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Agriculture, Volume 10, Issue 7 (July 2020) – 59 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): An olive oil mill formed of four conical stones used in the milling of the olive was analyzed. To this end, we studied computer-aided engineering (CAE) with a static analysis using the finite element method (FEM) of the three-dimensional (3D) model of the mill under real operating conditions. The results reveal that the conical stone mill was a robust machine. In the most unfavorable situation (blockage of one of its millstones), the highest von Mises stress was 263.9 MPa, which is far from the elastic limit of cast iron (758 MPa). The maximum displacement obtained was 2.494 mm in the inertia flywheel and the equivalent deformations did not reach 0.1% of the part dimension. Similarly, the lowest safety coefficient was 2.87, although the second lowest safety coefficient had a value of 8.69, which showed that the set was oversized. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of A Cooled, Solid Lying Area on the Pen Fouling and Lying Behavior of Fattening Pigs
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070307 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 829
Abstract
Increasing demands on animal welfare and the higher temperatures in summer due to climate change make it necessary to adapt conventional pig husbandry systems. A cooled, solid lying area has the potential to increase lying comfort and reduce the heat stress, which improves [...] Read more.
Increasing demands on animal welfare and the higher temperatures in summer due to climate change make it necessary to adapt conventional pig husbandry systems. A cooled, solid lying area has the potential to increase lying comfort and reduce the heat stress, which improves animal welfare. In the present study, the effect of a cooled, solid lying area on lying and elimination behavior was investigated. In two fattening compartments, eight pens with 28 pigs each were rebuilt. Two pen designs, different in feeder place and type, were tested. The floor was cooled from 24.5 to 20 °C by cool water in half of the pens. A total of 672 fattening pigs were tested over three fattening periods. The lying behavior was recorded by video analysis three times per week and three times per day. In the pens with a cooled lying area, 14% (SED 2.9; p = 0.002), respectively 12% (SED 0.9; p = 0.0382) more pigs were lying on the solid lying area. Additionally, the fouling of the animals was reduced by the cooling in one pen design; the results were derived from weekly scores (0.42 vs. 0.67; SED 0.058 p = 0.0006). The fouling of the pen was not affected by the floor cooling, however, the fouling in all pens was very low. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Gliricidia Agroforestry Technology Adoption Potential in Selected Dryland Areas of Dodoma Region, Tanzania
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070306 - 20 Jul 2020
Viewed by 896
Abstract
Declining soil fertility is one of the major problems facing producers of field crops in most dryland areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. In response to the declining soil fertility, extensive participatory research has been undertaken by the World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and smallholder farmers in [...] Read more.
Declining soil fertility is one of the major problems facing producers of field crops in most dryland areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. In response to the declining soil fertility, extensive participatory research has been undertaken by the World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and smallholder farmers in Dodoma region, Tanzania. The research has, amongst others, led to the development of Gliricidia agroforestry technology. The positive impact of Gliricidia intercropping on crop yields has been established. However, information on farmers’ willingness and ability to adopt the Gliricidia agroforestry technology on their farms is limited. This study predicts the adoption of Gliricidia agroforestry and conventional mineral fertilizer use technology. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted with groups of farmers, purposively selected based on five sets of criteria: (i) at least 2 years of experience in either trying or using Gliricidia agroforestry technology, (ii) at least 1 year of experience in either trying or using the mineral fertilizer technology (iii) at least 10 years of living in the study villages, (iv) the age of 18 years and above, and (v) sex. The Adoption and Diffusion Outcome Prediction Tool (ADOPT) was used to predict the peak adoption levels and the respective time in years. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to assess the effect of change in adoption variables on predicted peak adoption levels and time to peak adoption. The results revealed variations in peak adoption levels with Gliricidia agroforestry technology exhibiting the highest peak of 67.6% in 12 years, and that the most influential variable to the peak adoption is the upfront cost of investing in Gliricidia agroforestry and fertilizer technologies. However, in Gliricidia agroforestry technology most production costs are incurred in the first year of project establishment but impact the long term biophysical and economic benefits. Moreover, farmers practicing agroforestry technology accrue environmental benefits, such as soil erosion control. Based on the results, it is plausible to argue that Gliricidia agroforestry technology has a high adoption potential and its adoption is influenced by investment costs. We recommend two actions to attract smallholder farmers investing in agroforestry technologies. First, enhancing farmers’ access to inputs at affordable prices. Second, raising farmers’ awareness of the long-term environmental benefits of Gliricidia agroforestry technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Plant Growth Regulators on Soft White Winter Wheat under Different Nitrogen Fertilizer Scenarios in Irrigated Fields
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070305 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Lodging in cereal crops can result in yield loss and harvesting difficulties for growers. Application of plant growth regulator (PGR) has been an indispensable management practice to reduce lodging problems that are often exacerbated during high wind growing conditions and/or high nitrogen (N)/water [...] Read more.
Lodging in cereal crops can result in yield loss and harvesting difficulties for growers. Application of plant growth regulator (PGR) has been an indispensable management practice to reduce lodging problems that are often exacerbated during high wind growing conditions and/or high nitrogen (N)/water environments, but the data is limited in the Columbia Basin of Oregon. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of two PGR products (chlormequat chloride-CC, trinexapac-ethyl-TE) at different rates and application timings on two soft white winter wheat varieties (ORCH-102 and SY Ovation). Crop growth (stem height and thickness), yield-related (spike density as ears m−2, seeds per spike, grain weight) and quality parameters (test weight, protein) were measured for two cropping seasons from October 2017 to July 2019 following the application of the two PGR products at tillering (GS21-26), stem elongation (GS30-32), and/or flag leaf (GS37-39) stages under a high-N fertilizer scenario. In both growing seasons, no lodging problems were recorded for any treatments. The plant height was reduced after PGR application, but the impact on stem thickness was limited. PGR application slightly affected wheat yield, yield components, testing weight, and protein level in both growing seasons. Our results suggested that the effect of PGR application is relatively limited if no lodging problem occurred. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Agronomic Practices for Maximizing Crop Growth and Yield)
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Open AccessArticle
Glyphosate Resistance in Amaranthus viridis in Brazilian Citrus Orchards
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070304 - 20 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 771
Abstract
Glyphosate is the main tool for weed management in Brazilian citrus orchards, where weeds, such as Conyza bonariensis and Digitaria insularis, have been found with resistance to this herbicide. Field prospections have allowed the identification of a possible new case of glyphosate [...] Read more.
