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Agriculture, Volume 12, Issue 5 (May 2022) – 170 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Broomrapes (Orobanche and Phelipanche spp.) are holoparasitic weeds that infect important crops. Using haustoria formed on their radicles, these weeds take water and nutrients from a crop, causing severe yield losses, the control of which is limited. Alternative control methods include radicle growth inhibition using specialized metabolites from natural sources. With this perspective a complex mixture of arvensic acids was isolated and identified, through chromatographic and spectroscopic methods, as the metabolites responsible for the inhibitory activity of the allelopathic plant Convolvulus arvensis. This finding paves the way for the synthesis of new bioherbicides and could contribute to the development of new sustainable management strategies. View this paper
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Article
The Impact of the Renovation of Grassland on the Development of Segetal Weeds in Organic Farming
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050738 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 477
Abstract
The intensive use or discontinuation of the use of swards can compromise biodiversity, yields, and feed quality; thus, leading to the degradation of permanent grasslands. Various methods of renovation are employed to restore the usability of degraded swards. In the years 2013–2016, a [...] Read more.
The intensive use or discontinuation of the use of swards can compromise biodiversity, yields, and feed quality; thus, leading to the degradation of permanent grasslands. Various methods of renovation are employed to restore the usability of degraded swards. In the years 2013–2016, a monofactorial field experiment was carried out on the Experimental Farm in Grabów (province of Mazowieckie, Poland). The experiment involved swards being reseeded after ploughing (P) and after disking with a compact harrow (H), with a non-renovated sward as the control treatment. The plots under renovation were reseeded with a lucerne–grass mixture. Both seedbed preparation methods for the renewed sward, ploughing (P) or shallow disking to a depth of 5 cm (H), were found to be effective for increasing sward yields, restricting weed growth, and reducing the number of weeds in the sward. The ploughing-based renovation method (P) had a strongly restrictive effect on biodiversity, as expressed by the H’ function value vis-à-vis the harrow method (H) and the non-renewed control (NR). Dicotyledonous species accounted for 92.3% of the weed population in the studied treatments. Of these, Taraxacum officinale, Achillea milefolium, Capsella bursa-pastoris, and Plantago maior occurred in the highest numbers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Restoration of Degraded Grasslands and Sustainable Grazing)
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Article
Cross-Resistance Pattern and Genetic Studies in Spirotetramat-Resistant Citrus Red Mite, Panonychus citri (Acari: Tetranychidae)
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 737; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050737 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 336
Abstract
In the laboratory, an acaricide-susceptible strain of the citrus red mite, Panonychus citri (McGregor) (LS-FJ), was used to screen for resistance to spirotetramat. A spirotetramat-resistant strain (ST-NK) obtained after continuous selections through 15 selection cycles (45 generations) exhibited 1668.4-fold greater resistance when compared [...] Read more.
In the laboratory, an acaricide-susceptible strain of the citrus red mite, Panonychus citri (McGregor) (LS-FJ), was used to screen for resistance to spirotetramat. A spirotetramat-resistant strain (ST-NK) obtained after continuous selections through 15 selection cycles (45 generations) exhibited 1668.4-fold greater resistance when compared to the parent generation. Instability of the spirotetramat resistance in the mites was observed during 11 months under spirotetramat-free laboratory conditions. Cross-resistance to spirodiclofen and spiromesifen was detected both in eggs and larvae, but not to five other tested acaricides. Probit lines for F1 heterozygous progeny indicated that the resistance to spirotetramat in the mites was autosomal with neither sex linkage nor maternal effects. The degrees of dominance were 0.15 and 0.23 for the diploid F1 of LS-FJ♀ × ST-NK♂ and ST-NK♀ × LS-FJ♂, and 0.07 and 0.13 for haploid F2 of LS-FJ♀ × ST-NK♂ and ST-NK♀ × LS-FJ♂, respectively, which indicated that the resistance was incompletely dominant. The χ2 analyses from the response of a backcross of crossed F1 progeny and ST-NK and F2 progeny showed that multiple genes are responsible for resistance to spirotetramat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolution, Mechanisms and Management of Insecticide Resistance)
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Article
Structural Model of Straw Briquetting Machine with Vertical Ring Die and Optimization of Briquetting Performance
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 736; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050736 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 361
Abstract
The solidification and molding of straw has been an effective method for comprehensive utilization of straw resources. However, the existing die-roll extrusion-type straw briquetting machine has challenges, such as the easy blockage of ring die holes and the unstable quality of the briquette. [...] Read more.
The solidification and molding of straw has been an effective method for comprehensive utilization of straw resources. However, the existing die-roll extrusion-type straw briquetting machine has challenges, such as the easy blockage of ring die holes and the unstable quality of the briquette. In this paper, the influence of four factors, including moisture content of straw, molding temperature, clearance between die and roller, and spindle speed on the quality of the briquette were studied. The regression model of the relaxed density and impact resistance of the briquette were established to obtain the optimal values of these factors to provide the best parameters for producing straw briquette. The results indicate that under the experimental conditions of moisture content 22.335%, temperature 85.127 °C, clearance between die and roller 3.099 mm, and spindle speed 172.712 r/min, the maximum relaxed density and impact resistance of the briquette were 1.144 g/cm3 and 74.76%, respectively. The performance of the briquette already meets the requirements for combustion, transportation, and storage. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Impact of Youth-in-Agribusiness Program on Poverty and Vulnerability to Poverty in Nigeria
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 735; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050735 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Poverty persists in many developing countries, including Nigeria, owing to inadequate infrastructure, unemployment, or poor working conditions, among other factors. Youth poverty and vulnerability to poverty have been identified to prevalent among the young population. Using an endogenous switching probit regression approach, in [...] Read more.
