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Agriculture, Volume 14, Issue 6 (June 2024) – 168 articles

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18 pages, 442 KiB  
Article
Impact of Feeding Systems on Performance, Blood Parameters, Carcass Traits, Meat Quality, and Gene Expressions of Lambs
by Isabela J. dos Santos, Paulo C. G. Dias Junior, Tharcilla I. R. C. Alvarenga, Idalmo G. Pereira, Sarita B. Gallo, Flavio A. P. Alvarenga and Iraides F. Furusho-Garcia
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 957; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060957 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 56
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of feeding systems on the growth performance of Santa Inês x Dorper lambs, meat quality, fatty acid profile, and gene expression. Thirty lambs at an initial body weight of 22.6 ± 2.59 kg [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of feeding systems on the growth performance of Santa Inês x Dorper lambs, meat quality, fatty acid profile, and gene expression. Thirty lambs at an initial body weight of 22.6 ± 2.59 kg were randomly assigned to one of three feed systems: a grazing system with 1.2% body weight concentrate supplementation (GS); a feedlot system with 28% forage and 72% concentrate (FFC); or feedlot with 85% whole corn grain and 15% pellets (FHG). The lambs were slaughtered after 60 days of experiment. Average daily gain, glucose, and insulin concentration were higher for lambs on FHC than lambs on a GS feeding system. The fatty acid profile in the meat of the lambs fed GS showed a higher proportion of c9t11-C18:2, C20:5, C22:5, and C22:6 compared with FFC and FHC (p < 0.05). Meat tenderness was lower for lambs under FFC treatment compared with GS and FHG. FHG treatment provides better performance and higher deposition of lipid content in meat compared with GS and FHG. The expression of the genes SCD-1, SREBP1-c, and EVOL6 was greater in lambs undergoing GS and FHC treatments compared with FFC. Results of this research showed a reduced performance of grazing lambs compared with the feedlot system; however, it enhanced the fatty acid profile with increased levels of polyunsaturated acids and reduced n6/n3 ratio. Full article
16 pages, 1471 KiB  
Article
Effect of Split Basal Fertilisation and Top-Dressing on Relative Chlorophyll Content and Yield of Maize Hybrids
by Péter Zagyi, Éva Horváth, Gyula Vasvári, Károly Simon and Adrienn Széles
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 956; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060956 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 54
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the nitrogen requirement of maize, the optimal timing and amount of nutrient application, based on long time series data. An additional objective was to examine the response of the relative chlorophyll content of maize to [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the nitrogen requirement of maize, the optimal timing and amount of nutrient application, based on long time series data. An additional objective was to examine the response of the relative chlorophyll content of maize to nitrogen fertilisation. The examinations were carried out in a long-term field experiment at the University of Debrecen between 2016 and 2022, using two maize hybrids with different genotypes. Spatial and temporal changes in the N status of maize leaves were monitored using the Soil and Plant Analysis Development (SPAD) instrument. In addition to the non-fertilised (A0) treatment, six fertiliser treatments were applied (spring basal fertilisation: 60 and 120 kg N ha−1, A60; A120). Basal fertilisation was followed by two occasions of top-dressing at phenological stages V6 and V12, at rates of +30–30 kg N ha−1 (V690 and V6150, and V12120 and V12180). The CMR (Chlorophyll Meter Reading), averaged over the examined years, genotypes and fertiliser treatments, were lowest in the V6 phenological phase (40.23 ± 5.57, p < 0.05) and highest in R1 (49.91 ± 8.41, p < 0.05). A120 fertiliser treatment increased the relative chlorophyll content by 5.11 compared to the non-fertilised treatment, 1.67 more than A60 treatment. The basal fertilisation treatment substantially increased the yield (A60: +30.75%; A120: +66.68%) compared to the A0 treatment averaged over years and genotypes. Based on the obtained research results, a basal treatment of 120 kg N ha−1 is recommended and it can be concluded that, under appropriate water supply conditions (rainfall, irrigation), nitrogen top-dressing applied in V6 phenophase results in a significant yield increase compared to basal fertilisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Research on Multiple Stress Tolerance in Maize)
16 pages, 1366 KiB  
Article
Effects of Deep Vertical Rotary Tillage on Soil Water Use and Yield Formation of Forage Maize on Semiarid Land
by Yanjie Fang, Weijun Tan, Huizhi Hou, Hongli Wang, Jiade Yin, Guoping Zhang, Kangning Lei, Bo Dong and Anzhen Qin
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 955; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060955 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 93
Abstract
Forage maize is one of the most important feed crops for livestock production, and is mainly grown in northwest China. However, their growth is often stressed by limited soil water availability due to the arid climate. To provide more soil moisture, a high-efficiency [...] Read more.
Forage maize is one of the most important feed crops for livestock production, and is mainly grown in northwest China. However, their growth is often stressed by limited soil water availability due to the arid climate. To provide more soil moisture, a high-efficiency tillage technique was required to make crops effectively use soil moisture in deep soil layers. Deep vertical rotary tillage is a promising choice for this purpose. In this study, a long-term (2020–2022) field experiment consisting of three treatments, i.e., traditional tillage (TT), deep rotary tillage (DT), and deep vertical rotary tillage (VRT), was carried out in semiarid areas of Loess Plateau, northwest China, to investigate the effects of VRT on soil water storage (SWS), phase crop evapotranspiration (ETc) during the pre- and post-flowering periods, dry matter accumulation, grain yields and the water use efficiency (WUE) of forage maize. The results showed that VRT significantly improved the absorption of soil moisture from deep layers, especially in dry years. During the pre-flowering period of a dry year (2020), VRT decreased SWS by 7.6%–10.0% in the 60–180 cm layer, and by 17.6%–18.5% in the 180–300 cm layer, respectively, compared to DT and TT. As a result, VRT increased ETc during the pre-flowering period by 6.1% and 9.2%, respectively. In wet years (2021 and 2022), VRT increased total ETc by 2.0%–7.9% in 2021, and by 10.1%–14.9% in 2022, respectively. On average, VRT increased the dry matter weight per plant by 1.0%–7.8%, grain yields by 2.4%–38.6%, biomass yields by 3.4%–16.2%, and WUE by 10.1%–30.0%, respectively. Particularly, the benefit of VRT for increasing yields and WUE was more noticeable in dry years. It can be concluded that VRT is a drought-tolerant and yield-boosting tillage technique that is suitable for rain-fed forage maize in semiarid areas of Loess Plateau, northwest China. Full article
19 pages, 441 KiB  
Article
Risk of Returning to Multidimensional Poverty and Its Influencing Factors among Relocated Households for Poverty Alleviation in China
by Mingyue Liu, Lulu Yuan and Yifu Zhao
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 954; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060954 (registering DOI) - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 138
Abstract
Poverty alleviation through relocation (PAR) is a milestone project in winning the battle against extreme poverty. Its aim is to relocate poor people from inhospitable areas and lift them out of poverty. Assessing the vulnerability to multidimensional poverty (VMP) of relocated households is [...] Read more.
