Next Issue
Volume 11, May
Previous Issue
Volume 11, March

Agriculture, Volume 11, Issue 4 (April 2021) – 99 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): How may hyperspectral imaging increase sustainability of baby-leaf vegetable cultivations? It can through the non-destructive, high-performing and quick scouting of specific symptoms leading to decision-making. Wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) is a widely cultivated salad crop belonging to the Brassicaceae family. Powdery mildew infections have been observed on the crop and, on the basis of morphology and phylogeny, are attributed to the pathogenic fungus Erysiphe cruciferarum.
Hyperspectral image analysis and a trained Random Forest machine-learning model were used for the digital detection of the first-reported powdery mildew on wild rocket. Dataset mining attributed to the shifted irradiance absorption by chlorophyll a occurring in the violet-blue wavelength ranges the accurate discrimination ability between healthy and diseased wild rocket plants. View this paper.
  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Section
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Article
Hazard of Contamination with Heavy Metals in Thymus serpyllum L. Herbs from Rural Areas
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 375; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040375 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 685
Abstract
The aim of the research has been to assay the contents of Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, and Pb in soil and in the organs of wild Thymus serpyllum L. acquired from three natural habitats from the Kuyavia-Pomerania Province (Poland) not exposed to contamination [...] Read more.
The aim of the research has been to assay the contents of Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, and Pb in soil and in the organs of wild Thymus serpyllum L. acquired from three natural habitats from the Kuyavia-Pomerania Province (Poland) not exposed to contamination with metals. As compared with the contents of the geochemical background of the soils in the region and the value of enrichment factor (EF), there was noted a considerable content of Pb in the soil from two locations. The Pb content in plant tissues in one of the three locations was higher than the admissible content specified by the World Health Organization WHO (above 10 mg kg−1 d.w.). As for the Zn content, only the plants from the locations with the relatively youngest phytocenosis met the conditions for herbs to be used for phytotherapy. The Zn content in the dry weight of the plants collected from the other two locations exceeded 50 mg kg−1. The risk of an elevated content of Zn and Pb in the plants makes it necessary to monitor the soil environment and to limit the collection of the plants from natural habitats, as well as to encourage the collection from controlled habitats. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Changes of Physicochemical Properties of Starch Syrups Recommended for Winter Feeding of Honeybees during Storage
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040374 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 587
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the influence of storage temperature and time on physicochemical parameters of starch syrups recommended for the winter feeding of bee colonies. The studies included commercially available three starch syrups and an inverted saccharose syrup that [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the influence of storage temperature and time on physicochemical parameters of starch syrups recommended for the winter feeding of bee colonies. The studies included commercially available three starch syrups and an inverted saccharose syrup that were stored at different temperatures: ca. 20 °C, 10–14 °C, and ca. 4 °C. Physicochemical parameters of fresh syrups (immediately after purchase) and syrups after 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, and 24 months of storage at the abovementioned temperatures were measured. It was observed that the rate of unfavorable changes in chemical composition of starch syrups and the inverted saccharose syrup, mainly the changes in the 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content, depended on the type of a syrup and storage conditions (temperature, time). Properties of tested starch syrups intended for winter feeding of bees stored at ca. 20 °C maintained unchanged for up to 6 months, whereas the same syrups stored at lower temperatures (10–14 °C) maintained unchanged physicochemical parameters for about 12 months. In higher temperatures, the HMF content increased. To date, the influence of this compound on bees has not been thoroughly investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Problems of Modern Beekeeping)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Multi-Site Evaluation of Accumulated Temperature and Rainfall for Maize Yield and Disease in Loess Plateau
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040373 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 544
Abstract
The Guanzhong region is a typical and important grain-producing area in China. The effect of accumulated temperature and rainfall on maize production is important in the face of global warming. Here, we collected meteorological data from six test sites in the Guanzhong region [...] Read more.
The Guanzhong region is a typical and important grain-producing area in China. The effect of accumulated temperature and rainfall on maize production is important in the face of global warming. Here, we collected meteorological data from six test sites in the Guanzhong region to study climate change from 1972 to 2018 in this area. A two-year study was conducted at multiple experimental sites to analyze the effect of climatic factors on maize yield and disease in the Guanzhong region. In the past 40 years, average temperatures have significantly increased at all sites, except for Hancheng. Rainfall varied significantly between years at each site, except for Huxian, with an overall declining trend. Accumulated temperature had a significant positive effect on yield (R2 = 0.28, p = 0.041 < 0.05), but rainfall did not affect yield (R2 = 0.0971, p = 0.324 > 0.05). During the growing period, total rainfall had a significant positive correlation with northern leaf blight disease in maize, and rainfall before silking had a significant positive correlation with ear length and row grain number. The demand for accumulated temperature by maize differed between sites. It is predicted that maize yield will increase with increasing temperature in the Guanzhong region. Greater attention should be paid to improve agronomic practices, such as adjustment of sowing dates, straw mulching, deep tillage, and pest control to adapt to future climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pest and Weeds)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Connecting Bio-Priming Approach with Integrated Nutrient Management for Improved Nutrient Use Efficiency in Crop Species
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040372 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1103
Abstract
The increasing demand for qualitative and varietal foods by the consumer society is a big concern for energy production, and utilization of that energy in a judicious manner for sustainable management of resources is a big challenge in the eminent future. Existing resources [...] Read more.
The increasing demand for qualitative and varietal foods by the consumer society is a big concern for energy production, and utilization of that energy in a judicious manner for sustainable management of resources is a big challenge in the eminent future. Existing resources (land, water, fertilizer, etc.) and their socioeconomic aspects warrant the farming community to adopt alternative strategies aimed at enhancing the use efficiency of inputs and improve the environmental quality. The adaptability of microbes to thrive in different environments has prompted scientists to introduce microbial intervention in the agricultural processes. Bio-priming has the potential to fulfill many objectives of the modern production system with the use of beneficial microorganisms in an eco-friendly manner. Interestingly, it also plays a crucial role in enhancing the nutrient use efficiency of crops. There is rising evidence of a paradigm shift from the use of a single microbe to a consortium approach for efficient rhizosphere engineering in the context of sustainable agriculture. Our understanding of different signaling cascades, rhizosphere chemistry, and other mechanisms of plant–microbial interactions will frame suitable strategies to harness the best ecosystem services including improved resource use efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Extraction of Arecanut Planting Distribution Based on the Feature Space Optimization of PlanetScope Imagery
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040371 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 615
Abstract
The remote sensing extraction of large areas of arecanut (Areca catechu L.) planting plays an important role in investigating the distribution of arecanut planting area and the subsequent adjustment and optimization of regional planting structures. Satellite imagery has previously been used to [...] Read more.