Glyphosate is the main tool for weed management in Brazilian citrus orchards, where weeds, such as Conyza bonariensis and Digitaria insularis, have been found with resistance to this herbicide. Field prospections have allowed the identification of a possible new case of glyphosate resistance. In this work, the susceptibility levels to glyphosate on three Amaranthus viridis L. populations, with suspected resistance (R1, R2, and R-IAC), collected in citrus orchards from the São Paulo State, Brazil, as well as their accumulation rates of shikimic acid, were determined. The fresh weight of the susceptible population (S) was reduced by 50% (GR50) with ~30 g ea ha−1 glyphosate, while the GR50 values of the R populations were between 5.4 and 11.3 times higher than that for S population. The LD50 (herbicide dose to kill 50% of individuals of a weed population) values of the S population were ≤150 g ea ha−1 glyphosate, while the LD50 of the R populations ranged from 600 to 920 g ea ha−1. Based on the reduction of fresh weight and the survival rate, the R1 population showed the highest level of glyphosate resistance, which had GR50 and LD50 values of 248 and 918 g ea ha−1 glyphosate, respectively. The S population accumulated 240 µg shikimic acid at 1000 µM glyphosate, while the R1, R2, and R-IAC populations accumulated only 16, 43, and 33 µg shikimic acid, respectively (between 5.6 to 15 times less than the S population). Enzyme activity assays suggested that at least one target site-type mechanism was involved in resistance. This result revealed the first report of glyphosate resistance in A. viridis reported in the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Ecology and New Approaches for Management)
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Open AccessCommunication
The Use of Air Induction Nozzles for Application of Fertilizing Preparations Containing Beneficial Microorganisms
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070303 - 19 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 774
Abstract
The work presents the structure and characteristics of field sprayer nozzles, as well as their impact on the survival of beneficial organisms in the selected fertilizing preparations. EŻK and EŻKT nozzles, (EŻK and EŻKT are trade names of single and twin jet air [...] Read more.
The work presents the structure and characteristics of field sprayer nozzles, as well as their impact on the survival of beneficial organisms in the selected fertilizing preparations. EŻK and EŻKT nozzles, (EŻK and EŻKT are trade names of single and twin jet air induction nozzles, respectively), that are available on the market have shown low efficiency in the discussed characteristics. Survival of microorganisms under initial conditions at 13.6 × 106 cfu/mL and pressure of 0 MPa, under critical conditions dropped to 1.7 × 106 cfu/mL for EŻK02 and 1.2 × 106 cfu/mL for EŻKT02, in both variants at a pressure of 0.5 MPa. When increasing the flow rate of the components, i.e., the size of the outlet orifices, it was observed that the survival of microorganisms increased by about 11.3% compared to the previously tested component. This resulted from the negative impact of the following: the pressure generated by the application device, number of outlet orifices, and size of an outlet orifice. The results of survival of microorganisms are given in the colony-forming unit (CFU). In addition to providing guidelines useful in the creation of a prototype sprayer intended for use in the application of microbiological preparations, the presented characteristics are a source of information for the end user as regards the proper conditions for the application of these preparations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Systemic Acquired Resistance Induced by Compatible and Incompatible Tomato Mosaic Viruses Effectively Controls Bacterial Spot and Speck Diseases in Tomato
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070302 - 17 Jul 2020
Viewed by 653
Abstract
Tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L.) cv. Moperou, which possess gene Tm-2 for resistance against tomato mosaic virus (ToMV), were pre-inoculated with compatible pathotype P2 or incompatible pathotype P0 strains of ToMV and subsequently challenge infected with Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato and Xanthomonas [...] Read more.
Tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L.) cv. Moperou, which possess gene Tm-2 for resistance against tomato mosaic virus (ToMV), were pre-inoculated with compatible pathotype P2 or incompatible pathotype P0 strains of ToMV and subsequently challenge infected with Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato and Xanthomonas vesicatoria. It was found that both types of virus strains, compatible and incompatible, induced systemic acquired resistance (SAR), which protected plants from subsequent pathogen infection. The percentage of protection of the compatible ToMV pathotype P2 strain was 100% against both bacterial infections, while that of the incompatible ToMV pathotype P0 strain varied from 26 to 77% within the timeline and depended on the pathogen races. The SAR induced by ToMV was confirmed by the increased antioxidant defense and hydrogen peroxide content in the leaves of tomato plants inoculated with compatible and incompatible ToMV strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pest and Weeds)
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Open AccessArticle
Ecological and Economic Indicators for the Evaluation of Almond (Prunus dulcis L.) Orchard Renewal in Sicily
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070301 - 17 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 815
Abstract
Globally, almond production is experiencing a growing trend thanks to a strong interest in the health, gastronomic, and industrial properties that are linked to the fruits and their derivatives. After a constant and marked decline in the second half of the last century, [...] Read more.