Poverty alleviation through relocation (PAR) is a milestone project in winning the battle against extreme poverty. Its aim is to relocate poor people from inhospitable areas and lift them out of poverty. Assessing the vulnerability to multidimensional poverty (VMP) of relocated households is of great significance for consolidating the achievements of targeted poverty alleviation and preventing a large-scale return to poverty. This study constructed a multidimensional poverty index (MPI) of relocated households and analyzed relocated households’ VMP and its influencing factors using panel data of 1009 households in 16 counties across eight provinces in China. The results reveal that the mean VMP of the relocated households gradually decreased from 2016 to 2020. Moreover, the VMP of the relocated households that have moved into centralized resettlement communities is relatively low compared to those that have moved into decentralized resettlement communities. In addition, the impact of household endowment on VMP is the highest, followed by supporting policies, such as PAR, industrial development, and employment policy. Therefore, the assistance mechanism must be improved to prevent a return to poverty, enhance the sustainable development capacity of relocated households, and optimize follow-up policies for PAR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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18 pages, 13935 KiB  
Article
Analysis and Testing of Pre-Cut Sugarcane Seed Stalk Sawing Performance Parameters
by Bin Yan, Haitao Liu, Fengguang He, Ganran Deng, Shuang Zheng, Zhende Cui, Sili Zhou, Ye Dai, Xilin Wang, Shuangmei Qin, Guojie Li, Ling Li and Bin Li
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060953 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 79
Abstract
Sugarcane is an important economic crop in tropical and subtropical regions. Presawing planting is an important method for achieving automated and precise planting with sugarcane planting machines. The sawing process is a key stage in planting management, affecting not only the germination and [...] Read more.
Sugarcane is an important economic crop in tropical and subtropical regions. Presawing planting is an important method for achieving automated and precise planting with sugarcane planting machines. The sawing process is a key stage in planting management, affecting not only the germination and survival rates of sugarcane, but also reflecting the mechanical performance of sawing. To reduce the peak sawing force and enhance the sawing surface quality of sugarcane seedlings, this study utilized a central composite experimental design method. Single-factor and multi-factor experiments were conducted with a specially designed sugarcane stalk sawing experimental rig to investigate the impact of factors such as the stalk diameter feeding speed, and sawing speed on the peak sawing force and sawing surface quality. Upon being developed and validated, multivariate mathematical regression models elucidated the relationships among these factors. The experimental results showed that the order of influence of each factor on the peak sawing force was the stalk diameter, feed speed, and sawing speed, while for the sawing surface quality, the sequence was the sawing speed, stalk diameter, and feed speed. Correspondingly, the determination coefficients for the peak sawing force and sawing surface quality prediction models were 0.9708 and 0.9675. With a maximum error of 7.6% for the peak sawing force and an average relative error of 7.1%, and a maximum error of 3.5% for the sawing surface quality and an average relative error of 2.83%, the calculated results from the regression models were in good agreement with the experimental findings. This indicates that the models are capable of quickly and accurately predicting the peak sawing force and sawing surface quality of sugarcane stalks under different conditions. The research findings provide valuable insights for the development and optimization of sugarcane stalk presawing equipment and related experimental studies. Full article
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14 pages, 7387 KiB  
Article
Driving Factors and Numerical Simulation of Evapotranspiration of a Typical Cabbage Agroecosystem in the Shiyang River Basin, Northwest China
by Tianyi Yang, Haichao Yu, Sien Li, Xiangning Yuan, Xiang Ao, Haochong Chen, Yuexin Wang and Jie Ding
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060952 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 99
Abstract
Two years of field experiments were conducted at the National Field Observation Experiment Station for Efficient Agricultural Water Use in the Wuwei Oasis, Gansu Province. Based on the eddy correlation system, the evapotranspiration (ET) of the cabbage agroecosystem during the growth [...] Read more.
Two years of field experiments were conducted at the National Field Observation Experiment Station for Efficient Agricultural Water Use in the Wuwei Oasis, Gansu Province. Based on the eddy correlation system, the evapotranspiration (ET) of the cabbage agroecosystem during the growth period was obtained and the main driving factors of ET changes were determined. The Root Zone Water Quality Model 2.0 version (RZWQM2 model) was used to simulate ET during the growth period. The results showed the following: (1) The ET of cabbage during the growth period was 260. 1 ± 24.2 mm, which was basically lower than other crops planted in this area. (2) Through partial correlation analysis and principal component analysis, it can be found that environmental and physiological factors jointly drive changes in ET. The main driving factors include gross primary productivity, net radiation, and water use efficiency. (3) The RZWQM2 model can simulate the ET of the cabbage agroecosystem well, especially in simulating the total ET value and its trend. The growth period ETs were 7.3% lower than the ETm. Cabbage is an important cash crop in Northwest China, and ET is an important component of the water cycle in the agroecosystem. Determining the main driving factors of ET is of great significance for the sustainable utilization of agricultural water resources in Northwest China. Our results can provide a scientific basis for the cultivation of cabbage as a cash crop and the development of water saving agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Water Management)
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15 pages, 4630 KiB  
Article
Determination of Minimum Data Set for Soil Health Assessment of Farmlands under Wheat–Maize Crop System in Yanting County, Sichuan, China
by Zakir Hussain, Limei Deng, Xuan Wang, Rongyang Cui, Xueqin Li, Gangcai Liu, Ishtiaq Hussain, Farman Wali and Muhammad Ayub
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 951; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060951 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 103
Abstract
The assessment of soil health through a robust index system having a sufficient number of indicators is an important step toward sustainable crop production. The present study aimed at establishing a minimum data set (MDS) from soil functional and nutritional attributes using a [...] Read more.
The assessment of soil health through a robust index system having a sufficient number of indicators is an important step toward sustainable crop production. The present study aimed at establishing a minimum data set (MDS) from soil functional and nutritional attributes using a dual index system to evaluate the soil health of farmlands under wheat (Triticum aestivum)–maize (Zea mays) crop rotation in Yanting County, Sichuan, China. Farms from 10 villages in the study area were selected, out of which three sites were considered healthy/ideal sites and used as a reference for the remaining seven targeted sites, and soil samples were collected at depth of 20 cm from these farms. The MDS indicators were selected by using principal component analysis (PCA) followed by Pearson’s correlation on 25 attributes. Based on significant values, eight attributes were retained in the final MDS, including the sucrase level, pH, wilting coefficient, water holding capacity, organic matter, NK ratio, total potassium, and available phosphorus. Based on the results, most of the farmland soils in Yanting County were in a healthy condition, accounting for 61.71% of the surveyed samples, followed by sub-healthy, degraded, and weak soils, accounting for 19.64%, 9.71%, and 8.93%, respectively. The values of most of the indicators at the targeted sites were significantly lower than those at ideal sites. Thus, specific steps should be taken by adding soil organic matter, combined with other fertilizers, to enhance the microbial biomass, enzymatic activities, and other biological activities in the soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Soil Health, Erosion and Remediation)
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17 pages, 5536 KiB  
Article
Comparison and Experimental Study of Cotton Stalk Extraction via Nip Roller Based on Nip Motion Trajectory Equation
by Yichao Wang, Jiaxi Zhang, Yanjun Huo, Zhenwei Wang, Jinming Li and Zhenkun Li
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060950 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 125
Abstract
In the field of straw recycling, a cotton straw-harvesting mechanism is an important piece of agricultural equipment. The mechanistic analysis method of the harvesting mechanism is a major focus of research and development in this field. Currently, in the mechanistic analysis of the [...] Read more.