The remote sensing extraction of large areas of arecanut (Areca catechu L.) planting plays an important role in investigating the distribution of arecanut planting area and the subsequent adjustment and optimization of regional planting structures. Satellite imagery has previously been used to investigate and monitor the agricultural and forestry vegetation in Hainan. However, the monitoring accuracy is affected by the cloudy and rainy climate of this region, as well as the high level of land fragmentation. In this paper, we used PlanetScope imagery at a 3 m spatial resolution over the Hainan arecanut planting area to investigate the high-precision extraction of the arecanut planting distribution based on feature space optimization. First, spectral and textural feature variables were selected to form the initial feature space, followed by the implementation of the random forest algorithm to optimize the feature space. Arecanut planting area extraction models based on the support vector machine (SVM), BP neural network (BPNN), and random forest (RF) classification algorithms were then constructed. The overall classification accuracies of the SVM, BPNN, and RF models optimized by the RF features were determined as 74.82%, 83.67%, and 88.30%, with Kappa coefficients of 0.680, 0.795, and 0.853, respectively. The RF model with optimized features exhibited the highest overall classification accuracy and kappa coefficient. The overall accuracy of the SVM, BPNN, and RF models following feature optimization was improved by 3.90%, 7.77%, and 7.45%, respectively, compared with the corresponding unoptimized classification model. The kappa coefficient also improved. The results demonstrate the ability of PlanetScope satellite imagery to extract the planting distribution of arecanut. Furthermore, the RF is proven to effectively optimize the initial feature space, composed of spectral and textural feature variables, further improving the extraction accuracy of the arecanut planting distribution. This work can act as a theoretical and technical reference for the agricultural and forestry industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Innovations in Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Evaluation of Agricultural Land Suitability Based on RS, AHP, and MEA: A Case Study in Jilin Province, China
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040370 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 750
Abstract
The suitability evaluation of agricultural land at the regional scale is of great significance for protecting land and water resources and building sustainable agricultural systems. Based on climate, soil, topographical, and surface water resources, land suitability index (LSI) data for maize, rice, and [...] Read more.
The suitability evaluation of agricultural land at the regional scale is of great significance for protecting land and water resources and building sustainable agricultural systems. Based on climate, soil, topographical, and surface water resources, land suitability index (LSI) data for maize, rice, and soybeans are established using an analytical hierarchy process and matter element analysis (AHP–MEA) model in Jilin Province, China. The results show that there is a significant positive linear correlation between the LSI and the measured yield, which indicates that the model has an ideal effect and certain reference and extension significance. The main limiting factors for maize and soybean planting are pH, total nitrogen (TN), available phosphorus (AP), and soil texture, while water shortage limits rice planting. Different spatial structure optimization schemes for planting are established using the LSI and measured yield, along with economic indices. This study shows that the scheme that integrates policy and cost can make full use of land and water resources and promote the economic growth of agriculture. After optimization, the planting areas of maize, rice, and soybeans were 7.22, 2.44, and 0.71 million ha, respectively, representing an increase of 15.71 billion yuan over the agricultural GDP for the existing planting structure. It is expected that this study will provide a basis for follow-up studies on crop cultivation suitability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Assessment of Interactions between Yield Components of Common Vetch Cultivars in Both Conventional and Low-Input Cultivation Systems
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040369 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 642
Abstract
The primary purpose of this study was to explore yield stability of common vetch varieties based on the stability index, with a specific aim of exploring common vetch variety behavior regarding the yield of legumes under both conventional and low-input cultivation systems. Six [...] Read more.
The primary purpose of this study was to explore yield stability of common vetch varieties based on the stability index, with a specific aim of exploring common vetch variety behavior regarding the yield of legumes under both conventional and low-input cultivation systems. Six varieties of common vetch (Vicia sativa L.), namely, cv. Filippos, cv. Omiros, cv. Alexandros, cv. Tempi, cv. Zefyros and cv. Pigasos, were used. The cultivation was conducted using a strip-plot design with the six varieties randomized within each plot in two farming systems (conventional and low-input). Filippos was the best variety in conventional farming for seed yield, followed by Omiros. Omiros was the best variety in the low-input farming system for seed yield. Comparisons between conventional and low-input farming systems generally did not display any effect on stability estimations, but revealed the varieties that exhibit stable performance even in low-input farming systems. Stability analysis via the AMMI1 and GxE biplot analysis for one main factor showed two groups of varieties for seed yield with similar behavior. Genotype and environment distribution were used to group varieties that showed better performance in certain environments for seed yield but with differences in comparison to other traits. Correlations between traits showed the positive relation of seed yield to the number of pods per plant, the number of seeds per pod, the pod length, the mean weight of pods and, especially, the hay weight (r = 0.771), a useful finding for indirect selection for breeders. The results provide valuable data regarding the genetic material, its adaptability and stability in varied environments and suitability for low-input cultivation systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Breeding and Genetics)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Volatile Organic Compounds from Rice Rhizosphere Bacteria Inhibit Growth of the Pathogen Rhizoctonia solani
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040368 - 19 Apr 2021
Viewed by 731
Abstract
Rice sheath blight, a fungal disease caused by Rhizoctonia solani, seriously threatens rice production. Some of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by microbes are inhibitory to the growth of the plant pathogen, and hence may have the potential as environmentally friendly [...] Read more.
