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Agriculture, Volume 14, Issue 7 (July 2024) – 195 articles

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20 pages, 3344 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Multi-Crop Biofuel Pellet Properties and the Life Cycle Assessment
by Rita Petlickaitė, Algirdas Jasinskas, Kęstutis Venslauskas, Kęstutis Navickas, Marius Praspaliauskas and Egidijus Lemanas
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071162 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Although wood biomass is mostly used to produce solid biofuel pellets, it is important to evaluate the possibilities of using other types of biomass as well. It is not only important to obtain biofuel pellets of suitable quality but also to ensure a [...] Read more.
Although wood biomass is mostly used to produce solid biofuel pellets, it is important to evaluate the possibilities of using other types of biomass as well. It is not only important to obtain biofuel pellets of suitable quality but also to ensure a sustainable process of producing and using these pellets for energy production. This paper presents an evaluation of the quality characteristics of seven different biofuel pellets made from multi-crop plants (fibrous hemp, maize, and faba bean) and a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the heat production by burning these pellets. The physical-mechanical properties and elemental composition of the pellets are determined according to international standards, as indicated in the methodology section. The LCA was performed using the SimaPro 9.5 software. The complete life cycle from cradle-to-grave is assessed, i.e., from growing plants to spreading ash obtained from pellet burning. An analysis showed that in most cases the produced pellets met the requirements of the standard ISO 17225-6:2021. The lowest negative environmental impact associated with the production of 1 GJ of thermal energy was for pellets made from fibrous hemp and maize biomass (MIX2-1) and pellets made from fibrous hemp and faba bean biomass (MIX2-3). Production of pellets from maize biomass (S-Mz) was found to have the highest carbon footprint (29.1 CO2eq GJ−1) and was associated with the lowest crop yield compared to the other six scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
20 pages, 9123 KiB  
Article
Design and Experimental Study of Banana Bunch Transportation Device with Lifting Mechanism and Automatic Bottom-Fixing Fruit Shaft
by Weiqin Li, Zhou Yang, Xing Xu, Weixi Li, Xingkang Mo, Jiaxiang Yu and Jieli Duan
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071161 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
In addressing the challenges of high labor intensity, cost, and potential mechanical damage to banana fruit in orchards, this study presents the design of a banana bunch transport device featuring a lifting mechanism and an automatic fruit shaft bottom-fixing system. The device is [...] Read more.
In addressing the challenges of high labor intensity, cost, and potential mechanical damage to banana fruit in orchards, this study presents the design of a banana bunch transport device featuring a lifting mechanism and an automatic fruit shaft bottom-fixing system. The device is tailored to the planting and morphological characteristics of banana bunches, aiming for efficient, low-loss, and labor-saving mechanized transport. Key design considerations included the anti-overturning mechanism and the lifting system based on transportation conditions and the physical dimensions of banana bunches. A dynamic simulation was conducted to analyze the angular velocity and acceleration during the initial conveying stages, forming the basis for the fruit shaft bottom-fixation mechanism. A novel horizontal multi-point scanning method was developed to accurately identify and secure the fruit shaft bottom, complemented by an automated control system. Experimental results showed a 95.83% success rate in identification and fixation, validated by field trials that confirmed the necessity and stability of the fixation mechanism. To enhance the durability of the fruit shaft bottom-fixation mechanism, a multi-factor test was conducted, optimizing the device’s maximum travel speed and minimizing the banana bunch’s oscillation angle. Field tests showed an oscillation angle of 8.961°, closely matching the simulated result of 9.526°, demonstrating the reliability of the response surface analysis model. This study offers a practical and efficient solution for banana bunch transport in orchards, showcasing significant practical value and potential for wider adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Machinery and Technology for Fruit Tree Management)
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24 pages, 701 KiB  
Review
Applying Spectroscopies, Imaging Analyses, and Other Non-Destructive Techniques to Olives and Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A Systematic Review of Current Knowledge and Future Applications
by Alessio Cappelli, Sirio Cividino, Veronica Redaelli, Gianluca Tripodi, Gilda Aiello, Salvatore Velotto and Mauro Zaninelli
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071160 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Given its huge economic, nutritional, and social value, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is an essential food. This flagship product of the countries bordering the Mediterranean basin is one of the most frauded products worldwide. Although traditional chemical analyses have demonstrated to be [...] Read more.
Given its huge economic, nutritional, and social value, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is an essential food. This flagship product of the countries bordering the Mediterranean basin is one of the most frauded products worldwide. Although traditional chemical analyses have demonstrated to be reliable tools for olive drupes and EVOO quality assessment, they present several drawbacks; the urgent need for fast and non-destructive techniques thus motivated this review. Given the lack of comprehensive reviews in the literature, our first aim was to summarize the current knowledge regarding applying spectroscopies, imaging analyses, and other non-destructive techniques to olives and EVOO. The second aim was to highlight the most innovative and futuristic applications and outline the future research prospects within this strategic production chain. With respect to olive drupes, the most interesting results were obtained using RGB imaging and NIR spectroscopy, particularly using portable NIR devices and specific digital cameras for in-field or in-mill monitoring. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight that RGB imaging and NIR spectroscopy need to be integrated with flesh hardness measurements, given the higher reliability of this parameter compared to olive skin color. Finally, with respect to EVOO, although several useful applications of visible imagining, UV–Visible, NIR, and Mid-Infrared spectroscopies have been found, the online monitoring of EVOO quality using NIR spectroscopy strikes us as being the most interesting technique for improving the EVOO production chain in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Product Quality and Safety)
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18 pages, 1295 KiB  
Article
Quality of Red Clover Forage in Different Organic Production Systems
by Cezary Purwin, Krystyna Żuk-Gołaszewska, Józef Tyburski, Marta Borsuk-Stanulewicz and Barbara Stefańska
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071159 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the quality of organically grown red clover herbage and silage after being influenced by supplementary mineral fertilization. The experimental treatments were as follows: control treatment without fertilization (group C), treatment where kalimagnesia (Patentkali) was applied [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the quality of organically grown red clover herbage and silage after being influenced by supplementary mineral fertilization. The experimental treatments were as follows: control treatment without fertilization (group C), treatment where kalimagnesia (Patentkali) was applied (group P), and treatment where potassium sulfate (SOP) was applied (group S). In each year of the experiment, first-cut herbage was harvested at the beginning of flowering and ensiled. The year of the study had a significant (p ≤ 0.05) influence on the analyzed parameters of herbage and silage, excluding the content of calcium (Ca), acetic acid (AA), and ammonia nitrogen (N-NH3). The organic production system exerted a significant (p ≤ 0.05) effect on the concentrations of crude protein (CP), acid detergent lignin (ADL), water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), minerals (P, K, Ca, Na), lactic acid (LA), ethanol, and N-NH3. The pattern of fermentation was affected by both experimental factors. True protein (TP) content was determined at 70–84% CP in herbage and 53–65% CP in silages. The energy value and the protein value of herbage varied significantly across years of the study and in response to the combined effects of both experimental factors (p ≤ 0.05). Red clover grown in organic production systems supplied high-quality forage. Full article
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16 pages, 115251 KiB  
Article
RpTrack: Robust Pig Tracking with Irregular Movement Processing and Behavioral Statistics
by Shuqin Tu, Hua Lei, Yun Liang, Enli Lyu and Hongxing Liu
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071158 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Pig behavioral analysis based on multi-object tracking (MOT) technology of surveillance videos is vital for precision livestock farming. To address the challenges posed by uneven lighting scenes and irregular pig movements in the MOT task, we proposed a pig MOT method named RpTrack. [...] Read more.
Pig behavioral analysis based on multi-object tracking (MOT) technology of surveillance videos is vital for precision livestock farming. To address the challenges posed by uneven lighting scenes and irregular pig movements in the MOT task, we proposed a pig MOT method named RpTrack. Firstly, RpTrack addresses the issue of lost tracking caused by irregular pig movements by using an appropriate Kalman Filter and improved trajectory management. Then, RpTrack utilizes BIoU for the second matching strategy to alleviate the influence of missed detections on the tracking performance. Finally, the method utilizes post-processing on the tracking results to generate behavioral statistics and activity trajectories for each pig. The experimental results under conditions of uneven lighting and irregular pig movements show that RpTrack significantly outperforms four other state-of-the-art MOT methods, including SORT, OC-SORT, ByteTrack, and Bot-SORT, on both public and private datasets. The experimental results demonstrate that RpTrack not only has the best tracking performance but also has high-speed processing capabilities. In conclusion, RpTrack effectively addresses the challenges of uneven scene lighting and irregular pig movements, enabling accurate pig tracking and monitoring of different behaviors, such as eating, standing, and lying. This research supports the advancement and application of intelligent pig farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture)
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14 pages, 874 KiB  
Article
Co-Occurrence of Equine Asthma and Pharyngeal Lymphoid Hyperplasia in Pleasure Horses
by Natalia Kozłowska, Małgorzata Wierzbicka, Tomasz Jasiński and Małgorzata Domino
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071157 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
With the increasing awareness of the “united airway disease” theory, more horses, not only sport horses but also pleasure horses, undergo detailed examinations of the respiratory tract. Using endoscopy, equine asthma (EA) is most commonly diagnosed in the lower airway, while pharyngeal lymphoid [...] Read more.
With the increasing awareness of the “united airway disease” theory, more horses, not only sport horses but also pleasure horses, undergo detailed examinations of the respiratory tract. Using endoscopy, equine asthma (EA) is most commonly diagnosed in the lower airway, while pharyngeal lymphoid hyperplasia (PLH) is common in the upper airway. Grading EA as mild–moderate (MEA) and severe (SEA), this study aims to compare the co-occurrence and investigate the possible relationship between the clinical symptoms and endoscopic signs of MEA/SEA and PLH in pleasure horses. In this retrospective study, 80 out of 93 pleasure horses suspected of EA were enrolled and underwent a standardized protocol for a complete airway examination, including resting endoscopy with mucus accumulation assessment and cytology. The obtained results were scored and analyzed. In the studied pleasure horses, PLH co-occurred more frequently in horses with EA than without (p < 0.0001) and more in horses with SEA than with MEA (p = 0.025). However, when EA and PLH co-occurred, the severity of the clinical symptoms of EA did not increase (p > 0.05). In both EA and PLH, the amount of tracheal and nasopharyngeal mucus increased with the severity of the disease; however, it was positively correlated (ρ = 0.33; p = 0.02) only in SEA horses. In conclusion, it is likely that EA is often accompanied by PLH; however, PLH did not play a role in increasing the severity of EA’s clinical symptoms. The role of the severity of accumulated mucus in the lower and upper airways when EA/PLH co-occur requires further research to confirm the morphological and functional unity of the respiratory tract, aligning with the concept of “united airways disease”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
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19 pages, 4328 KiB  
Article
Effect of Photoperiod on Dry Matter Accumulation and Partitioning in Potato
by Liwei Wen, Meilian Meng, Kunyu Liu, Qionglin Zhang, Tingting Zhang, Youjun Chen and Hongwei Liang
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071156 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
To explore the effect of the photoperiod on the accumulation and distribution of dry matter in potato, a pot experiment was carried out in 2021 and 2022 with two varieties (Atlantic and Hezuo 88). The varieties were used as the main plot, and [...] Read more.
To explore the effect of the photoperiod on the accumulation and distribution of dry matter in potato, a pot experiment was carried out in 2021 and 2022 with two varieties (Atlantic and Hezuo 88). The varieties were used as the main plot, and light treatments (short-day and long-day) were used as the subplot. The results showed that extended hours of light delayed tuber formation in Hezuo 88, however, the effect was not obvious for the Atlantic. Comprehensive analyses were carried out using the potato developmental process, dynamic equation fitting of the tuber and whole-plant dry matter accumulation, and the dry matter accumulation and distribution rate of each organ of the two varieties under two photoperiods. The two photoperiods had different effects on the parameters of rapid tuber and whole-plant dry matter accumulation: the starting point of the period of the rapid dry matter accumulation (t1), the duration period of the rapid dry matter accumulation (Δt), and the average growth rate of the period of the rapid dry matter accumulation (Vmean). According to comprehensive analysis, tuber dry matter accumulation in Atlantic was the highest under the short-day condition, while Hezuo 88 showed the lowest tuber dry matter accumulation under the long-day condition and was the latest to enter the rapid tuber dry matter accumulation period. The whole-plant dry matter accumulation in Atlantic was the highest under the long-day condition and lowest in Hezuo 88; meanwhile, Hezuo 88 was the latest to enter the rapid whole-plant dry matter accumulation period. In terms of the dry matter accumulation and dry matter partitioning ratio of various organs, Hezuo 88 had the lowest mean tuber dry matter accumulation and partitioning ratio under the long-day condition but the highest mean stem, leaf, root, underground stem, and stolon dry matter partitioning ratio. On the contrary, Atlantic had the highest mean tuber dry matter accumulation and portioning ratio under the short-day condition but the lowest mean stem, leaf, root, underground stem, and stolon dry matter partitioning ratio. It was concluded that different varieties of potato respond differently to the photoperiod. In the case of Hezuo 88, prolonging the photoperiod affected the dynamics and distribution of dry matter accumulation; increased the stem, leaf, root, and underground stem dry matter partitioning ratio; and decreased the tuber dry matter partitioning ratio, which resulted in a decrease in tuber dry matter accumulation and consequently delayed the emergence of the equilibrium period between the aboveground and underground dry matter. Full article
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17 pages, 14181 KiB  
Article
Cucumber Downy Mildew Disease Prediction Using a CNN-LSTM Approach
by Yafei Wang, Tiezhu Li, Tianhua Chen, Xiaodong Zhang, Mohamed Farag Taha, Ning Yang, Hanping Mao and Qiang Shi
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071155 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
It is of great significance to develop early prediction technology for controlling downy mildew and promoting cucumber production. In this study, a cucumber downy mildew prediction method was proposed by fusing quantitative disease information and environmental data. Firstly, the number of cucumber downy [...] Read more.
It is of great significance to develop early prediction technology for controlling downy mildew and promoting cucumber production. In this study, a cucumber downy mildew prediction method was proposed by fusing quantitative disease information and environmental data. Firstly, the number of cucumber downy mildew spores during the experiment was collected by a portable spore catcher, and the proportion of cucumber downy mildew leaf area to all cucumber leaf area was recorded, which was used as the incidence degree of cucumber plants. The environmental data in the greenhouse were monitored and recorded by the weather station in the greenhouse. Environmental data outside the greenhouse were monitored and recorded by a weather station in front of the greenhouse. Then, the influencing factors of cucumber downy mildew were analyzed based on the Pearson correlation coefficient method. The influencing factors of the cucumber downy mildew early warning model in greenhouse were identified. Finally, the CNN-LSTM (Convolutional Neural Network-Long Short-Term Memory) algorithm was used to establish the cucumber downy mildew incidence prediction model. The results showed that the Mean Absolute Error (MAE), Mean Square Error (MSE), Root Mean Square Error (RMSE), and determination coefficient (R2) of the CNN-LSTM network model were 0.069, 0.0098, 0.0991, and 0.9127, respectively. The maximum error between the predicted value and the true value for all test sets was 16.9398%. The minimum error between the predicted value and the true value for all test sets was 0.3413%. The average error between the predicted and true values for all test sets was 6.6478%. The Bland–Altman method was used to analyze the predicted and true values of the test set, and 95.65% of the test set data numbers were within the 95% consistency interval. This work can serve as a foundation for the creation of early prediction models of greenhouse crop airborne diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Agriculture)
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15 pages, 2006 KiB  
Article
Tracking Free-Ranging Pantaneiro Sheep during Extreme Drought in the Pantanal through Precision Technologies
by Gianni Aguiar da Silva, Sandra Aparecida Santos, Paulo Roberto de Lima Meirelles, Rafael Silvio Bonilha Pinheiro, Marcos Paulo Silva Gôlo, Jorge Luiz Franco, Igor Alexandre Hany Fuzeta Schabib Péres, Laysa Fontes Moura and Ciniro Costa
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071154 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
The Pantanal has been facing consecutive years of extreme drought, with an impact on the quantity and quality of available pasture. However, little is known about how locally adapted breeds respond to the distribution of forage resources in this extreme drought scenario. This [...] Read more.
The Pantanal has been facing consecutive years of extreme drought, with an impact on the quantity and quality of available pasture. However, little is known about how locally adapted breeds respond to the distribution of forage resources in this extreme drought scenario. This study aimed to evaluate the movement of free-grazing Pantaneiro sheep using a low-cost GPS to assess the main grazing sites, measure the daily distance traveled, and determine the energy requirements for walking with body weight monitoring. In a herd of 100 animals, 31 were selected for weighing, and six ewes were outfitted with GPS collars. GPS data collected on these animals every 10 m from August 2020 to May 2021 was analyzed using the Python programming language. The traveled distance and activity energy requirements (ACT) for horizontal walking (Mcal/d of NEm) were determined. The 31 ewes were weighed at the beginning and end of each season. The available dry matter (DM) and floristic composition of the grazing sites were estimated at the peak of the drought. DM was predicted using power regression with NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) (R2 = 0.94). DM estimates averaged 450 kg/ha, ranging from traces to 3830 kg/ha, indicating overall very low values. Individual variation in the frequency of use of grazing sites was observed (p < 0.05), reflecting the distances traveled and the energetic cost of the activity. The range of distances traveled by the animals varied from 3.3 to 17.7 km/d, with an average of 5.9 km/d, indicating low energy for walking. However, the traveled distance and ACT remained consistent over time; there were no significant differences observed between seasons (p > 0.05). On average, the ewes’ initial weight did not differ from the weight at the drought peak (p > 0.05), indicating that they maintained their initial weight, which is important for locally adapted breeds as it confers robustness and resilience. This study also highlighted the importance of the breed’s biodiverse diet during extreme drought, which enabled the selection of forage for energy and nutrient supplementation. The results demonstrated that precision tools such as GPS and satellite imagery enabled the study of animals in extensive systems, thereby contributing to decision-making within the production system. Full article
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16 pages, 3650 KiB  
Article
Evolutionary Trends and Hotspot Analysis of Livelihood Strategy for Agricultural Residents Based on Bibliometrics
by Jiancheng Zhai, Xiao Sun, Xueqin Hu, Jun Tian and Zhiqiang Huang
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071153 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Livelihood strategies are an effective response to survival risks and stress shocks. Agricultural residents engaged in agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishery, who are extremely dependent on natural resources, are vulnerable to various livelihood risks. Therefore, the livelihood strategies of agricultural residents are [...] Read more.
Livelihood strategies are an effective response to survival risks and stress shocks. Agricultural residents engaged in agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, and fishery, who are extremely dependent on natural resources, are vulnerable to various livelihood risks. Therefore, the livelihood strategies of agricultural residents are increasingly receiving attention from researchers around the world. However, research on the livelihood strategies of agricultural residents has not yet been systematically analyzed through bibliometrics. Our study was based on 1424 publications in the Web of Science Core Collection database (WoSCC) from 2014 to 2023 to analyze the development history, research hotspots, and trends in the field. Bibliometric analysis was conducted on publications, countries, institutions, authors, journals, and keywords, as well as cited journals and cited references using Excel and CiteSpace software. The number of publications has steadily increased and showed an upward trend. The United States and China were the countries with the most contributions, and Chinese institutions were more active. Cooperation between authors was relatively weak. Sustainability was one of the most productive and highly cited journals. The research hotspots mainly included the relationship between climate change and the livelihood strategies of agricultural residents, the relationship between the land and the livelihood strategies of agricultural residents, the sustainable development of livelihood strategies of agricultural residents, and the characteristics of livelihood strategies of agricultural residents. This is the first time that bibliometric and visual analyses have been conducted on the livelihood strategies of agricultural residents, which may further promote development of the field and lay a foundation for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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11 pages, 1659 KiB  
Article
Altering Microbial Communities in Substrate to Stimulate the Growth of Healthy Button Mushrooms
by Svetlana Milijašević-Marčić, Ljiljana Šantrić, Jelena Luković, Ivana Potočnik, Nikola Grujić, Tanja Drobnjaković and Dejan Marčić
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071152 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Green mould, caused by Trichoderma aggressivum, is one of the major fungal diseases of button mushrooms. The main problems in chemical disease control include a lack of effective agents, the occurrence of pathogen resistance to pesticides, and the harmful impact on the [...] Read more.
Green mould, caused by Trichoderma aggressivum, is one of the major fungal diseases of button mushrooms. The main problems in chemical disease control include a lack of effective agents, the occurrence of pathogen resistance to pesticides, and the harmful impact on the environment. In an attempt to find a solution, the interaction between two beneficial microorganisms, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens B-241 (an antifungal agent) and Streptomyces flavovirens A06 (a yield stimulant), was investigated in vivo. The synergy factor (SF) was calculated as a ratio between the observed and expected impact on the yield or efficacy of disease suppression after artificial inoculation with T. aggressivum. The highest control of T. aggressivum was achieved by joint application of the two beneficial microorganisms. The additive interaction between microorganisms in efficacy against the pathogen was revealed. The largest yield was obtained in mushroom beds sprayed with the two beneficial microorganisms combined (B-241 80% and A06 20%). Regarding the impact on the yield, synergistic interaction between the two microorganisms was confirmed (SFs were 1.62 or 1.52). The introduction of optimized microbial combinations could create new possibilities for biorational edible mushroom protection, with improved yield and quality and reduced risks to human health and the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds)
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23 pages, 631 KiB  
Article
Research on the Impact of Digital Green Finance on Agricultural Green Total Factor Productivity: Evidence from China
by Lingui Qin, Yan Zhang, Yige Wang, Xinning Pan and Zhe Xu
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071151 (registering DOI) - 16 Jul 2024
Abstract
Green development has become one of the important concepts leading China’s economic developments, and it is extremely meaningful to boost the continuous growth of agricultural green total factor productivity (AGTFP) to achieve the construction of a powerful agricultural country. Using China’s provincial data [...] Read more.
Green development has become one of the important concepts leading China’s economic developments, and it is extremely meaningful to boost the continuous growth of agricultural green total factor productivity (AGTFP) to achieve the construction of a powerful agricultural country. Using China’s provincial data from 2011 to 2020, this manuscript calculates AGTFP through the SBM–GML model, and the digital green finance (DGF) through a comprehensive indicator system. The double fixed-effect model, quantile model and spatial Durbin model are used for in-depth study of the benchmark influence, the nonlinear effect and spatial spillover effect of DGF on AGTFP. The main research conclusions of the article are as follows: (1) DGF is significantly conducive to the improvement of AGTFP. Along with the continuous growth of AGTFP, the promoting effect of DGF has gradually increased. (2) In terms of impact path, green finance can properly promote the growth of AGTFP, while the role of the degree of digitization is not very significant. Meanwhile, the main channel for DGF to promote AGTFP is through green technology efficiency. (3) The impact of DGF on AGTFP varies spatially, while the role is more effective in regions with a higher degree of economic development and well-developed modernization. (4) There is a spatial spillover effect of DGF’s impact on AGTFP, which means that DGF can simultaneously promote the growth of AGTFP in local regions and neighboring regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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19 pages, 3745 KiB  
Article
Insecticidal Properties and Chemical Characterization of Laurus nobilis L. Essential Oils from Two Regions of Morocco against Callosobruchus maculatus (Coleoptera: Bruchinae)
by Rachid El Baghazaoui, Saadia Belmalha, Abdellatif Boutagayout, Laila Nassiri, Salma El Alami, Jean-Michel Savoie and El Houssine Bouiamrine
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071150 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 102
Abstract
Morocco is a significant botanical reservoir that boasts a wealth of raw materials with promising applications across various industrial sectors, notably in pharmaceuticals and food. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of essential oils (EOs) derived from Laurus nobilis [...] Read more.
Morocco is a significant botanical reservoir that boasts a wealth of raw materials with promising applications across various industrial sectors, notably in pharmaceuticals and food. The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of essential oils (EOs) derived from Laurus nobilis L. leaves originating from the Tanger (EOT) and Meknes (EOM) regions in combating Callosobruchus maculatus infection. The chemical compositions of these oils were examined using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The biological activity of the EOs was evaluated via repulsion and fumigation tests against C. maculatus at varying concentrations. FTIR analysis revealed distinct vibrational bands indicative of various chemical compounds. GC-MS analysis was used to delineate the major chemical constituents of the EOs. The three predominant compounds in the EOT were 1,8-cineole (37.64%), linalool (16.40%), and adamantane (12.00%), whereas 1,8-cineole (47.84%), toluene (17.60%), and α-phellandrene (8.44%) were the most abundant in the EOM. Notably, the EOs exhibited significant repellent activity against C. maculatus, with repulsion percentages ranging from 51.11 to 90.00% in Tanger and 67.78 to 93.33% in Meknes. Mortality rates varied from 0 to 100% depending on the treatment. However, the mean concentrations showed mortality rates ranging from 29.44 to 65.56% for the EOT and from 21.11 to 67.78% for the EOM, with LD50 values of 11.96 μL/L and 5.22 μL/L. Docking studies revealed that 1,8-cineole had the highest binding affinity for the active site of acetylcholinesterase, thus confirming its toxic activity against C. maculatus. The findings of this study highlight the ability of EOs extracted from L. nobilis in the Moroccan regions of Tanger and Meknes to act as effective insecticides and repellents against C. maculatus, thereby highlighting avenues for further exploration of pest management and agricultural practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Agricultural Preharvest Products Management)
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23 pages, 744 KiB  
Review
Intercropping Systems: An Opportunity for Environment Conservation within Nut Production
by Bruna Moreira, Alexandre Gonçalves, Luís Pinto, Miguel A. Prieto, Márcio Carocho, Cristina Caleja and Lillian Barros
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071149 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 121
Abstract
Global population growth and intensive agriculture have both contributed negatively to the environment. As a result, there is increasing interest in the use of sustainable alternatives is increasing to promote better use of natural resources and create an equilibrium between agriculture and the [...] Read more.
Global population growth and intensive agriculture have both contributed negatively to the environment. As a result, there is increasing interest in the use of sustainable alternatives is increasing to promote better use of natural resources and create an equilibrium between agriculture and the environment. Intercropping, the simultaneous cultivation of multiple crops, aims to optimize land use economically while enhancing biodiversity through plant–microorganism interactions, thereby boosting crop productivity. This practice has particularly benefited nut production by combining the nutrient-sequestering capacity of trees with continuous annual crop production, improving soil nutrient and water utilization. Intercropping systems not only enhance nut yield and quality but also offer economic advantages to farmers. This review synthesized the existing literature with the aim of highlighting not only the positive aspects that intercropping brings to the production of nuts, but also the challenges and limitations faced in different regions when it comes to agricultural production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stresses, Biostimulant and Plant Activity—Series II)
26 pages, 3490 KiB  
Review
Ammonia Emissions and Building-Related Mitigation Strategies in Dairy Barns: A Review
by Serena Vitaliano, Provvidenza Rita D’Urso, Claudia Arcidiacono and Giovanni Cascone
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071148 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 161
Abstract
In this systematic review, the PRISMA method was applied to examine publications from the last two decades that have investigated the noxious gaseous emissions from dairy barns. The aim was to analyse the outcomes from literature studies estimating the quantities of polluting gases [...] Read more.
In this systematic review, the PRISMA method was applied to examine publications from the last two decades that have investigated the noxious gaseous emissions from dairy barns. The aim was to analyse the outcomes from literature studies estimating the quantities of polluting gases produced in dairy barns, with a specific focus on ammonia (NH3) emissions. Various studies, among those reviewed, have used mixed effects models, mass balance approaches and dispersion methods, revealing significant variability due to different experimental protocols and environmental contexts. Key challenges include the lack of standardised measurement techniques and the limited geographical coverage of research, particularly in climatically extreme regions. This review also explores proposed methods to reduce the associated effects through mitigation strategies. Estimation of NH3 emissions is significantly influenced by the complex interactions between several factors; including animal management practices, such as controlling animal behavioural activities; manure management, like utilising practices for floor manure removal; the type of structure housing the animals, whether it is naturally or mechanically ventilated; and environmental conditions, such as the effects of temperature, wind speed, relative humidity, and ventilation rate on NH3 release in the barn. These influential components have been considered by researchers and targeted mitigation strategies have been identified. Despite growing attention to the issue, gaps in the scientific literature were identified and discussed, particularly regarding the analysis of mitigation strategies and their long-term impacts (i.e., environmental, economic and productivity-wise). The purpose of this review is to help improve research into sustainable agricultural practices and technological innovations, which are fundamental to reducing NH3 emissions and improving air quality in agricultural environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Livestock Production)
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23 pages, 24773 KiB  
Article
Design and Experiment of Ordinary Tea Profiling Harvesting Device Based on Light Detection and Ranging Perception
by Xiaolong Huan, Min Wu, Xianbing Bian, Jiangming Jia, Chenchen Kang, Chuanyu Wu, Runmao Zhao and Jianneng Chen
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071147 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 138
Abstract
Due to the complex shape of the tea tree canopy and the large undulation of a tea garden terrain, the quality of fresh tea leaves harvested by existing tea harvesting machines is poor. This study proposed a tea canopy surface profiling method based [...] Read more.
Due to the complex shape of the tea tree canopy and the large undulation of a tea garden terrain, the quality of fresh tea leaves harvested by existing tea harvesting machines is poor. This study proposed a tea canopy surface profiling method based on 2D LiDAR perception and investigated the extraction and fitting methods of canopy point clouds. Meanwhile, a tea profiling harvester prototype was developed and field tests were conducted. The tea profiling harvesting device adopted a scheme of sectional arrangement of multiple groups of profiling tea harvesting units, and each unit sensed the height information of its own bottom canopy area through 2D LiDAR. A cross-platform communication network was established, enabling point cloud fitting of tea plant surfaces and accurate estimation of cutter profiling height through the RANSAC algorithm. Additionally, a sensing control system with multiple execution units was developed using rapid control prototype technology. The results of field tests showed that the bud leaf integrity rate was 84.64%, the impurity rate was 5.94%, the missing collection rate was 0.30%, and the missing harvesting rate was 0.68%. Furthermore, 89.57% of the harvested tea could be processed into commercial tea, with 88.34% consisting of young tea shoots with one bud and three leaves or fewer. All of these results demonstrated that the proposed device effectively meets the technical standards for machine-harvested tea and the requirements of standard tea processing techniques. Moreover, compared to other commercial tea harvesters, the proposed tea profiling harvesting device demonstrated improved performance in harvesting fresh tea leaves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor-Based Precision Agriculture)
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27 pages, 7293 KiB  
Article
Implementation and Evaluation of Attention Aggregation Technique for Pear Disease Detection
by Tong Hai, Ningyi Zhang, Xiaoyi Lu, Jiping Xu, Xinliang Wang, Jiewei Hu, Mengxue Ji, Zijia Zhao, Jingshun Wang and Min Dong
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071146 (registering DOI) - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 124
Abstract
In this study, a novel approach integrating multimodal data processing and attention aggregation techniques is proposed for pear tree disease detection. The focus of the research is to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of disease detection by fusing data from diverse sources, including [...] Read more.
In this study, a novel approach integrating multimodal data processing and attention aggregation techniques is proposed for pear tree disease detection. The focus of the research is to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of disease detection by fusing data from diverse sources, including images and environmental sensors. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms in key performance metrics such as precision, recall, accuracy, and F1-Score. Specifically, the model was tested on the Kaggle dataset and compared with existing advanced models such as RetinaNet, EfficientDet, Detection Transformer (DETR), and the You Only Look Once (YOLO) series. The experimental outcomes indicate that the proposed model achieves a precision of 0.93, a recall of 0.90, an accuracy of 0.92, and an F1-Score of 0.91, surpassing those of the comparative models. Additionally, detailed ablation experiments were conducted on the multimodal weighting module and the dynamic regression loss function to verify their specific contributions to the model performance. These experiments not only validated the effectiveness of the proposed method but also demonstrate its potential application in pear tree disease detection. Through this research, an effective technological solution is provided for the agricultural disease detection domain, offering substantial practical value and broad application prospects. Full article
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19 pages, 4121 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Factor Price Change on China’s Cotton Production Pattern Evolution: Mediation and Spillover Effects
by Xuewei Zhang, Xiqing Zhou, Haimeng Liu, Jinghao Zhang, Jingde Zhang and Suhao Wei
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071145 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 156
Abstract
Cotton is an important agricultural crop and strategic resource. China is currently the country with the largest global cotton production and consumption, but few studies have systematically analyzed the dynamic relationship between factor price change (FPC) and cotton production pattern evolution (CPPE). Based [...] Read more.
Cotton is an important agricultural crop and strategic resource. China is currently the country with the largest global cotton production and consumption, but few studies have systematically analyzed the dynamic relationship between factor price change (FPC) and cotton production pattern evolution (CPPE). Based on provincial panel data from the main cotton planting areas from 1985 to 2021, this paper used spatial econometric models to empirically analyze the impact of FPC including labor price, production material cost, and mechanical cost on CPPE from the perspective of mechanical substitution difficulty. The findings are that (1) FPC significantly affected CPPE, specifically the rise of labor price induced the demand for mechanical substitution, resulting in a significant cotton agglomeration effect; (2) spatial econometric analysis found that FPC had a significant spatial spillover effect on CPPE in adjacent regions; and (3) the transfer analysis found that higher mechanical substitution difficulty exerted an inhibitory effect on cotton planting, leading to a gradual shift of the main cotton planting areas from the Yangtze River Basin and Yellow River Basin with high labor prices to the Northwest Inland region with lower labor prices. Updating the production technology and improving the efficiency of cotton specialization are effective strategies. The results are valuable for policy making related to the development of China’s cotton industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Economics, Policies and Rural Management)
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17 pages, 3918 KiB  
Review
The Role of Human Resource Management in Agricultural Labor-Saving Technologies: An Integrative Review and Science Mapping
by Dejsi Qorri, Enikő Pergéné Szabó, János Felföldi and Krisztián Kovács
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071144 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 193
Abstract
The integrative role of human resource management continues to rise as a topic in sustainable and smart agriculture. This dual focus emphasizes new solutions for agricultural businesses and rural areas, incorporating academic concepts with practical implementations to address the pressing challenges coming from [...] Read more.
The integrative role of human resource management continues to rise as a topic in sustainable and smart agriculture. This dual focus emphasizes new solutions for agricultural businesses and rural areas, incorporating academic concepts with practical implementations to address the pressing challenges coming from the implementation of labor-saving technologies. The study employs the integrative review method, along with science mapping of literature. After a careful selection of studies from the Scopus database, we included 149 papers for our analysis. Our findings suggest that the overall scholarly work has been concentrated on the topics of entrepreneurship and organizational structure. We conclude that the literature is mostly directed toward sustainability development goals such as gender, diversity, and youth. The current trends topics are “collective action” and “artificial intelligence”. Furthermore, our study offered insights into developing and emerging themes, trends, and future directions. The HRM functions that play a pivotal role in the adoption of labor-saving technology adoption are knowledge management, change management, labor allocation, sustainability allocation, and regulatory compliance. Moreover, we provided the practical implementation of the HRM roles and future directions. This study benefits agricultural researchers, agricultural managers, and policymakers because it gives a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective. Full article
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25 pages, 1406 KiB  
Review
An Overview on Bioeconomy in Agricultural Sector, Biomass Production, Recycling Methods, and Circular Economy Considerations
by Ioana-Maria Toplicean and Adina-Daniela Datcu
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1143; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071143 - 15 Jul 2024
Viewed by 150
Abstract
This review examines the essential components of a circular economy (CE) in relation to the agricultural sector. The bioeconomy and circular economy are crucial for sustainable global industrial growth, focusing on closed-loop systems. The sustainability debate centers on intergenerational equity and natural capital. [...] Read more.
This review examines the essential components of a circular economy (CE) in relation to the agricultural sector. The bioeconomy and circular economy are crucial for sustainable global industrial growth, focusing on closed-loop systems. The sustainability debate centers on intergenerational equity and natural capital. The CE requires new environmental technologies and global coordination in order to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. In addition, efficient food production and waste reduction are essential due to population growth. However, biomass is vital for a bio-based economy, impacting food waste and climate change. Grasslands support sustainable dairy production and carbon sequestration. Thus, effective waste and wastewater management are critical, with biomass energy providing renewable alternatives. Nonetheless, biofuels remain key for sustainability, focusing on pollution control and Green Chemistry. It is well known that sustainable transportation relies on bioenergy, with ongoing research improving processes and discovering new fuels. One notable challenge is managing heavy metals in biofuel production, and this underscores the need for eco-friendly energy solutions. The main purpose for this review paper is to create a connection between circular economy aspects and the agricultural system, with focus on the following: bioeconomy research, biomass utilities, and biofuel production. Extensive research was performed on the specialized literature by putting in common the main problems. Key subjects in this paper include the use of biomass in agriculture, the problems of plastic recycling, and the function of the CE in mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss. Efficient food production and waste minimization are highlighted due to their relevance in a growing population. The study’s detailed research and discussion aim to give important insights into how these practices might promote economic development and sustainability. Furthermore, the study covers important waste management issues such as food waste, plant composting, and chemical waste neutralization. These topics are critical to understanding the circular economy’s broader implications for minimizing environmental damage and implementing sustainable waste management strategies. Full article
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32 pages, 3642 KiB  
Review
The Potential of Grape Polyphenols Additive in Pig Nutrition: Chemical Structure, Bioavailability and Their Effect on Intestinal Health of Pigs
by Andrei Claudiu Proca, Loredana Horodincu, Carmen Solcan and Gheorghe Solcan
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071142 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 458
Abstract
The recognition of the necessity for employing natural additives in animal feed has grown alongside the ban on antibiotics in the animal feed sector. Grapes, as well as by-products of the wine-making industry (grape marc and seed extracts), possess biologically active chemical constituents [...] Read more.
The recognition of the necessity for employing natural additives in animal feed has grown alongside the ban on antibiotics in the animal feed sector. Grapes, as well as by-products of the wine-making industry (grape marc and seed extracts), possess biologically active chemical constituents that can be used to improve animal production by incorporating them into animal feed. Grapes are a valuable resource of polyphenols, especially flavonoids, stilbenes and phenolic acids, most of them showing therapeutic or health-promoting properties. The purpose of this review is to elucidate the impact of polyphenols on animal gut health. The first section of the review discusses the chemical structure of the major polyphenols in grapes and the polyphenols’ bioavailability and metabolism in pigs. The second and major part of the review reviews the results of investigations into the antioxidant, antimicrobial and prebiotic effects of grape polyphenols in pig diets, as well as their regulation of intestinal barrier functions through signalling pathways and intestinal responses. All of this is supported by previous research, findings and conclusions. There are fewer recorded pig studies, but the inclusion of up to 9% grape by-products resulted in improved performance with an increased mean daily gain. Ultimately, this analysis concluded that supplementation of pigs with grape phenolic compounds as natural feed additives enhanced their antioxidant capacity, improved humoral and cellular immune responses, and promoted gut ecosystem biodiversity and the overall production performance in pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farming Factors’ Influence on Animal Productions)
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40 pages, 8545 KiB  
Review
A Review of Precision Irrigation Water-Saving Technology under Changing Climate for Enhancing Water Use Efficiency, Crop Yield, and Environmental Footprints
by Imran Ali Lakhiar, Haofang Yan, Chuan Zhang, Guoqing Wang, Bin He, Beibei Hao, Yujing Han, Biyu Wang, Rongxuan Bao, Tabinda Naz Syed, Junaid Nawaz Chauhdary and Md. Rakibuzzaman
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071141 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 334
Abstract
Water is considered one of the vital natural resources and factors for performing short- and long-term agricultural practices on Earth. Meanwhile, globally, most of the available freshwater resources are utilized for irrigation purposes in agriculture. Currently, many world regions are facing extreme water [...] Read more.
Water is considered one of the vital natural resources and factors for performing short- and long-term agricultural practices on Earth. Meanwhile, globally, most of the available freshwater resources are utilized for irrigation purposes in agriculture. Currently, many world regions are facing extreme water shortage problems, which can worsen if not managed properly. In the literature, numerous methods and remedies are used to cope with the increasing global water crises. The use of precision irrigation water-saving systems (PISs) for efficient water management under climate change is one of them and is a highly recommended approach by researchers. It can mitigate the adverse effects of changing climate and help enhance water use efficiency, crop yield, and environmental footprints. Thus, the present study aimed to comprehensively examine and review PISs, focusing on their development, implementation, and positive impacts on sustainable water management. In addition, we searched the literature using different online search engines and reviewed and summarized the main results of the previously published papers on PISs. We discussed the traditional irrigation method and its modernization for enhancing water use efficiency, PIS monitoring and controlling, architecture, data sharing communication technologies, the role of artificial intelligence for irrigation water-saving, and the future prospects of the PIS. Based on the brief literature review, the present study concluded that the future of PISs seems bright, driven by the need for efficient irrigation water management systems, technological advancements, and increasing environmental awareness. As the water scarcity problem intensifies due to climate change and population growth, the PIS is poised to play a critical role in optimizing and modernizing water usage, increasing water use efficiency, and reducing environmental footprints, thus ensuring sustainable agriculture development. Full article
23 pages, 19810 KiB  
Article
Semi-Supervised One-Stage Object Detection for Maize Leaf Disease
by Jiaqi Liu, Yanxin Hu, Qianfu Su, Jianwei Guo, Zhiyu Chen and Gang Liu
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1140; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071140 - 14 Jul 2024
Viewed by 154
Abstract
Maize is one of the most important crops globally, and accurate diagnosis of leaf diseases is crucial for ensuring increased yields. Despite the continuous progress in computer vision technology, detecting maize leaf diseases based on deep learning still relies on a large amount [...] Read more.
Maize is one of the most important crops globally, and accurate diagnosis of leaf diseases is crucial for ensuring increased yields. Despite the continuous progress in computer vision technology, detecting maize leaf diseases based on deep learning still relies on a large amount of manually labeled data, and the labeling process is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Moreover, the detectors currently used for identifying maize leaf diseases have relatively low accuracy in complex experimental fields. Therefore, the proposed Agronomic Teacher, an object detection algorithm that utilizes limited labeled and abundant unlabeled data, is applied to maize leaf disease recognition. In this work, a semi-supervised object detection framework is built based on a single-stage detector, integrating the Weighted Average Pseudo-labeling Assignment (WAP) strategy and AgroYOLO detector combining Agro-Backbone network with Agro-Neck network. The WAP strategy uses weight adjustments to set objectness and classification scores as evaluation criteria for pseudo-labels reliability assignment. Agro-Backbone network accurately extracts features of maize leaf diseases and obtains richer semantic information. Agro-Neck network enhances feature fusion by utilizing multi-layer features for collaborative combinations. The effectiveness of the proposed method is validated on the MaizeData and PascalVOC datasets at different annotation ratios. Compared to the baseline model, Agronomic Teacher leverages abundant unlabeled data to achieve a 6.5% increase in mAP (0.5) on the 30% labeled MaizeData. On the 30% labeled PascalVOC dataset, the mAP (0.5) improved by 8.2%, demonstrating the method’s potential for generalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Image Processing in Agricultural Applications)
16 pages, 2443 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Vibration Characteristics of Tractor–Rotary Cultivator Combination Based on Time Domain and Frequency Domain
by Yuanyuan Gao, Yifei Yang, Shuai Fu, Kangyao Feng, Xing Han, Yongyue Hu, Qingzhen Zhu and Xinhua Wei
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071139 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 412
Abstract
A good planting bed is a prerequisite for improving planting quality, while complex ground excitation often leads to machine bouncing and operation vibration, which then affects the operation effect. In order to improve the quality of rotary tillage operations, it is necessary to [...] Read more.
A good planting bed is a prerequisite for improving planting quality, while complex ground excitation often leads to machine bouncing and operation vibration, which then affects the operation effect. In order to improve the quality of rotary tillage operations, it is necessary to study the effects of various vibration excitations on the unit during tractor rotary tillage operations and analyze the vibration interaction relationship among the tractor, the three-point suspension mechanism, and the rotary tiller. For this purpose, multiple three-way acceleration sensors were installed at different positions on the rotary tiller unit of a Lexing LS1004 tractor(Lexing Agricultural Equipment Co. Ltd., Qingdao, China) to collect vibration data at different operating speeds and conduct vibration characteristic analysis between different components. The test results showed that when the unit moved forward at 2.1 km/h, 3.6 km/h, and 4.5 km/h, respectively, the vibration acceleration of the tractor, the three-point suspension mechanism, and the rotary tiller increased with the increase in speed, and there was indeed interaction between them. The vertical acceleration change during the test in the three-point suspension mechanism was the most significant (5.914 m/s2) and was related to the increase in the speed of the vehicle and the vibration transfer of the rotary tiller. Meanwhile, the vertical vibration acceleration of the tractor’s symmetrical structure was not similar, suggesting the existence of structural assembly problems. From the perspective of frequency domain analysis, the resonant frequency at the cab of the tractor was reduced in a vertical vibration environment, with relatively low frequencies (0~80 Hz) and small magnitudes, which might be beneficial to the driver’s health. The rotary tillage group resonated around 350 Hz, and this characteristic can be used to appropriately increase the vibration of the rotary tiller to reduce resistance. The tractor cab resonated around 280 Hz, which must be avoided during field operations to ensure driver health and reduce machine wear. The research results can provide a reference for reducing vibration and resistance during tractor rotary tillage operations, as well as optimizing and improving the structure of rotary tillers and tractors. Full article
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21 pages, 630 KiB  
Article
Market Participation and Farmers’ Adoption of Green Control Techniques: Evidence from China
by Wulai Jijue, Junlan Xiang, Xin Yi, Xiaowen Dai, Chenming Tang and Yuying Liu
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071138 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 336
Abstract
As a standard clean production technology, the wide use of green control techniques (GCT) helps improve the quality of agricultural products and protect the environment. However, the level of application of GCT by Chinese farmers is not high. The market, as the ultimate [...] Read more.
As a standard clean production technology, the wide use of green control techniques (GCT) helps improve the quality of agricultural products and protect the environment. However, the level of application of GCT by Chinese farmers is not high. The market, as the ultimate place to realize the value of grain and the returns of grain farmers, plays an essential part in promoting GCT. Based on survey data from grain farmers in Sichuan Province, China, this study used a conditional mixed process (CMP) model to examine the effect of farmers’ market participation on their GCT adoption behavior and a mediated effects model to test the impact mechanism. The study further explored the effect of farmers’ market participation capability on their GCT adoption behavior. The results showed that (1) farmers’ market participation could significantly increase the likelihood of adopting GCT. (2) Market participation could influence farmers’ adoption behavior through agricultural income, market information, and green cognition. (3) Further research found that farmers were more likely to adopt GCT if their market participation capability was strong. These findings highlight the fact that developing countries have increased their efforts to encourage farmers to participate in markets and to enhance their market participation capability, thereby facilitating the adoption of GCT by farmers. Full article
18 pages, 1125 KiB  
Review
Incidence of Photosensitization in Husbandry Animals: A Meta-Study on the Effects of Feed Diversity and Feed Choice
by Rieke Moritz and Sabine Aboling
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071137 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 227
Abstract
As this is a meta-study, we examined whether plant species diversity in the feed and the possibility of feed choice would influence the number of cases of photosensitization in farm animals. We evaluated 110 scientific references which described 172 cases of photosensitization worldwide, [...] Read more.
As this is a meta-study, we examined whether plant species diversity in the feed and the possibility of feed choice would influence the number of cases of photosensitization in farm animals. We evaluated 110 scientific references which described 172 cases of photosensitization worldwide, mainly in husbandry animals between 1926 and 2022. More than 50% of the cases occurred in South America and Australia. Among the animal species, sheep and cattle were statistically overrepresented. A total of 35 organisms were revealed to be phototoxic: 24 herbs, 2 grasses, 7 woody species, and 2 kinds of fungi. Animals developed mainly secondary photosensitization due to fresh feed (71.8%) of normal quality (88.1%), indicating that the phototoxic agents are from liver-toxic plants such as the grass Brachiaria and the herb Froelichia. Horses fell ill chiefly with primary photosensitization due to directly acting phototoxic agents of plant species such as the herbs Medicago and Pastinaca, both in fresh and conserved feed. Goats manage to avoid phototoxic plants under both high and low feed diversity if they still have free choice between plant species. High feed diversity reduced the incidence 2.4-fold, while enabled selection possibility even reduced it 7.5-fold. Since the lack of choice between forage plants was revealed to be the main cause of photosensitization, this knowledge could be used to prevent the disease in livestock. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Farm Animal Production)
10 pages, 1368 KiB  
Article
Biological Control Options for the Management of Tadpole Shrimp (Triops longicaudatus (LeConte)) in California Rice
by Joanna Bloese, Kevin Goding and Larry Godfrey
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071136 - 13 Jul 2024
Viewed by 248
Abstract
Tadpole shrimp (Triops longicaudatus) has become a major pest for California rice farmers. Currently, management relies solely on the insecticide lambda-cyhalothrin. However, resistance to this pyrethroid was confirmed in 2016; thus, identifying an effective and practical biological control method for TPS [...] Read more.
Tadpole shrimp (Triops longicaudatus) has become a major pest for California rice farmers. Currently, management relies solely on the insecticide lambda-cyhalothrin. However, resistance to this pyrethroid was confirmed in 2016; thus, identifying an effective and practical biological control method for TPS is a priority. Field trials were conducted from 2017 to 2018 to (1) evaluate the efficacy of the predatory fish Gambusia affinis and the predatory beetles, Laccophilus maculosus (Say) and Tropisternus lateralis (Fabricius), in controlling TPS, (2) test the efficacy of several inoculation rates of Gambusia affinis at controlling TPS and (3) to explore early indicators of TPS activity and damage as monitoring tools. Both Gambusia affinis and the predatory beetle treatments were not significantly different from the commercial standard (lambda-cyhalothrin). Both four and five Gambusia per 1 m2 controlled TPS as well as lambda-cyhalothrin, and we observed that Gambusia affinis was able to reproduce in the field. Water turbidity was significantly correlated with TPS counts (R = 0.85, N = 20, p < 0.0001 (2017); R = 0.58, N = 30, p = 0.0007 (2018)). The number of dislodged seedlings was less reliably correlated with TPS count; in 2017, correlations were significant (R = 0.84, N = 20, p < 0.0001); however, in 2018, correlations were not significant (R = 0.18, N = 30, p = 0.35). With further refinement, water turbidity could play a valuable role in monitoring TPS populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
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17 pages, 10982 KiB  
Article
Automatic Identification of Sea Rice Grains in Complex Field Environment Based on Deep Learning
by Ruoling Deng, Weilin Cheng, Haitao Liu, Donglin Hou, Xiecheng Zhong, Zijian Huang, Bingfeng Xie and Ningxia Yin
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1135; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071135 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 324
Abstract
The number of grains per sea rice panicle is an important parameter directly related to rice yield, and it is also a very important agronomic trait in research related to sea rice breeding. However, the grain number per sea rice panicle still mainly [...] Read more.
The number of grains per sea rice panicle is an important parameter directly related to rice yield, and it is also a very important agronomic trait in research related to sea rice breeding. However, the grain number per sea rice panicle still mainly relies on manual calculation, which has the disadvantages of being time-consuming, error-prone, and labor-intensive. In this study, a novel method was developed for the automatic calculation of the grain number per rice panicle based on a deep convolutional neural network. Firstly, some sea rice panicle images were collected in complex field environment and annotated to establish the sea rice panicle image data set. Then, a sea grain detection model was developed using the Faster R-CNN embedded with a feature pyramid network (FPN) for grain identification and location. Also, ROI Align was used to replace ROI pooling to solve the problem of relatively large deviations in the prediction frame when the model detected small grains. Finally, the mAP (mean Average Precision) and accuracy of the sea grain detection model were 90.1% and 94.9%, demonstrating that the proposed method had high accuracy in identifying and locating sea grains. The sea rice grain detection model can quickly and accurately predict the number of grains per panicle, providing an effective, convenient, and low-cost tool for yield evaluation, crop breeding, and genetic research. It also has great potential in assisting phenotypic research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Machine Learning and Data Analysis in Agriculture)
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18 pages, 5298 KiB  
Article
Study on the Drying Characteristics and Physicochemical Properties of Alfalfa under High-Voltage Discharge Plasma
by Wenhao Hu, Zhiqing Song, Qingjie Ma, Bufan Li, Mingjie Zhang, Changjiang Ding, Hao Chen and Shenghou Zhao
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1134; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071134 (registering DOI) - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 326
Abstract
High-voltage discharge plasma drying (HVDPD) is a non-thermal and efficient drying technique. In this study, we compared the drying characteristics and physicochemical properties of alfalfa dried via HVDPD, hot-air drying (HAD), and natural air-drying (AD) and analyzed the experimental results using infrared spectroscopy, [...] Read more.
High-voltage discharge plasma drying (HVDPD) is a non-thermal and efficient drying technique. In this study, we compared the drying characteristics and physicochemical properties of alfalfa dried via HVDPD, hot-air drying (HAD), and natural air-drying (AD) and analyzed the experimental results using infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, colorimetry, and other detection techniques. The results showed that HVDPD had a higher drying rate than AD and saved more energy than HAD. Alfalfa dried via HVDPD had the most intact internal structure, the highest rehydration ratio (RR), the best color quality, and the best nutrient retention, resulting in the highest relative quality and feeding value. Therefore, HVDPD is an excellent drying technique for alfalfa, providing a new and effective way to improve the storage, transportation, and drying quality of alfalfa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Technology)
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31 pages, 2571 KiB  
Review
Carbon Sequestration by Tropical Trees and Crops: A Case Study of Oil Palm
by Denis J. Murphy
Agriculture 2024, 14(7), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14071133 - 12 Jul 2024
Viewed by 330
Abstract
Carbon sequestration by photosynthetic organisms is the principal mechanism for the absorption of atmospheric CO2. Since the 1950s, however, the global carbon cycle has been distorted as increased anthropogenic CO2 emissions have greatly outstripped rates of carbon sequestration, with a [...] Read more.
Carbon sequestration by photosynthetic organisms is the principal mechanism for the absorption of atmospheric CO2. Since the 1950s, however, the global carbon cycle has been distorted as increased anthropogenic CO2 emissions have greatly outstripped rates of carbon sequestration, with a 50% increase in atmospheric CO2 levels in less than a century, leading to perturbation of global climate systems and threatening food production and social stability. In order to address the current imbalance in CO2 flux, it is important to both reduce net emissions and promote sequestration. To address the latter issue, we need to better understand the roles of systems, such as natural forests, coastal wetlands, and tropical croplands, in carbon sequestration and devise strategies to facilitate net CO2 uptake. Carbon sequestration by tropical trees and crops already removes in excess of 1000 million tonnes of atmospheric CO2 annually but is threatened by anthropogenic activities such as deforestation and the drainage of carbon-rich peatland. Improvements in carbon sequestration can be achieved by policies such as growing tropical crops as part of agroforestry systems, enforcing limitations on deforestation and the use of peatland, and auditing the carbon impact of major cropping systems in order to focus on those crops that deliver both high yields and carbon efficiency. As an initial step in this process, a detailed case study is presented on the tropical tree crop, the African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis. This analysis includes a comparison of the carbon sequestration potential of oil palm with that of tropical forests and other oil crops, the biomass sequestration potential of oil palm and current and future strategies aimed at achieving net-zero carbon targets for oil palm and related crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Production)
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