Globally, almond production is experiencing a growing trend thanks to a strong interest in the health, gastronomic, and industrial properties that are linked to the fruits and their derivatives. After a constant and marked decline in the second half of the last century, the Mediterranean Basin is thoroughly reassessing this crop, which provides significant results with a modern orchard management. The opportunity determined by the transition from traditional to modern systems have increased the interest in evaluating the different environmental impacts of the two cultivation models that still coexist today. In this work, through the application of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and an economic assessment approach with an in-depth analysis related to the cultivation cycle and the use of resources, the role played by each factor involved in production was determined. Overall, the Greenhouses Gases (GHG) emissions in modern farms are higher (Global Warming Potential (GWP) 0.224 kg CO2 eq.) than those in traditional farms (GWP 0.182 kg CO2 eq.). Regarding the economic assessment, it appears relevant that the modern almond model in the full production phase guarantees significantly higher margins (+84%).The perception of the importance attributed to evaluating economic and environmental aspects by different stakeholders shows relevant differences in the approach coming from growers, dealers, and governmental institutions allows the investigators to positively underline the current innovation in almond orchard systems considering the balance between fruit production and the conservation of environmental resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Water Quality and Date Palm Biochar on Evaporation and Specific Hydrological Characteristics of Sandy Soil
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070300 - 15 Jul 2020
Viewed by 682
Abstract
Experiments were conducted in a soil laboratory using transparent columns (5 and 40 cm in diameter and length, respectively) to evaluate the effects of water quality (i.e., fresh or saline water) with the addition of biochar on soil moisture characteristics. Soil and biochar [...] Read more.
Experiments were conducted in a soil laboratory using transparent columns (5 and 40 cm in diameter and length, respectively) to evaluate the effects of water quality (i.e., fresh or saline water) with the addition of biochar on soil moisture characteristics. Soil and biochar were gently combined and added into the top 10 cm of each column at a rate of 2%, 4%, 6%, and 8% (w/w). The results show a decrease in cumulative evaporation by 29.27%, 16.47%, 14.17%, and 14.61% with freshwater, and by 21.24%, 12.22%, 21.08%, and 12.67% with saline water for B1, B2, B3, and B4, respectively, compared with unamended soil (B1, B2, B3 and B4 represent the treatments with the biochar rate of 2, 4, 6, and 8%, respectively). Cumulative infiltration was reduced by 34.38%, 43.37%, 58.89%, and 57.07% with freshwater, and by 30.18%, 44.38%, 54.44%, and 49.11% with saline water for B1, B2, B3, and B4, respectively. The infiltration rate was reduced by 32.73%, 42.17%, 57.82%, and 56.85% with freshwater, and 42.09%, 54.61%, 62.68%, and 58.41% with saline water for T1, T2, T3, and T4, respectively, compared with the control. The saturated hydraulic conductivity of B1 decreased significantly by 92.8% and 67.72% with fresh and saline water, respectively. Biochar, as a soil conditioner, could be used in arid conditions with fresh and saline water to enhance the hydrological properties of sandy soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Geographical Effects in Hedonic Pricing Models for Grass-Fed Cattle in Uruguay
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070299 - 15 Jul 2020
Viewed by 763
Abstract
A series of non-spatial and spatial hedonic models of feeding and replacement cattle prices at video auctions in Uruguay (2002 to 2009) were specified with predictors measuring marketing conditions (e.g., steer price), cattle characteristics (e.g., breed) and agro-ecological factors (e.g., soil productivity, water [...] Read more.
A series of non-spatial and spatial hedonic models of feeding and replacement cattle prices at video auctions in Uruguay (2002 to 2009) were specified with predictors measuring marketing conditions (e.g., steer price), cattle characteristics (e.g., breed) and agro-ecological factors (e.g., soil productivity, water characteristics, pasture condition, season). Results indicated that cattle prices produced under extensive production systems were influenced by all of predictor categories, confirming that found previously. Although many of the agro-ecological predictors were inherently spatial in nature, the incorporation of spatial effects into the estimation of the hedonic model itself, through either a spatially-autocorrelated error term or allowing the regression coefficients to vary spatially and at different scales, was able to provide greater insight into the cattle price process. Through the latter extension, using a multiscale geographically weighted regression, which was the most informative and most accurate model, relationships between cattle price and predictors operated at a mixture of global, regional, local and highly local spatial scales. This result is considered a key advance, where uncovering, interpreting, and utilizing such rich spatial information can help improve the geographical provenance of Uruguayan beef and is critically important for maintaining Uruguay’s status as a key exporter of beef with respect to the health and safety benefits of natural, open-sky, grass-fed production systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Loofah Lines for Resistance to Tomato Leaf Curl New Delhi Virus and Downy Mildew, as well as Key Horticultural Traits
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070298 - 15 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
Two loofah (Luffa) species, the ridge gourd (Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb.) and the sponge gourd (L. cylindrica (L.) M. Roem.; syn. L. aegyptiaca), are cultivated widely in Asia by smallholder famers. Both species have significant economic and [...] Read more.
Two loofah (Luffa) species, the ridge gourd (Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb.) and the sponge gourd (L. cylindrica (L.) M. Roem.; syn. L. aegyptiaca), are cultivated widely in Asia by smallholder famers. Both species have significant economic and nutritional importance. However, Tomato leaf curl New Delhi virus (ToLCNDV) and downy mildew (DM) caused by Pseudoperonospora cubensis are important biotic constraints to loofah production throughout Asia. Loofah landrace-derived breeding lines, developed at the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg), were evaluated at the WorldVeg East and Southeast Asia Research and Training Station, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen, Thailand—where natural epidemics of ToLCNDV and DM regularly occur. The lines were also evaluated for other commercially important horticultural traits such as days to 50% staminate and pistillate flowering, fruit color, fruit bitterness, and market segment classification. Thirteen and 59 lines of ridge gourd and sponge gourd, respectively, were determined to be resistant to both ToLCNDV and DM. These lines covered all market segments of loofah and exhibited variability for all of the evaluated horticultural traits. The results of these evaluations and their implications on loofah breeding are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation and Characterization of Vegetable Crop Biodiversity)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Deficit Irrigation and Water Quality on Production and Water Productivity of Tomato in Greenhouse
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070297 - 14 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1141
Abstract
This study deals with the evaluation of the effects of deficit irrigation (DI) and water quality (WQ) on the vegetative and productive response of greenhouse-grown tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Izmir). A pot-based experiment was carried out over two growing seasons. [...] Read more.
This study deals with the evaluation of the effects of deficit irrigation (DI) and water quality (WQ) on the vegetative and productive response of greenhouse-grown tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Izmir). A pot-based experiment was carried out over two growing seasons. Three WQ: (groundwater, recycled wastewater and a mix of both) were applied in four irrigation scenarios which targeted soil moisture content (SMC) maintaining at 60%, 70%, 80% and 100% of field capacity (FC). Results showed that both DI and WQ had significant effects on crop development, yield and water productivity. The highest values of plant height (186.0 ± 0.58 cm) and stem diameter (23.40 ± 0.02 mm) were found at 100% FC (control). Total yield ranged from 2.33 ± 0.03 kg/plant (60% FC) to 4.05 ± 0.06 kg/plant (control). However, mild water stress (SMC maintaining at 80% FC) showed a positive effect on irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) without significant yield reduction compared to control. IWUE was at its maximum (31.77 ± 0.47 kg/m3) at 80% FC. A DI regime based on 80% FC could be an efficient irrigation strategy particularly in water-limiting condition. Recycled wastewater was superior among the three WQ for achieving a better crop growth, yield and water productivity at same DI level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Particle Size Imbalance Index from Compositional Analysis to Evaluate Cereal Sustainability for Arid Soils in Eastern Algeria
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070296 - 14 Jul 2020
Viewed by 634
Abstract
For homogeneous fertilization and crop management practices, this work hypothesized that texture could influence cereal yield, particularly in dry regions. Particle size analysis could help improve knowledge of the soil-plant relationship to obtain favorable conditions for better yield. The objective of this work [...] Read more.
For homogeneous fertilization and crop management practices, this work hypothesized that texture could influence cereal yield, particularly in dry regions. Particle size analysis could help improve knowledge of the soil-plant relationship to obtain favorable conditions for better yield. The objective of this work is to develop a single granulometric index for durum wheat (Triticum durum) that is well correlated with yield. For this purpose, 350 independent samples of cereal soils from eastern Algeria were taken and the recorded yields were linked to these samples. The cutoff yield, which separates sub-populations with acceptable yield from those with less acceptable yield, was determined from the inflection point of the cumulative variance ratio functions related to yield by the Richards’ equation. The result obtained is 2.0 Mg.ha−1, with a theoretical critical chi-square value of 4.2, close to 4.6, which is the critical value of r2granulo as obtained by the Cate-Nelson procedure. The five-granulometric indices were found to be symmetrical around zero as follows: ±0.83 for clay (IC), ±1.73 for fine silt (IFL), ±0.31 for coarse silt (ICL), ±0.44 for fine sand (IFS), and ±1.30 for coarse sand (ICS). The two fractions that most influence the textural imbalance are fine silt (IFL) and coarse sand (ICS), with a contribution of 41% and 37%, respectively. The critical single imbalance index r g r a n u l o 2 can be used for determining cereal suitability for soils in the arid region of eastern Algeria. The lower the   r g r a n u l o 2 is, the better the soil for cereal crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Quality and Crop Nutrition)
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Open AccessArticle
Food Insecurity among Small-Scale Farmers in Poland
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070295 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 850
Abstract
The problem of food insecurity is generally associated with developing countries, but at the household level it also occurs in developed countries, especially in socially vulnerable groups, such as small-scale farms. However, the issue of food insecurity in developed countries, especially at the [...] Read more.
The problem of food insecurity is generally associated with developing countries, but at the household level it also occurs in developed countries, especially in socially vulnerable groups, such as small-scale farms. However, the issue of food insecurity in developed countries, especially at the household level, is rather neglected in the scientific literature. This study was conducted to fill this gap and examine the level of food insecurity among small-scale farms in Poland. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire from 710 small-scale farms in Poland. The incidence and degree of food insecurity was measured with the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS). The study found that about 43% of the respondents were exposed to food insecurity, including almost 9% to severe food insecurity, which is well above the average for the entire Polish population. By applying cross-tabulation and the zero-inflated Poisson regression model, the study found that the higher age and secondary or higher education of the farm manager, having children in the household and higher land productivity have a statistically significant negative influence on households’ food insecurity (i.e., decreased HFIAS score). On the contrary, family size of five or more and production type “permanent crops” and “dairy cows” have a statistically significant positive influence on households’ food insecurity (i.e., increased HFIAS score). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of the Imperative of Rural Area Development on Panel Data in the Process of Managing Agricultural Holdings in Poland
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070294 - 14 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 618
Abstract
In today’s Polish economy, management processes in agri-business should be considered and taken into account in a more comprehensive way. The accession to the European Union created an obligation for Poland to implement solutions arising from the Common Agricultural Policy. Due to factors [...] Read more.
In today’s Polish economy, management processes in agri-business should be considered and taken into account in a more comprehensive way. The accession to the European Union created an obligation for Poland to implement solutions arising from the Common Agricultural Policy. Due to factors related to management in agri-business, farmer-entrepreneurs started to pay more attention to issues connected with the management process. An agricultural holding, like every enterprise, in order to be competitive and achieve a constant market presence, needs to adapt its production to current needs, invest in its development (thus, contributing to the development of rural areas), improve the quality of its products, and modernise. Management of agricultural enterprises is specific in character because the decisions that are made often concern not only production or investment, but also creation of actions that rely on management solutions. The aim of the paper is to present an original imperative (the imperative in article is a synonym for the word model) that is estimated by the method of least squares and uses panel data related to the measure ‘Creation and development of micro-enterprises’, including the implementation of funds for modernisation and development of investments in micro-enterprises. The results of the study made it possible to assess the effects of managing agricultural micro-enterprises in 16 provinces in Poland in the context of the decisions they made regarding the use of the funds under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007–2013. These results can be used in the assessment of RDP management in the current financial perspective 2014–2020, which attests to their universality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating the Impact of Poverty Alleviation Microcredit on the Income of Poor Households Using the Propensity Score Matching Method: Evidence from China
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070293 - 14 Jul 2020
Viewed by 717
Abstract
The poverty alleviation microcredit policy is an important financial poverty alleviation policy that has been widely implemented in China in recent years. However, whether this policy can effectively increase the income of poor households is controversial. In order to measure the implementation effect [...] Read more.