Rice sheath blight, a fungal disease caused by Rhizoctonia solani, seriously threatens rice production. Some of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by microbes are inhibitory to the growth of the plant pathogen, and hence may have the potential as environmentally friendly antifungal substances. However, information on the inhibitory effect of VOCs released by rice rhizosphere bacteria on R. solani is scarce. In this study, bacteria from the rice rhizosphere capable of inhibiting the growth of R. solani via releasing VOCs were screened using a double Petri dish assay. Headspace solid phase microextraction and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) were used to identify and quantify the VOCs. The contributions of VOCs to the inhibition of the growth of R. solani were estimated by constructing a random forest model, and were verified using pure compounds. Nine strains (i.e., Pseudomonas sp. No. 3, Enterobacter sp. No. 26, Enterobacter sp. No. 34, Pseudomonas sp. No. 35, Ralstonia sp. No. 50, Bacillus sp. No. 62, Arthrobacter sp. No. 146, Brevibacillus sp. No. 2–18, and Paenisporosarcina sp. No. 2–60) showed various inhibition on R. solani growth via VOCs. The inhibitory effect ranged from 7.84% to 100%, with Ralstonia sp. No. 50 completely inhibiting the growth of R. solani. Five VOCs (i.e., benzoic acid ethyl ester, 3-methyl-butanoic acid, 2-ethyl-1-hexanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol, and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one) identified by random forest model were confirmed to be toxic to R. solani when applied as a pure chemical compound. In particular, benzoic acid ethyl ester, 3-methyl-butanoic acid, and 2-ethyl-1-hexanol were lethal to R. solani. In summary, the rice rhizosphere bacteria (Ralstonia sp. No. 50) and VOCs (benzoic acid ethyl ester, 3-methyl-butanoic acid, and 2-ethyl-1-hexanol) showed potential to be used as new resources for biological control of rice sheath blight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Detection, Identification, and Control of Plant Pathogens)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Biochar with Alternate Wetting and Drying Irrigation: A Potential Technique for Paddy Soil Management
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040367 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 928
Abstract
Over half of the world’s population depends on rice for its calorie supply, although it consumes the highest amount of water compared to other major crops. To minimize this excess water usage, alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation practice is considered as an [...] Read more.
Over half of the world’s population depends on rice for its calorie supply, although it consumes the highest amount of water compared to other major crops. To minimize this excess water usage, alternate wetting and drying (AWD) irrigation practice is considered as an efficient technique in which soil intermittently dried during the growing period of rice by maintaining yield compared to a flooded system. Continuous AWD may result in poor soil health caused by carbon loss, nutrient depletion, cracking, and affecting soil physical properties. Due to being a potential organic amendment, biochar has a great scope to overcome these problems by improving soil’s physicochemical properties. Biochar is a carbon enriched highly porous material and characterized by several functional groups on its large surface area and full of nutrients. However, biochar’s implication for sustaining soil physicochemical and water retention properties in the AWD irrigation systems has not been widely discussed. This paper reviews the adverse impacts of AWD irrigation on soil structure and C, N depletion; the potential of biochar to mitigate this problem and recovering soil productivity; its influence on improving soil physical properties and moisture retention; and the scope of future study. This review opined that biochar efficiently retains nutrients and supplies as a slow-release fertilizer, which may restrict preferential nutrient loss through soil cracks under AWD. It also improves soil’s physical properties, slows cracking during drying cycles, and enhances water retention by storing moisture within its internal pores. However, long-term field studies are scarce; additionally, economic evaluation is required to confirm the extent of biochar impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Drought Shocks and Gearing Impacts on the Profitability of Sheep Farming
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040366 - 18 Apr 2021
Viewed by 779
Abstract
The resilience and profitability of livestock production in many countries can be impacted by shocks, such as drought and market shifts, especially under high debt levels. For farmers to remain profitable through such uncertainty, there is a need to understand and predict a [...] Read more.
The resilience and profitability of livestock production in many countries can be impacted by shocks, such as drought and market shifts, especially under high debt levels. For farmers to remain profitable through such uncertainty, there is a need to understand and predict a farming business’s ability to withstand and recover from such shocks. This research demonstrates the use of biophysical modelling linked with copula and Monte Carlo simulation techniques to predict the risks faced by a typical wool and meat lamb enterprise in South-Eastern Australia, given the financial impacts of different debt levels on a farming business’s profitability and growth in net wealth. The study tested five starting gearing scenarios, i.e., debt to equity (D:E) ratios to define a farm’s financial risk profiles, given weather and price variations over time. Farms with higher gearing are increasingly worse off, highlighting the implications of debt accumulating over time due to drought shocks. In addition to business risk, financial risk should be included in the analyses and planning of farm production to identify optimal management strategies better. The methods described in this paper enable the extension of production simulation to include the farmer’s management information to determine financial risk profiles and guide decision making for improved business resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock Farm and Agribusiness Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
An Attempt to Enrich Pig Meat with Omega-3 Fatty Acids Using Linseed Oil Ethyl Ester Diet Supplement
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040365 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 671
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate an effect of pig diet supplementation with ethyl esters derived from linseed oil with a high content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) on the fatty acids profile of meat. The study was conducted on Polish Landrace fatteners supplemented for [...] Read more.
This study aims to evaluate an effect of pig diet supplementation with ethyl esters derived from linseed oil with a high content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) on the fatty acids profile of meat. The study was conducted on Polish Landrace fatteners supplemented for a period of 7 weeks (control and experimental groups of 8 animals each, 16 in total). After this period, loin (Longissimus dorsi) and ham (Biceps femoris) samples were collected for laboratory analysis, including basic composition (fat, protein, ash, dry matter) and fatty acids (FAs) profile. The supplementation caused a significant increase in the level of ALA acid, decrease in the content of saturated fatty acids (SFAs), increase in unsaturated FAs level, and resulting decrease in the ratio of n-6/n-3. The indices of atherogenicity and thrombogenicity were beneficially altered in the experimental groups. It can thus be supposed that meat enriched this way may be considered as an interesting choice for consumers who are aware of the importance of diet consumed. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Marketing of Vegetable Seeds: Practice and Behavioral Inclinations of Vegetable Seed Sellers and Farmers in Selected Areas of Bangladesh
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040364 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 868
Abstract
This research was based on a survey conducted in Bangladesh in three major seed-producing divisions, viz., Dhaka, Mymensingh, and Chittagong. Descriptive data was gathered by randomly selecting 100 peasants and 100 rural retailers for in-depth interviews. The general accounting approach was also used [...] Read more.