Poverty persists in many developing countries, including Nigeria, owing to inadequate infrastructure, unemployment, or poor working conditions, among other factors. Youth poverty and vulnerability to poverty have been identified to prevalent among the young population. Using an endogenous switching probit regression approach, in this study, we evaluated the impacts of youth participation in agribusiness programs (YIAPs) on poverty and vulnerability to poverty in Nigeria. Our findings revealed that some demographic and institutional factors significantly influence poverty and vulnerability to poverty among youth. The impact estimates indicate that participation in an agribusiness program has a significant positive effect on poverty reduction among youth. Moreover, there would have been about a 28% reduction in exposure to future poverty for non-participants had they participated in a YIAP. Our results suggest that intervention programs, such as YIAPs, that focus on skill acquisition and youth empowerment should be strengthened and scaled-up in order to improve youth welfare and subsequently reduce/eradicate poverty and vulnerability to poverty among youth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Security and Economic Analysis)
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Article
Interactions between Social Hierarchy and Some Udder Morphometric Traits upon Colostrum and Milk Physicochemical Characteristics in Crossbred Dairy Goats
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 734; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050734 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 357
Abstract
The possible relationship between udder morphometric variables (UMVs), chemical quality (CHQ) of both colostrum (CA), and milk (MK), as affected by goat’s social rank (SR) (i.e., low-LSR, or high-HSR), was assessed. In late June, goats (Alpine–Saanen–Nubian x Criollo; n = 38; 25° N) [...] Read more.
The possible relationship between udder morphometric variables (UMVs), chemical quality (CHQ) of both colostrum (CA), and milk (MK), as affected by goat’s social rank (SR) (i.e., low-LSR, or high-HSR), was assessed. In late June, goats (Alpine–Saanen–Nubian x Criollo; n = 38; 25° N) were estrus-synchronized and subjected to a fixed-time artificial insemination protocol. Thereafter, in October, while a behavioral study was performed in confirmed-pregnant goats to define the SR classes (n = 15), live weight (LW), body condition (BCS), and serum glucose (GLUC) were registered on the last day of the behavioral study. The expected kidding date was 25 November. Both the UMVs (i.e., seven dates) and the CHQ (i.e., either one for CA and three times for MK) were collected across time (T). The UMVs involved udder perimeter (UDPER, cm), udder diameter (UDDIA, cm), left-teat (LTPER, cm) and right-teat perimeter (RTPER, cm), left-teat (LTLT, cm) and right-teat length (RTLT, cm), left-teat diameter (LTDIA, cm) and right-teat diameter (RTDIA, cm), and medium suspensory ligament (MSL, cm). The registered CHQ variables for both CA and MK were fat (FAT), protein (PRO), lactose (LAC), nonfat solids (NFS), freezing point (FP), and total solids (TS). The possible effect of SR, T, and the SR × T interaction upon the described response variables was tested. While LW favored the HSR goats (54.6 vs. 48.2 ± 1.7 kg; p < 0.05), neither BCS nor GLUC differed (p > 0.05) between SR. An SR × T interaction affected (p < 0.05) most UMVs (i.e., UDPER, MSL, LTLT, RTLT, LTDIA, and RTDI). UMV differences were associated with both changes across time and between SR. Whereas RTLT, LTDIA, RTDIA, and MSL showed their highest values one week prior to kidding, the largest UDPER values (p < 0.05) occurred within the week of kidding. Additionally, HSR goats showed increased values regarding UDPER, MSL, and LTLT. No differences (p < 0.05) between SR occurred regarding the CA-CHQ (i.e., FAT, PRO, LAC, NFS, FP, and TS). Still, an SR x T interaction affected (p < 0.05) the MK content of FAT, PRO, and NFS; while the largest values (p < 0.05) occurred on Day 7 postpartum, the other MK constituents decreased as the lactation advanced. Further, the HSR goats showed an enlarged MK-CHQ (i.e., FAT, PRO, and NFS). HSR goats merged some central behaviors such as aggressiveness, assertiveness, and supremacy to have primacy to feed access, augmenting their LW. Whereas said bodyweight advantage was not reflected upon in CA-CHQ, HSR goats augmented some morphological udder values (i.e., UDPER, MSL, and LTLT) and produced the best MK-CHQ (i.e., > FAT, > PRO, and > NFS) during early lactation. Therefore, both social rank (i.e., HSR goats), as well as the temporal transition stage from the last third of pregnancy to the first phase of lactation (i.e., time), operated as important modulators upon both udder architecture and milk quality in crossbred dairy goats under a dry-semiarid production system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
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Article
Yield Responses of Grain Sorghum and Cowpea in Binary and Sole Cultures under No-Tillage Conditions in Limpopo Province
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 733; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050733 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 497
Abstract
Climate change is severely disrupting ecosystem services and crop productivity, resulting in lower crop growth and yields. Studies have emphasized the importance of assessing conservation practices through crop modelling to improve cropland productivity. There is a lack of accurate information in the performance [...] Read more.
Climate change is severely disrupting ecosystem services and crop productivity, resulting in lower crop growth and yields. Studies have emphasized the importance of assessing conservation practices through crop modelling to improve cropland productivity. There is a lack of accurate information in the performance of conservation practices as well as data for improved crop modelling. No-tillage sorghum–cowpea intercrop experiments were established to assess the productivity of four sorghum cultivars and cowpea at two densities of 37,037 and 74,074 per plants and generate data for improved crop modelling. The leaf area index (LAI) varied in sorghum cultivars and cowpea densities during the two growing seasons. Cultivars Enforcer and NS5511 produced the highest grain yields of 4338 kg per ha and 2120 kg per ha, respectively, at Syferkuil. Ofcolaco’s Enforcer and Avenger were the highest yielding cultivars at Ofcolaco, with mean yields of 2625 kg per ha and 1191 kg per ha, respectively. At Syferkuil, cowpea yield was 93% and 77% more in sole compared to binary cultures during the growing seasons at Syferkuil. At Ofcolaco, sole yielded approximately 96% more grain than binary. The findings confirm that for the sorghum–cowpea intercrop to improve overall system productivity, cowpea density should be increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture: Theories, Methods, Practices and Policies)
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Article
The Pricing Strategy of the Agricultural Product Supply Chain with Farmer Cooperatives as the Core Enterprise
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 732; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050732 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 473
Abstract
The pricing strategy of agricultural products not only affects the product demand and purchasing behavior of consumers, but also the income distribution of node enterprises and the overall profit of the agricultural supply chain. This paper studies the pricing strategy of the agricultural [...] Read more.
