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Agriculture, Volume 12, Issue 1 (January 2022) – 122 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The development of frost rings is a particularly common phenomenon. The aim of our study was to evaluate how the occurrence of frost rings affects sugar, organic acid, and phenol content in flesh and phenol content in the peel of cv. 'Gala' apples. The results show that frost damage from spring frost affects compounds in the peel as well as flesh of ripe apples. The flesh of fruits with frost rings contained a higher content of fructose, and directly under the rings, it also contained higher sorbitol and malic acid content. The frost-affected peel had a completely different ratio of phenolic compound content in comparison to healthy apples. View this paper
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Article
Effects of Water and Nitrogen on Grain Filling Characteristics, Canopy Microclimate with Chalkiness of Directly Seeded Rice
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010122 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 674
Abstract
In order to determine how to reduce the chalkiness of rice grains through irrigation modes and nitrogen (N) fertilizer management. The experiment was designed using three irrigation modes (flooding (W1), dry–wet alternating (W2), and dry alternating (W3)), [...] Read more.
In order to determine how to reduce the chalkiness of rice grains through irrigation modes and nitrogen (N) fertilizer management. The experiment was designed using three irrigation modes (flooding (W1), dry–wet alternating (W2), and dry alternating (W3)), three N application strategies (under 150 kg ha−1, the application ratio of base:tiller:panicle fertilizer (30%:50%:20% (N1), 30%:30%:40% (N2), and 30%:10%:60% (N3)), and zero N as the control (N0) in 2019 and 2020. The results revealed that water–nitrogen interactions had a significant or extremely significant effect on the chalkiness characteristics of the superior and inferior grains. Compared with W1 and W3 treatments, W2 coupled with the N1 application strategy can further optimize grain filling characteristics and canopy microclimate parameters, thereby reducing grain chalkiness. Correlation analysis revealed that increasing grain filling parameters (Gmax or Gmean) and mean grain filling rates (MGRs) during the mid-filling stage in superior grains of the primary branches and inferior grains of the secondary branches, which were important factors in water–nitrogen interaction effects, could further reduce chalkiness. Improving the canopy microclimate (daily average temperature difference and daily average light intensity difference) during the early-filling stage for inferior grains and the mid-filling stage for superior grains could be another important method to reduce chalkiness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
The Influence of Organic and Conventional Cultivation Patterns on Physicochemical Property, Enzyme Activity and Microbial Community Characteristics of Paddy Soil
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010121 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 558
Abstract
Cultivation patterns can cause soil structure alteration. However, few studies have clarified the influence of cultivation pattern and soil depth on soil. The purpose of this experiment was to study the community characteristics of soil microorganisms in the 0–10 cm and 10–20 cm [...] Read more.
Cultivation patterns can cause soil structure alteration. However, few studies have clarified the influence of cultivation pattern and soil depth on soil. The purpose of this experiment was to study the community characteristics of soil microorganisms in the 0–10 cm and 10–20 cm layers beneath paddy fields under organic and conventional cultivation patterns, and reveal the response mechanism of microbial community to cultivation patterns through the correlation analysis of soil nutrient content, enzyme activity and microbial dominant phyla, so as to provide a theoretical basis for high-yield rice cultivation from the perspective of microorganisms. In this study, four types of soil organic cultivation topsoil (OF_S), organic cultivation undersoil (OF_X), conventional cultivation topsoil (CF_S) and conventional cultivation undersoil (CF_X) in paddy fields were collected for nutrient and enzyme activity determination, and composition spectrum analysis of soil microbial community diversity was performed using a high-throughput sequencing platform. The results revealed that organic cultivation increased the contents of alkali-hydrolyzable nitrogen, available phosphorus, available potassium and organic substances in both topsoil and undersoil as well as sucrase and urease activity in the undersoil. α diversity indicated that bacterial abundance in both topsoil and undersoil was organic > conventional cultivation; the microbial diversity index in the undersoil under organic cultivation technique was greater than that of conventional cultivation. A Venn diagram revealed that there was considerable difference in species between topsoil and undersoil under organic and conventional cultivation patterns. The composition of the community structure indicated that Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Chloroflexi and Bacteroidetes were the dominant phyla of bacterial communities in paddy fields. Ascomycota and Basidiomycota were the dominant phyla of the fungal community. Cluster analysis results indicated that soil depth of both patterns produced apparent clustering effects on microorganisms. Correlation analysis revealed that contents of various soil nutrients and enzyme activities affected the relative abundance of the dominant bacteria and fungi in varying degrees. Alkali-hydrolyzable nitrogen, available potassium and organic matters were significant factors affecting the dominant phyla of soil. The present study demonstrated that compared with conventional cultivation, organic cultivation improved soil physicochemical property, enhanced soil enzyme activity, and altered soil microbial diversity and bacterial abundance. Soil nutrients, enzyme activity and the microbial community of paddy fields interacted with each other and affected the soil structure together. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
A Preliminary Study on Flight Characteristics of the Longhorn Date Palm Stem Borer Jebusaea hammerschmidtii (Reiche 1878) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) Using a Computerized Flight Mill
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010120 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 444
Abstract
The longhorn date palm stem borer, Jebusaea hammerschmidtii (Reiche), is a highly destructive beetle of edible date palm Phoenix dactylifera L. The flight capabilities and dispersal potential of this beetle are unknown, which hinders the planning for its proper management in date palm [...] Read more.
The longhorn date palm stem borer, Jebusaea hammerschmidtii (Reiche), is a highly destructive beetle of edible date palm Phoenix dactylifera L. The flight capabilities and dispersal potential of this beetle are unknown, which hinders the planning for its proper management in date palm groves. In this study, the flight propensity of this insect pest was investigated using a computerized flight-testing system. The flight system consisted of a flight mill, a digitally controlled testing chamber, and a data logging and processing unit with a USB digital oscilloscope connected with a laptop. A total of 40 field-collected beetles of unknown sex and mating history were used in the experiments; about 34% of this number failed to fly on the flight mill. The relationship between temperature treatments (°C) and flight speed (m/min), cumulative flight time (min), and cumulative flight distance (km) of the test beetles were studied using regression equations with correlation coefficients (R2) of 0.91, 0.98, and 0.98, respectively. The maximum cumulative distance flown by the beetle was 11.5 km at a temperature of 35 °C, and a minimum distance of 2.4 km was recorded at 45 °C. The flight threshold of the beetle was 20 °C, at which flight activities ceased utterly. The velocity of the beetle increased with increasing temperature and reached a maximum of 107 m/min at 40 °C, before starting to decline. The obtained information on the flight characteristics of the J. hammerschmidtii may aid in understanding the dispersal of this pest in date palm plantations and in setting up management strategies. Full article
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Article
Development of African Swine Fever in Poland
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010119 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 524
Abstract
African swine fever (ASF) is a major problem in the production of live pigs in many EU countries. The aim of this research is to identify the causes and effects of this disease in Poland. The study used data from various institutions in [...] Read more.