This research was based on a survey conducted in Bangladesh in three major seed-producing divisions, viz., Dhaka, Mymensingh, and Chittagong. Descriptive data was gathered by randomly selecting 100 peasants and 100 rural retailers for in-depth interviews. The general accounting approach was also used to assess profit and loss. The objective of the study was to analyze the marketing tendencies of vegetable seed farmers and sellers. The results showed a lack of market information, poor institutions and arrangements, poor marketing infrastructures, transportation system, and high and unfair profit margin distribution among the value chain actors with little share to the farmers in the vegetable seed market. These findings are indicators of poor marketing efficiency and thereby suboptimal operation of the seed marketing system. The significant determinants of market supply of vegetable seeds were found to be the average current price, age, the total size of land, farmers’ experience, sex, number of oxen, and access to market information. The determinants of demand for vegetable seeds—family size, purchase frequency, the average current price, income level, average expenditure on food and purchasing, profit or loss of vegetable seed farming—were found to be significant in the study. According to the findings of this report, vegetable seed sector in Bangladesh needs more government support, especially in terms of marketing policies in order to improve the current state of vegetable seed farming. Vegetable seed farming was not profitable due to a lack of technology and knowledge, as well as a lack of funding. With the existing status of infrastructure, the presence of middlemen is unavoidable. As a result, farmers have no alternative but to follow the orders of the middlemen, resulting in seed quality problems. Hence, the results are indicative of the measures that should be taken for production, market infrastructure, arrangements, and institutions to improve the functioning of the seed marketing system. It also proposes a vegetable seed distribution channel through which a cooperative community would serve as a collecting hub for a more efficient marketing scheme. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Marketing, Economics and Policies)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
China’s Tea Industry: Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Mitigation Potential
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040363 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 772
Abstract
Tea is an important cash crop and a beverage that is widely consumed across the world. In China (the largest producer of tea), the industry is growing, and there is a need to understand current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequestrations and the [...] Read more.
Tea is an important cash crop and a beverage that is widely consumed across the world. In China (the largest producer of tea), the industry is growing, and there is a need to understand current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequestrations and the potential for mitigation so that climate action can be strategically undertaken. Life cycle assessment and carbon footprint methods were used to quantify emissions in tea cultivation and processing in the 16 major producing regions for the year 2017. The system boundary was from cradle to factory gate, which was divided into three subsystems, namely agricultural materials production, tea production and tea processing. Several units of analysis were chosen: the production region (province), the production area (ha) and the product (kg loose tea), etc. Total GHG emissions were 28.75 Mt CO2eq, which were mainly attributable to energy use in tea processing (41%), fertilizer production (31.6%) and soil emissions (26.7%). This equated to 12.0 t CO2eq per ha and 10.8 kg CO2eq per kg processed tea. Production in Hubei, Yunan, Guizhou, Sichuan and Fujian provinces contributed almost two thirds of industry emissions, representing priority areas for strategic action to reduce GHG emissions. At the same time, the total carbon sink amounted to 21.37 MtCO2, representing 74.3% of total GHG emissions. The proportions stored in soil, biomass, and tea production were 49.3%, 30.0%, and 20.7%, respectively. If best recommended management practices for fertilizer application were adopted and biomass was used as a source of energy for tea processing, the GHG emissions reduction potential was 16.66 Mt CO2eq, or 58% of total emissions. The GHG emissions associated with tea production and processing in China appeared high by comparison to other regions of the world. However, considering the carbon sink and emissions reduction potential, the tea industry should be viewed as an important sector for climate action. Moreover, the potential for substantial GHG emissions reduction through the adoption of improved practices seems very realistic. There may also be additional opportunities for GHG emissions reduction through the development of organic tea cultivation systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Research on the Physical Characteristic Parameters of Banana Bunches for the Design and Development of Postharvesting Machinery and Equipment
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040362 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 567
Abstract
In the operations of the banana postharvesting process, the design and development related to the dehanding machine, the cutting and crushing machine of bunch stalks, and the fiber extraction machine of bunch stalks are in the initial stages. In addition, with the development [...] Read more.
In the operations of the banana postharvesting process, the design and development related to the dehanding machine, the cutting and crushing machine of bunch stalks, and the fiber extraction machine of bunch stalks are in the initial stages. In addition, with the development of society and urbanization, the aging populations in hilly and mountainous areas, where bananas are planted, are becoming a more and more serious problem. The basic physical characteristic parameters of banana bunches, banana hands, and bunch stalks are the basis for studying their biomechanical properties and designing and developing the corresponding mechanical equipment. We measured the diameter, thickness of rind, curvature, density, moisture content, diameter of vascular bundle, weight of bunch stalk, and axial distance and circumferential angle of Brazilian and plantain banana hands using experiments and statistical analysis. Through the combination of physical experiments and numerical statistics, we obtained the value range and changing law of the physical characteristic parameters of banana bunches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Arbuscular Mycorrhization in Colombian and Introduced Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) Genotypes Cultivated on Degraded Soils of the Amazon Region
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040361 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 866
Abstract
Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis, (Willd. Ex Adr. de Juss) Muell. Arg, Euphorbiaceae) is an important commercial latex-producing plant. Commercially, rubber is reproduced from a limited number of grifting genotypes. New promising genotypes have been selected to replace traditional genotypes. In addition, rubber [...] Read more.
Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis, (Willd. Ex Adr. de Juss) Muell. Arg, Euphorbiaceae) is an important commercial latex-producing plant. Commercially, rubber is reproduced from a limited number of grifting genotypes. New promising genotypes have been selected to replace traditional genotypes. In addition, rubber has been promoted to recuperate Amazon soils degraded by extensive cattle ranching. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is an important alternative for improving plant nutrition in rubber trees and recuperating degraded soils, but AM fungal communities on different plantations and in rubber genotypes are unknown. Spore abundance, root colonization and AM fungal community composition were evaluated in rubber roots of Colombian and introduced genotypes cultivated in degraded soils with different plantation types. Traditional (spore isolation and description; clearing and staining roots) and molecular techniques (Illumina sequencing) were used to assess AM fungi. Rubber roots hosted a diverse AM fungal community of 135 virtual taxa (VT) in 13 genera. The genus Glomus represented 66% of the total AM fungal community. Rubber genotype did not affect the arbuscular mycorrhization, hosting similar AM fungal communities. The composition of the AM fungal community on old and young rubber plantations was different. Diversity in AM fungi in rubber roots is an important characteristic for restoring degraded soils. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Effect of Nitrogen Fertilization on the Dynamics of Concentration and Uptake of Selected Microelements in the Biomass of Miscanthus x giganteus
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040360 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 640
Abstract
This paper presents the effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization on the concentration of selected micronutrients as an important issue in reducing combustion-induced air pollution. We studied the effects of the dose of 60 kg ha−1 N in different terms of biomass sampling [...] Read more.