The pricing strategy of agricultural products not only affects the product demand and purchasing behavior of consumers, but also the income distribution of node enterprises and the overall profit of the agricultural supply chain. This paper studies the pricing strategy of the agricultural product supply chain with farmer cooperatives as the core enterprise. Considering the heterogeneous demand of consumers, this paper introduces the degree of agricultural product characteristics and establishes a dynamic pricing model for agricultural products under decentralized decision-making and centralized decision-making and designs a revenue sharing coordination contract. The results indicate that the overall profit of the supply chain obtained by pricing agricultural products through a decentralized decision-making model is lower than that created under centralized decision-making. Improving the degree of agricultural product’s characteristics and adopting the revenue sharing contract is conducive to the Pareto improvement of supply members. The relevant recommendations provide a reference for the product pricing strategy of this type of agricultural product supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Food Marketing, Economics and Policies)
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Article
Tourist Attractiveness of Rural Areas as a Determinant of the Implementation of Social Tourism of Disadvantaged Groups: Evidence from Poland and the Czech Republic
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050731 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 528
Abstract
The purpose of this article is to present the tourist attractiveness of rural areas as a factor of social tourism in Poland and the Czech Republic. The systematic literature review (SLR) research method was used to verify the aim. An extensive review of [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article is to present the tourist attractiveness of rural areas as a factor of social tourism in Poland and the Czech Republic. The systematic literature review (SLR) research method was used to verify the aim. An extensive review of the literature has been made which has made it possible to present the importance of tourist attractiveness in the implementation of social tourism on the examples of Poland and the Czech Republic. This article presents a literature review and systematizes the terminology of social tourism. In addition, it shows the expectations and behavior of different groups of customers in the types and forms of social tourism. In the final part of the article the authors presented the opportunities and barriers to the development of social tourism in Poland and the Czech Republic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Development Strategies for Less-Favoured Areas)
Article
VineInspector: The Vineyard Assistant
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 730; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050730 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Proximity sensing approaches with a wide array of sensors available for use in precision viticulture contexts can nowadays be considered both well-know and mature technologies. Still, several in-field practices performed throughout different crops rely on direct visual observation supported on gained experience to [...] Read more.
Proximity sensing approaches with a wide array of sensors available for use in precision viticulture contexts can nowadays be considered both well-know and mature technologies. Still, several in-field practices performed throughout different crops rely on direct visual observation supported on gained experience to assess aspects of plants’ phenological development, as well as indicators relating to the onset of common plagues and diseases. Aiming to mimic in-field direct observation, this paper presents VineInspector: a low-cost, self-contained and easy-to-install system, which is able to measure microclimatic parameters, and also to acquire images using multiple cameras. It is built upon a stake structure, rendering it suitable for deployment across a vineyard. The approach through which distinguishable attributes are detected, classified and tallied in the periodically acquired images, makes use of artificial intelligence approaches. Furthermore, it is made available through an IoT cloud-based support system. VineInspector was field-tested under real operating conditions to assess not only the robustness and the operating functionality of the hardware solution, but also the AI approaches’ accuracy. Two applications were developed to evaluate VineInspector’s consistency while a viticulturist’ assistant in everyday practices. One was intended to determine the size of the very first grapevines’ shoots, one of the required parameters of the well known 3–10 rule to predict primary downy mildew infection. The other was developed to tally grapevine moth males captured in sex traps. Results show that VineInspector is a logical step in smart proximity monitoring by mimicking direct visual observation from experienced viticulturists. While the latter traditionally are responsible for a set of everyday practices in the field, these are time and resource consuming. VineInspector was proven to be effective in two of these practices, performing them automatically. Therefore, it enables both the continuous monitoring and assessment of a vineyard’s phenological development in a more efficient manner, making way to more assertive and timely practices against pests and diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Internet of Things (IoT) for Precision Agriculture Practices)
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Article
Design of Rice Straw Fiber Crusher and Evaluation of Fiber Quality
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 729; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050729 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 426
Abstract
In the comprehensive development and utilization of crop straw, it is key to separate the fibers in the straw through a certain process or equipment. In order to obtain rice straw fiber material, the straw fiber crusher was designed using SOLIDWORKS software, and [...] Read more.
In the comprehensive development and utilization of crop straw, it is key to separate the fibers in the straw through a certain process or equipment. In order to obtain rice straw fiber material, the straw fiber crusher was designed using SOLIDWORKS software, and its grinding process was simulated using EDEM software to verify the feasibility of the machine principle and structural rationality. The grinding wheel speed, screw feed shaft speed, and grinding wheel clearance were used as test factors to design a three-factor, five-level test using Design Expert 13, obtaining a grinding wheel speed of 1250 r·min−1, a screw feed shaft speed of 40 r·min−1, and a wheel clearance 0.21 mm, which can achieve a theoretical kWh output of 45.8 kg/(kW·h) and a tensile index of 112.5 N·mg−1. We aimed to establish a model of the pore channel of the specimen, analyze the characteristics of the model within the unit area of different specimens, investigate the intrinsic relationship between the tensile index and the image pore channel coefficient of the straw fiber specimen, and to verify the feasibility and rationality of using the tensile index to evaluate the quality of straw fiber. Full article
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Review
A Comprehensive Review of Organochlorine Pesticide Monitoring in Agricultural Soils: The Silent Threat of a Conventional Agricultural Past
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050728 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 471
Abstract
Soil constitutes the central environmental compartment that, primarily due to anthropogenic activities, is the recipient of several contaminants. Among these are organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), which are of major concern, even though they were banned decades ago due to their persistence and the health [...] Read more.
Soil constitutes the central environmental compartment that, primarily due to anthropogenic activities, is the recipient of several contaminants. Among these are organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), which are of major concern, even though they were banned decades ago due to their persistence and the health effects they can elicit. In this review, an overview of monitoring studies regarding OCPs in soils published over the last 30 years along with the development of analytical methods and extraction procedures for their determination in soil are presented. The presented synopsis verifies the soil contamination by OCPs during the last several decades. Soil pollution by OCPs should be an essential aspect of the characterization of whole soil quality, considering that a significant percent of soils on a global scale are in the borderline of suitability for cultivation and pertinent activities. The latter, to an extent, is attributed to the presence of organic contaminants, especially those of persistent chemical natures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Soil Pollutants: Detection, Risk Assessment, and Remediation)
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Article
Study on the Vibration Characteristics of Rape Plants Based on High-Speed Photography and Image Recognition
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050727 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 373
Abstract
The transmission characteristics of the vibration excitation of rape plants are of great significance to the study of the harvesting loss and threshing mechanism of rape during harvesting. Aiming to examine the problem that the existing vibration measurement method cannot be well adapted [...] Read more.