In the field of straw recycling, a cotton straw-harvesting mechanism is an important piece of agricultural equipment. The mechanistic analysis method of the harvesting mechanism is a major focus of research and development in this field. Currently, in the mechanistic analysis of the cotton straw recycling mechanism, the kinematic and mechanical analysis of the recycling mechanism is generally the main focus. There is not a lot of research based on the quantitative analysis between different recycling mechanisms. In this study, a clamped cotton straw pulling mechanism is optimized and designed, and two different pulling structures are designed. In addition, a two-dimensional modeling and analysis method is used to establish the two-dimensional equations of motion of the two pulling mechanisms, analyze the leakage and breakage rates of the two clamping structures, predict the final pulling effect, and verify the results of the field tests. According to the analysis, the belt-clamping side has more uniform clamping stress and a larger clamping contact area than the chain-clamping side, and the tangential stress on cotton straw is smaller. Based on the field-test verification, the band-clamping side had a higher pulling net rate by an average of 19.32% and a lower missed pulling rate by an average of 6.01% than the chain-clamping side. Therefore, it was determined that the main reason for the lower pulling net rate of the chain-gripped side than that of the belt-gripped side was the higher pulling breakage rate, and the secondary reason was the high leakage pulling rate. Thus, the feasibility and accuracy of the analytical method of this study are verified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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17 pages, 2966 KiB  
Article
Loop Closure Detection with CNN in RGB-D SLAM for Intelligent Agricultural Equipment
by Haixia Qi, Chaohai Wang, Jianwen Li and Linlin Shi
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 949; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060949 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 106
Abstract
Loop closure detection plays an important role in the construction of reliable maps for intelligent agricultural machinery equipment. With the combination of convolutional neural networks (CNN), its accuracy and real-time performance are better than those based on traditional manual features. However, due to [...] Read more.
Loop closure detection plays an important role in the construction of reliable maps for intelligent agricultural machinery equipment. With the combination of convolutional neural networks (CNN), its accuracy and real-time performance are better than those based on traditional manual features. However, due to the use of small embedded devices in agricultural machinery and the need to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, achieving optimal response speeds becomes challenging, especially when operating on large networks. This emphasizes the need to study in depth the kind of lightweight CNN loop closure detection algorithm more suitable for intelligent agricultural machinery. This paper compares a variety of loop closure detection based on lightweight CNN features. Specifically, we prove that GhostNet with feature reuse can extract image features with both high-dimensional semantic information and low-dimensional geometric information, which can significantly improve the loop closure detection accuracy and real-time performance. To further enhance the speed of detection, we implement Multi-Probe Random Hyperplane Local Sensitive Hashing (LSH) algorithms. We evaluate our approach using both a public dataset and a proprietary greenhouse dataset, employing an incremental data processing method. The results demonstrate that GhostNet and the Linear Scanning Multi-Probe LSH algorithm synergize to meet the precision and real-time requirements of agricultural closed-loop detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Image Processing in Agricultural Applications)
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18 pages, 4010 KiB  
Article
The Impacts of the C/N Ratio on Hydrogen Sulfide Emission and Microbial Community Characteristics during Chicken Manure Composting with Wheat Straw
by Shangying Cai, Yi Ma, Zhenkang Bao, Ziying Yang, Xiangyu Niu, Qingzhen Meng, Dongsheng Qin, Yan Wang, Junfeng Wan and Xiaoying Guo
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060948 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 251
Abstract
Wheat straw (WS) has long been subjected to rough treatment by traditional incineration, which not only results in the waste of biomass resources but also poses a risk of atmospheric pollution and is not conducive to the sustainable utilization of natural resources. With [...] Read more.
Wheat straw (WS) has long been subjected to rough treatment by traditional incineration, which not only results in the waste of biomass resources but also poses a risk of atmospheric pollution and is not conducive to the sustainable utilization of natural resources. With great humification potential, WS can be utilized as a valuable composting material. The study optimized the C/N ratio by mixing WS and chicken manure (CM) as composting raw materials, and found that this method could significantly improve the compost quality. In comparison to the conventional poplar woodchip (PW) conditioning, the incorporation of WS resulted in an elevated composting temperature, an extended high-temperature period, a more expeditious lignocellulose degradation, a notable enhancement in the organic matter content, a suppression of hydrogen sulfide production under low C/N ratio, and a promotion of elemental sulfur conversion, collectively contributing to an enhanced overall quality and environmental friendliness of the compost. Correlation analysis of microbial communities and environmental factors demonstrated that the mixed compost facilitated the growth of actinomycetes and sulfur-transforming bacteria. Additionally, structural equation model indicated that parameters such as temperature and pH value played a key role in the composting process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practical Application of Crop Straw Reuse in Agriculture)
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25 pages, 8502 KiB  
Article
Experimental Structural Safety Analysis of Front-End Loader of Agricultural Tractor
by Jeong-Hun Kim, Dong-Hyeon Gim and Ju-Seok Nam
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 947; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060947 - 18 Jun 2024
Viewed by 169
Abstract
The agricultural front-end loader is an implement attached to the front of tractors to transport various agricultural materials, including soil. Since they are subjected to various loads due to the working environment, their safety analysis in consideration of actual working conditions is required. [...] Read more.
The agricultural front-end loader is an implement attached to the front of tractors to transport various agricultural materials, including soil. Since they are subjected to various loads due to the working environment, their safety analysis in consideration of actual working conditions is required. However, there are no official standardized test codes to consider various actual working environments currently. In this study, the structural safety of a front-end loader for static and fatigue failures was evaluated using new test code reflecting actual working environments. Thirty-four measurement locations were determined as the stress concentration spots of each component of the front-end loader derived through multibody dynamic simulation. The total testing time was set to 1 h, and the test time for each task was determined considering the duty percentage of the actual loader work. The measurement results showed that the maximum stress that exceeds the material’s yield strength occurred at two locations of the mount, which is the connection to the tractor body, resulting in static yielding. For tasks, the pulling and dumping exhibited the highest stress. The task that had the largest impact on fatigue damage was the dumping. The static safety factor was found to be over 1.93 and the fatigue life met the required lifespan at all measurement locations except for those exhibiting static yielding. Therefore, the most vulnerable part of the front-end loader is the mount, and it is necessary to secure the overall structural integrity by robust design for the mount. Full article
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17 pages, 1366 KiB  
Article
Rapid and High-Performance Analysis of Total Nitrogen in Coco-Peat Substrate by Coupling Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy with Multi-Chemometrics
by Bing Lu, Xufeng Wang, Can Hu and Xiangyou Li
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060946 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 229
Abstract
Nitrogen is an important nutrient element for crop growth. Rapid and accurate acquisition of nitrogen content in cultivation substrate is the key to precise fertilization. In this study, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) was used to detect the total nitrogen (TN) of coco-peat substrate. [...] Read more.
