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Agriculture, Volume 7, Issue 1 (January 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) A portable wireless device with a “vocal commands” feature for activating the mechanical milking [...] Read more.
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Open AccessReview
Rice Cultivation and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Review and Conceptual Framework with Reference to Ghana
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 20 January 2017
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3579 | PDF Full-text (528 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rice is an essential crop in Ghana. Several aspects of rice have been studied to increase its production; however, the environmental aspects, including impact on climate change, have not been studied well. There is therefore a gap in knowledge, and hence the need [...] Read more.
Rice is an essential crop in Ghana. Several aspects of rice have been studied to increase its production; however, the environmental aspects, including impact on climate change, have not been studied well. There is therefore a gap in knowledge, and hence the need for continuous research. By accessing academic portals, such as Springer Open, InTech Open, Elsevier, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s offline campus library, 61 academic publications including peer reviewed journals, books, working papers, reports, etc. were critically reviewed. It was found that there is a lack of data on how paddy rice production systems affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, particularly emissions estimation, geographical location, and crops. Regarding GHG emission estimation, the review identified the use of emission factors calibrated using temperate conditions which do not suit tropical conditions. On location, most research on rice GHG emissions have been carried out in Asia with little input from Africa. In regard to crops, there is paucity of in-situ emissions data from paddy fields in Ghana. Drawing on the review, a conceptual framework is developed using Ghana as reference point to guide the discussion on fertilizer application, water management rice cultivars, and soil for future development of adaptation strategies for rice emission reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue C and N Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agroecosystem)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Beyond Food Provisioning: The Transformative Potential of Grassroots Innovation around Food
Received: 14 July 2016 / Revised: 2 December 2016 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 19 January 2017
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2304 | PDF Full-text (243 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The newly-emerged ethical foodscape includes multiple expressions of innovation around food. With reference to the Italian context, this paper focuses on the transformative potential of the experiences of social innovation, innovative grassroots initiatives, which have been significantly contributed to shaping the food culture [...] Read more.
The newly-emerged ethical foodscape includes multiple expressions of innovation around food. With reference to the Italian context, this paper focuses on the transformative potential of the experiences of social innovation, innovative grassroots initiatives, which have been significantly contributed to shaping the food culture and production-consumption practices during the last two decades. While still consolidating their fundamentals and facing the challenge of growth, the networks behind them continue to be engaged in an effort of innovation, inside and outside their niche. The paper explores these dynamics. Understanding how these networks are managing their transformative capacity and what are the opportunities and challenges arising in the relation with the mainstream system may help to better capture and value the potential of this innovation niche, drawing useful lessons for fostering its expression and for a broader transition to more equitable and sustainable food systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle
State Support in Brazil for a Local Turn to Food
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 30 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 16 January 2017
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Abstract
The local turn to food is often claimed to be a way to increase the value-added component retained by primary producers and to provide healthy, fresh and affordable food to consumers. Rio do Grande do Sul in Brazil has several governmental support programs [...] Read more.
The local turn to food is often claimed to be a way to increase the value-added component retained by primary producers and to provide healthy, fresh and affordable food to consumers. Rio do Grande do Sul in Brazil has several governmental support programs that aim to empower family farmers and open up new market opportunities for them. This article examines these programs, investigates how small-scale farmers engage with them and the resultant changes in farming and marketing practices that ensue. The article uses cluster and content analysis to identify and interpret the extent, and the different ways, in which these farmers engage with and make use of the local knowledge and innovation system. The results provide useful insights into how policy instruments improve the performance of family agribusinesses, helping them to make better use of the resources available to them, encouraging farm diversification, and strengthening local interrelations between producers and consumers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Practices for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Rice Production in Northeast Thailand
Received: 19 October 2016 / Revised: 30 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 16 January 2017
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2842 | PDF Full-text (1268 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Land management practices for rice productivity and carbon storage have been a key focus of research leading to opportunities for substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. The effects of land management practices on global warming potential (GWP) and greenhouse gas intensity (GHGI) from rice [...] Read more.