This paper presents the effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization on the concentration of selected micronutrients as an important issue in reducing combustion-induced air pollution. We studied the effects of the dose of 60 kg ha−1 N in different terms of biomass sampling on the concentration and uptake of iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu) in the dry matter of the underground and aerial parts of Miscanthus x giganteus in the years 2014–2016. The order of microelement concentrations (mg kg−1) in rhizomes and the aboveground parts of plants was as follows: Fe > Mn > Zn > Cu. N fertilization had no significant effect on the concentrations of the selected microelements in the Mischanthus biomass (except for the Mn concentration in the stems and Cu in the leaves). The results indicated that the quality of the combustion biomass did not worsen under nitrogen fertilization. During the whole vegetation period, the iron concentration increased in the rhizomes and decreased for Zn and Cu. In the aboveground parts of the plant, the concentrations of all tested elements decreased. In turn, the uptake of Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cu (except for Fe in the stems) by rhizomes and the aboveground parts of Mischanthus depended significantly on the N fertilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitrogen Fertilization in Crop Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
A Heterogeneous Graph Enhanced LSTM Network for Hog Price Prediction Using Online Discussion
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040359 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Forecasting the prices of hogs has always been a popular field of research. Such information has played an essential role in decision-making for farmers, consumers, corporations, and governments. It is hard to predict hog prices because too many factors can influence them. Some [...] Read more.
Forecasting the prices of hogs has always been a popular field of research. Such information has played an essential role in decision-making for farmers, consumers, corporations, and governments. It is hard to predict hog prices because too many factors can influence them. Some of the factors are easy to quantify, but some are not. Capturing the characteristics behind the price data is also tricky considering their non-linear and non-stationary nature. To address these difficulties, we propose Heterogeneous Graph-enhanced LSTM (HGLTSM), which is a method that predicts weekly hog price. In this paper, we first extract the historical prices of necessary agricultural products in recent years. Then, we utilize discussions from the online professional community to build heterogeneous graphs. These graphs have rich information of both discussions and the engaged users. Finally, we construct HGLSTM to make the prediction. The experimental results demonstrate that forum discussions are beneficial to hog price prediction. Moreover, our method exhibits a better performance than existing methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Fermentative Potential of Native Yeast Candida famata for Prokupac Grape Must Fermentation
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040358 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 734
Abstract
The fermentative potential of native Candida famata isolates from wild and cultivated blackberries was evaluated for potential application in Prokupac grape must fermentation. 5 isolates, out of a total 22 isolated yeasts, were identified as C. famata. After the initial screening of fermentative [...] Read more.
The fermentative potential of native Candida famata isolates from wild and cultivated blackberries was evaluated for potential application in Prokupac grape must fermentation. 5 isolates, out of a total 22 isolated yeasts, were identified as C. famata. After the initial screening of fermentative performances, microfermentation was performed in a sterile grape must. Produced samples were analyzed using the HPLC technique. All isolates showed an ability to grow at lower temperatures, good tolerance to 7% ethanol and 300 ppm of SO2. C. famata isolates WB-1, WB-2 and W-5 had similar fermentation performance, but WB-1 isolate was chosen for validation at a laboratory-scale level according to a pleasant, fruity aroma, highest fermentative vigor and power, good organic acid profile and the highest level of ethanol and glycerol produced in micro-vinification experiments. Good enological performance of selected C. famata WB-1 isolate is confirmed by higher level of glycerol, lower level of ethanol and acetic acid in wine samples produced in pure and sequential fermentation, when compared to the control sample. Throughout the selection of C. famata yeasts with good enological potential, this work gives a contribution in the area of precision enology, aiming to find a perfect match between non-exploited yeasts and “autochthonous” grape cultivar Prokupac. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Viticulture and Enology: Technologies and Applications)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Yield Enhancement and Better Micronutrients Uptake in Tomato Fruit through Potassium Humate Combined with Micronutrients Mixture
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040357 - 16 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 883
Abstract
The deficiency of micronutrients and low organic matter (OM) status of soils are major hurdles in the optimum crop yield achievements. Humic substances can play an imperative role in the micronutrient bioavailability and improved crop yield by ameliorating the physicochemical soil properties. consumed [...] Read more.
The deficiency of micronutrients and low organic matter (OM) status of soils are major hurdles in the optimum crop yield achievements. Humic substances can play an imperative role in the micronutrient bioavailability and improved crop yield by ameliorating the physicochemical soil properties. consumed as fresh food and in processed form. However, its susceptibility towards micronutrient deficiency causes a significant reduction in yield. That is why a current study was done to examine the influence of different potassium humate (KH) levels, i.e., 0, 5, 10, and 15 kg ha−1 with micronutrients mixture (MC), i.e., 0, 50 (Zn = 2.50, B = 0.75, Fe = 2.50 kg ha−1), 75 (Zn = 3.75, B = 1.125, Fe = 3.75 kg ha−1) and 100% (Zn = 5.0, B = 1.5, Fe = 5.0 kg ha−1) on the yield, biomass, harvesting index and uptake of the micronutrients in tomato. The results showed that increasing the level of K-humate significantly improved the yield (7.4 and 7.17%), total biomass (6.38 and 6.59%), and harvesting the index (0.46 and 0.76%) of tomato. It also enhanced Fe uptake but did not affect B and Zn concentrations in the tomato fruit at 100% MC + 15 kg ha−1 KH over control in the autumn and spring seasons. In conclusion, both levels of K-humate 10 and 15 kg ha−1 and MC 75 and 100% effectively enhance the yield, biomass, harvesting the index, and micronutrients (B, Zn, and Fe) uptake in tomatoes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Alley Cropping Mitigates the Impacts of Climate Change on a Wheat Crop in a Mediterranean Environment: A Biophysical Model-Based Assessment
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040356 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 709
Abstract
Introduction: Climate change (CC) and the increased occurrence of extreme climatic events pose a serious threat to crop yields and their stability worldwide. This study analyzed the CC mitigation potential of an alley cropping system on crop physiological stresses and growth as compared [...] Read more.