Nitrogen is an important nutrient element for crop growth. Rapid and accurate acquisition of nitrogen content in cultivation substrate is the key to precise fertilization. In this study, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) was used to detect the total nitrogen (TN) of coco-peat substrate. A LIBS spectrum acquisition system was established to collect the spectral line signal of samples with wavelengths ranging from 200 nm to 860 nm. Synergy interval partial least squares (Si-PLS) algorithm and elimination of uninformative variables (UVE) algorithm were used to select the spectral data of TN characteristic lines in coco-peat substrate. Univariate calibration curve and partial least squares regression (PLSR) were used to build mathematical models for the relationship between the spectral data of univariate characteristic spectral lines, full variables and screened multi-variable characteristic spectral lines of samples and reference measurement values of TN. By comparing the detection performance of calibration curves and multivariate spectral prediction models, it was concluded that UVE was used to simplify the number of spectral input variables for the model and PLSR was applied to construct the simplest multivariate model for the measurement of TN in the substrate samples. The model provided the best measurement performance, with the calibration set determination coefficient () and calibration set root mean square error (RMSEC) values of 0.9944 and 0.0382%, respectively; the prediction set determination coefficient () and prediction set root mean square error (RMSEP) had values of 0.9902 and 0.0513%, respectively. These results indicated that the combination of UVE and PLSR could make full use of the variable information related to TN detection in the LIBS spectrum and realize the rapid and high-performance measurement of TN in coco-peat substrate. It would provide a reference for the rapid and quantitative assessment of nutrient elements in other substrate and soil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
13 pages, 302 KiB  
Article
Emergence and Phenological Development of Herbicide-Sensitive and Herbicide-Resistant Biotypes of Apera Spica-Venti and Winter Wheat under Competition
by Beata Jop, Tomasz Wójtowicz, Katarzyna Marczewska-Kolasa, Mariusz Kucharski and Agnieszka Synowiec
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 945; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060945 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 220
Abstract
As a result of intensive herbicide protection of crops against silky bentgrass (Apera spica-venti (L.) P. Beauv), numerous herbicide-resistant biotypes have been selected, mainly from the group of acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitors. We analyzed the development of herbicide-sensitive and herbicide-resistant biotypes of [...] Read more.
As a result of intensive herbicide protection of crops against silky bentgrass (Apera spica-venti (L.) P. Beauv), numerous herbicide-resistant biotypes have been selected, mainly from the group of acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitors. We analyzed the development of herbicide-sensitive and herbicide-resistant biotypes of bentgrass and winter wheat under competition, taking into account selected physical and chemical properties of the soil, including nitrogen fertilization. The pot experiment (additive model) was conducted in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons. The experimental factors included: (1) bentgrass with different sensitivity levels to herbicides from the groups HRAC/WSSA 1 and HRAC/WSSA 2, specifically two sensitive and three resistant biotypes; (2) two types of soil, sandy and clay; and (3) nitrogen fertilization, both with and without fertilization. Winter wheat and bentgrass development was assessed during each growing season, every 5 or 3 days from September until May, using the BBCH scale. The emergence date of the tested species/biotypes was recorded. The development of competing species was compared based on a new, proposed index: the duration of the developmental phases. As a result, the soil type and fertilization level differentiated wheat and bentgrass emergence dates and development. The autumn development of the competing species was slower and more uniform than the spring one. At the same time, the dynamics of the bentgrass and wheat development in the spring were greater. Bentgrass and winter wheat emerged earlier and grew more intensively on clay and fertilized soil. To sum up, no clear relationship was found between the resistance/sensitivity of bentgrass to herbicides and changes in the phenological development of plants in competition with winter wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
9 pages, 223 KiB  
Article
Effects of Inclusion of Mango Peel Waste in Diets of Layer Chickens on Performance and Egg Quality in Kenya
by Everlyne Nawiri, Joyce G. Maina, Judith A. Atela, Jane L. Ambuko and Benjamin Kyalo
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 944; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060944 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 181
Abstract
Alternative ingredients for the manufacture of poultry feeds need to be identified to meet the growing demand. A 42-day feeding trial was conducted to investigate the effects of the inclusion of mango peel waste in layer chicken diets on performance and egg quality. [...] Read more.
Alternative ingredients for the manufacture of poultry feeds need to be identified to meet the growing demand. A 42-day feeding trial was conducted to investigate the effects of the inclusion of mango peel waste in layer chicken diets on performance and egg quality. This study involved one hundred and fifty Isa Brown layer chickens aged 60 weeks. These chickens were assigned to five treatments with graded levels of mango peels: 0% (Treatment 1), 3.5% (Treatment 2), 7% (Treatment 3), 14% (Treatment 4) and 28% (Treatment 5), using a completely randomized design (CRD). Daily egg production was recorded, and weekly measurements included feed intake, specific gravity, egg weight, shell weight and shell thickness. Notably, Treatment 5 exhibited the highest feed conversion ratio (3.09) and Roche yolk color (RYC) fan score (14.3), which was significantly (p < 0.05) different from Treatment 1, with values of 2.36 and 12.4, respectively. Layer chicken fed on T1 had the highest egg weight and egg thickness (6.6 g and 0.44 mm, respectively), differing significantly (p < 0.05) from Treatment T5 eggs (6.3 g and 0.41 mm). It was concluded that mango peels could substitute maize in layer chicken diets up to 7% without affecting production and egg quality. Mango peels are recommended for partial substitution of maize in layer chicken diets and as natural egg yolk pigment to impart the yellow yolk desired by consumers. Full article
15 pages, 1974 KiB  
Article
Effect of an Enriched Elevated Platform Rearing System on the Welfare and Bone Quality of Fattening Pigs
by Yue Yang, Sitong Zhou, Xin Li, Qin Fu, Xiaohong Zhang, Wenbo Ji and Honggui Liu
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 943; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060943 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 217
Abstract
An intensive breeding environment usually sacrifices the biological needs of pigs and will have a negative impact on the welfare and production efficiency of pigs. In this study, a bedding elevated platform rearing system was established and its effect on the welfare of [...] Read more.
An intensive breeding environment usually sacrifices the biological needs of pigs and will have a negative impact on the welfare and production efficiency of pigs. In this study, a bedding elevated platform rearing system was established and its effect on the welfare of fattening pigs was evaluated. A total of 456 fattening pigs were divided into the elevated platform rearing system group (EP) and control group (CON). The welfare of pigs during the rearing period (57–97 days of age) and the fattening periods (98–168 days of age) was assessed through behavioral observation, physiological indicators, growth performance, and bone quality. Pigs in the EP group showed less manipulating behavior and more playing behavior than pigs in the CON group during the first 48 h of the test. Moreover, EP pigs expressed more standing, play, and exploratory behaviors and less sitting, lying down, manipulating, and fighting behaviors than the CON pigs during the rearing period. More standing and playing behavior and less sitting, manipulating behavior, and fighting behavior were expressed in the EP group than the CON group during the fattening period. In both of the rearing and fattening periods, serum cortisol concentrations were lower in the EP group than the CON group; C-reactive protein concentrations were significantly higher in the EP group than CON group; TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IgA, IgG, and IgM levels were significantly higher in the EP group than the CON group, but IL-10 levels were significantly lower in the EP group than the CON group. The EP group had less skin lesions and a higher final body weight. Our study confirms that the enriched elevated platform rearing system promotes the expression of positive behaviors and reduced skin and limb lesions, which also improve the growth performance of pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
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18 pages, 4718 KiB  
Article
Design and Experiment of Dual-Row Seedling Pick-Up Device for High-Speed Automatic Transplanting Machine
by Rencai Yue, Mengjiao Yao, Tengfei Zhang, Jiawei Shi, Jinhao Zhou and Jianping Hu
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 942; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060942 - 17 Jun 2024
Viewed by 284
Abstract
To address the inefficiency and instability of automatic transplanting machines, a dual-row seedling pick-up device and its corresponding control system were developed. Existing seedling end-effectors are primarily mechanically controlled, and the seedling needles can easily cause damage to the interior of the bowl. [...] Read more.