The transmission characteristics of the vibration excitation of rape plants are of great significance to the study of the harvesting loss and threshing mechanism of rape during harvesting. Aiming to examine the problem that the existing vibration measurement method cannot be well adapted to the vibration measurement of small plants such as rape, this article proposes a vibration measurement method based on high-speed photography and image recognition and uses this measurement method to study the vibration characteristics of rape plants in the three states, i.e., sweep frequency, standing frequency, and free attenuation, with a default hydraulic shaker. The results showed that the average measurement error of the vibration amplitude of this method was 0.0068 mm, and the relative measurement error of the amplitude at 20 Hz was 0.45%, which met the test requirements. Based on this measurement method, a sweep frequency test of rape plants was carried out. It was found that the first-order and second-order vibration modes of rape plants were concentrated in the first 15 Hz. The resonance range of rape plants mainly occurred at 6–7 Hz and 11–12 Hz. The standing frequency vibration test showed that rape plants had strong resonance at 6 Hz and 11 Hz, and grain falling was 1.192% and 0.992%, respectively, which was greater than those of other frequencies. The free attenuation vibration of the rape plant showed that the average attenuation coefficients of the mark points on the lateral branch at 20 cm, 30 cm, and 40 cm from the branch node were 0.542, 0.475, and 0.441, respectively, and the attenuation coefficient decreased as the distance between the mark point and the branch node increased. The amplitude attenuation coefficient of the main branch had little difference, and the average value was 0.797. This research can provide some reference for exploring the threshing mechanism of the rape drum and optimizing the header structure and parameters. Full article
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Review
Agroforestry Extent in the United States: A Review of National Datasets and Inventory Efforts
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050726 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 646
Abstract
A comprehensive understanding of agroforestry adoption across a landscape is critical for effective agroforestry planning. The objectives of this study are to identify the sources of agroforestry data that can be used in the United States (U.S.) for national inventory purposes, discuss the [...] Read more.
A comprehensive understanding of agroforestry adoption across a landscape is critical for effective agroforestry planning. The objectives of this study are to identify the sources of agroforestry data that can be used in the United States (U.S.) for national inventory purposes, discuss the possible uses and nuances of the datasets, synthesize the data to create regional maps, and provide recommendations for improving future agroforestry inventory efforts. To accomplish this, we queried multiple government databases containing agroforestry inventory data and spoke with agency representatives with in-depth knowledge of each dataset. Data from federal conservation programs were found to be useful for assessing practice-level adoption through a conservation program but not for general inventory use, since agroforestry systems can be established without federal assistance. For inventory purposes, the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture was found to be the most comprehensive dataset, with 30,853 farm operations reporting agroforestry use, representing 1.5% of all U.S. farms. However, this value is likely an underestimate, due to respondent unfamiliarity with agroforestry terminology. We propose several strategies to improve the accuracy of future agroforestry surveys, since a greater understanding of agroforestry adoption will influence decisions related to agricultural policies, technical assistance, and planning of these integrated systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agroforestry Planning)
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Article
Light Interception and Radiation Use Efficiency of Cassava under Irrigated and Rainfed Conditions and Seasonal Variations
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 725; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050725 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 358
Abstract
Determining the effect of irrigated and rainfed conditions on light interception, light extinction coefficient (k), radiation use efficiency (RUE), biomass, and storage root accumulation of cassava was the objective of this study. The field experiment was arranged in a randomized complete [...] Read more.
Determining the effect of irrigated and rainfed conditions on light interception, light extinction coefficient (k), radiation use efficiency (RUE), biomass, and storage root accumulation of cassava was the objective of this study. The field experiment was arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with four replications. The effect of irrigated and rainfed water conditions in cassava were evaluated under two planting dates for two years. Light interception depended on k and LAI which affected solar radiation accumulation and thus biomass production for cassava. The k values ranged from 0.49 to 0.93 a nd 0.46 to 0.86 for irrigated and rainfed crops, respectively. The RUEbi and RUEsr depended on water conditions and crop growth stages and seasons, whereas rainfed crops in the May planting were slightly lower in RUEbi than irrigated crops. RUEbi of the crop planted in November was not significantly different for irrigated and rainfed crops. Irrigation at the late growth stage could maintain higher LAI, light interception, and RUE for the crop planted in May, whereas those in November planting were not significantly different. Full article
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Article
Differential Occurrence of Cuticular Wax and Its Role in Leaf Physiological Mechanisms of Three Edible Aroids of Northeast India
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 724; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050724 - 21 May 2022
Viewed by 478
Abstract
The localization of cuticular wax (CW) on the leaf epidermis and its interaction with the physiological mechanisms of three edible aroids, Alocasia, Colocasia, and Xanthosoma, were assessed. CW in the leaf tissues was visualized using scanning electron microscopy, which was [...] Read more.
The localization of cuticular wax (CW) on the leaf epidermis and its interaction with the physiological mechanisms of three edible aroids, Alocasia, Colocasia, and Xanthosoma, were assessed. CW in the leaf tissues was visualized using scanning electron microscopy, which was higher in Colocasia (10.61 mg·dm−2) and Xanthosoma (11.36 mg·dm−2) than in Alocasia (1.36 mg·dm−2). Colocasia CW exhibited superhydrophobic properties with a higher static contact angle (CA) (>150°) than Xanthosoma (99.0°) and Alocasia (128.7°). The higher CW in Colocasia and Xanthosoma resulted in better leaf chlorophyll stability, moisture retention ability, and cellular membrane integrity compared to Alocasia. CW acted as a protecting barrier against deleterious solar radiation in terms of sun protection factor (SPF). The glossy appearance of wax crystals in the Alocasia leaf cuticles resulted in higher SPF. Overall, Colocasia CW highly influenced the qualitative and protective mechanisms of the leaf. Our study sheds light on the pivotal role of CW in the physiological properties of aroid leaves, which would be useful for the selection of wax-rich plants for augmenting future breeding strategies. The information would also be useful for further exploration of the industrial potential of superhydrophobic wax crystals obtained from edible aroids. Full article
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Article
Integrated Organic-Inorganic Nitrogen Fertilization Mitigates Nitrous Oxide Emissions by Regulating Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria in Purple Caitai Fields
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050723 - 20 May 2022
Viewed by 367
Abstract
Purpose Nitrogen (N) fertilizer application in agricultural soil is a primary anthropogenic nitrous oxide (N2O) source. Currently, the effect of the N fertilizer type on N2O emissions from upland soil has been rarely reported. To this end, impacts of [...] Read more.