Introduction: Climate change (CC) and the increased occurrence of extreme climatic events pose a serious threat to crop yields and their stability worldwide. This study analyzed the CC mitigation potential of an alley cropping system on crop physiological stresses and growth as compared to a monoculture system. Materials and Methods: Growth of winter durum wheat, cultivated alone (agriculture) and in combination with hybrid walnut (agroforestry), was simulated with the Hi-sAFe agroforestry model, as driven by business-as-usual Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections, split into three scenarios, representing Past (1951–1990), Present (1991–2030), and Future (2031–2070) climatic conditions. Crop growth and the occurrence of thermal, nitrogen, and water stresses were analyzed. Results: Cold-related stresses were modest in Past and almost disappeared over time. Heat, drought, and nitrogen stresses increased about twofold from Past to Future, but were reduced by 20–35% in agroforestry, already with medium-sized trees (diameter at breast height (DBH) of about 10–15 cm). Crop yields in agriculture increased from Past to the end of Present and then remained stable. This moderately decreased with tree age in agroforestry (especially in Future). Discussion: The impact of CC on the crop was buffered in agroforestry, especially for the most extreme climatic events. The mitigation of crop microclimate and the increased stability of crop yields highlight the potential of agroforestry as a CC adaptation strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Integral Assessment of Organic Fertilization on a Camelina sativa Rotation under Mediterranean Conditions
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040355 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 682
Abstract
The goal of this study was to provide quantitative agronomic data and environmental performance through a life cycle assessment of camelina in a crop rotation. For this purpose, camelina [Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz] was included in a crop rotation (camelina-barley [Hordeum [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to provide quantitative agronomic data and environmental performance through a life cycle assessment of camelina in a crop rotation. For this purpose, camelina [Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz] was included in a crop rotation (camelina-barley [Hordeum vulgare (L.)]-camelina) fertilized with two organic fertilizers (dewatered sludge and composted sludge) during three growing seasons (2015–2018). Three treatments were considered in this experimental study of 0.018 ha: (1) Fertilization with composted sludge (15 t ha−1), (2) fertilization with dewatered sludge (35 t ha−1), and (3) control treatment without fertilization. Results showed that camelina’s yield was affected by climatic conditions, ranging from 0.9 to 1.4 t ha−1 in the first season (2015/2016) and the third season (2017/2018 and did not present significant differences between treatments. The yield components with a positive response to organic fertilization were number of silicles, number of seeds per plant, and thousand-seed weight, with an average increase compared to the control of 23.7%, 16.5%, and 18.5%, respectively. A negative correlation was observed between organic fertilization and total fat content, contrary to the increase in protein content observed with organic fertilization. The environmental assessment of this crop rotation revealed that fertilization and transport were the main hotspots. Despite the undesirable weather limitations, this study showed a positive response of camelina’s yield components and seed quality to organic fertilization. By applying these organic fertilizers, it may be possible to obtain favorable camelina yields and promote waste valorization. To minimize the environmental impacts of this crop rotation with camelina, the main recommendations could be to reduce the distances between the dewatering and composting sites and the field and optimize fertilization rates. Further research is needed to determine the application of these organic fertilizers in the long term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Fertilizer and Irrigation on Crop Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Less Is More: A Hard Way to Get Potential Dwarfing Hybrid Rootstocks for Valencia Sweet Orange
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040354 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 656
Abstract
As in several fruit crops, citrus trees with decreased size allow for a higher planting density, which may lead to higher productivity and facilitate operations such as harvesting and spraying. The use of dwarfing rootstocks is one of the most feasible methods for [...] Read more.
As in several fruit crops, citrus trees with decreased size allow for a higher planting density, which may lead to higher productivity and facilitate operations such as harvesting and spraying. The use of dwarfing rootstocks is one of the most feasible methods for tree size control, but few commercial varieties are available to date. In this work, the long-term performance of Valencia sweet orange grafted onto 51 hybrid citrus rootstocks was evaluated in rainfed cultivation at 6.0 m × 2.5 m tree spacing in Northern São Paulo State, Brazil. About a third of the evaluated hybrids were classified as dwarfing and semi-dwarfing rootstocks, that is, respectively inducing a relative canopy volume of <40% and 40–60% compared with the standard rootstock, the Rangpur lime Santa Cruz selection. The production efficiency and soluble solids concentration were conversely related to the canopy volume. Three citrandarins of Sunki mandarin (TSKC) × Flying Dragon trifoliate orange (TRFD) were grouped within the most productive dwarfing rootstocks. Other hybrids that expressively decreased tree size were mainly sensitive to drought; therefore, the mean fruit yield was low, indicating the need for irrigation, albeit fruit quality was high. Estimated productivity on the selected TSKC × TRFD rootstocks would double to an average of 40 t·ha−1·year−1 if tree spacing was adjusted to the smaller tree size. Although the HTR-208 citrandarin and the LCR × CTSW-009 citrumelimonia were as vigorous as the Santa Cruz Rangpur lime, they induced an outstanding fruit yield due to their highest tolerance to drought and, hence, can be considered for rainfed cultivation at wider tree spacing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Breeding, Genetics and Omics of Citrus)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Regional Differences of Agricultural Land Market in Slovakia: A Challenge for Sustainable Agriculture
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040353 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 627
Abstract
The agricultural land market and its legal and political limitations play an important role in sustainable agricultural production. This study analyzed the agricultural land market in particular regions of Slovakia in terms of the sustainability of agricultural production. We focused on the development [...] Read more.
The agricultural land market and its legal and political limitations play an important role in sustainable agricultural production. This study analyzed the agricultural land market in particular regions of Slovakia in terms of the sustainability of agricultural production. We focused on the development of proposed land prices between 2014 and 2018 to find out whether the prices proposed by landowners align with administrative land prices reflecting the soil quality in particular regions of Slovakia, or whether they are influenced by the proposed land prices of neighboring regions. Moreover, we focused on the existence of regional differences in proposed land prices in Slovakia, including differences in supply prices of arable land and permanent grasslands in particular regions. Statistical induction tools, together with multiple range tests and spatial autocorrelation, were used to confirm or refuse our expectations. We confirmed statistically significant differences in proposed land prices between regions. Moreover, we found that landowners are only influenced by the proposed land prices of their neighboring regions to a slight degree. However, we found that the price scissors between proposed land prices and administrative land prices open towards smaller administrative land prices, meaning that land of poorer fertility is supplied at a higher price than land of the best soil quality. There is a risk that expensive and poorer land plots will be used by investors for non-agricultural purposes, and agricultural production will be crowded out from these regions. Therefore, we propose that changes to the prepared legislative measures are necessary in order to promote the sustainability of agricultural production in all regions of the country. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Impact of Political Instability on Sustainable Rangeland Management: A Study of Borana Rangeland, Southern Ethiopia
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040352 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Political instability (PI) occurs between governments and other political elites either at the local, regional, and/or national levels. Planning, implementing, and monitoring of sustainable rangeland management strategies have a significant impact on the political environment of an area. In this study, the term [...] Read more.