African swine fever (ASF) is a major problem in the production of live pigs in many EU countries. The aim of this research is to identify the causes and effects of this disease in Poland. The study used data from various institutions in Poland and from the EU Animal Diseases Information System (ADIS). Within the range of causes for ASF development, we considered the transmission of the ASF virus by wild boars and human activity. The article presents the number and distribution of ASF cases in wild boars, and the outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs, in the years 2014–2020. The relationship between these variables was determined with a rectilinear regression analysis. The analysis of data for poviats where ASF cases in wild boards and ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs have been reported shows a certain periodicity of ASF occurrence in the country. This research shows that, despite the actions taken by veterinary services, hunting associations and the involvement of state administration bodies, the disease spreads rapidly. The occurrence of ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs concerns both small and large scale farms. However, due to the fragmented nature of pig farming in Poland, ASF is more prevalent in smaller holdings. Among the main reasons for the development of this disease in the country are the insufficient bio-insurance coverage of pig holdings, and the presence of the virus in the wild boar population. The process of ridding the country of the ASF virus is long and costly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Marketing, Economics and Policies)
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Article
Agro Climatic Zoning of Saffron Culture in Miyaneh City by Using WLC Method and Remote Sensing Data
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010118 - 17 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 533
Abstract
Recent continuous droughts and decreasing ground water tables have prompted efforts to improve irrigation schedules and introduce crops that need less water. A study was recently conducted to determine suitable zones for saffron in Miyaneh using Landsat-8 images and the weighted linear combination [...] Read more.
Recent continuous droughts and decreasing ground water tables have prompted efforts to improve irrigation schedules and introduce crops that need less water. A study was recently conducted to determine suitable zones for saffron in Miyaneh using Landsat-8 images and the weighted linear combination (WLC) method. Climatic and geographical indices for saffron cultivation in the region were for soil type, slope, soil moisture, and soil salinity. Parameters such as 30 years of data on climate, soil, and water conditions were collected from synoptic and climatologic stations such as Tabriz. Then, parameters were weighted using WLC for importance in each region. The data were transferred to expert choice and clustered, rated, and integrated to produce the last layer. The results showed that the southeastern and northwestern regions of Miyaneh, especially the banks of rivers and catchments, were identified as suitable places for saffron cultivation and that 28% of the area is in the suitable class, 36% in the relatively moderately suitable class, 20% in the critical suitability class, and the rest of the area, which covers about 16% of the area, is in the non-suitable class. Therefore, if it is possible to identify favorable areas for saffron cultivation according to the climatic requirements and it is possible in practice to achieve higher performance per unit area, that in itself will contribute to improved economic conditions and levels of income for farmers. Due to the special characteristics of saffron, substituting it for the cultivation of crops with high water requirements, such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, etc., will help reduce water consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
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Article
Hydrogels Are Reinforced with Colombian Fique Nanofibers to Improve Techno-Functional Properties for Agricultural Purposes
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010117 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 471
Abstract
Colombia is the world’s largest producer of fique fibers (Furcraea bedinghausii), with a net production of 30,000 tons per year. This work proposes to revalue waste from the Colombian fique agroindustry. For this purpose, cellulose nanofibers were obtained from fique and [...] Read more.
Colombia is the world’s largest producer of fique fibers (Furcraea bedinghausii), with a net production of 30,000 tons per year. This work proposes to revalue waste from the Colombian fique agroindustry. For this purpose, cellulose nanofibers were obtained from fique and used as reinforcement material to create acrylic superabsorbent hydrogels. Unreinforced acrylic hydrogels (AHR0) and acrylic hydrogels reinforced with fique nanofibers at 3% w/w (AHR3), 5% w/w (AHR5), and 10 % w/w (AHR10) were synthesized using the solution polymerization method. The best hydrogel formulation for agricultural purposes was chosen by comparing their swelling behavior, mechanical properties, and using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). By raising the nanofiber concentration to 3% (AHR3), the best-chosen formulation, the interaction between the nanofibers and the polymer matrix increased, which favored the network stability. However, beyond AHR3, there was a higher viscosity of the reactive system, which caused a reduction in the mobility of the polymer chains, thus disfavoring the swelling capacity. The reinforced hydrogel proposed in this study (AHR3) could represent a contribution to overcoming the problems of land dryness present in Colombia, an issue that will worsen in the coming years due to the climate emergency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Precision Water Management in Dryland Agriculture)
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Article
Re-Estimation of Agricultural Production Efficiency in China under the Dual Constraints of Climate Change and Resource Environment: Spatial Imbalance and Convergence
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010116 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 440
Abstract
Climate change and farmland environmental pollution have put greater pressure on the sustainability of agricultural production. Based on the provincial panel data of mainland China from 1978 to 2018, climate variables such as precipitation, temperature, and sunshine hours are included into the input [...] Read more.
Climate change and farmland environmental pollution have put greater pressure on the sustainability of agricultural production. Based on the provincial panel data of mainland China from 1978 to 2018, climate variables such as precipitation, temperature, and sunshine hours are included into the input indicators, and agricultural non-point source pollution and carbon emissions are taken as undesirable outputs, the agricultural production efficiency (APE) under the dual constraints of climate change and the resource environment was estimated by the super slacks-based measure (SBM)-undesirable model. On the basis of the trajectory of the imbalanced spatiotemporal evolution of APE shown by Kernel density estimation and the standard deviational ellipse (SDE)–center of gravity (COG) transfer model, the spatial convergence model was used to test the convergence and differentiation characteristics of APE. Under the dual constraints, APE presents a “bimodal” distribution with a stable increase in fluctuation, but it is still at a generally low level and does not show polarization, among which the APE in the northeast region is the highest. The COG of APE tends to transfer towards the northeast, and the coverage of the SDE is shrinking, so the overall spatial pattern is characterized by a tendency of clustering towards the north in the north-south direction and a tendency of imbalance in the east-west direction. APE has significant spatial convergence, and there is a trend of “latecomer catching-up” in low-efficiency regions. The introduction of spatial correlation accelerates the convergence rate and shortens the convergence period. The convergence rate is the highest in the central and western regions, followed by that in the northeastern region, and the convergence rate is the lowest in the eastern region. In addition, the convergence rate in different time periods has a phase change. The process of improving the quality and efficiency of agricultural production requires enhancing the adaptability of climate change, balancing the carrying capacity of the resource environment, and strengthening inter-regional cooperation and linkage in the field of agriculture. Full article
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Article
Response of Rice Harvest Index to Different Water and Nitrogen Management Modes in the Black Soil Region of Northeast China
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010115 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 599
Abstract
Understanding the methods leading to rice yield increase is vital for sustainable agricultural development. Improving the harvest index (HI) is an important way to increase rice yield. To explore the effects of different water and nitrogen management modes on the rice HI in [...] Read more.
Understanding the methods leading to rice yield increase is vital for sustainable agricultural development. Improving the harvest index (HI) is an important way to increase rice yield. To explore the effects of different water and nitrogen management modes on the rice HI in the black soil region of Northeast China, a field experiment was conducted in 2019 (Y1) and 2020 (Y2). Two irrigation methods, conventional flooding irrigation (FI) and controlled irrigation (CI), were established in the experiment, and four nitrogen application levels (0 kg/ha, 85 kg/ha, 110 kg/ha, and 135 kg/ha) were set during the entire growth period, named N0, N1, N2, and N3. The dry matter weight and the rice yield at the maturity stage were determined, and the HI was then calculated. The results showed that different irrigation modes and nitrogen application levels had significant effects on the rice HI. Under different irrigation modes with the same nitrogen application level during the two years, the comparison regular of HI was consistent. In Y1 and Y2, the HI of FN0 was 3.36% and 5.02% higher than that of CN0 (p < 0.05), and the HI of CN1 was 0.31% and 2.43% higher than that of FN1 (p > 0.05). The HI under CI was significantly higher than that under FI under N2 and N3 (p < 0.05), the HI of CN2 was 4.21% and 4.97% higher than that of FN2, and the HI of FN3 was 13.12% and 20.34% higher than that of CN3. In addition, during the two-year experiment, the HI first increased and then decreased with an increase in the nitrogen application rate under FI and CI. Under the FI treatments, the HI of N1 was the highest, and that of N2 was the highest under the CI treatments. A variance analysis showed that the irrigation pattern and nitrogen application level had significant interactions on the rice HI (p < 0.01), and the appropriate water and N management mode could increase rice the HI by 26.89%. The experimental results showed that the HI of the 110 kg/ha nitrogen application rate under CI was the highest, reaching 0.574 and 0.572, respectively, in two years. This study provides a data reference and theoretical support for realizing water savings, nitrogen reduction, and sustainable agricultural development in the black soil region of Northeast China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Saving Irrigation Technology and Strategies for Crop Production)
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Article
Mycorrhizal Inoculation Improves Plant Growth and Yield of Micropropagated Early Globe Artichoke under Field Conditions
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010114 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 353
Abstract
The micropropagation appears to be a valid alternative method for the production of large-scale, phenotypically homogeneous, and disease-free plants, particularly for spring globe artichoke genotypes. Nevertheless, micropropagated plants have some problems during the acclimatization in field environments. The inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi [...] Read more.
The micropropagation appears to be a valid alternative method for the production of large-scale, phenotypically homogeneous, and disease-free plants, particularly for spring globe artichoke genotypes. Nevertheless, micropropagated plants have some problems during the acclimatization in field environments. The inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi appeared to overcome the transplanting stress. Therefore, a comparison was drawn between the field performances of different vegetative propagation techniques (micropropagated/mycorrhized and offshoots cultivation) of early globe artichoke clones over two growing seasons. The micropropagation/mycorrhization appeared to deliver a better field performance in terms of both plant growth and productivity traits as compared with offshoots cultivated. In particular, the micropopagated/mycorrhized plants exhibited the highest vegetative growth values than the offshoots of the cultivated ones, such as the plant height and the main floral stem length. The micropopagated/mycorrhized plants were also more productive, exceeding the head yield of offshoots cultivated ones by about 63%. However, the micropopagated/mycorrhized plants accumulated almost a month late on the first harvest respect to offshoots cultivated ones. Our data also showed that the effects of the new proposed propagation method were genotype- and season-dependent. Accordingly, some plant growth and productivity traits showed significant ‘propagation method × genotype’ and ‘propagation method × growing season’ interaction. This study revealed that the micropropagation, as well as the mycorrhization, could represent an efficient and sustainable cropping system to reintroduce and increase the productivity of autochthons landraces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Correction
Correction: Li et al. Quantitative Evaluation of China’s Pork Industry Policy: A PMC Index Model Approach. Agriculture 2021, 11, 86
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010113 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 369
Abstract
The authors found some omissions and errors in the original paper [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
Article
A Design of an Unmanned Electric Tractor Platform
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 112; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010112 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 580
Abstract
The tractor is a vehicle often used in agriculture. It is mainly used to tow other unpowered agricultural machinery for farming, harvesting, and seeding. They consume a lot of fuel with emissions that often contain a large amount of toxic gases, which seriously [...] Read more.
The tractor is a vehicle often used in agriculture. It is mainly used to tow other unpowered agricultural machinery for farming, harvesting, and seeding. They consume a lot of fuel with emissions that often contain a large amount of toxic gases, which seriously jeopardize human health and the ecological environment. Therefore, the electrical tractor is bound to become a future trend. The objective of this study is to design and implement a lightweight, energy-saving, and less polluting electric tractor, which meets the requirements of existing smallholder farmers, equipped with unmanned technology and multi-functions to assist labor and to provide the potential for unmanned operation. We reduced the weight of the tractor body structure to 101 kg, and the bending rigidity and torsional rigidity reached 11,579 N/mm and 4923 Nm/deg, respectively. Two 7.5 kW induction motors driven by lithium batteries were applied, which allows at least 3.5 h of working time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design and Application of Agricultural Equipment in Tillage System)
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Case Report
Leisure Agricultural Park Selection for Traveler Groups Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010111 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 402
Abstract
With the widespread vaccination against COVID-19, people began to resume regional tourism. Outdoor attractions, such as leisure agricultural parks, are particularly attractive because they are well ventilated and can prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the considerations around choosing [...] Read more.
With the widespread vaccination against COVID-19, people began to resume regional tourism. Outdoor attractions, such as leisure agricultural parks, are particularly attractive because they are well ventilated and can prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the considerations around choosing a leisure agricultural park are different from usual, and will be affected by uncertainty. Therefore, this research proposes a fuzzy collaborative intelligence (FCI) approach to help select leisure agricultural parks suitable for traveler groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed FCI approach combines asymmetrically calibrated fuzzy geometric mean (acFGM), fuzzy weighted intersection (FWI), and fuzzy Vise Kriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (fuzzy VIKOR), which is a novel attempt in this field. The effectiveness of the proposed FCI approach has been verified by a case study in Taichung City, Taiwan. The results of the case study showed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers (especially traveler groups) were very willing to go to leisure agricultural parks. In addition, the most important criterion for choosing a suitable leisure agricultural park was the ease of maintaining social distance, while the least important criterion was the distance from a leisure agricultural park. Further, the successful recommendation rate using the proposed methodology was as high as 90%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet and Computers for Agriculture)
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Article
The Effect of Mineral N Fertilization and Bradyrhizobium japonicum Seed Inoculation on Productivity of Soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merrill)
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010110 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 337
Abstract
Soybean yields can be considerably improved by inoculation with selected Bradyrhizobium japonicum strains and fertilization. The aim of this study was to assess the productivity of two soybean cultivars depending on the applied N mineral fertilizers and seed inoculation with B. japonicum. [...] Read more.
Soybean yields can be considerably improved by inoculation with selected Bradyrhizobium japonicum strains and fertilization. The aim of this study was to assess the productivity of two soybean cultivars depending on the applied N mineral fertilizers and seed inoculation with B. japonicum. The study showed that on average, for both cultivars, the soybean yield was most favorably affected by the combined use of inoculation and nitrogen fertilization (increase in seed yield by 42%, protein yield by about 28%). The application of mineral nitrogen at the dose of 30 or 60 kg·ha−1 allowed the increase in the seed yield by about 17% and protein content by about 14% compared to the control. Inoculation of soybean seeds with B. japonicum increased the yield of soybeans by about 20%, proteins by about 10% compared to the control, and inoculation of Hi®Stick Soy favored a better yield than Nitragina. Inoculation of seeds with Nitragina or Hi®Stick Soy and fertilization with mineral nitrogen increased the content of protein and fiber in seeds of both soybean cultivars, as well as reduced the amount of ash and fat. The seeds of cv. Aldana had a higher amount of protein and ash than cv. Annushka, but a similar amount of fat and fiber. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
Effects of Knotweed-Enriched Feed on the Blood Characteristics and Fitness of Horses
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010109 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 348
Abstract
The aboveground biomass of dry knotweed was administered daily to large groups of young (1- to 3-year-old) stallions of the Czech Warmblood, Czech-Moravian Coldblood and Silesian Norik breeds, fed individually for 4 and 6 months in two successive winter experiments. Their fitness was [...] Read more.
The aboveground biomass of dry knotweed was administered daily to large groups of young (1- to 3-year-old) stallions of the Czech Warmblood, Czech-Moravian Coldblood and Silesian Norik breeds, fed individually for 4 and 6 months in two successive winter experiments. Their fitness was compared with control groups consisting of equally numerous subgroups comparable in age, breed, body mass and initial blood parameters. The effects of knotweed on the horses’ fitness were evaluated based on changes in blood characteristics. Even if administered in small amounts, 150 g per day, knotweed could (1) increase the thrombocyte numbers, (2) increase the globulin content (thus improving the horses’ immunity, which is desired in large groups of animals), (3) stimulate lipid metabolism in cold-blooded horses and (4) decrease the concentration of cholesterol. The long-lasting effect of knotweed on both the urea and triglyceride–cholesterol ratio presumably reflected, between the two experiments, the temporary protein starvation of horses on pastures with poor quality of grass in a dry summer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Safety and Efficacy of Feed Additives in Animal Production)
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Article
Wild Plant Habitat Characterization in the Last Two Decades in the Nile Delta Coastal Region of Egypt
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010108 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 389
Abstract
Environmental and land-use changes put severe pressure on wild plant habitats. The present study aims to assess the biodiversity of wild plant habitats and the associated spatiotemporal environmental changes in the coastal region of Dakahlia Governorate following an integrated approach of remote sensing, [...] Read more.
Environmental and land-use changes put severe pressure on wild plant habitats. The present study aims to assess the biodiversity of wild plant habitats and the associated spatiotemporal environmental changes in the coastal region of Dakahlia Governorate following an integrated approach of remote sensing, GIS, and samples analysis. Thirty-seven stands were spatially identified and studied to represent the different habitats of wild plants in the Deltaic Mediterranean coastline region. Physical and chemical characteristics of soil samples were examined, while TWINSPAN classification was used to identify plant communities. Two free Landsat images (TM and OLI) acquired in 1999 and 2019 were processed to assess changes via the production of land use and cover maps (LULC). Moreover, NDSI, NDMI, and NDSI indices were used to identify wild plant habitats. The floristic composition indicated the existence of 57 species, belonging to 51 genera of 20 families. The largest families were Asteraceae, Poaceae, and Chenopodiaceae. The classification of vegetation led to the identification of four groups. Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) revealed that electrical conductivity, cations, organic carbon, porosity, chlorides, and bicarbonates are the most effective soil variables influencing vegetation. The results of the spectral analysis indicated an annual coverage of bare lands (3.56 km2), which is strongly related to the annual increase in vegetation (1.91 km2), water bodies (1.22 km2), and urban areas (0.43 km2). The expansion of urban and agricultural regions subsequently increased water bodies and caused occupancy of bare land, resulting in the development of wild plant habitats, which are mostly represented by the sparse vegetation class as evaluated by NDVI. The increase in mean moisture values (NDMI) from 0.03 in 1999 to 0.15 in 2019 might be explained by the increase in total areas of wild plant habitats throughout the study period (1999–2019). This may improve the adequacy of environments for wild habitats, causing natural plant proliferation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ecosystem, Environment and Climate Change in Agriculture)
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Article
The Effects of Suaeda salsa/Zea mays L. Intercropping on Plant Growth and Soil Chemical Characteristics in Saline Soil
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010107 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Halophytes possess the capacity to uptake high levels of salt through physiological processes and their root architecture. Here, we investigated whether halophyte/non-halophyte intercropping in saline soil benefits plant growth and contains root-dialogue between interspecific species. Field and pot experiments were conducted to determine [...] Read more.
Halophytes possess the capacity to uptake high levels of salt through physiological processes and their root architecture. Here, we investigated whether halophyte/non-halophyte intercropping in saline soil benefits plant growth and contains root-dialogue between interspecific species. Field and pot experiments were conducted to determine the plant biomasses and salt and nutrient distributions in three suaeda (Suaeda salsa)/maize (Zea mays L.) intercropping systems, set up by non-barrier, nylon-barrier, and plastic-barrier between plant roots. The suaeda/maize intercropping obviously transferred more Na+ to the suaeda root zone and decreased salt and Na+ contents. However, the biomass of the non-barrier-treated maize was significantly lower than that of the nylon and plastic barrier-treated maize. There was lower available N content in the soil of the non-barrier treated groups compared with the plastic barrier-treated groups. In addition, the pH was lower, and the available nutrient content was higher in the nylon barrier, which suggested that rhizospheric processes might occur between the two species. Therefore, we concluded that the suaeda/maize intercropping would be beneficial to the salt removal, but it caused an adverse effect for maize growth due to interspecific competition, and also revealed potential rhizospheric effects through the role of roots. This study provides an effective way for the improvement of saline land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
Impact of Inorganic Metal (Ag, Cu) Nanoparticles on the Quality of Seeds and Dried Rapeseed Sprouts
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010106 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 300
Abstract
The present study focuses on the impact of copper and silver nanoparticles on the chemical composition and physical properties of rapeseeds and rape sprouts. The seeds and sprouts were obtained from winter rape grown in a three-year cultivation (2018–2020) treated with silver (AgNP) [...] Read more.
The present study focuses on the impact of copper and silver nanoparticles on the chemical composition and physical properties of rapeseeds and rape sprouts. The seeds and sprouts were obtained from winter rape grown in a three-year cultivation (2018–2020) treated with silver (AgNP) and copper (CuNP) nanoparticles. In addition, the effect of the freeze-drying temperature (20; 40; 60 °C) on selected properties of the sprouts was studied. Spraying growing plants with nanoparticles resulted, in most cases, and depending on the year, in a reduction in the mass of seeds (MTS) by 9.5% (single nanoparticles spray ×1 CuNP in 2018), an increase in the fat content (by 8.80% for ×1 CuNP in 2018), a reduction in the protein content (by 12.93% for ×1 CuNP in 2018) and flavonoid content (by up to 58% for ×1 AgNP and CuNP in 2018), as well as increase in the glucosinolates content by 25% (for double nanoparticles spray ×2 AgNP in 2019). For the sprouts obtained from the rapeseeds, in most cases, a decrease in the content of flavonoids was observed (26.68% for ×1 AgNP; 20 °C in 2018), depending on the year of cultivation, the nanoparticles used, and the drying temperature. The obtained results remain inconclusive, which encourages the authors to undertake further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
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Article
OTUD7A Regulates Inflammation- and Immune-Related Gene Expression in Goose Fatty Liver
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010105 - 13 Jan 2022
Viewed by 326
Abstract
OTU deubiquitinase 7A (OTUD7A) can suppress inflammation signaling pathways, but it is unclear whether the gene can inhibit inflammation in goose fatty liver. In order to investigate the functions of OTUD7A and identify the genes and pathways subjected to the regulation [...] Read more.
OTU deubiquitinase 7A (OTUD7A) can suppress inflammation signaling pathways, but it is unclear whether the gene can inhibit inflammation in goose fatty liver. In order to investigate the functions of OTUD7A and identify the genes and pathways subjected to the regulation of OTUD7A in the formation of goose fatty liver, we conducted transcriptomic analysis of cells, which revealed several genes related to inflammation and immunity that were significantly differentially expressed after OTUD7A overexpression. Moreover, the expression of interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 5 (IFIT5), tumor necrosis factor ligand superfamily member 8 (TNFSF8), sterile alpha motif domain-containing protein 9 (SAMD9), radical S-adenosyl methionine domain-containing protein 2 (RSAD2), interferon-induced GTP-binding protein Mx1 (MX1), and interferon-induced guanylate binding protein 1-like (GBP1) was inhibited by OTUD7A overexpression but induced by OTUD7A knockdown with small interfering RNA in goose hepatocytes. Furthermore, the mRNA expression of IFIT5, TNFSF8, SAMD9, RSAD2, MX1, and GBP1 was downregulated, whereas OTUD7A expression was upregulated in goose fatty liver after 12 days of overfeeding. In contrast, the expression patterns of these genes showed nearly the opposite trend after 24 days of overfeeding. Taken together, these findings indicate that OTUD7A regulates the expression of inflammation- and immune-related genes in the development of goose fatty liver. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Genetics and Genomics in Livestock Production)
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Article
Factors Affecting Consumers’ Purchasing of Suboptimal Foods during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010099 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 598
Abstract
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, global food production and transportation have been largely impacted. Meanwhile, consumers have purchased and stockpiled large quantities of foods due to panic in the early stage of the pandemic, which has resulted in a lot of [...] Read more.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, global food production and transportation have been largely impacted. Meanwhile, consumers have purchased and stockpiled large quantities of foods due to panic in the early stage of the pandemic, which has resulted in a lot of uneaten, expired foods and has reduced the varieties of foods available in the markets. Due to the lower prices, some consumers have chosen to buy those foods with an earlier production time or inferior quality (suboptimal foods), and the purchase rate of suboptimal foods has increased. Therefore, this study investigated consumer behavior during the pandemic as the research focus, explored the main dimensions that affect consumers’ purchasing of suboptimal foods during the COVID-19 pandemic, tested their correlations, and proposed suggestions for improvement. The results of this study showed that the impacts of Perceived Benefits on Attitude Toward Behavior, Perceived Behavioral Control, and Subject Norm rank 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in importance, respectively, which are all higher than the related impact of Environmental Concerns. For consumers, the most important thing is whether suboptimal foods have consumption motivation for them, which is also the most direct way to make consumers feel the value of suboptimal foods. Furthermore, for consumers, while the environmentally friendly attributes of suboptimal foods are less perceptible than the economic motivations, they still have considerable influence on consumers, and this is even more prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families have experienced a shock to their income during the pandemic, and consumers are more sensitive and concerned about commodity prices, which also makes lower-priced and more abundant suboptimal foods more popular. However, in the long term, suboptimal foods can have a positive impact on reducing food waste and protecting the environment. When consumers realize this, they will be more motivated to purchase and try suboptimal foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Marketing, Economics and Policies)
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Article
Automatic Milking Systems in the Production of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese: Effects on the Milk Quality and on Cheese Characteristics
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010104 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 376
Abstract
The adoption of innovative processes, such as the automatic milking system (AMS), in the production of typical PDO cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, needs to be evaluated and tested, to verify its influence on milk quality and the typicality of the product. The [...] Read more.
The adoption of innovative processes, such as the automatic milking system (AMS), in the production of typical PDO cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, needs to be evaluated and tested, to verify its influence on milk quality and the typicality of the product. The present research was aimed to study the effect of the introduction of the AMS on the cheesemaking characteristics of the milk and the ripening process and the sensory properties of the Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese. Six cheesemaking trials were performed and, in each trial, two different separated pools of milk were submitted to the cheesemaking process in parallel, one from AMS and the other from a traditional milking parlor (TMP). AMS milk, in comparison with TMP one, showed higher content of lactose and calcium and lower contents of somatic cells, thermophilic lactic acid bacteria and chloride. Nevertheless, these changes were too small to influence the efficiency of the cheesemaking process and the cheese composition and its sensory profile. Moreover, cheeses made with AMS milk fully complied with the sensory characteristics of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese PDO, as defined by the PDO rules. Full article
Article
Harnessing the Phytase Production Potential of Soil-Borne Fungi from Wastewater Irrigated Fields Based on Eco-Cultural Optimization under Shake Flask Method
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010103 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Indigenous fungi present in agricultural soils could have synchronized their inherent potentials to the local climatic conditions. Therefore, the fungi resident in the untreated wastewater irrigated agricultural field might develop their potential for producing various enzymes to handle the induced full organic load [...] Read more.
Indigenous fungi present in agricultural soils could have synchronized their inherent potentials to the local climatic conditions. Therefore, the fungi resident in the untreated wastewater irrigated agricultural field might develop their potential for producing various enzymes to handle the induced full organic load from domestic wastewater and toxic chemicals from the textile industry. Around 53 various fungal isolates were grown and separated from the soil samples from these sites through soil dilution, soil-culture plate, and soil-culture plate methods. All the purified fungi were subjected to a phosphatase production test, and only 13 fungal strains were selected as phosphatase producers. Among them, only five fungi identified as Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium purourogenum, and Mucor rouxii based on morphological similarities, showing higher phosphate solubilizing indices, were utilized for eco-cultural fine-tuning to harness their full production potential under shake flask (SF) method. Among various media, orchestral tuning, 200 µM sodium phytate as substrate with 1.5 mL of inoculum size of the fungi, pH 7, temperature 30 °C, glucose, and ammonium nitrate as carbon and nitrogen additive with seven days of incubation were found to be the most appropriate cultural conditions to harness the phytase production potential of the selected fungi. Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus flavus showed initial phytase activity (5.2 Units/mL, 4.8 Units/mL) and phytase specific activity (2.85, 2.65 Units/mL per mg protein) during screening to be enhanced up to 17 ± 0.033 (Units/mL), 16 ± 0.033 (Units/mL) and (13 ± 0.012), 10 ± 0.066 (Units/mL per mg protein), respectively, with the above-mentioned conditions. The phytase enzyme produced from these fungi were found to be almost stable for a wide range of pH (4–8); temperature (20–60 °C); insensitive to Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions, and EDTA, Ni2+, and Ba2+ inhibitors but highly sensitive to Mn2+, Cu2+, and Zn2+ ions, and Co2+, Cr3+, Al3+, Fe2+ and Ag1+ inhibitors. It was suggested that both phytase-producing strains of A. niger and A. flavus or their crude phytase enzymes might be good candidates for application in soils to release phosphates from phytate and a possible valuable substitute of phosphate fertilizers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactions between Microorganisms in Plant Diseases)
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Article
Evaluation of Individual Plant Growth Estimation in an Intercropping Field with UAV Imagery
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010102 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 639
Abstract
Agriculture practices in monocropping need to become more sustainable and one of the ways to achieve this is to reintroduce intercropping. However, quantitative data to evaluate plant growth in intercropping systems are still lacking. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have the potential to become [...] Read more.
Agriculture practices in monocropping need to become more sustainable and one of the ways to achieve this is to reintroduce intercropping. However, quantitative data to evaluate plant growth in intercropping systems are still lacking. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have the potential to become a state-of-the-art technique for the automatic estimation of plant growth. Individual plant height is an important trait attribute for field investigation as it can be used to derive information on crop growth throughout the growing season. This study aimed to investigate the applicability of UAV-based RGB imagery combined with the structure from motion (SfM) method for estimating the individual plants height of cabbage, pumpkin, barley, and wheat in an intercropping field during a complete growing season under varying conditions. Additionally, the effect of different percentiles and buffer sizes on the relationship between UAV-estimated plant height and ground truth plant height was examined. A crop height model (CHM) was calculated as the difference between the digital surface model (DSM) and the digital terrain model (DTM). The results showed that the overall correlation coefficient (R2) values of UAV-estimated and ground truth individual plant heights for cabbage, pumpkin, barley, and wheat were 0.86, 0.94, 0.36, and 0.49, respectively, with overall root mean square error (RMSE) values of 6.75 cm, 6.99 cm, 14.16 cm, and 22.04 cm, respectively. More detailed analysis was performed up to the individual plant level. This study suggests that UAV imagery can provide a reliable and automatic assessment of individual plant heights for cabbage and pumpkin plants in intercropping but cannot be considered yet as an alternative approach for barley and wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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Article
Maximization of Water Productivity and Yield of Two Iceberg Lettuce Cultivars in Hydroponic Farming System Using Magnetically Treated Saline Water
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010101 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 500
Abstract
Egypt has limited agricultural land, associated with the scarcity of irrigation water and rapid population growth. Hydroponic farming, seawater desalination and magnetic treatment are among the practical solutions for sustaining rapid population growth. In this regard, the main objective of the present research [...] Read more.
Egypt has limited agricultural land, associated with the scarcity of irrigation water and rapid population growth. Hydroponic farming, seawater desalination and magnetic treatment are among the practical solutions for sustaining rapid population growth. In this regard, the main objective of the present research study was to design and construct a hierarchical engineering unit as a hydroponic farming system (soilless) to produce an iceberg lettuce crop using magnetically treated saline water. The treatments included four types of irrigation water: common irrigation water (IW1) with an electrical conductivity (EC) of 0.96 dS/m as a control treatment, magnetically treated common irrigation water (IW2) with an EC of 0.96 dS/m, saline water (IW3) with an EC of 4.56 dS/m and magnetically treated saline water (IW4) with an EC of 4.56 dS/m; three depletion ratios (DR) of field capacity (DR0 = 50%, DR1 = 60% and DR2 = 70%) and three slopes of hydroponic pipes (S1 = 0.0%, S2 = 0.025% and S3 = 0.075%). The results revealed that seawater contributed 7.15% to produce iceberg lettuce in the hydroponic system. The geometric parameter, the slope of the pipes, influenced the obtained luminous intensity by an average increase of 21% and 71% for S2 and S3, respectively, compared with the zero slope (horizontal pipes). Magnetization of irrigation water increased the total soluble solids (TSS) and enhanced the fresh weight and water productivity of both iceberg lettuce varieties used. The maximum percentages of TSS were 5.20% and 5.10% for lemur and iceberg 077, respectively, for the combination IW4DR2S2. The highest values of fresh weight and water productivity of 3.10 kg/m and 39.15 kg/m3 were recorded with the combinations IW3DR2S3 and IW4DR1S3, respectively, for lemur and iceberg lettuce. The percentages of these increases were 109.46% and 97.78%, respectively, when compared with the combination IW1DR0S1. The highest values of iceberg lettuce 077 fresh weight and water productivity were 2.93 kg/m and 36.15 kg/m3, respectively, which were recorded with the combination IW4DR1S3. The percentages of these increases were 112.32% and 120.56%, respectively, when compared with IW1DR0S1 (the control treatment). Full article
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Article
Quantification of Dust Emissions during Tillage Operations in Steep Slope Vineyards in the Moselle Area
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010100 - 12 Jan 2022
Viewed by 389
Abstract
Measurements of dust emissions and the modeling of dissipation dynamics and total values are related to great uncertainties. Agricultural activity, especially soil cultivation, may be an essential component to calculate and model local and regional dust dynamics and even connect to the global [...] Read more.
Measurements of dust emissions and the modeling of dissipation dynamics and total values are related to great uncertainties. Agricultural activity, especially soil cultivation, may be an essential component to calculate and model local and regional dust dynamics and even connect to the global dust cycle. To budget total dust and to assess the impact of tillage, measurement of mobilized and transported dust is an essential but rare basis. In this study, a simple measurement concept with Modified Wilson and Cook samplers was applied for dust measurements on a small temporal and spatial scale on steep-slope vineyards in the Moselle area. Without mechanical impact, a mean horizontal flux of 0.01 g m2 min−1 was measured, while row tillage produced a mean horizontal flux of 5.92 g m2 min−1 of mobilized material and 4.18 g m2 min−1 emitted dust from site (=soil loss). Compared on this singular-event basis, emissions during tillage operations generated 99.89% of total emitted dust from the site under low mean wind velocities. The results also indicate a differing impact of specific cultivation operations, mulching, and tillage tools as well as the additional influence of environmental conditions, with highest emissions on dry soil and with additional wind impact. The dust source function is strongly associated with cultivation operations, implying highly dynamic but also regular and thus predictable and projectable emission peaks of total suspended particles. Detailed knowledge of the effects of mechanical impulses and reliable quantification of the local dust emission inventory are a basis for analysis of risk potential and choice of adequate management options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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Article
The Use of Compost Increases Bioactive Compounds and Fruit Yield in Calafate Grown in the Central South of Chile
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010098 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 427
Abstract
Different concentrations of compost applied as organic fertilizer can modify productive, quality, and chemical parameters in several fruit tree species. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of increasing applications of compost on physiological, productive, and quality parameters in calafate [...] Read more.
Different concentrations of compost applied as organic fertilizer can modify productive, quality, and chemical parameters in several fruit tree species. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of increasing applications of compost on physiological, productive, and quality parameters in calafate fruit during the seasons of 2018–2019 and 2019–2020. The study was conducted on a commercial calafate orchard using a randomized complete block design with four treatments (CK: no compost application, T1: 5 Ton ha−1, T2: 10 Ton ha−1, and T3: 15 Ton ha−1), each with four repetitions. The results did not show statistical significance for stomatal conductance (Gs), quantum yield of PSII, or photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) within treatments. As for fruit yield, a statistical difference was found between the control treatment and T1, which were lower than T2 and T3 in both seasons. The trees reached a higher leaf area index with T2 in both seasons. The highest antioxidant capacity was obtained with T3 and T2 for the first and second season, respectively. Polyphenols and total anthocyanin production showed statistical significance, with a higher content at the second season with T2. It is concluded that the dose under which yield, quality, and nutraceutical content of calafate fruit are optimized is the one used in T2, 10 Ton ha−1. Full article
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Article
Assessing Growth and Water Productivity for Drip-Irrigated Maize under High Plant Density in Arid to Semi-Humid Climates
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010097 - 11 Jan 2022
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Determining the water productivity of maize is of great significance for ensuring food security and coping with climate change. In 2018 and 2019, we conducted field trials in arid areas (Changji), semi-arid areas (Qitai) and semi-humid areas (Xinyuan). The hybrid XY335 was selected [...] Read more.
Determining the water productivity of maize is of great significance for ensuring food security and coping with climate change. In 2018 and 2019, we conducted field trials in arid areas (Changji), semi-arid areas (Qitai) and semi-humid areas (Xinyuan). The hybrid XY335 was selected for the experiment, the planting density was 12.0 × 104 plants ha−1, and five irrigation amounts were set. The results showed that yield, biomass, and transpiration varied substantially and significantly between experimental sites, irrigation and years. Likewise, water use efficiency (WUE) for both biomass (WUEB) and yield (WUEY) were affected by these factors, including a significant interaction. Normalized water productivity (WP*) of maize increased significantly with an increase in irrigation. The WP* for film mulched drip irrigation maize was 37.81 g m−2 d1; it was varied significantly between sites and irrigation or their interaction. We conclude that WP* differs from the conventional parameter for water productivity but is a useful parameter for assessing the attainable rate of film-mulched drip irrigation maize growth and yield in arid areas, semi-arid areas and semi-humid areas. The parametric AquaCrop model was not accurate in simulating soil water under film mulching. However, it was suitable for the prediction of canopy coverage (CC) for most irrigation treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimizing Grain Yield and Water Use Efficiency in Maize Production)
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Article
Wettability and Water Uptake Improvement in Plasma-Treated Alfalfa Seeds
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010096 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 331
Abstract
The cultivation of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), a forage crop grown worldwide, is negatively affected by hard seed presence. We show that treatment of alfalfa seeds with an inductively coupled radio frequency oxygen plasma improves their surface hydrophilicity, as determined by water [...] Read more.
The cultivation of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), a forage crop grown worldwide, is negatively affected by hard seed presence. We show that treatment of alfalfa seeds with an inductively coupled radio frequency oxygen plasma improves their surface hydrophilicity, as determined by water contact angle (WCA) measurements and water uptake. Furthermore, we see that these effects are mediated by functionalization and etching of the alfalfa seed surface. Surface chemistry is analyzed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), while morphology is viewed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Plasma produces effective alfalfa seed hydrophilization with a variety of treatment parameters. With its potential for fine-tuning, plasma modification of seed wettability shows promise for introduction into agricultural practice. Full article
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Article
Effect of Various Strains of Lactobacillus buchneri on the Fermentation Quality and Aerobic Stability of Corn Silage
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010095 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 357
Abstract
The aerobic deterioration of silage nutrients is inevitable in tropical countries, causing negative consequences in animal production systems. Aiming to minimize the losses, the effects of Lactobacillus buchneri strains on fermentation profile and aerobic stability of corn silages were evaluated. The experiment was [...] Read more.
The aerobic deterioration of silage nutrients is inevitable in tropical countries, causing negative consequences in animal production systems. Aiming to minimize the losses, the effects of Lactobacillus buchneri strains on fermentation profile and aerobic stability of corn silages were evaluated. The experiment was conducted under a completely randomized design with 13 treatments and three replicates. The treatments were noninoculated, commercial L. buchneri (CI), and 11 wild strains of L. buchneri: LB-56.1, LB-56.2, LB-56.4, LB-56.7, LB-56.8, LB-56.9, LB-56.21, LB-56.22, LB-56.25, LB-56.26, and LB-56.27. The treatments could be divided into three different groups according to silage pH and acetic acid concentration. Silages inoculated with LB-56.1, LB-56.4, and LB-56.9 presented higher pH, whereas intermediate values were observed for LB-56.2, LB-56.7, and LB-56.8. The highest acetic acid production was observed for LB-56.1 and LB-56.7. On the other hand, lowest concentrations were found for CI, LB-56.22, LB-56.25, LB-56.26, and LB-56.27. Higher amounts of NH3–N were observed for LB-56.8, LB-56.21, LB-56.22, and LB-56.27 silages than others. Silage inoculation with CI, LB-56.1, LB-56.2, LB-56.4, LB-56.8, LB-56.9, and LB-56.25 strains had higher aerobic stability than others (59.7 vs. 41.2 h). The L. buchneri strains LB-56.1, LB-56.2, LB-56.4, LB-56.8, LB-56.9, and LB-56.25 provided potential features to improve the aerobic stability of corn silage. Full article
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Article
Impacts of Age, Genotype and Feeding Low-Protein Diets on the N-Balance Parameters of Fattening Pigs
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010094 - 11 Jan 2022
Viewed by 316
Abstract
The effects of feeding low-protein (LP) diets and the age and genotype of fattening pigs were evaluated in an N-balance trial. Sixty weaned piglets of two genotypes were allotted to three different diets. Besides the control diets for the crossbred Topigs 20 × [...] Read more.
The effects of feeding low-protein (LP) diets and the age and genotype of fattening pigs were evaluated in an N-balance trial. Sixty weaned piglets of two genotypes were allotted to three different diets. Besides the control diets for the crossbred Topigs 20 × DanBred Duroc (TD) and Hungarian Large White (HLW) pigs, two LP diets were fed containing 1.5 (T1.5) and 3% (T3) less dietary protein than the control. The LP diets were supplemented with crystalline lysine, threonine, tryptophan, and methionine to equalize their digestible amino acid contents. Starter diets were fed between 20–30, grower I between 30–40, grower II between 40–80 and finisher between 80–110 kg live weights. Pigs were kept in floor pens, with 10 animals per pen. In all phases, six pigs with similar live weight were placed into individual balance cages and in the frame of a seven-day long balance trial, the daily N-intake, fecal and urinary N-excretion were measured. From the data N-digestibility, the total ammoniacal nitrogen (TAN) and N-retention were calculated. All the investigated main factors, the genotype and age of pigs and the protein content of the diets had significant effects on the N-balance of fattening pigs. The determinacy of the factors depended on the investigated parameter. Fecal N-excretion and N-digestibility were steadier compared with the urinary N-exertion and TAN percentage. N-digestibility increased and the urinary N-excretion decreased when LP diets were fed. The urinary N-decreasing effect of LP diets was not linear. Compared with the control (19.6 gN/day), T1.5 treatment resulted in 14.5, treatment T3 in 12.4 g daily urinary N-excretion. The TAN and the N-retention of HLW pigs were more favorable than those of TD pigs. Based on our results, it can be concluded that the accuracy of the nitrogen and TAN excretion values of pigs, used in the calculation of the national NH3 inventories, could be improved if the genotype, the more detailed age categories and the different protein levels of feeds are considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
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Article
Estimation of Cultivated Land Quality Based on Soil Hyperspectral Data
Agriculture 2022, 12(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12010093 - 11 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 391
Abstract
Efficient monitoring of cultivated land quality (CLQ) plays a significant role in cultivated land protection. Soil spectral data can reflect the state of cultivated land. However, most studies have used crop spectral information to estimate CLQ, and there is little research on using [...] Read more.
Efficient monitoring of cultivated land quality (CLQ) plays a significant role in cultivated land protection. Soil spectral data can reflect the state of cultivated land. However, most studies have used crop spectral information to estimate CLQ, and there is little research on using soil spectral data for this purpose. In this study, soil hyperspectral data were utilized for the first time to evaluate CLQ. We obtained the optimal spectral variables from dry soil spectral data using a gradient boosting decision tree (GBDT) algorithm combined with the variance inflation factor (VIF). Two estimation algorithms (partial least-squares regression (PLSR) and back-propagation neural network (BPNN)) with 10-fold cross-validation were employed to develop the relationship model between the optimal spectral variables and CLQ. The optimal algorithms were determined by the degree of fit (determination coefficient, R2). In order to estimate CLQ at the regional scale, HuanJing-1A Hyperspectral Imager (HJ-1A HSI) data were transformed into dry soil spectral data using the linkage model of original soil spectral reflectance to dry soil spectral reflectance. This study was conducted in the Guangdong Province, China and the Conghua district within the same province. The results showed the following: (1) the optimal spectral variables selected from the dry soil spectral variables were 478 nm, 502 nm, 614 nm, 872 nm, 966 nm, 1007 nm, and 1796 nm. (2) The BPNN was the optimal model, with an R2(C) of 0.71 and a normalized root mean square error (NRMSE) of 12.20%. (3) The results showed the R2 of the regional-scale CLQ estimation based on the proposed method was 0.05 higher, and the NRMSE was 0.92% lower than that of the CLQ map obtained using the traditional method. Additionally, the NRMSE of the regional-scale CLQ estimation base on dry soil spectral variables from HJ-1A HSI data was 2.00% lower than that of the model base on the original HJ-1A HSI data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Analysis Techniques in Agriculture)
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