Land management practices for rice productivity and carbon storage have been a key focus of research leading to opportunities for substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. The effects of land management practices on global warming potential (GWP) and greenhouse gas intensity (GHGI) from rice production within the farm gate were investigated. For the 13 study sites, soil samples were collected by the Land Development Department in 2004. In 2014, at these same sites, soil samples were collected again to estimate the soil organic carbon sequestration rate (SOCSR) from 2004 to 2014. Surveys were conducted at each sampling site to record the rice yield and management practices. The carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, Net GWP, and GHGI associated with the management practices were calculated. Mean rice yield and SOCSR were 3307 kg·ha−1·year−1 and 1173 kg·C·ha−1·year−1, respectively. The net GWP varied across sites, from 819 to 5170 kg·CO2eq·ha−1·year−1, with an average value of 3090 kg·CO2eq·ha−1·year−1. GHGI ranged from 0.31 to 1.68 kg·CO2eq·kg−1 yield, with an average value of 0.97 kg·CO2eq·kg−1 yield. Our findings revealed that the amount of potassium (potash, K2O) fertilizer application rate is the most significant factor explaining rice yield and SOCSR. The burning of rice residues in the field was the main factor determining GHGI in this area. An effective way to reduce GHG emissions and contribute to sustainable rice production for food security with low GHGI and high productivity is avoiding the burning of rice residues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue C and N Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Agroecosystem)
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Open AccessCommunication
Development and Testing of a Device to Increase the Level of Automation of a Conventional Milking Parlor through Vocal Commands
Received: 26 October 2016 / Revised: 5 January 2017 / Accepted: 6 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
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Abstract
A portable wireless device with a “vocal commands” feature for activating the mechanical milking phase in conventional milking parlors was developed and tested to increase the level of automation in the milking procedures. The device was tested in the laboratory and in a [...] Read more.
A portable wireless device with a “vocal commands” feature for activating the mechanical milking phase in conventional milking parlors was developed and tested to increase the level of automation in the milking procedures. The device was tested in the laboratory and in a milking parlor. Four professional milkers participated in the experiment. Before the start of the tests, a set of acoustic models with speaker-dependent commands defined for the project was acquired for each milker using a dedicated “milker training procedure”. Two experimental sessions were performed by each milker, with one session in the laboratory and a subsequent session in the milking parlor. The device performance was evaluated based on the accuracy demonstrated in the vocal command recognition task and rated using the word recognition rate (WRR). The data were expressed as %WRR and grouped based on the different cases evaluated. Mixed effects logistic regression modeling was used to evaluate the association between the %WRR and explanatory variables. The results indicated significant effects due to the location where the tests were performed. Higher values of the %WRR were found for tests performed in the laboratory, whereas lower values were found for tests performed in the milking parlor (due to the presence of background noise). Nevertheless, the general performance level achieved by the device was sufficient for increasing the automation level of conventional milking parlors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Agriculture in 2016
Received: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
The editors of Agriculture would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Can Phosphate Salts Recovered from Manure Replace Conventional Phosphate Fertilizer?
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 7 January 2017
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3261 | PDF Full-text (1336 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pig farming produces more manure than can reasonably be spread onto surrounding fields, particularly in regions with high livestock densities and limited land availability. Nutrient recycling offers an attractive solution for dealing with manure excesses and is one main objective of the European [...] Read more.
Pig farming produces more manure than can reasonably be spread onto surrounding fields, particularly in regions with high livestock densities and limited land availability. Nutrient recycling offers an attractive solution for dealing with manure excesses and is one main objective of the European commission-funded project “BioEcoSIM”. Phosphate salts (“P-Salt”) were recovered from the separated liquid manure fraction. The solid fraction was dried and carbonized to biochar. This study compared the fertilizing performance of P-Salt and conventional phosphate fertilizer and determined whether additional biochar application further increased biomass yields. The fertilizers and biochar were tested in pot experiments with spring barley and faba beans using two nutrient-poor soils. The crops were fertilized with P-Salt at three levels and biochar in two concentrations. Biomass yield was determined after six weeks. Plant and soil samples were analysed for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium contents. The P-Salt had similar or even better effects than mineral fertilizer on growth in both crops and soils. Slow release of nutrients can prevent leaching, rendering P-Salt a particularly suitable fertilizer for light sandy soils. Biochar can enhance its fertilizing effect, but the underlying mechanisms need further investigation. These novel products are concluded to be promising candidates for efficient fertilization strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enhancing Fertilizer-Use Efficiency in Organic Cropping Systems)
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Agriculture EISSN 2077-0472 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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