To address the inefficiency and instability of automatic transplanting machines, a dual-row seedling pick-up device and its corresponding control system were developed. Existing seedling end-effectors are primarily mechanically controlled, and the seedling needles can easily cause damage to the interior of the bowl. In order to reduce the damage inflicted by the end-effectors to the bowl, this paper conducted a mechanical analysis of the end-effector. At the same time, a buffer optimization analysis was conducted on the operation of the end-effector, and a flexible pneumatic end-effector for seedling picking was designed. The control system combined the detection of multiple sensors to monitor the process of seedling picking and throwing. By coordinating the lifting cylinder and clamping cylinder, the system effectively reduced seedling pot damage while improving seedling picking efficiency. By setting the operating parameters of the servo motor, the goal of low-speed and high-efficiency seedling picking was achieved. To evaluate the performance of the control system, the linear displacement sensors and acceleration testing systems were used to analyze the performance of the seedling throwing. The results showed that the seedling picking efficiency could reach 180 plants min−1, with no significant difference between the actual measured moving distance and the theoretical setting distance. The positioning error remained stable between 0.5 and 0.9 mm, which met the requirements for seedling picking accuracy. The buffer optimization design reduced the peak acceleration of the end-effector from −22.1 m/s2 to −13.4 m/s2, and the peak value was reduced by 39.4%, which proved the significant effectiveness of the buffer design. A performance test was conducted using 128-hole seed trays and 33-day-old cabbage seedlings for seedling picking and throwing. When the planting frequency reached 90 plants/row·min−1, the average success rate of picking and throwing seedlings was 97.3%. This indicates that the various components of the designed seedling pick-up device work in good coordination during operation, and the control system operates stably. Technical requirements for the automatic mechanical transplanting of tray seedlings were achieved, which can provide reference for research on automatic transplanting machines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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16 pages, 749 KiB  
Article
Novel Technical Parameters-Based Classification of Harvesters Using Principal Component Analysis and Q-Type Cluster Model
by Kibiya Abubakar Yusuf, Edwin O. Amisi, Qishuo Ding, Xinxin Chen, Gaoming Xu, Abdulaziz Nuhu Jibril, Moussita G. Gedeon and Zakariya M. Abdulhamid
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 941; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060941 - 16 Jun 2024
Viewed by 327
Abstract
The advancement of agricultural mechanization necessitates precise and standardized classification based on technical characteristics to enhance green, efficient, and high-quality development. The current lack of scientific and standardized definitions and classifications for various types of agricultural machinery has become a bottleneck, complicating the [...] Read more.
The advancement of agricultural mechanization necessitates precise and standardized classification based on technical characteristics to enhance green, efficient, and high-quality development. The current lack of scientific and standardized definitions and classifications for various types of agricultural machinery has become a bottleneck, complicating the machine selection and affecting the compatibility of the machinery with optimized field operations. To address this complexity, we propose a comprehensive classification method that integrates principal component analysis (PCA), cluster analysis, and the qualitative analysis of the functional components for defining and scientifically classifying harvesters. The key functional and technical properties of harvesters were analyzed, and eight primary parameters (machine weight, cutting width, feed rate, rated power, overall machine length, width, height, and working efficiency) were selected, supplemented by nine key functional components (walking mechanism, cutting device, threshing device, separating device, cleaning device, grain collecting device, grain unloading device, cabin, and track size). In the first step, principal component analysis was performed to reduce the dimensionality of the parameters, yielding three principal components with contribution rates of 41.610%, 28.579%, and 15.134%, respectively. One primary parameter from each component was selected for further analysis. In the second stage, Q-type cluster analysis classified the harvesters based on the squared Euclidean distance between the operational parameters, resulting in three classes of harvesters. Finally, functional component analysis provided detailed insights, further refining the classification into four major categories: mini, small, medium, and large harvesters. The results of this work provide a scientific basis for the definition and classification of the harvester products available on the market. This method offers a robust framework for the rational selection and planning of agricultural machinery, promoting sustainable mechanization with a focus on technical parameters and functional attributes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
18 pages, 3180 KiB  
Article
GC-MS Analysis and Evaluation of Essential Oils as Volatile Biopesticides: Assessing Their Acaricidal Potential against Varroa destructor
by Muhammad Fahad Raza, Moazam Hyder, Chonghui Zhao and Wenfeng Li
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 940; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060940 - 16 Jun 2024
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Honey bees are crucial for ecosystem pollination and honey production, yet the Varroa destructor mite hinders their productivity and health. Efforts to manage Varroa mites with synthetic pesticides have had limited success, highlighting the need for naturally derived acaricides as a primary option. [...] Read more.
Honey bees are crucial for ecosystem pollination and honey production, yet the Varroa destructor mite hinders their productivity and health. Efforts to manage Varroa mites with synthetic pesticides have had limited success, highlighting the need for naturally derived acaricides as a primary option. However, the acaricidal efficacy of essential oils from Salvia officinalis L. (sage), Cannabis sativa (hemp), and Laurus nobilis (laurel) remains to be fully understood. This study aims to investigate the acaricidal efficacy of these three essential oils at varying concentrations and their impact on honey production, focusing on the efficient reduction in Varroa mites. The sugar roll method was employed to assess Varroa mite infestation levels, while GC-MS analysis was utilized to verify the composition of the essential oils. Honey production measurements were also performed. The efficacy rates (%) at concentrations of 15%, 10%, and 5% for hemp oil were 95.4% ± 0.30%, 85.71% ± 0.85%, and 64.48% ± 0.26%, respectively; for sage oil, they were 81.08% ± 0.57%, 69.42% ± 1.72%, and 50.35% ± 0.70%; and for laurel oil, they were 68.96% ± 0.34%, 54.66% ± 0.37%, and 33.58% ± 0.30%, respectively. Key compounds identified include trans-caryophyllene, α-pinene, and viridiflorol in hemp oil; myrcene, limonene, and β-caryophyllene in sage oil; and phytol, β-myrcene, and n-heneicosane in laurel oil. The overall findings indicate that hemp oil is highly effective in controlling Varroa mites. However, further research is needed to evaluate its potential side effects on bees to ensure its sustainability and safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
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27 pages, 4524 KiB  
Article
The Significance of Agricultural Modernization Development for Agricultural Carbon Emission Efficiency in China
by Suhan Zhang, Xue Li, Zhen Nie, Yan Wang, Danni Li, Xingpeng Chen, Yiping Liu and Jiaxing Pang
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060939 - 16 Jun 2024
Viewed by 404
Abstract
Agricultural production contributes to the increase in global carbon emissions. It is crucial to improve output and reduce carbon emissions in the context of agricultural modernization, for which improved carbon emission efficiency is key. However, the role of agricultural modernization in promoting agricultural [...] Read more.
Agricultural production contributes to the increase in global carbon emissions. It is crucial to improve output and reduce carbon emissions in the context of agricultural modernization, for which improved carbon emission efficiency is key. However, the role of agricultural modernization in promoting agricultural carbon emission efficiency is not clear. Hence, the aim of this article is to analyze the spatiotemporal evolution of agricultural modernization and agricultural carbon emission efficiency in China from 2000 to 2019 and to reveal the relationship between agricultural modernization and agricultural carbon emission efficiency. The results showed that (1) in China, the overall level of agricultural modernization has been steadily increasing, and the regional differences are widening, showing a spatial pattern characterized by a gradual decline from the eastern and central regions to the western region. (2) China’s agricultural carbon emission efficiency continues to grow but has not achieved a data envelopment analysis (DEA) effect, with the eastern and western regions having higher agricultural carbon efficiency than the central region. The regional differences first narrow and then expand. (3) Agricultural modernization significantly promotes agricultural carbon emission efficiency in both the province and the neighboring provinces, and the interprovincial spillover effect exceeds the direct effect within the province. A nonlinear correlation exists between agricultural modernization and agricultural carbon emission efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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18 pages, 27240 KiB  
Article
Lightweight U-Net-Based Method for Estimating the Severity of Wheat Fusarium Head Blight
by Lei Shi, Zhihao Liu, Chengkai Yang, Jingkai Lei, Qiang Wang, Fei Yin and Jian Wang
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 938; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060938 - 15 Jun 2024
Viewed by 183
Abstract
Wheat Fusarium head blight is one of the major diseases affecting the yield and quality of wheat. Accurate and rapid estimation of disease severity is crucial for implementing disease-resistant breeding and scientific management strategies. Traditional methods for estimating disease severity are complex and [...] Read more.