Purpose Nitrogen (N) fertilizer application in agricultural soil is a primary anthropogenic nitrous oxide (N2O) source. Currently, the effect of the N fertilizer type on N2O emissions from upland soil has been rarely reported. To this end, impacts of various types of N fertilizer on N2O emissions in purple caitai (Brassica campestris L. ssp. chinensis var. purpurea) fields are investigated in this work. The field experiment was carried out with four treatments, including inorganic N fertilization (I), organic N fertilization (O), integrated organic-inorganic N fertilization (I+O) and no fertilization (CK). The nitrifier/denitrifier abundance was determined using absolute real-time quantitative PCR. Compared with I and O, I+O significantly increased dissolved organic C content, microbial biomass C and microbial biomass N by 24–63%, 12–38% and 13–36% on average, respectively. Moreover, the seasonal cumulative N2O-N emissions and fertilizer-induced N2O emission factor under I+O were significantly lower than those under I and O by 17–29% and 23–39%, respectively. The results indicate that N fertilizer type significantly affects the N2O emissions, and the integrated organic-inorganic N fertilization can mitigate the N2O emissions primarily by inhibiting the nitrification mediated by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in purple caitai fields. Integrated organic-inorganic N fertilization is an ideal N fertilization regime to enhance soil fertility and yield and reduce N2O emissions in the upland fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Conservation Cropping Systems and Practices)
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Article
Exploring the Factors of Farmers’ Rural–Urban Migration Decisions in Bangladesh
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050722 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 585
Abstract
In Bangladesh, rural–urban migration is widespread. Many earlier studies discussed the factors, patterns, causes, and consequences and the socio-economic and environmental impact of migration from the general perspective. However, rural–urban migration with a particular focus on particular communities or migrants’ employment profiles, for [...] Read more.
In Bangladesh, rural–urban migration is widespread. Many earlier studies discussed the factors, patterns, causes, and consequences and the socio-economic and environmental impact of migration from the general perspective. However, rural–urban migration with a particular focus on particular communities or migrants’ employment profiles, for instance, farmers, is poorly described. In contrast, many farmers move from rural to urban areas every year in Bangladesh. However, the factors that affect farmers’ rural-to-urban migration are a primary concern to academia and key actors, as the country’s economy mainly depends on agriculture and farming. This paper, therefore, aimed to identify the underlying factors of the rural–urban (R–U) migration of farmers in Bangladesh. Data for this study came from phone interviews conducted with 254 migrant farmers living in city districts in Bangladesh. We adopted a three-step approach to select and identify factors that impacted farmers’ decision to move from rural to urban settings. First, we reviewed the extant literature and compiled more than 70 variables of interest relevant to farmers’ migration. Second, 30 variables were selected for data collection after consultations with key informants (KIIs) and informal discussions (IDs) with farmers and local community leaders. Besides, the Q-methodology was used to assess the level of importance of the selected variables. Lastly, principal component analysis (PCA) was performed to extract salient dimensions of farmers’ rural-to-urban migration, where 21 variables were detected that consistently exceeded a threshold value of 0.50 of communality for further analysis. Our findings show that six dimensions—i.e., individual, household, economic, attitudinal, spatial, and climate-induced extremes—significantly influence and contribute to rural urban migration decisions for farmers. Further, our results indicated that age, agricultural knowledge, household debt, seasonal famine/poverty (Monga), unemployment in rural areas, availability of anticipated job opportunities in urban areas, shortage of agricultural inputs, and river erosion significantly influenced farmers’ decision to leave their farms in Bangladesh. Findings from this study may be used as inputs in predictive models and benchmark guidelines for assessing trends and patterns of rural-to-urban migration and for the formulation of policy and programs targeting domestic migration in Bangladesh for proper urban planning and further rural development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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Review
Research Progress on the Theory and Practice of Grassland Eco-Compensation in China
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 721; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050721 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 386
Abstract
In order to curb the phenomenon of grassland degradation caused by human activity, China has begun the exploration of grassland eco-compensation, setting an example for the ecological protection of grasslands and sustainable use of resources around the world. At this stage, China has [...] Read more.
In order to curb the phenomenon of grassland degradation caused by human activity, China has begun the exploration of grassland eco-compensation, setting an example for the ecological protection of grasslands and sustainable use of resources around the world. At this stage, China has invested more than 170 billion yuan in grassland eco-compensation, benefiting 12 million farmer and herder households. The related research involves various perspectives, scopes, and methods, but lacks systematic reviewing. This study reviews the relevant theoretical and practical research and explores the connotations and effects of grassland eco-compensation in China. In general, the current grassland eco-compensation in China is a large-scale ecological-economic institutional arrangement with the following five characteristics: (1) the goals are to maintain the grassland ecosystem services and increase the income of herder households; (2) the main bodies are governments and herder households; (3) the main method is financial transfer payments; (4) the compensation standards are based on the opportunity costs of the herder households’ responses as the lower limits and the grassland ecosystem service values as the upper limits; and (5) it is a comprehensive compensation system that requires legal, regulatory, technological support and long-term mechanisms. Since 2011, driven by the grassland eco-compensation policy, the income levels of herder households in each pilot area have generally increased, and the overall ecology of grasslands has slightly improved. However, there are still some areas where overload is common. Additionally, there are regional differences in the satisfaction degree of herder households, which is mainly affected by factors such as family income, compensation cognition and family holding grassland scale. Our analysis shows that the shortcomings of current theoretical research are mainly reflected in the low precision of scientific compensation standards, the lack of a basis for differentiated standards, and the single compensation method. The shortcoming of practical research is that most effect evaluations cannot reflect the role of eco-compensation in it. This study suggests that future work should focus on the response mechanism of herder households and the improvement of the compensation measures. At the same time, the scope of research should be expanded, and we should learn from advanced compensation experience in other fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture: Theories, Methods, Practices and Policies)
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Editorial
Dynamics of Food Value Chains: Resilience, Fairness and Sustainability
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050720 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 512
Abstract
For farmers–growers, the routes to market can be complex as their produce moves through the food value chain to the final consumer [...] Full article
Article
Transparent and Black Film Mulching Improve Photosynthesis and Yield of Summer Maize in North China Plain
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 719; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050719 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 386
Abstract
In order to clarify the influences of drip irrigation under different mulch materials on crop yield, field experiments were carried out in the North China Plain for two seasons in 2020 and 2021. The changes in field microenvironment, photosynthetic capacity, leaf biological factors, [...] Read more.