The poverty alleviation microcredit policy is an important financial poverty alleviation policy that has been widely implemented in China in recent years. However, whether this policy can effectively increase the income of poor households is controversial. In order to measure the implementation effect of the policy, we analyzed the mechanism of the poverty alleviation microcredit on the income of poor households. Then, the paper used micro-survey data to conduct an empirical test using the propensity score matching method to study its effect on the production income of these poor households. The results show that the poverty alleviation microcredit positively affects the production income of poor households, including those who are poor due to lack of funds and poor households with female heads. Therefore, we should continue to implement the poverty alleviation microcredit policy, and establish relevant supporting measures, such as strengthening agricultural production capital subsidies, increasing agricultural production insurance, further improving the implementation efficiency of the poverty alleviation microcredit policy, and increasing the income of poor households. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Research on Inversion Model of Cultivated Soil Moisture Content Based on Hyperspectral Imaging Analysis
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070292 - 13 Jul 2020
Viewed by 742
Abstract
Based on hyperspectral imaging technology, rapid and efficient prediction of soil moisture content (SMC) can provide an essential basis for the formulation of precise agricultural programs (e.g., forestry irrigation and environmental management). To build an efficient inversion model of SMC, this paper collected [...] Read more.
Based on hyperspectral imaging technology, rapid and efficient prediction of soil moisture content (SMC) can provide an essential basis for the formulation of precise agricultural programs (e.g., forestry irrigation and environmental management). To build an efficient inversion model of SMC, this paper collected 117 cultivated soil samples from the Chair Hill area and tested them using the GaiaSorter hyperspectral sorter. The collected soil reflectance dataset was preprocessed by wavelet transform, before the combination of competitive adaptive reweighted sampling algorithm and successive projections algorithm (CARS-SPA) was used to select the bands optimally. Seven wavelengths of 695, 711, 736, 747, 767, 778, and 796 nm were selected and used as the factors of the SMC inversion model. The popular linear regression algorithm was employed to construct this model. The result indicated that the inversion model established by the multiple linear regression algorithm (the predicted R2 was 0.83 and the RMSE was 0.0078) was feasible and highly accurate, indicating it could play an important role in predicting SMC of cultivated soils over a large area for agricultural irrigation and remote monitoring of crop yields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Open AccessArticle
Incidence of Escherichia coli in Vegetable Crops and Soil Profile Drip Irrigated with Primarily Treated Municipal Wastewater in a Semi-Arid Peri Urban Area
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070291 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 941
Abstract
This study investigates the incidence of Escherichia coli in cauliflower, bitter gourd and soil profile drip-irrigated with municipal wastewater in a semi-arid peri-urban area in India. There were four treatments: drip irrigation with primarily treated municipal wastewater through inline (non-pressure compensating) surface drip [...] Read more.
This study investigates the incidence of Escherichia coli in cauliflower, bitter gourd and soil profile drip-irrigated with municipal wastewater in a semi-arid peri-urban area in India. There were four treatments: drip irrigation with primarily treated municipal wastewater through inline (non-pressure compensating) surface drip (T1), inline subsurface drip (T2), bioline (pressure compensating) subsurface drip (T3) and bioline surface drip (T4). Results revealed that T1 had the highest concentration of E.coli (35 ± 2.66 and 25 ± 2.26 colony forming unit (CFU) g˗1) and T3 had the lowest concentration of E. coli (29 ± 2.29 and 18.9 ± 2.04 CFU g˗1) for cauliflower and bitter gourd, respectively. In bitter gourd top fruits (1 m above the ground level), the E. coli count was significantly lower (p < 0.05) than in the surface level fruits. There was also a considerable reduction of E. coli counts in bioline drip lateral as compared to the inline drip. A higher concentration of E. coli (470 ± 70.5 and 410 ± 36.9 CFU g˗1 soil) was also found in the top soil (0–0.15 m) in T1 treatment, while the minimum (154 ± 13.86 and 95 ± 14.25 CFU g˗1) was observed in T3. Hence, bioline drip lateral may be a better option for wastewater irrigation as compared to inline drip to reduce microbial contamination of crop and soil. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Relative Maturity and Grain Yield of Maize (Zea mays L.) Hybrids in Northwest New Mexico for the 2003–2019 Period
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070290 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 790
Abstract
The highly variable weather under changing climate conditions affects the establishment and the cutoff of crop growing season and exposes crops to failure if producers choose non-adapted relative maturity that matches the characteristics of the crop growing season. This study aimed to determine [...] Read more.
The highly variable weather under changing climate conditions affects the establishment and the cutoff of crop growing season and exposes crops to failure if producers choose non-adapted relative maturity that matches the characteristics of the crop growing season. This study aimed to determine the relationship between maize hybrid relative maturity and the grain yield and determine the relative maturity range that will sustain maize production in northwest New Mexico (NM). Different relative maturity maize hybrids were grown at the Agricultural Science Center at Farmington ((Latitude 36.69° North, Longitude 108.31° West, elevation 1720 m) from 2003 to 2019 under sprinkler irrigation. A total of 343 hybrids were grouped as early and full season hybrids according to their relative maturity that ranged from 93 to 119 and 64 hybrids with unknown relative maturity. The crops were grown under optimal management condition with no stress of any kind. The results showed non-significant increase in grain yield in early season hybrids and non-significant decrease in grain yield with relative maturity in full season hybrids. The relative maturity range of 100–110 obtained reasonable high grain yields and could be considered under the northwestern New Mexico climatic conditions. However, more research should target the evaluation of different planting date coupled with plant population density to determine the planting window for the early season and full season hybrids for the production optimization and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genotype Evaluation and Breeding)
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Open AccessArticle
The Increase in the Arsenic Concentration in Brown Rice Due to High Temperature during the Ripening Period and Its Reduction by Silicate Material Treatment
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070289 - 12 Jul 2020
Viewed by 822
Abstract
We investigated the effect of temperature during the ripening period on the rice yield and arsenic (As) concentration in brown rice, using temperature gradient chambers (TGCs). Rice grown in Wagner pots (1/5000a) was placed in three TGCs (each TGC was set at four [...] Read more.
We investigated the effect of temperature during the ripening period on the rice yield and arsenic (As) concentration in brown rice, using temperature gradient chambers (TGCs). Rice grown in Wagner pots (1/5000a) was placed in three TGCs (each TGC was set at four temperature levels: ambient, mildly-high temperature, moderately-high temperature, and super-high temperature) from one week after heading until harvest. In the TGCs, a range of mean air temperatures was observed in the range of 2 °C above the ambient temperature. There was a significant negative correlation between the brown rice yield and the air and soil temperatures, and the increase in air and soil temperatures resulted in a decrease in the yield. The reduction in yield was significantly mitigated by the application of calcium silicate. The concentration of As in the brown rice was significantly positively correlated with the air and soil temperature, and the concentration of As increased with increasing air and soil temperatures. When calcium silicate was applied, the concentration of As in brown rice was significantly lower at all temperature ranges, and its application was effective in reducing the arsenic concentration even at high temperatures. These results suggest that the application of silicate material may help mitigate the decrease in yield and the increasing As concentration in brown rice even under high-temperature conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics of Nutrition, Growth, Carcass and Meat of Male Goats Fed Babassu Mesocarp Flour
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070288 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 649
Abstract
Twenty-eight Boer × Saanen castrated male goats (21.6 ± 3.0 kg of initial body weigh) were distributed in a randomized complete block design to evaluate the effects of increasing levels (0, 100, 200 or 300 g/kg, in dry matter basis) of dietary babassu [...] Read more.
Twenty-eight Boer × Saanen castrated male goats (21.6 ± 3.0 kg of initial body weigh) were distributed in a randomized complete block design to evaluate the effects of increasing levels (0, 100, 200 or 300 g/kg, in dry matter basis) of dietary babassu mesocarp flour (BMF) on performance, nutrient digestibility, carcass characteristics, and meat physical and chemical composition. When significant treatment effects were found, data were submitted to orthogonal polynomials for treatment responses. BMF did not change the intake and digestibility of dry matter and crude protein. However, it increased linearly the total carbohydrates intake (p = 0.013), neutral detergent fiber intake (p < 0.001) and digestibility (p = 0.027), while it decreased linearly the intake of non-fibrous carbohydrates (p < 0.001) and ether extract (p < 0.001), without changing their digestibility (p > 0.05). The dressing percentage (p = 0.003) and rib eye area (p = 0.024) had a quadratic effect with increasing levels of BMF. The total gastrointestinal weight (TGI) had an increased linear effect (p = 0.001), while the proportion of rumen (p = 0.010), omasum (p < 0.001) and abomasum (p = 0.001) increased linearly with BMF addition. The same effects were presented in leg weight (p = 0.045) and muscle weight (p = 0.049). Weight and yields of commercial cuts and meat physicochemical composition did not change (p > 0.05) with inclusion levels of BMF. The addition of babassu mesocarp flour up to 200 g/kg in the diet of male goat can improve the dressing percentage without major changes in meat physical and chemical traits, representing an attractive alternative feed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Factors Influencing Youth Involvement in Horticulture Agribusiness in Tanzania: A Case Study of Njombe Region
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070287 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
Involvement of youth in horticulture agribusiness has become a vital approach to create employment opportunities among the youth in Tanzania. This study aimed at examining the extent of youth participation and factors influencing youth involvement in horticulture agribusiness with a focus on innovations [...] Read more.
Involvement of youth in horticulture agribusiness has become a vital approach to create employment opportunities among the youth in Tanzania. This study aimed at examining the extent of youth participation and factors influencing youth involvement in horticulture agribusiness with a focus on innovations in post-harvest management (PHM). Data were collected from a sample of 576 male and female youth in Njombe region using a multi-stage random sampling technique. Data were analyzed using an ordered logit model and descriptive statistics. Results of the ordered logit analysis showed that primary school education, Form IV and above, management innovation, access to credit, good perception of horticulture for agribusiness and improved packaging materials positively and significantly influence youth involvement in horticulture agribusiness. Gender and land size had a negative and significant influence on youth involvement in horticulture agribusiness, as indicated by higher percentages of male youth (59%) participation in the horticulture agribusiness. Therefore, this study suggests increased investment in capacity development of the youth on PHM innovations and the development of rural infrastructure such as agro-processing and storage facilities by the government and private sector. Increasing the availability of improved packaging materials and provision of youth-friendly credit schemes could encourage youth in horticulture agribusiness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessReview
Linking Endophytic Fungi to Medicinal Plants Therapeutic Activity. A Case Study on Asteraceae
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070286 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1407
Abstract
Endophytes are isolated from every plant species investigated to date, so the metabolome coevolution has been affecting the plants’ (microbiota) ethnobotanic, especially therapeutic, usage. Asteraceae fulfill the rationale for plant selection to isolate endophytes since most of the species of this family have [...] Read more.
Endophytes are isolated from every plant species investigated to date, so the metabolome coevolution has been affecting the plants’ (microbiota) ethnobotanic, especially therapeutic, usage. Asteraceae fulfill the rationale for plant selection to isolate endophytes since most of the species of this family have a long tradition of healing usage, confirmed by modern pharmacognosy. The present review compiles recent references on the endophyte−Asteraceae spp. interactions, targeting the secondary metabolites profile as created by both members of this biological system. Endophyte fungi associated with Asteraceae have been collected globally, however, dominant taxa that produce bioactive compounds were specific for the plant populations of different geographic origins. Endophytic fungi richness within the host plant and the biological activity were positively associated. Moreover, the pharmacological action was linked to the plant part, so differential forms of biological interactions in roots, stem, leaves, inflorescences were developed between endophytic fungi and host plants. The comparative analysis of the Asteraceae host and/or fungal endophyte therapeutic activity showed similarities that need a future explanation on the metabolome level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence and Functions of Endophytic Fungi in Crop Species)
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Open AccessArticle
Response of Yellow Lupine to the Proximity of Other Plants and Unplanted Path in Strip Intercropping
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070285 - 10 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 610
Abstract
Taking into account the climatic conditions of central Europe, yellow lupine is often considered as an alternative to soybean, which has significantly higher thermal requirements. Attempts to intercrop yellow lupine with cereals have often resulted in failure. In combined production, the relative amount [...] Read more.
Taking into account the climatic conditions of central Europe, yellow lupine is often considered as an alternative to soybean, which has significantly higher thermal requirements. Attempts to intercrop yellow lupine with cereals have often resulted in failure. In combined production, the relative amount of lupine has proven to be considerably smaller given the sowing mix proportions and its yield potential in pure stand. Low yield is attributed to lupine’s low competitive potential, therefore strip intercropping presents a viable alternative. The main goal of the experiment was to determine the response of yellow lupine to the neighboring presence of wheat, triticale, barley, and pea, as well as to estimate the production effects of lupine in strip intercropping. Field trials were carried out in Poland (53°13′ N; 17°51′ E) in the years 2008–2010. The experimental factor consisted of row layout: a four-row separation between lupine and the neighboring species. The proximity of cereals and peas proved to be most unfavorable to yellow lupine. It was determined that yellow lupine was most intolerant of barley and least affected by the proximity of peas. Depending on the neighboring species, adverse effects extended up to the third row of lupine’s canopy. A beneficial alternative for the production effect involves an introduction of a path separating the lupine strip from the tested species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productive and Ecological Aspects of Mixed Cropping System)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Agronomical and Technological Treatments to Obtain Selenium-Fortified Table Olives
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070284 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 673
Abstract
The biofortification of food crops for human consumption is a direct strategy for increasing dietary intake of selenium (Se). The aims of this study were the evaluation of different Se-fortification variables (concentration and number of foliar applications) for obtainment of fortified olives and [...] Read more.
The biofortification of food crops for human consumption is a direct strategy for increasing dietary intake of selenium (Se). The aims of this study were the evaluation of different Se-fortification variables (concentration and number of foliar applications) for obtainment of fortified olives and the efficacy of two technological treatments (brining and dehydration) applied to them in the maintenance of this element. The research was carried out in two experiments: the results of first one were that the application of the highest Se concentration (75 mL L−1) on olive trees was useful to obtain fortified Gordal olives (650 µg kg−1) but the further brining process did not allow an acceptable retention of this nutrient in olive pulp for its dissolution in brines: the decrease was from 92 to 99%. The second experiment concerned in different number of foliar applications of the best previously tested Se-solution (75 mL·L−1) to obtain fortified Carolea olives, that were then submitted to different drying processes to became edible. The available selenium in the final products was better retained in olives dried without any preliminary treatment prior to drying and in those pre-treated by dried salt, with different trends linked to foliar application number. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quality Profile of Single-Breed Alpine Grey and Pinzgauer Bulk Milk
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070283 - 10 Jul 2020
Viewed by 969
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to investigate sources of variation in bulk milk composition, somatic cell score, coagulation properties, and mineral content of Alpine Grey and Pinzgauer single-breed herds in the Italian alpine area. A total of 56,914 bulk milk samples [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to investigate sources of variation in bulk milk composition, somatic cell score, coagulation properties, and mineral content of Alpine Grey and Pinzgauer single-breed herds in the Italian alpine area. A total of 56,914 bulk milk samples from 461 farms located in the Bolzano province (Northeast Italy) were available for statistical analysis. Least squares means revealed that Pinzgauer herds produced milk with greater fat content and shorter rennet coagulation time than Alpine Grey herds, but the latter had greater milk protein content and lower somatic cell scores than Pinzgauer herds. The greatest content of Ca, protein, and casein and the most favorable coagulation properties were observed in milk sampled in autumn in both breeds. Results should serve to differentiate the milk of Alpine Grey cattle and Pinzgauer cattle from milk of other cattle breeds and thus provide necessary arguments for developing new production concepts that might expand future opportunities for further valorizing these local, dual-purpose breeds and therefore contribute long-term to their preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
Open AccessArticle
Continuous and Intermittent Drying of Rough Rice: Effects on Process Effective Time and Effective Mass Diffusivity
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070282 - 09 Jul 2020
Viewed by 547
Abstract
The choice of the drying process plays a key role in reducing the costs of electricity consumption in the food industry. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate continuous and intermittent drying of rough rice, using empirical and diffusion models to describe the drying [...] Read more.
The choice of the drying process plays a key role in reducing the costs of electricity consumption in the food industry. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate continuous and intermittent drying of rough rice, using empirical and diffusion models to describe the drying kinetics, considering only effective time of operation to compare and evaluate these processes. Experiments were carried out during the month of April 2018, in Campina Grande, Paraiba Brazil, and were conducted with continuous and intermittent drying of rough rice grains (about 20 g, each experiment) using a fixed-bed dryer with constant power, at temperatures of 50 and 70 °C. For the intermittent experiments, the intermittency ratio was α = 2/3 and the drying periods were 10 and 20 min, with intermittency periods of 20 and 40 min, respectively. Comparison between continuous and intermittent drying kinetics indicated reduction in the effective time of all intermittent drying experiments, reaching up to 32.2%, hence promoting energy saving. It was also found that a one-dimensional diffusion model with boundary condition of the first kind properly described all rough rice drying processes and that the effective mass diffusivity is higher in intermittent drying, compared to continuous drying at the same temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
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Open AccessArticle
Pastoral Farming in the Ili Delta, Kazakhstan, under Decreasing Water Inflow: An Economic Assessment
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070281 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 721
Abstract
River deltas provide the most productive pastures in Central Asia. Simultaneously they are highly vulnerable to water inflow changes. The aim of this study was to conduct an economic assessment of the short- and medium-term effect of reduced water inflow on farmers’ performance [...] Read more.
River deltas provide the most productive pastures in Central Asia. Simultaneously they are highly vulnerable to water inflow changes. The aim of this study was to conduct an economic assessment of the short- and medium-term effect of reduced water inflow on farmers’ performance within the Ili Delta. Primary data were collected through 35 interviews with farmers and additional experts in 2015. Production parameters for three types of individual farms were estimated and entered into a full cost accounting. Contribution margins were calculated for three scenarios: (I) sufficient water inflow (normal situation), (II) decreasing water inflow, and (III) significantly reduced water inflow (worst case). Farmers purchase hay to adapt to pasture production loss due to decreasing water inflow. This more than doubled the variable costs of worst case in comparison to normal situation for small-, medium-, and large-scale type of individual farm. Monte Carlo simulation indicates a risk of 74% (small-scale farm) and 3% (medium-scale farm) that already variable costs will exceed revenues. Despite their high fixed costs, only large-scale individual farms generate positive net farm income from operations in the worst case due to government payments from participation in elite bull program that account for one-third of total revenue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Open AccessArticle
By-Product of Cotton Agribusiness as an Alternative Protein Source for Rams
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070280 - 08 Jul 2020
Viewed by 598
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect on intake, digestibility and fractionation of carbohydrates and proteins of cottonseed cake as an alternative protein source in rams diets. The diets were composed of corn silage, soybean meal, ground corn, urea, and [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect on intake, digestibility and fractionation of carbohydrates and proteins of cottonseed cake as an alternative protein source in rams diets. The diets were composed of corn silage, soybean meal, ground corn, urea, and cottonseed cake (0, 70, 140 and 210 g/kg dry matter (DM)) in a roughage/concentrate ratio of 50:50. Thirty-two Santa Ines rams, average age 12 months and weight 27.48 ± 4.96 kg were distributed in a completely randomised design. A reduction of 0.161 g/day in crude protein (CP) intake was observed for each gram of cottonseed cake inclusion. The intake of non-fiber carbohydrate (NFC) decreased by 0.511 g/day for each gram of cottonseed cake inclusion. Similarly, the ratio between intake of DM (p = 0.034), CP (p < 0.001), NFC (p = 0.004) and body weight decreased with cottonseed cake inclusion. Inclusion of cottonseed cake caused decreases in the digestibility coefficients of DM (p < 0.001), CP (p < 0.001) and NFC (p = 0.002). A reduction of 0.716 g was observed in carbohydrate fraction A + B1 (p = 0.006). The inclusion of cottonseed cake in the rams feed should be carried out with caution because this by-product promotes linear reduction in intake and digestibility nutrient, in addition to modifying the amounts of digestible and indigestible fractions in the diets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
Open AccessArticle
Sources of Total-Factor Productivity and Efficiency Changes in China’s Agriculture
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070279 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 822
Abstract
The core of agricultural development depends on agricultural production efficiency improvement, and total-factor productivity growth is its significant embodiment. Hence, it is essential to address the question of “how to improve China’s agricultural productivity and efficiency in order to achieve growth and sustainability [...] Read more.
The core of agricultural development depends on agricultural production efficiency improvement, and total-factor productivity growth is its significant embodiment. Hence, it is essential to address the question of “how to improve China’s agricultural productivity and efficiency in order to achieve growth and sustainability of agriculture in the future”. This paper estimates indices of China’s agricultural technical efficiency (TE) scores, total-factor productivity (TFP), and its two components, technological change/progress (TC) and technical efficiency change (EC), using provincial-level panel data of 30 provinces from 2002 to 2017 by applying a stochastic frontier approach (SFA). The paper also identifies determinants of TE, TC, and TFP using selected indicators from four hierarchical levels of the economy, i.e., farm level, production environment level, provincial level, and the state level, by applying a system-GMM method. Results reveal that agricultural labor, machinery, agricultural plastic film, and pesticides are the significant drivers of agricultural productivity, with no significant role of land area under cultivation. Constant returns to scale exist in China’s agriculture. The agricultural technical efficiency level fluctuated between 80% and 91% with a stable trend and a slight decline in later years, while TFP improved consistently over time, mainly driven by technological progress. Among the determinants, government investment in agricultural development projects significantly drives TC and TE, while the experienced labor force significantly increases TE. The disaster rate significantly reduces TE but promotes TC and TFP. The literacy rate significantly improves TC and TFP. However, government expenditures in “agriculture, forestry, and water” significantly reduce TE, TC, and TFP. Policy recommendations include (1) increased levels of mechanization and agriculture film use while avoiding an increase in pesticide use, (2) a continued increase in government expenditure in agricultural development projects, R&D to improve technological progress, and diffusion of modern agricultural technologies, and (3) investment in education targeted at the farming population in order to continue the growth in the productivity and sustainability of China’s agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Potential Adoption of Integrated Pest Management Strategy for Suppression of Mango Fruit Flies in East Africa: An Ex Ante and Ex Post Analysis in Ethiopia and Kenya
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070278 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 844
Abstract
To sustain agricultural development in Africa, innovative strategies for addressing a myriad of biotic and abiotic constraints facing the agricultural systems must be established. One current biotic stress is the mango infesting fruit flies. In the effort to contain the widely spreading and [...] Read more.
To sustain agricultural development in Africa, innovative strategies for addressing a myriad of biotic and abiotic constraints facing the agricultural systems must be established. One current biotic stress is the mango infesting fruit flies. In the effort to contain the widely spreading and damaging invasive species of tephritid fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) (Hendel), an area-wide integrated pest management (IPM) program is being promoted in the horticultural sub-sector in sub-Saharan Africa. Such a new technology in which farmers have limited information before commercialization may have diffusion paths that are different from the often-assumed sigmoid (or “s”) shaped curve. We apply the descriptive and econometric analysis of ex ante and ex post integrated fruit fly management used by mango farmers in Kenya and Ethiopia. The results reveal that this technology has a relatively high adoption rate and high prospects for adoption growth in Kenya compared to Ethiopia in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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