Wheat Fusarium head blight is one of the major diseases affecting the yield and quality of wheat. Accurate and rapid estimation of disease severity is crucial for implementing disease-resistant breeding and scientific management strategies. Traditional methods for estimating disease severity are complex and inefficient, often failing to provide accurate assessments under field conditions. Therefore, this paper proposes a method using a lightweight U-Net model for segmenting wheat spike disease spots to estimate disease severity. Firstly, the model employs MobileNetv3 as its backbone for feature extraction, significantly reducing the number of parameters and computational demand, thus enhancing segmentation efficiency. Secondly, the backbone network has been augmented with a lightweight Coordinate Attention (CA) module, which integrates lesion position information through channel attention and aggregates features across two spatial dimensions. This allows the model to capture long-range feature correlations and maintain positional information, effectively enhancing the segmentation of wheat spike disease spots while ensuring the model’s lightweight and efficient characteristics. Lastly, depthwise separable convolutions have been introduced in the decoder in place of standard convolutions, further reducing the model’s parameter count while maintaining performance. Experimental results show that the model’s segmentation Mean Intersection over Union (MIoU) reached 88.87%, surpassing the U-Net model by 3.49 percentage points, with a total parameter count of only 4.52 M, one-sixth of the original model. The improved model demonstrates its capability to segment individual wheat spike disease spots under field conditions and estimate the severity of infestation, providing technical support for disease identification research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
16 pages, 1971 KiB  
Article
Optimizing an Organic Method of Sugar Beet Cultivation and Yield Gap Decrease in Northern Poland
by Józef Tyburski, Mirosław Nowakowski, Robert Nelke and Marcin Żurek
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 937; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060937 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 212
Abstract
In the period of 2016–2018, two series of field studies on organic sugar beet growing (Beta vulgaris L.) were carried out in northern Poland on Luvisol loamy soil (medium–heavy) soil in Bałcyny and Płonne. The aim of this study was to decrease [...] Read more.
In the period of 2016–2018, two series of field studies on organic sugar beet growing (Beta vulgaris L.) were carried out in northern Poland on Luvisol loamy soil (medium–heavy) soil in Bałcyny and Płonne. The aim of this study was to decrease the yield gap between organic and conventional beets. Factors to increase the yield of organic beet were differentiated fertilization (cattle farmyard manure (FYM), compost, and Bioilsa) and choice of varieties (Eliska, Jampol, and Sobieski). The reference point was the conventional cultivation of the same sugar beet varieties, fertilized with manure and NPK mineral fertilizers, the prevailing standard of sugar beet cultivation in Poland. High sugar beet root yields exceeding the average yield in Poland by 25–30% were obtained in both studies, both in conventional and organic cultivation. Higher root and white sugar yields were obtained in the study conducted at Płonne (with similar soil conditions to those at Bałcyny), but they were characterized by higher temperatures during the growing season. The lowest root yields in both experiments were obtained by fertilizing the organic beet with compost (66.1 t per ha in Bałcyny and 78.13 t per ha in Płonne), which were 10.8% and 8.5% lower than the conventional crop, respectively. Higher root yields in organic cultivation were obtained by fertilizing the sugar beet with FYM, which reduced the differences from conventional beet to 7.7% in the study in Bałcyny and 2.1% in the study in Płonne. Thus, the results showed no need to convert cattle FYM to compost. The highest root yields in organic cultivation were obtained by fertilizing the sugar beet with Bioilsa N 12.5 supplemented with mineral fertilization of K, Mg, and S (Patentkali). This fertilization provided a yield of 78.1 t of roots per ha in Bałcyny, which is a reduction in the yield gap to 1.4%, a statistically insignificant value. Moreover, in the study at Płonne, organic sugar beet fertilized with Bioilsa and Patentkali yielded 86.7 t of roots per ha, compared to 85.6 t per ha of conventional beet, so a yield gap was not seen here. The choice of varieties was also of great importance for root and pure sugar yields in both farming systems. The lowest yields were obtained from the Eliska variety, and at Bałcyny, a change of beet cultivar to Jampol increased the organic root yield from 68.8 t per ha to 76.0 t per ha, while reducing the yield gap from 10.1% to 2.2%. At Płonne, replacing the Eliska variety with Jampol reduced the yield gap between organic and conventional roots from 6.6% to 0.3%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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20 pages, 1838 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Dietary Resveratrol and β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyric Acid Supplementation at Two Protein Levels on the Ruminal Microbiome and Metabolome of Tibetan Sheep
by Kaina Zhu, Yu Zhang, Fengshuo Zhang, Zhenling Wu, Quyangangmao Su, Shengzhen Hou and Linsheng Gui
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 936; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060936 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 275
Abstract
Resveratrol (RES) and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyric acid (HMB) have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other beneficial properties. Here, we hypothesize that supplementation with RES and HMB could affect the rumen function in Tibetan sheep. This study aims to explore the effects of RES and HMB supplementation at [...] Read more.
Resveratrol (RES) and β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyric acid (HMB) have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other beneficial properties. Here, we hypothesize that supplementation with RES and HMB could affect the rumen function in Tibetan sheep. This study aims to explore the effects of RES and HMB supplementation at different protein levels on the rumen microbial and metabolite compositions of Tibetan sheep. Four treatments (n = 30) were prepared according to a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement, with two dietary protein levels (12% and 14%) and two feed additives (RES 1.50 g/day and HMB 1.25 g/day). The experimental treatments were fed diets with 12% CP level non-supplemented (L), 12% protein with RES and HMB (L-RES-HMB), 14% CP level non-supplemented (H), and 14% protein with RES and HMB (H-RES-HMB), respectively. Our results indicated that the trypsin, chymotrypsin, and lipase were significantly increased in the H-RES-HMB group (p < 0.05), while the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) concentration was significantly reduced (p < 0.05). The alpha diversity analysis found that the ACE indices of the L-RES-HMB, and H-RES-HMB groups was significantly higher than that of the L group (p < 0.05). Additionally, compared with the L, L-RES-HMB, and H groups, it was found that the abundance of Euryarchaeota, Spirochaeota, and Metanobrevibacter was significantly increased in the H-RES-HMB group, while the abundance of Proteobacteria was significantly decreased (p < 0.05). A total of 745 significantly different metabolites were identified, of which 14 metabolites were common among the three comparative groups. Differential metabolites were mainly enriched in pathways including the pyrimidine metabolism, the glycine, serine, and threonine metabolisms, and ABC transporters. Overall, CP level and RES/HMB exhibited positively interaction effect on digestive enzyme activity and antioxidant capacity. Dietary RES and HMB supplementation on 14% CP level improved the ruminal digestive enzyme activity and antioxidant capacity through modulating the microbial community and regulating the metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
14 pages, 4773 KiB  
Article
Sorghum bicolor L. Stalk Stiffness Is Marginally Affected by Time of Day under Field Conditions
by Norbert Bokros, Joseph Woomer, Zoe Schroeder, Bharath Kunduru, Manwinder S. Brar, Will Seegmiller, Jozsef Stork, Christopher McMahan, Daniel J. Robertson, Rajandeep S. Sekhon and Seth DeBolt
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 935; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060935 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 284
Abstract
This study sought to better understand how time of day (ToD) or turgor pressure might affect the flexural stiffness of sweet sorghum stalks and potentially regulate stalk lodging resistance. Stalk flexural stiffness measured across a 48 h period in 2019 showed a significant [...] Read more.
This study sought to better understand how time of day (ToD) or turgor pressure might affect the flexural stiffness of sweet sorghum stalks and potentially regulate stalk lodging resistance. Stalk flexural stiffness measured across a 48 h period in 2019 showed a significant diurnal association with leaf water potential and stalk flexural stiffness. While the correlation between stalk flexural stiffness and this proxy for internal turgor status was statistically significant, it only accounted for roughly 2% of the overall variance in stiffness. Given that turgor status is a dynamic rather than fixed physiological variable like the cellular structure, these data suggest that internal turgor plays a small yet significant role in influencing the flexural stiffness of fully mature stalks prior to a stalk lodging event. The association was assessed at earlier developmental stages across three distinct cultivars and found not to be significant. Panicle weight and stalk basal weight, but not stalk Brix or water content, were found to be better predictors of stalk flexural stiffness than either ToD or turgor status. Observation across three cultivars and four distinct developmental stages ranging from the vegetative to the hard-dough stages suggests that stalk flexural stiffness changes significantly as a function of time. However, neither ToD nor turgor status appear to meaningfully contribute to observed variations in stalk flexural stiffness in either individual stalks or across larger populations. As turgor status was not found to meaningfully influence stalk strength or flexural stiffness at any developmental time point examined in any of the three sweet sorghum cultivars under study, turgor pressure likely offers only inconsequential contributions to the biomechanics underlying sweet sorghum stalk lodging resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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16 pages, 972 KiB  
Article
Crop Rotation Management in the Context of Sustainable Development of Agriculture in Ukraine
by Lubov Moldavan, Olena Pimenowa, Mirosław Wasilewski and Natalia Wasilewska
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 934; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060934 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 305
Abstract
This study investigates the implications of implementing simplified, highly specialized, non-rotational farming practices in Ukraine within the framework of sustainable development goals. The background highlights the need to address soil preservation and food security concerns in agricultural practices. The hypothesis suggests that such [...] Read more.
This study investigates the implications of implementing simplified, highly specialized, non-rotational farming practices in Ukraine within the framework of sustainable development goals. The background highlights the need to address soil preservation and food security concerns in agricultural practices. The hypothesis suggests that such practices may lead to adverse environmental and socioeconomic consequences, including soil degradation and heightened reliance on imported agricultural products. The methods involve a comprehensive review of existing research, analyzing crop diversity, soil degradation, climate variability and agricultural employment dynamics using agroeconomic analytical methods. The results indicate adverse environmental ramifications associated with non-rotational practices, including soil degradation and heightened reliance on imported agricultural products. Conversely, transitioning towards crop rotation systems was found to potentially mitigate these outcomes by restoring soil fertility and enhancing food security. This study concludes that tailored crop rotation approaches are necessary to address soil health and food security concerns in Ukraine, thereby promoting sustainable agricultural development. Overall, the findings underscore the critical importance of implementing diversified crop rotation systems to achieve sustainable food production and environmental conservation goals in Ukraine and beyond. Full article
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29 pages, 17553 KiB  
Article
Design and Experiment of a Film-Drilling Potato Seeder with Eccentric Coupling
by Liangqi Pei, Wei Sun, Juanling Wang and Petru A. Simionescu
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060933 - 14 Jun 2024
Viewed by 389
Abstract
The new technique of filming in autumn and planting directly through the plastic film in spring is an effective method for water-saving and drought-resistant commercial potato production. However, there are currently no supporting film-drilling seeders available. To address this, a new potato seeder [...] Read more.
The new technique of filming in autumn and planting directly through the plastic film in spring is an effective method for water-saving and drought-resistant commercial potato production. However, there are currently no supporting film-drilling seeders available. To address this, a new potato seeder machine has been specifically designed for planting potatoes in the dryland, hilly, and mountainous areas of northwest China. This machine can perform top mulching and hole planting in both the autumn and spring seasons. This innovative potato seeder accomplishes several tasks simultaneously: seeding, inoculation (if desired), hole punching through the mulch film, seed placement, and soil covering. The machine features an optimized spoon-chain seeder with an eccentric coupling mechanism that ensures the hole-punching device stays perpendicular to the ground throughout planting, minimizing damage to the mulch film. Additionally, a dedicated seeding valve opening and closing mechanism was designed to extend the opening time of the hole-forming device’s movable mouth beyond the potato’s falling time, guaranteeing successful seed placement. Furthermore, a soil-covering device specifically designed for use with mulch film ensures proper soil retention after seeding. Through computer-aided design (RecurDyn V9R5 software) analysis, the hole-punching device’s penetrating angle was optimized to minimize the tearing of the mulch film during entry into and exit from the soil. Rigorous field testing demonstrated the machine’s effectiveness. The seeder achieved a 92% success rate for proper planting depth, an 88% success rate for accurate seed potato spacing, a 98% success rate for avoiding overplanting, and a 99% success rate for eliminating missed planting spots. These field test results meet or exceed national and industry standards, validating the machine’s design goals. In essence, this innovative potato seeder, with its eccentric coupling mechanism, offers a one-pass solution for potato seeding, inoculation (optional), planting, and soil covering, significantly improving efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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14 pages, 2720 KiB  
Article
Understanding the Biology of the Harmless Isolate Botrytis cinerea B459: An Approach to Bio-Targeted Toxin Identification
by Víctor Coca-Ruiz, Nuria Cabrera-Gomez, David Saborido Torres, Virginia Casado-del Castillo, Ernesto P. Benito, Josefina Aleu and Isidro G. Collado
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 932; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060932 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 494
Abstract
Botrytis cinerea, a necrotrophic fungus responsible for grey rot disease, causes substantial economic losses. However, recent studies have discovered distinct non-sporogenic and non-infective isolates of this species, such as the B459 field strain. Examination of these isolates is particularly intriguing in the [...] Read more.
Botrytis cinerea, a necrotrophic fungus responsible for grey rot disease, causes substantial economic losses. However, recent studies have discovered distinct non-sporogenic and non-infective isolates of this species, such as the B459 field strain. Examination of these isolates is particularly intriguing in the context of the development of methodological applications that could be useful in the biocontrol of this phytopathogenic species. This investigation revealed that B459 exhibited a reduced growth rate yet displayed enhanced resilience to stressors like oxidative stress agents, SDS, ethanol, and PhITC. Notably, its ability to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and acidic compounds, crucial in plant–pathogen interactions, was impacted. Bio-targeted toxin identification assays and the metabolomic study of extracts obtained from fermentations at seven and fourteen days revealed that this strain does not biosynthesize botrydial and derivatives neither botcinin family toxins. Furthermore, its inability to infect tomato fruits, grape, and gerbera petals coincides with its lack of toxin production under culture conditions typically adapted for reference strain B05.10. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Management of Fungal Diseases in Crops)
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29 pages, 3454 KiB  
Article
Study on the Characteristics of Downwash Field Range and Consistency of Spray Deposition of Agricultural UAVs
by Zongru Liu, Rong Gao, Yinwei Zhao, Han Wu, Yunting Liang, Ke Liang, Dong Liu, Taoran Huang, Shaoqiang Xie, Jia Lv and Jiyu Li
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 931; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060931 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 237
Abstract
Agricultural unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), increasingly integral to crop protection through spraying operations, are significantly influenced by their downwash fields, which in turn affect the distribution of spray droplets. The key parameters impacting spray deposition patterns are the velocity of the downwash airflow [...] Read more.
Agricultural unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), increasingly integral to crop protection through spraying operations, are significantly influenced by their downwash fields, which in turn affect the distribution of spray droplets. The key parameters impacting spray deposition patterns are the velocity of the downwash airflow and its spatial extent. Understanding the interplay of these parameters can enhance the efficacy of UAV applications in agriculture. Previous research has predominantly focused on downwash airflow velocity, often neglecting the spatial scope of the downwash. This paper presents an applied foundational study grounded in the compressible Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) equations. Leveraging a dependable - turbulence model and dynamic mesh technology, it develops an effective three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach to analyze the downwash field’s distribution characteristics during UAV hover. To validate the CFD method, a visualization test was conducted using EPS (expanded polystyrene foam) balls dispersed in the airspace beneath the UAV, illustrating the airflow’s spatial distribution. Additionally, a parameter η was introduced to quantify changes in the wind field’s range, enabling the mapping of the cross-sectional area of the downwash airflow at various velocities within the UAV’s airspace. The study reveals that the downwash field’s overall shape evolves from a “four-point type” to a “square-like” and then to an “ellipse-like” configuration. Lower downwash airflow velocities exhibit a more rapid expansion of the wind field area. High-velocity downwash areas are concentrated beneath each rotor, while lower-velocity zones coalesce under each rotor and extend downward, forming a continuous expanse. Within the UAV’s downwash area, the deposition of droplets is more pronounced. At a given nozzle position, an increase in downwash airflow velocity correlates with greater droplet deposition within the downwash field. This research bridges a gap in downwash field studies, offering a solid theoretical foundation for the development of future UAV downwash field models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of UAVs in Precision Agriculture—2nd Edition)
18 pages, 6741 KiB  
Article
Identification and Functional Prediction of Salt/Alkali-Responsive lncRNAs during Alfalfa Germination
by Yajiao Liu, Lei Xu, Tiejun Zhang, Bilig Sod, Yanchao Xu, Mingna Li, Junmei Kang, Qingchuan Yang, Xiao Li and Ruicai Long
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 930; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060930 - 13 Jun 2024
Viewed by 222
Abstract
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are pivotal regulators of the abiotic stress responses in plants, yet their specific involvement in salt/alkali stress during alfalfa germination remains incompletely understood. Here, we subjected Zhongmu No.1 alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) seeds to salt stress (20 mM [...] Read more.
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are pivotal regulators of the abiotic stress responses in plants, yet their specific involvement in salt/alkali stress during alfalfa germination remains incompletely understood. Here, we subjected Zhongmu No.1 alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) seeds to salt stress (20 mM NaCl and 20 mM Na2SO4 solutions) or alkali stress (5 mM NaHCO3 and 5 mM Na2CO3 solutions) treatments for 3 days, followed by total RNA extraction and RNA-seq analysis to delineate stress-responsive alfalfa lncRNAs. We identified 17,473 novel alfalfa lncRNAs, among which 101 and 123 were differentially expressed lncRNAs (DElncRNAs) under salt and alkali stress, respectively, compared to the control. Furthermore, we predicted 16 and 237 differentially expressed target genes regulated by DElncRNAs through cis/trans-regulatory mechanisms under salt or alkali stress, respectively. A functional enrichment analysis of DElncRNA target genes indicated that lncRNAs were implicated in the fatty acid metabolism pathway under salt stress, while they played a significant role in the phenylpropanoid and flavonoid biosynthesis pathway under alkali stress. Notably, lncRNAs were found to participate in the plant hormone signal transduction pathway, a common regulatory mechanism in both salt and alkali stress responses. These findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying alfalfa’s response to salt and alkali stresses. Full article
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13 pages, 3139 KiB  
Article
Brewers’ Spent Grain as an Alternative Plant Protein Component of Honey Bee Feed
by Paweł Migdał, Martyna Wilk, Ewelina Berbeć and Natalia Białecka
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 929; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060929 - 12 Jun 2024
Viewed by 463
Abstract
Bee organisms need nutrients to function properly. Deficiencies of any nutrients decrease the condition and shorten the lifespan of insects. Moreover, protein deficiency decreases honey bee queen productivity and increases aggression in bee colonies. All of these aspects affect the efficiency and the [...] Read more.
Bee organisms need nutrients to function properly. Deficiencies of any nutrients decrease the condition and shorten the lifespan of insects. Moreover, protein deficiency decreases honey bee queen productivity and increases aggression in bee colonies. All of these aspects affect the efficiency and the economic aspect of beekeeping production. Limited access to sustainable feed sources for bee colonies during the season forces beekeepers to search for new sources of nutrients, particularly protein. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential use of brewers’ spent grain, which is a by-product of beer production, as a source of protein additive in bees’ diet. Two types of brewers’ spent grain were examined: that from light beer and that from dark porter beer. The spent grains, especially porter spent grains, improved the hemolymph protein content compared to bees fed with sugar cake without additives. It did not fully correspond to the protein levels obtained from bees fed cake with the addition of pollen, but it may be a substitute. The studies showed that brewers’ spent grain has the potential to be used as an alternative plant protein component of honey bee feed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Practices and Strategies for Sustainable Apiculture and Pollinators)
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18 pages, 2507 KiB  
Article
A Low-Tech Approach to Mobilize Nutrients from Organic Residues to Produce Bioponic Stock Solutions
by Sebastian Heintze, Marc Beckett, Lukas Simon Kriem, Jörn Germer and Folkard Asch
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 928; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060928 - 12 Jun 2024
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Abstract
Organic residues, as a nutrient source suitable of producing solutions for hydroponic crop production, have the potential to reduce the dependence on mineral fertilizers. Especially in remote and resource-constrained regions, organic residues might be the only option to produce hydroponic nutrient solutions. However, [...] Read more.
Organic residues, as a nutrient source suitable of producing solutions for hydroponic crop production, have the potential to reduce the dependence on mineral fertilizers. Especially in remote and resource-constrained regions, organic residues might be the only option to produce hydroponic nutrient solutions. However, nutrient solutions made from organic residues, called bioponic solutions, are usually unbalanced in their nutrient composition, which leads to deficiencies and poor plant growth. This study aimed to experimentally develop a low-tech approach to produce bioponic stock solutions rich in NO3, P, and K, to create a balanced bioponic solution. The mixed bioponic solution contained 58 mg L−1 NH4+-N, 43 mg L−1 NO3-N, 50 mg L−1 PO43−-P, and 246 mg L−1 K+. This approach resulted in satisfactory levels of P, K and micronutrients. The solution was tested pure and spiked with Ca(NO3)2 on lettuce in comparison with a mineral Hoagland nutrient solution. Neither the bioponic nor the spiked bioponic solution achieved comparable lettuce yields to the Hoagland solution. The poor growth of the plants in the bioponic solution was attributed to an unfavorable NH4+:NO3 ratio, high microorganism load, and elevated pH levels. However, the approach of preparing bioponic stock solutions could be promising for future research into the production of balanced bioponic nutrient solutions from organic residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Hydroponic Systems for Sustainable Agriculture)
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