In order to clarify the influences of drip irrigation under different mulch materials on crop yield, field experiments were carried out in the North China Plain for two seasons in 2020 and 2021. The changes in field microenvironment, photosynthetic capacity, leaf biological factors, and maize growth indexes were analyzed under drip irrigation with transparent film (W), black film (B), and straw mulching (S), with a nonmulching field as control (CK). The results showed that compared with CK, the yield of W and B increased by 7.2–9.9% and 7.1–12.4%, and the yield of S did not change significantly. The increase in yield was related to the improvement of the field microenvironment and photosynthetic capacity and higher LAI. Compared with CK, the soil water content 0–40 cm below the soil surface of W, B, and S increased by 13.6%, 9.1%, and 4.6%, respectively, and the 5 cm effective accumulated soil temperature of W and B increased by 7.9–10.2% and 4.1–4.7%, respectively. The maximum carboxylation rate (Vmax) of W, B, and S at the jointing stage was significantly increased by 3.5–17.3%, 12.7–17.6%, and 10.1–12.7% compared with CK. There was a significant linear correlation between Vmax and Nmass, and the correlation was affected by mulching treatments. At the jointing stage, compared with the CK, the LAI of W and B significantly increased by 8.6–66.5% and 7.2–56.0%, but there was no significant difference between S and CK. In conclusion, the increase in yield of W and B resulted from the combined effect of increasing LAI, Vmax, and soil water content and temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water-Saving Irrigation Technology and Strategies for Crop Production)
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Review
Emerging Precision Management Methods in Poultry Sector
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 718; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050718 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 531
Abstract
New approach to improve welfare in the poultry sector is targeted at the precise management of animals. In poultry production, we observe that birds’ health and quality of poultry products depend significantly on good welfare conditions, affecting economic efficiency. Using technology solutions in [...] Read more.
New approach to improve welfare in the poultry sector is targeted at the precise management of animals. In poultry production, we observe that birds’ health and quality of poultry products depend significantly on good welfare conditions, affecting economic efficiency. Using technology solutions in different systems of animal production is an innovation that can help farmers more effectively control the environmental conditions and health of birds. In addition, rising public concern about poultry breeding and welfare leads to developing solutions to increase the efficiency of control and monitoring in this animal production branch. Precision livestock farming (PLF) collects real-time data of birds using different types of technologies for this process. It means that PLF can help prevent lowering animal welfare by detecting early stages of diseases and stressful situations during birds’ management and allows steps to be taken quickly enough to limit the adverse effects. This review shows connections between the possibilities of using the latest technologies to monitor laying hens and broilers in developing precision livestock farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Hygiene on Farms - Realising Animal Health Prevention)
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Article
A Fast Neural Network Based on Attention Mechanisms for Detecting Field Flat Jujube
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 717; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050717 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 406
Abstract
The efficient identification of the field flat jujube is the first condition to realize its automated picking. Consequently, a lightweight algorithm of target identification based on improved YOLOv5 (you only look once) is proposed to meet the requirements of high-accuracy and low-complexity. At [...] Read more.
The efficient identification of the field flat jujube is the first condition to realize its automated picking. Consequently, a lightweight algorithm of target identification based on improved YOLOv5 (you only look once) is proposed to meet the requirements of high-accuracy and low-complexity. At first, the proposed method solves the imbalance of data distribution by improving the methods of data enhancement. Then, to improve the accuracy of the model, we adjust the structure and the number of the Concentrated-Comprehensive Convolution Block modules in the backbone network, and introduce the attention mechanisms of Efficient Channel Attention and Coordinate Attention. On this basis, this paper makes lightweight operations by using the Deep Separable Convolution to reduce the complexity of the model. Ultimately, the Complete Intersection over Union loss function and the non-maximum suppression of Distance Intersection over Union are used to optimize the loss function and the post-processing process, respectively. The experimental results show that the mean average precision of improved network reaches 97.4%, which increases by 1.7% compared with the original YOLOv5s network; and, the parameters, floating point of operations, and model size are compressed to 35.39%, 51.27%, and 37.5% of the original network, respectively. The comparison experiments are conducted around the proposed method and the common You Only Look Once target detection algorithms. The experimental results show that the mean average precision of the proposed method is 97.4%, which is higher than the 90.7%, 91.7%, and 88.4% of the YOLOv3, YOLOv4, and YOLOx-s algorithms, and the model size decreased to 2.3%, 2.2%, and 15.7%, respectively. The improved algorithm realizes a reduction of complexity and an increase in accuracy, it can be suitable for lightweight deployment to a mobile terminal at a later stage, and it provides a certain reference for the visual detection of picking robots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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Article
Agricultural Landscapes as a Basis for Promoting Agritourism in Cross-Border Iberian Regions
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 716; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050716 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Areas with low levels of transformation are alternative destinations for tourists who prefer to visit nonmassified places and have singular experiences. The benefits of these microdestinations are their local populations, traditional products, landscapes, and heritage, which, in turn, allow the cultural and gastronomic [...] Read more.
Areas with low levels of transformation are alternative destinations for tourists who prefer to visit nonmassified places and have singular experiences. The benefits of these microdestinations are their local populations, traditional products, landscapes, and heritage, which, in turn, allow the cultural and gastronomic roots to be witnessed. Based on this assumption, the present research investigated landscape preferences in the Tejo/Tajo International Transboundary Biosphere Reserve (Portugal/Spain), where Dehesa/Montado and traditional olive groves play important economic and sociocultural roles. This investigation sought to compare the opinions of those who live there with those who visit the territory in terms of landscape and agritourism experience preferences. To this, 439 interviews were conducted, and the results were extracted through descriptive analysis techniques and parametric and nonparametric tests to understand the different opinions. The main results were that agricultural landscapes are among the most preferred, and visitors tend to give the landscape higher scores, while the local population has some ignorance of its potential. The potential of agritourism was revealed through the motivation expressed by the demand to participate in gastronomic experiences and have contact with local products, followed by participation in activities that allow people to enjoy the agricultural landscape and rural traditions. The results revealed that the agritourism concept is often confused with rural tourism and nature tourism. Thus, it is necessary to develop a strategy to support the tourism supply according to the concept of authentic agritourism. In this way, agricultural activity has an important role in driving sustainable tourism dynamics in cross-border regions and boosting new products based on the culture, nature, and biodiversity characteristics of a protected area. Full article
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Article
Impact of Population Aging and Renewable Energy Consumption on Agricultural Green Total Factor Productivity in Rural China: Evidence from Panel VAR Approach
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 715; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050715 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 382
Abstract
China is moving toward the important goal of being a green and low-carbon country, and the current severity level of population aging is of particular concern to the government. Aging, renewable energy consumption, and technological progress are closely linked. In this research, a [...] Read more.
China is moving toward the important goal of being a green and low-carbon country, and the current severity level of population aging is of particular concern to the government. Aging, renewable energy consumption, and technological progress are closely linked. In this research, a panel vector autoregressive (PVAR) model is employed to investigate the long-run equilibrium relationship between population aging, renewable energy consumption and agricultural green total factor productivity using panel data for 30 Chinese provinces (cities) from 2000 to 2019. The findings reveal that, in the long run, both population aging and renewable energy use have considerable positive impacts on agricultural green total factor productivity. In addition, in order to more intuitively understand the impact of population aging and renewable energy consumption on agricultural green total factor productivity, the analysis adopts the impulse response function and variance decomposition. The contributions of population aging and renewable energy consumption to agricultural green total factor productivity are 2.23% and 0.56%, respectively, when the lag period is chosen to be 15, which implies that population aging and renewable energy use will continuously contribute to agricultural green total factor productivity. The study results have significant theoretical implications for understanding China’s aging population structure and current renewable energy use. Given the above results, this study puts forward countermeasures and suggestions from four aspects: improving agricultural infrastructure, increasing agricultural technology investment, increasing the stock of agricultural human capital and strengthening international cooperation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Restoration and Rural Economic Development)
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Article
Seed Coating with Trichoderma harzianum T-22 of Italian Durum Wheat Increases Protection against Fusarium culmorum-Induced Crown Rot
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 714; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050714 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Changes in root organization and colonization could be relevant for wheat’s (Triticum durum Desf.) response to F. culmorum-induced crown rot disease (FCR). We investigated the biocontrol and biostimulant efficiency of seeds coated with T. harzianum T-22 (T-22) of four tetraploid wheat [...] Read more.
Changes in root organization and colonization could be relevant for wheat’s (Triticum durum Desf.) response to F. culmorum-induced crown rot disease (FCR). We investigated the biocontrol and biostimulant efficiency of seeds coated with T. harzianum T-22 (T-22) of four tetraploid wheat seedlings (ancient Saragolle Lucana and modern Creso, Simeto, and Ciclope). In an in vitro experiment, T-22 repressed F. culmorum mycelium growth by over 50% due to the probable combination of competition for nutrients, mycoparasitism, and antibiosis. The seed germination rate was not significantly affected by T-22 while the F. culmorum-induced decrease in emergence was attenuated in the presence of T-22. Ultimately, an improvement in growth was observed by comparing treated and control seedlings at 21 days after sowing. Inoculation with T-22 resulted in Saragolle Lucana seedlings being 4.69 cm higher while Ciclope and Simeto had main roots that were 9.96 and 8.13 cm longer than the control, respectively. Treated and infected Simeto seedlings were 3.75 cm higher and had roots that were 14.45 cm longer than the control, with little contemporary dense coiling colonization by T-22, like Saragolle Lucana. Seed coating induced the best performance regarding seedling growth and the ability to control the pathogen in Simeto (disease severity reduction rate (DDR) of 20%). The pathogenicity of F. culmorum was reduced in all four durum wheats, although it was highly susceptible to FCR. Ciclope, studied for the first time, showed a decrease in disease incidence from 100 ± 0.00% to 56.67 ± 9.13% and a 30% DDR. The seed coating influenced the seedlings’ response to FCR due to T-22’s different colonization actions. This study provides new explanations for the diverse responses of ancient and modern tetraploid wheat to F. culmorum mediated by T-22 inoculation via seed coating. Full article
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Article
Indirect Somatic Embryogenesis: An Efficient and Genetically Reliable Clonal Propagation System for Ananas comosus L. Merr. Hybrid “MD2”
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 713; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050713 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 341
Abstract
The objective of this study was to establish an efficient—direct or indirect—regeneration system for pineapple (Ananas comosus L.) plants, with a high rate of multiplication and that would preserve the genetic identity of the donor genotype (Hybrid ‘MD2’) in the regenerated plants. [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to establish an efficient—direct or indirect—regeneration system for pineapple (Ananas comosus L.) plants, with a high rate of multiplication and that would preserve the genetic identity of the donor genotype (Hybrid ‘MD2’) in the regenerated plants. Ten treatments, with different concentrations of 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic (2,4-D) and Picloram (P), in the absence or presence of 6-Benzylaminopurine (BAP), were used for in vitro morphogenesis induction, as well as histological and molecular techniques, in order to characterize the morphogenic responses induced. Significant differences between treatments tested, to induce callus and buds, were assessed by the Kruskal Wallis method and the Mann–Whitney U-tests. Different pineapple regeneration routes were identified, showing the high regeneration potential of this species. The medium containing 2 mg L−1 2,4-D and 2 mg L−1 BAP, where indirect somatic embryogenesis occurred, was selected as the most efficient treatment, with an average of 120 somatic embryos per explant, differing significantly from the rest of the treatments. It was also demonstrated that the pineapple plants regenerated in vitro preserved the genetic identity of the donor genotype, which represents a high degree of confidence for the application of indirect somatic embryogenesis for A. comusus clonal propagation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Agricultural Engineering Technologies and Application)
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Article
High-Vigor Seeds Associated with Seed Hardness and Water Absorption Rate in Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 712; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050712 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 356
Abstract
Seed physical properties are stable and visualized, and believed to be reference indicators for screening high-vigor seeds. However, the detailed relationship between seed vigor and its physical properties is not fully understood in rice. To elucidate the relationship mentioned above, seed physical properties [...] Read more.