Political instability (PI) occurs between governments and other political elites either at the local, regional, and/or national levels. Planning, implementing, and monitoring of sustainable rangeland management strategies have a significant impact on the political environment of an area. In this study, the term PI implies an unsafe and unstable exercise of political power, and is a major obstacle to the implementation of sustainable rangeland management. The main purpose of this research was to provide empirical and theoretical knowledge by testing hypotheses about the impact of PI on the implementation of sustainable practice of rangeland management. Using in-depth interviews, this study conducted both structured and unstructured group discussions with 300 representative households of local pastoralists and others who were considered the key stakeholders in the sustainable activities of rangeland management. Results indicated that the local communities are significantly susceptible to the economic, environmental, and socio-cultural effects of sustainable management of rangeland due to PI. Furthermore, the impact of PI on the economic, environmental, and socio-cultural aspects of rangelands indicators was evaluated. The findings also proved that the satisfaction of pastoralists with rangeland productivity and function was significantly affected, and prevented pastoralists from participating in rangeland management practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Intercepted Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) and Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Transmitted PAR under High-Density and Super High-Density Olive Orchards
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040351 - 15 Apr 2021
Viewed by 646
Abstract
We quantified the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) interception in a high-density (HD) and a super high-density (SHD) or hedgerow olive system, by measuring the PAR transmitted under the canopy along transects at increasing distance from the tree rows. Transmitted PAR was measured every [...] Read more.
We quantified the photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) interception in a high-density (HD) and a super high-density (SHD) or hedgerow olive system, by measuring the PAR transmitted under the canopy along transects at increasing distance from the tree rows. Transmitted PAR was measured every minute, then cumulated over the day and the season. The frequencies of the different PAR levels occurring during the day were calculated. SHD intercepted significantly but slightly less overall PAR than HD (0.57 ± 0.002 vs. 0.62 ± 0.03 of the PAR incident above the canopy) but had a much greater spatial variability of transmitted PAR (0.21 under the tree row, up to 0.59 in the alley center), compared to HD (range: 0.34–0.43). This corresponded to greater variability in the frequencies of daily PAR values, with the more shaded positions receiving greater frequencies of low PAR values. The much lower PAR level under the tree row in SHD, compared to any position in HD, implies greater self-shading in lower-canopy layers, despite similar overall interception. Therefore, knowing overall PAR interception does not allow an understanding of differences in PAR distribution on the ground and within the canopy and their possible effects on canopy radiation use efficiency (RUE) and performance, between different architectural systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Biochar Grafted on CMC-Terpolymer by Green Microwave Route for Sustainable Agriculture
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040350 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 768
Abstract
The deficiency of water sources and the environmental disposal of large amounts of biomass waste (orange peels) produces economic and environmental problems, though its conversion into biochar by a pyrolysis procedure might be used to improve soil productivity. In the current study, we [...] Read more.
The deficiency of water sources and the environmental disposal of large amounts of biomass waste (orange peels) produces economic and environmental problems, though its conversion into biochar by a pyrolysis procedure might be used to improve soil productivity. In the current study, we investigated the performance of superabsorbent biochar composite grafted on CMC as a low-cost, alternative, and biodegradable terpolymer composite (IPNCB) for soil water retention capacity. The IPNCB composite was synthesized by both microwave and conventional routes. The optimal reaction parameters proved that the microwave route has a high grafting percentage (%G) and short reaction time compared to the conventional route. The superabsorbent composite was characterized using different methods: FTIR, TGA, and SEM. The results show that the equilibrium water swelling (EW) of the IPNCB composite was improved at a 2% biochar concentration. The incorporation of biochar (BC) into the polymer network improved the water holding capacity (WHC) to 57.6% and water retention (WR) to 9.1% after 30 days. The degradation test indicates the IPNCB composite has a good degradability rate. Mixing soil with the prepared IPNCB composite can improve plant growth and reduce water consumption through the irrigation of arid lands. The IPNCB composite is a candidate in sustainable agriculture applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Biochar and Compost Amendments on Soil Fertility)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Role of the Start-Up Aid for Young Farmers in the Adoption of Innovative Agricultural Activities: The Case of Aloe Vera
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040349 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 668
Abstract
The poor generational renewal has been identified as a key issue for the EU policy that undermines the restructuring of the agricultural sector and the revitalisation of rural areas. The start-up aid for young farmers is one of the main EU-driven policy measures [...] Read more.
The poor generational renewal has been identified as a key issue for the EU policy that undermines the restructuring of the agricultural sector and the revitalisation of rural areas. The start-up aid for young farmers is one of the main EU-driven policy measures that try to mitigate this trend, by facilitating the initial investment of young newcomers in agriculture. At the same time, innovative crops with appealing characteristics are proposed as promising alternatives with high socioeconomic and low environmental impacts. Recently, a draft new call of the start-up aid for young farmers measure has been set under public consultation in Greece, which significantly alters the requirements and the level of support of the beneficiaries, compared to the previous one. The aim of this study is to explore the consequences of this change to the desirability to invest in the organic aloe vera crop, one of the leading innovating crops in Greece. In this study, taking into consideration the embedded risk and uncertainty, we utilise a stochastic version of the Net Present Value (NPV) analysis, a common discount cash flows method to detect the desirability of an investment. Results indicate that the potential alteration of the start-up aid for young farmers deteriorates the desirability of this investment and thus prevents farmers from its adoption. The analysis provides useful insights by highlighting risk factors and the possible impacts of policy measures on the desirability of innovative crops; thus, it can be useful both for investors and policymakers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Marketing, Economics and Policies)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Short-Term Carbon Sequestration and Changes of Soil Organic Carbon Pools in Rice under Integrated Nutrient Management in India
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040348 - 14 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
While the capability of integrated nutrient management (INM) in rice systems has been adequately studied, little is known about the related short-term carbon sequestration and changes in soil carbon fractions. Our study examined the responses of organic carbon pools, carbon sequestration and rice [...] Read more.
