPS), soil P storage capacity (SPSC), and P stability ratio (Psat) were calculated. Results showed the highest DPS was recorded in sandy textured soils, indicating that they have lower sorption capacity, whereas the SPSC was highest in silt clay textures; hence, it is likely they would act as a P sink. Psat was highest in sandy soils, which indicated a high risk for P leaching. Principal component analysis (PCA) performed on the data identified four principal components that described 83.8% of the variation between P and the studied soil parameters. The results indicated that silt was the critical soil characteristic associated with both P sorption and extractability in different textures of soil. The second component confirmed the positive association between the different soil P extraction methods (PM3, POlsen, and PBray). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Trade Flows of Ornamental Citrus Fruits and Other Rutaceae in the Mediterranean Basin and Potential for Xantomonas citri Introduction
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050171 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 337
Abstract
In this study, we built a basic scenario for risk assessment of the introduction of Xantomonas citri (X. citri), an agent of bacterial citrus canker, through international trade activities. According to the international phytosanitary authority European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), X. [...] Read more.
In this study, we built a basic scenario for risk assessment of the introduction of Xantomonas citri (X. citri), an agent of bacterial citrus canker, through international trade activities. According to the international phytosanitary authority European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), X. citri is currently included in the European Union A1 list (quarantine pests not present in the area) of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO). Therefore, at the moment, to counter the spread of X. citri, some pest-specific phytosanitary requirements are foreseen in the case of citrus fruit commercial activities. One possible introduction route is through some ornamental Rutaceae, which are widely cultivated in Mediterranean countries, where they are economically important and have a social impact on the employees involved and the related industries. To assess the risk of introducing X. citri, we distinguished the import and export territories and the type of import material, and formulated a basic hypothesis linked to the positive correlation between commercial dependence on citrus imports from countries of the Mediterranean Basin and potential risk of invasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Moth Detection from Pheromone Trap Images Using Deep Learning Object Detectors
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050170 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 407
Abstract
Diverse pheromones and pheromone-based traps, as well as images acquired from insects captured by pheromone-based traps, have been studied and developed to monitor the presence and abundance of pests and to protect plants. The purpose of this study is to construct models that [...] Read more.
Diverse pheromones and pheromone-based traps, as well as images acquired from insects captured by pheromone-based traps, have been studied and developed to monitor the presence and abundance of pests and to protect plants. The purpose of this study is to construct models that detect three species of pest moths in pheromone trap images using deep learning object detection methods and compare their speed and accuracy. Moth images in pheromone traps were collected for training and evaluation of deep learning detectors. Collected images were then subjected to a labeling process that defines the ground truths of target objects for their box locations and classes. Because there were a few negative objects in the dataset, non-target insects were labeled as unknown class and images of non-target insects were added to the dataset. Moreover, data augmentation methods were applied to the training process, and parameters of detectors that were pre-trained with the COCO dataset were used as initial parameter values. Seven detectors—Faster R-CNN ResNet 101, Faster R-CNN ResNet 50, Faster R-CNN Inception v.2, R-FCN ResNet 101, Retinanet ResNet 50, Retinanet Mobile v.2, and SSD Inception v.2 were trained and evaluated. Faster R-CNN ResNet 101 detector exhibited the highest accuracy (mAP as 90.25), and seven different detector types showed different accuracy and speed. Furthermore, when unexpected insects were included in the collected images, a four-class detector with an unknown class (non-target insect) showed lower detection error than a three-class detector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Vintage and Viticultural Practices on the Phenolic Content of Hybrid Winegrapes in Very Cool Climate
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050169 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 360
Abstract
Vine growing and wine production is gaining in popularity around the Baltic Sea Region. The first aim of the experiment was to determine the variability of the total phenolic and anthocyanin content (from 2010 to 2018) and of individual anthocyanin content (from 2016 [...] Read more.
Vine growing and wine production is gaining in popularity around the Baltic Sea Region. The first aim of the experiment was to determine the variability of the total phenolic and anthocyanin content (from 2010 to 2018) and of individual anthocyanin content (from 2016 to 2018) in the hybrid grape cultivars ‘Hasansky Sladky’, ‘Zilga’, and ‘Rondo’. In field conditions ‘Rondo’ had winter cold damage to canes in two years. Therefore, the second aim was to determine the effect of high polyethylene tunnel and field conditions on fruit total and individual anthocyanin content of ‘Rondo’ from 2016 to 2018. Over nine years, the total phenolic content ranged from 192 to 671 mg 100 g−1 and anthocyanins from 30 to 405 mg 100 g−1 spectrophotometrically. The anthocyanin (delphinidin-3-O-glucoside, cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, petunidin-3-O-glucoside, peonidin-3-O-glucoside, malvidin-3-O-glucoside) content depended on cultivar properties and climatic parameters. Antioxidant activity was cultivar dependent and ranged from 40 to 88%. Polytunnel cultivation increased the content of total anthocyanins in ‘Rondo’ from 447 to 1472 mg 100 g−1 (by chromatographically) in cooler year, but in warmer years it decreased from 3645 to 1618 mg 100 g−1. Individual anthocyanins showed the same tendency. Grapevine cultivar ‘Rondo’ is recommended for tunnel growing in very cool climate conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Viticulture)
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Open AccessArticle
Weed Infestation and Health of Organically Grown Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rausch.) Depending on Selected Foliar Sprays and Row Spacing
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050168 - 13 May 2020
Viewed by 411
Abstract
Chamomile is a herbal plant of very high economic importance worldwide. Its organically grown raw material is particularly valuable. Under organic farming conditions, weeds and fungal diseases are an important problem in a chamomile plantation. Seeking agronomic solutions designed to eliminate the occurrence [...] Read more.
Chamomile is a herbal plant of very high economic importance worldwide. Its organically grown raw material is particularly valuable. Under organic farming conditions, weeds and fungal diseases are an important problem in a chamomile plantation. Seeking agronomic solutions designed to eliminate the occurrence of these pathogens in chamomile crops is constantly valid. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of some foliar sprays (enhancing the condition of the crop plant and its competition against pathogens) and different row spacing of two chamomile cultivars on weed infestation and health of a chamomile plantation. The study results presented in this paper were collected from field experiments carried out in the organic system in the village of Dys (the central Lublin region, Poland) over the period 2014–2016. Experiments were conducted on podzolic soil (class III) as a split-block design in 3 replicates in plots with an area of 525 m2 (6.25 m2 a single plot). This study included two chamomile cultivars (“Złoty Łan”, “Mastar”). The second experimental factor was single or double foliar application of three bioproducts (Herbagreen Basic, Bio-algeen, Effective Microorganisms—EM Farming). The other experimental factor was a different row spacing of chamomile (40 cm and 30 cm). The obtained study results show that 10–16 annual weed species and 1–3 perennial species occurred in both chamomile cultivars. Foliar application of the bioproducts contributed to a reduction in the total number of weeds in the crop, but at the same time to greater weed species diversity. In the control treatments (without the bioproducts), the dominance of several weed species (Viola arvensis, Galeopsis tetrahit, Spergula arvensis, Juncus bufonius, Scleranthus annuus) and lower biodiversity of the weed flora were observed. The largest reduction (by about 20%) in the number of annual weeds was found under the influence of the bioproducts Herbagreen Basic and Bio-algeen applied once. Bio-algeen and Effective Microorganisms (EM), in turn, had a significant effect on decreasing the weed weight. A narrower (30 cm) row spacing of chamomile had a significant impact on reducing the weight of weeds in chamomile crops compared to the wider spacing, which was 40 cm. It should be concluded that infection of the chamomile plantation with fungal diseases was overall at a low level. Significantly higher infection with fungal diseases was found in the case of the cultivar “Mastar”, regardless of the experimental factors. A statistically proven decrease in infection of chamomile plants with fungal diseases was determined under lower crop density conditions (a row spacing of 40 cm). Chamomile plants were found to exhibit better health under the influence of double application of the biofertilizers Herbagreen Basic and Bio-algeen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and New Approaches for Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Plant Water Status on the Chemical Composition of Pistachio Nuts (Pistacia vera L. Cultivar Bianca)
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050167 - 13 May 2020
Viewed by 367
Abstract
Pistachio nuts are worldwide appreciated for their chemical and organoleptic profiles. There are several studies on the influence of irrigation on pistachio productivity, whereas there are little available data on the influence on nut quality. In this study we characterized some qualitative traits [...] Read more.
Pistachio nuts are worldwide appreciated for their chemical and organoleptic profiles. There are several studies on the influence of irrigation on pistachio productivity, whereas there are little available data on the influence on nut quality. In this study we characterized some qualitative traits of pistachio nuts cultivar Bianca in Mediterranean environment and how plant water status affected them. Water status had a positive and significant influence on the chlorophylls content, nuts from less stressed trees showed higher values of chlorophyll a (14.7 mg/100 g) and b (21.1 mg/100 g) compared than more stressed trees (9.3 and 11.5 mg/100 g for a and b, respectively). Solid phase microextraction technique in headspace followed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (HS-SPME GC/MS) identified seventeen different compounds with terpenes being the major class of volatiles; the most abundant were α-Pinene (range 26.2–35 μg/g), D-Limonene (2.8–3.3 μg/g), 2-Carene (1.8–3 μg/g) and β-Myrcene (0.6–1.4 μg/g). Overall, we found higher level of terpenes in less stressed trees and for α-Pinene and β-Myrcene differences were significant. The fatty acid composition analysis revealed oleic acid (70.1–71.1%), linoleic acid (13.5–14.4%) and palmitic acid (9.6–9.8%) as the most abundant compounds, but tree water status did not influence their concentration. Overall, the data reported proved that supplemental irrigation contributes to increase pistachio nut quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Soil Enzymes Activity before and after Animal Manure Application
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050166 - 13 May 2020
Viewed by 511
Abstract
Soil enzymes (urease, invertase, acid and alkaline phosphatase) activity in the rhizosphere of field-grown tomato plants were used to monitor the impact of soil amendments (SA) and SA mixed with biochar on soil microbial activity four months after addition of amendments. The soil [...] Read more.
Soil enzymes (urease, invertase, acid and alkaline phosphatase) activity in the rhizosphere of field-grown tomato plants were used to monitor the impact of soil amendments (SA) and SA mixed with biochar on soil microbial activity four months after addition of amendments. The soil treatments were sewage sludge (SS); horse manure (HM); chicken manure (CM); vermicompost (worm castings); commercial inorganic fertilizer; commercial organic fertilizer; and no-mulch (NM) native soil used for comparison purposes. Soil treatments also were mixed with 10% (w/w) biochar to investigate the impact of biochar on soil enzymes activity. The results showed a significant increase in soil urease and invertase activities after incorporation of SA to native soil. Vermicompost and HM were superior in increasing urease and invertase activity four months after their addition to native soil. Alkaline phosphatase activity fluctuated among the soil treatments, revealing some obstruction of its activity. SS amended with biochar increased acid phosphatase activity by 115% four months after SS addition. Other than alkaline phosphatase, organic manure enhanced soil biological activity (microbial biomass and release of enzymes), indicating that the use of manures, rather than inorganic fertilizers, in crop production is an affordable and sustainable agricultural production system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Pre-Sowing Red Light Treatment of Sweet Corn Seeds on the Quality and Quantity of Yield
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050165 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 371
Abstract
This paper presents the results of a study on the effects of red light treatment of sweet corn seeds on the quantity and quality of the subsequent yield (total and marketable), as well as the length of cobs and thousand kernel weight. The [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of a study on the effects of red light treatment of sweet corn seeds on the quantity and quality of the subsequent yield (total and marketable), as well as the length of cobs and thousand kernel weight. The respective groups of kernels were exposed to light: 1—once (K1), 2—twice (K2), and 3—thrice (K3); the control seeds were untreated. The light treatment had a positive impact on the analyzed values. Relative to the control, we observed a yield increase of approx. 5% for the Basin cultivar and approx. 25% for the Shaker and Powerhouse cultivars under the K2 mode. We also recorded an increase in the percentage of marketable yield of approx. 20%, 45%, and 48%, respectively for the Shaker, Powerhouse, and Basin cultivars. Positive effects were also observed in terms of cob length and thousand kernel weight for all treatment modes and cultivars analyzed. The obtained results support the inclusion of this method in the scope of recommendable agrotechnical practices aimed at improving the quantity and quality of yields of various crops and vegetables. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Variation and Implications on Repellency Activity of Tephrosia vogelii (Hook f.) Essential Oils Against Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050164 - 12 May 2020
Viewed by 360
Abstract
The aim of this research is to characterize the variation in the chemical composition of Tephrosia vogelii essential oils from different locations and to investigate the repellency of essential oils against Sitophilus zeamais. Chemical variability in the components of T. vogelii essential [...] Read more.
The aim of this research is to characterize the variation in the chemical composition of Tephrosia vogelii essential oils from different locations and to investigate the repellency of essential oils against Sitophilus zeamais. Chemical variability in the components of T. vogelii essential oils from eastern Uganda was identified using principal component analysis (PCA) and agglomerative hierarchical clustering (AHC). Based on the profiles of the compounds of the farnesene family, three chemotypes were found: farnesol (chemotype 1), springene (β-springene and α-springene) and β-farnesene were all distinctive in chemotype 2 and a mixed variety of farnesol and springene. In the three cases, alkyl benzenes (o-xylene, m-xylene and ethylbenzene) were significant components in the oil. The compounds 1,4-dihydroxy-p-menth-2-ene, 6,10-dimethyl-5,9-undecadien-2-one, and 3,4-dimethyl-3-cyclohexen-1-carboxaldehyde were other prominent constituents. The yields of the essential oils did not vary significantly, however the chemical composition varied with harvesting time during the rainy and dry seasons. In choice repellency tests, chemotype 1 and chemotype 2 were more active against Sitophilus zeamais than the mixed chemotype. Farnesol was found to be effective only at a higher concentration as a repellent against S. zeamais. We therefore hypothesize that farnesol is a key player in this and we demonstrated the weak repellency of this compound. However, further study that aims to optimize and standardize the varieties and harvesting period is needed for recommendation to smallhold farmers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Efficacy of Reduced Rates of Soil-Applied Dimethenamid-P and Pendimethalin Mixture Followed by Postemergence Herbicides in Maize
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050163 - 11 May 2020
Viewed by 371
Abstract
Field trials were conducted with preemergence dimethanamid-P + pendimethalin (D + P; 850 + 1000 g·ha−1) and reduced rates (637.5 + 750 g·ha−1 and 452 + 500 g·ha−1, 75% and 50% of label rate), followed by strongly reduced [...] Read more.
Field trials were conducted with preemergence dimethanamid-P + pendimethalin (D + P; 850 + 1000 g·ha−1) and reduced rates (637.5 + 750 g·ha−1 and 452 + 500 g·ha−1, 75% and 50% of label rate), followed by strongly reduced rates of postemergence herbicides nicosulfuron + rimsulfuron + dicamba (N + R + D; 4 + 15.6 + 93.5 g·ha−1, 50%), tembotrione (T; 33 g·ha−1, 50%), mesotrione + nicosulfuron (M + N; 37.5 + 15 g·ha−1, 50%), foramsulfuron + iodosulfuron (F + J; 7.5 + 0.25 g·ha−1, 20%), and nikosulfuron (N; 15 g·ha−1, 33%) applied with methylated seed oil (MSO; 1.0 L·ha−1) and ammonium nitrate (AMN; 2 kg·ha−1) on 3–5 leaves of maize to assess weed control, grain yield, and economic net return. Reduced rate of soil-applied herbicide followed by reduced rates of any postemergence herbicides applied with adjuvants was the most efficacious weed control program, provided the highest grain yield of maize and similar or higher economic net return, despite 44 to 48% lower herbicide input than the program based on soil-applied herbicide mixture only. It brings not only notable economic benefits but also less negative impact on the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Root Temperature on Growth, Physiology, and Accumulation of Bioactive Compounds of Agastache rugosa
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050162 - 11 May 2020
Viewed by 452
Abstract
Plants respond to root temperature stresses by producing antioxidants as a defense mechanism. Since a number of these are phytochemicals with enhancing effects on human health, we examined the effects of 4 root-zone temperature (RZT) treatments (10, 20, 28, and 36 °C) on [...] Read more.
Plants respond to root temperature stresses by producing antioxidants as a defense mechanism. Since a number of these are phytochemicals with enhancing effects on human health, we examined the effects of 4 root-zone temperature (RZT) treatments (10, 20, 28, and 36 °C) on plant growth and the main bioactive compound concentrations in each organ of Agastache rugosa plants. We aimed to determine the optimal RZT treatment to increase bioactive compound concentrations with no deleterious effects on plant growth. Four-week-old seedlings were grown in a plant factory for 32 days. Nine plant growth parameters, namely, shoot and root fresh weights, stem and root lengths, leaf length and leaf width, leaf area, and shoot and root dry weights were significantly decreased at 10 and 36 °C compared with other treatments. A similar pattern was observed for the chlorophyll content and leaf gas exchange parameters. Of all the RZT treatments, RZT at 28 °C produced the significantly greatest accumulation of two major bioactive compounds, namely, rosmarinic acid (RA) and tilianin contents per the A. rugosa plant, and had no adverse effects on the overall growth of A. rugosa. This supports the use of 28 °C RZT to successfully improve the bioactive compounds with no adverse influence on plant growth or yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Environmental Stress Physiology and Metabolism)
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Open AccessReview
Automatic Detection and Monitoring of Insect Pests—A Review
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050161 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1310
Abstract
Many species of insect pests can be detected and monitored automatically. Several systems have been designed in order to improve integrated pest management (IPM) in the context of precision agriculture. Automatic detection traps have been developed for many important pests. These techniques and [...] Read more.
Many species of insect pests can be detected and monitored automatically. Several systems have been designed in order to improve integrated pest management (IPM) in the context of precision agriculture. Automatic detection traps have been developed for many important pests. These techniques and new technologies are very promising for the early detection and monitoring of aggressive and quarantine pests. The aim of the present paper is to review the techniques and scientific state of the art of the use of sensors for automatic detection and monitoring of insect pests. The paper focuses on the methods for identification of pests based in infrared sensors, audio sensors and image-based classification, presenting the different systems available, examples of applications and recent developments, including machine learning and Internet of Things. Future trends of automatic traps and decision support systems are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Analysis Techniques in Agriculture)
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