Seed physical properties are stable and visualized, and believed to be reference indicators for screening high-vigor seeds. However, the detailed relationship between seed vigor and its physical properties is not fully understood in rice. To elucidate the relationship mentioned above, seed physical properties such as seed size, hardness, and water absorption rate, and seed vigor indicators including germination rate, salt-stressed germination rate, and drought-stressed germination rate were determined among different rice cultivars. Significant differences in seed vigor indicators and seed physical properties were recorded among different rice cultivars. Germination rate, salt-stressed germination rate, drought-stressed germination rate, seed hardness, and water absorption rate ranged from 32.0 ± 1.7% to 99.7 ± 0.3%, 14.4 ± 2.4% to 99.7 ± 0.3%, 3.3 ± 2.6% to 95.7 ± 2.1%, 69.15 ± 0.15 N to 74.56 ± 0.14 N, and 0.09 ± 0.00 g/h to 0.12 ± 0.00 g/h, respectively. Additionally, correlation analysis showed that seed hardness and water absorption rate were significantly positively related to seed vigor (r = 0.33 **−0.41 **, from 2014 to 2016; r = 0.45 **−0.65 **, in 2021). Moreover, principal component analysis determined that the first principal component explained 91.4%, 90.1%, and 89.9% of the variance of seed physical properties, respectively, and loaded on seed hardness and water absorption rate. These results indicate that seed hardness and water absorption rate can be recommended as efficient indicators for screening rice seeds with high vigor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Mechanism and Quality Detection of High Vigor Crop Seeds)
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Review
Historical Review of Simultaneously Extracted Metal Copper Sediment Concentrations in Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Areas
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 711; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050711 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 371
Abstract
The objectives of this study were to: (1) summarize Simultaneously Extracted Metal (SEM) copper sediment concentrations based on a historic review from 54 study areas in 16 different countries with different land use activities and (2) compare SEM copper sediment concentrations from among [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were to: (1) summarize Simultaneously Extracted Metal (SEM) copper sediment concentrations based on a historic review from 54 study areas in 16 different countries with different land use activities and (2) compare SEM copper sediment concentrations from among the four land use categories: all study areas; non-agricultural study areas; agricultural study areas; and reference/control study areas. Based on over 1000 measurements, the mean SEM copper concentrations in non-agricultural area (26.0 μg/g) was higher than the mean concentrations for all sites (20.0 μg/g), agricultural sites (19.8 μg/g), and reference/control sites (3.87 μg/g). The 90th centile for non-agricultural sites (89.0 μg/g) was also higher than all sites (61.9 μg/g), agricultural sites (54.8 μg/g), and reference/control sites (17.1 μg/g). The maximum SEM copper concentration for the non-agricultural sites (902 μg/g) was approximately an order of magnitude higher than the maximum value for the agricultural sites (96.6 μg/g). The various potential sources of SEM copper may be responsible for the higher concentrations in non-agricultural areas, as the primary single anthropogenic source for copper in agricultural areas is likely copper use as a plant protection product (PPP). Future research efforts are recommended to expand the spatial and temporal scale of SEM copper sediment data, address actual SEM copper ecological risk to resident benthic communities with multiple stressor field studies, and compile a historical review of acid volatile sulfide (AVS) data used to determine bioavailable concentrations of SEM copper. Full article
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Review
Progress in Almond Quality and Sensory Assessment: An Overview
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050710 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 443
Abstract
World production of shelled almonds has reached 3.2 million tonnes (FAO 2020). Almond production has grown during the last decennium, also because of the consumer conviction that almonds have significant health benefits. Almonds have exceptional nutritional and organoleptic characteristics, and proper assessment of [...] Read more.
World production of shelled almonds has reached 3.2 million tonnes (FAO 2020). Almond production has grown during the last decennium, also because of the consumer conviction that almonds have significant health benefits. Almonds have exceptional nutritional and organoleptic characteristics, and proper assessment of the quality of almonds is of utmost importance. Almonds have a nutritional value that is relatively low in total sugars (4.35 g/100 g of almonds) but rich in lipids, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients, making them a healthy and nutritious food. The almond kernel is particularly rich in protein, the second most important fraction after the lipid fraction. The protein content of almond kernel depends on the cultivar and varies from 8.4% to 35.1%. This review examines current advancements in the quality assessment of almonds, evidencing above all their nutritional characteristics, health benefits and the influence of processing on shelf life. Our aim was to provide an overview in order to improve the quality of almonds and the sustainability of the whole production. According to the literature, almonds can provide many health benefits and are a great economic resource. This review will help almond producers to choose the best cultivars to cultivate and, in the final analysis, enhance the qualitative characteristics of almonds. Our review is also an important resource for scientists. It provides state of the art research and can offer inspiration for other researchers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensory Analysis and Evaluation of Agricultural Products)
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Article
Impact of Government Policies on Research and Development (R&D) Investment, Innovation, and Productivity: Evidence from Pesticide Firms in China
Agriculture 2022, 12(5), 709; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12050709 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 432
Abstract
China’s pesticide industry has played an important role in the growth of agricultural productivity in both China and worldwide, but its development is hampered by production inefficiency and the lack of innovation of active ingredients. To improve innovation and the productivity of the [...] Read more.
China’s pesticide industry has played an important role in the growth of agricultural productivity in both China and worldwide, but its development is hampered by production inefficiency and the lack of innovation of active ingredients. To improve innovation and the productivity of the pesticide industry, the Chinese government has implemented a series of policies to stimulate private research and development (R&D) and firm innovation. Using the firm-level panel data of the Annual Survey of Industrial Firms (ASIF) collected by the National Bureau of Statistics in 2001–2007, this study examines the linkages between R&D investment, innovation, and productivity with a focus on the role of government policies. The results show that pesticide firms with a higher intensity of R&D investment were associated with a higher patent intensity, and more innovated firms were associated with a higher productivity. Public research, intellectual property enforcement, production subsidy, foreign direct investment (FDI), and being export oriented were positively associated with the innovation and productivity of pesticide firms. Full article
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