While the capability of integrated nutrient management (INM) in rice systems has been adequately studied, little is known about the related short-term carbon sequestration and changes in soil carbon fractions. Our study examined the responses of organic carbon pools, carbon sequestration and rice yields after application of different organic manures combined with chemical fertilizers in a rice–rice (Oryza sativa L.) cropping system in the red and laterite agro-climatic zones of West Bengal, India. The treatments included non-fertilized control; rice straw (RS) + nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizer (NPK); Gliricidia (GL) + NPK; farmyard manure (FYM) + NPK; vermicompost (VC) + NPK; and NPK only. Rice straw + NPK treatment resulted in the highest total organic carbon and passive pool of carbon. Vermicompost + NPK treatment resulted in the highest oxidizable organic carbon (0.69%), dissolved organic carbon (0.007%) and microbial biomass carbon (0.01%), followed by FYM + NPK, GL + NPK and RS + NPK as compared to control. Rice straw + NPK sequestered the highest amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) as the total organic carbon (91.10 t ha−1) and passive pool of carbon (85.64 t ha−1), whereas VC + NPK resulted in the highest amount of CO2 (10.24 t ha−1) being sequestered as the active pool of carbon, followed by FYM + NPK (8.33 t ha−1) and GL + NPK (7.22 t ha−1). The application of both NPK only and VC + NPK treatments resulted in the highest grain yields over the three cropping seasons. In spite of high carbon sequestration being observed in more recalcitrant carbon pools, RS + NPK resulted in little increase (3.52 t ha−1) in rice yield over the short term. The results of this study suggest that the short-term changes of soil carbon fractions and carbon sequestration primarily depend on the type of organic manure used. Vermicompost, FYM and GL provide more labile carbon, which can improve rice yield over the short term. However, it is suggested to explore the dynamics of different carbon fractions, carbon sequestration in different pools and rice yields over longer periods of time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Biostimulants Managed Fungal Phytopathogens and Enhanced Activity of Beneficial Microorganisms in Rhizosphere of Scorzonera (Scorzonera hispanica L.)
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040347 - 13 Apr 2021
Viewed by 739
Abstract
The principles of good agricultural and horticultural practice, considering both environmental protection and high yielding of plants, require modern cultivation methods. In modern agriculture, it is possible to use biostimulants that protect the soil against degradation and plants against phytopathogens and stress. The [...] Read more.
The principles of good agricultural and horticultural practice, considering both environmental protection and high yielding of plants, require modern cultivation methods. In modern agriculture, it is possible to use biostimulants that protect the soil against degradation and plants against phytopathogens and stress. The purpose of 3-year field and laboratory studies was to determine the effect of Trichoderma harzianum T-22 and other biostimulants on the health status of scorzonera (Scorzonera hispanica L.) plants and microorganism populations in the rhizosphere of this plant. For this purpose, Biosept Active (a.s.—grapefruit extract), Timorex Gold 24 EC (based on tea tree oil), Trianum P (spores of Trichoderma harzianum Rifai T-22) and Zaprawa Nasienna T 75 DS/WS fungicide (a.s.—tiuram) were applied for the pre-sowing seed dressing of scorzonera cv. “Duplex”. The number of seedlings and the health status of scorzonera plants were determined during three growing seasons. In each year of the study, mycological analysis of seedling roots and roots after scorzonera harvest was conducted to establish the quantitative and qualitative composition of fungi colonizing these parts. Moreover, microbiological analyses of scorzonera rhzisphere soil were conducted and served as the basis to determine the total population of fungi and bacteria (including Pseudomonas sp. and Bacillus sp.). Antagonistic activity of rhizosphere bacteria Pseudomonas sp., Bacillus sp. and fungi was determined based on laboratory tests on selected scorzonera soil-borne fungal pathogens (Alternaria scorzonerae, Fusarium culmorum, Fusarium oxysporum, and Rhizoctonia solani). The experiments showed that Trianum P most effectively protected the roots of scorzonera against infection by Alternaria alternata, A. scorzonerae, Neocosmospora solani, Fusarium spp., Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Rhizoctonia solani, and Botrytis cinerea. The rhizosphere population of Bacillus sp. and Pseudomonas sp. in the treatments with Trianum P or Zaprawa Nasienna T 75 DS/WS was larger than in the other experimental treatments. A reverse relationship was observed in the population of rhizosphere fungi. The application of grapefruit extract, tea tree oil and Trichoderma harzianum T-22 increased antagonistic activity of Pseudomonas sp., Bacillus sp. and selected saprotrophic fungi against soil-borne fungal pathogens, especially Alternaria sp., Rhizoctonia sp., and Fusarium sp. In summary, Biosept Active, Timorex Gold 24 EC and Trianum P can be recommended as plant biostimulants in Scorzonera hispanica cultivation. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Evaluating the Predictive Accuracy of the Weather-Rice-Nutrient Integrated Decision Support System (WeRise) to Improve Rainfed Rice Productivity in Southeast Asia
Agriculture 2021, 11(4), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11040346 - 13 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 862
Abstract
The weather-rice-nutrient integrated decision support system (WeRise) is an information and communications technology (ICT)-based tool developed to improve rainfed rice productivity. It integrates localized seasonal climate prediction based on the statistical downscaling of the Scale Interaction Experiment-Frontier Research Center for Global Change (SINTEX-F) [...] Read more.
The weather-rice-nutrient integrated decision support system (WeRise) is an information and communications technology (ICT)-based tool developed to improve rainfed rice productivity. It integrates localized seasonal climate prediction based on the statistical downscaling of the Scale Interaction Experiment-Frontier Research Center for Global Change (SINTEX-F) ocean-atmosphere coupled general circulation model and real-time weather data with a crop growth model (ORYZA), to provide advisories on the optimum sowing timing using suitable varieties. Field validations were conducted to determine the applicability of WeRise and SINTEX-F in North Sumatra and West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, and Iloilo, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, Philippines. Results showed that downscaled SINTEX-F outputs were applicable in these target provinces. Hindcast analysis using these outputs also showed a good model performance against locally observed historical weather data for both countries. Moreover, the on-farm experiments showed that higher grain yields were obtained using WeRise advisories on optimum sowing timing compared to the farmers’ sowing timings. Improved fertilizer recovery rates were also observed when WeRise advisories were followed. The results imply that WeRise can improve rainfed rice productivity in Southeast Asia. Further validation is recommended to determine its applicability in more countries of Southeast Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop