Next Issue
Previous Issue

Table of Contents

Agriculture, Volume 8, Issue 9 (September 2018)

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Cover Story (view full-size image) Evolved behavioural mechanisms control what animals want and what goals they expect to achieve. [...] Read more.
View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-17
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessReview Effect of Forage Moringa oleifera L. (moringa) on Animal Health and Nutrition and Its Beneficial Applications in Soil, Plants and Water Purification
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090145
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 10 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
Viewed by 410 | PDF Full-text (2016 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Moringa oleifera L. (moringa) is known as one of the most useful multipurpose plants. It can be effectively utilized as a natural biopesticide and inhibitor of several plant pathogens. Thus, it can be included in integrated pest management strategies. Moringa and its products
[...] Read more.
Moringa oleifera L. (moringa) is known as one of the most useful multipurpose plants. It can be effectively utilized as a natural biopesticide and inhibitor of several plant pathogens. Thus, it can be included in integrated pest management strategies. Moringa and its products have different uses in many agricultural systems. The use of moringa as a crop enhancer is an eco-friendly way of improving crop yields at the lowest possible cost. This inexpensive increase in productivity can contribute to meeting some of the food needs in some parts of the world as the global population increases and poverty rates rise. One of the most important characteristics of moringa is that it has high biological and nutritional values and can be used as animal feed, green fertilizer, medicine, biopesticide and in seed production. Moringa has been characterized as a potentially useful animal feed owing to its high content of protein, carotenoids, several minerals and vitamins (such as iron and ascorbic acid) and certain phytochemicals (kaempferitrin, isoquercitrin, rhamnetin, kaempferol and quercetin). This review aims to provide more knowledge about the nature, nutritional value, phytochemicals and uses of Moringa oleifera as a promising material in the fields of soil and plant management, water treatment, as well as animal and poultry production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Production of Forage)
Figures

Figure 1a

Open AccessArticle Weed Suppressive Ability of Cover Crop Mixtures Compared to Repeated Stubble Tillage and Glyphosate Treatments
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090144
Received: 15 August 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 15 September 2018
Viewed by 550 | PDF Full-text (1329 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The utilization of an effective stubble management practice can reduce weed infestation before and in the following main crop. Different strategies can be used, incorporating mechanical, biological, and chemical measures. This study aims at estimating the effects of cover crop (CC) mixtures, various
[...] Read more.
The utilization of an effective stubble management practice can reduce weed infestation before and in the following main crop. Different strategies can be used, incorporating mechanical, biological, and chemical measures. This study aims at estimating the effects of cover crop (CC) mixtures, various stubble tillage methods, and glyphosate treatments on black-grass, volunteer wheat and total weed infestation. Two experimental trials were conducted in Southwestern Germany including seven weed management treatments: flat soil tillage, deep soil tillage, ploughing, single glyphosate application, dual glyphosate application, and a CC mixture sown in a mulch-till and no-till system. An untreated control treatment without any processing was also included. Weed species were identified and counted once per month from October until December. The CC mixtures achieved a black-grass control efficacy of up to 100%, whereas stubble tillage and the single glyphosate treatment did not reduce the black-grass population, on the contrary it induced an increase of black-grass plants. The dual glyphosate application showed, similar to the CC treatments, best results for total weed and volunteer wheat reduction. The results demonstrated, that well developed CCs have a great ability for weed control and highlight that soil conservation systems do not have to rely on chemical weed control practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weed Management)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Weak Effects of Biochar and Nitrogen Fertilization on Switchgrass Photosynthesis, Biomass, and Soil Respiration
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090143
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 13 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
Viewed by 403 | PDF Full-text (1706 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Application of nitrogen (N) fertilizer plus biochar may increase crop yield, but how biochar will interact with N fertilization to affect bioenergy crop switchgrass physiology, biomass, and soil CO2 emission (i.e., soil respiration) from switchgrass fields remains unclear. Here, we assessed this
[...] Read more.
Application of nitrogen (N) fertilizer plus biochar may increase crop yield, but how biochar will interact with N fertilization to affect bioenergy crop switchgrass physiology, biomass, and soil CO2 emission (i.e., soil respiration) from switchgrass fields remains unclear. Here, we assessed this issue by conducting a field experiment near Nashville TN with two levels of biochar treatment (a control without biochar addition and biochar addition of 9 Mg ha−1), and four N fertilization levels (0 kg N ha−1, 17 kg N ha−1, 34 kg N ha−1, and 67 kg N ha−1, labeled as ON, LN, MN, and HN, respectively). Results showed that both biochar addition and N fertilization did not influence switchgrass leaf photosynthesis and biomass, but biochar addition enhanced leaf transpiration, and reduced water use efficiency. Soil respiration was reduced by biochar addition, but significantly enhanced by N fertilization. Biochar and N fertilization interactively influenced soil respiration and seasonal variation of soil respiration was mostly controlled by soil temperature. Our results indicated that switchgrass can maintain high productivity without much N input, at least for several years. The findings from this study are useful to optimize N fertilization and biochar addition in the switchgrass fields for maintaining relatively high productive switchgrass biomass while reducing soil CO2 emission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochar and Soil: What Is behind Its Impacts?)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Application of Geographic Information System and Automated Guidance System in Optimizing Contour and Terrace Farming
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090142
Received: 21 August 2018 / Revised: 10 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
Viewed by 393 | PDF Full-text (15426 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Farming contour and terrace fields using automated guidance systems with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers requires appropriate geographic features for effective guidance and soil and water conservation. The objective of this paper was to develop methodologies for improving and designing guidance features
[...] Read more.
Farming contour and terrace fields using automated guidance systems with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers requires appropriate geographic features for effective guidance and soil and water conservation. The objective of this paper was to develop methodologies for improving and designing guidance features for operating guidance systems in contour and terrace fields. This study was conducted in the Texas High Plains where contour and terrace farming practices are prevalent in slope fields. Four case studies were used to demonstrate the application of a geographic information system (GIS) in optimizing guidance geographic features, including line smoothing, line extending and connecting, creating swath AB lines, and guide-to-line features. Line smoothing removes sharp angularities and curve oscillations on guidance line features, resulting in smooth and more effective guidance operations. The line extension and connection method creates a more convenient and simple guidance feature by combining multiple AB lines. Guide-to-line features derived from AB lines can eliminate confusions when using a guidance system with multiple AB lines in fields with complicated topographic attributes. A methodology was also developed to create guidance AB lines by processing the elevation data generated by a guidance system with a real-time kinematic (RTK) receiver. Guidance line features created in this study satisfy user requirements for effective guidance operations and soil and water conservation. Integrating the application of GIS spatial analysis capabilities and automated guidance systems can enhance farming operations by improving or creating guidance line features, as well as satisfying soil and water conservation needs. Parameter selection for enhancing or creating guidance line features needs to consider unique field conditions and user requirements for simple, convenient, and effective field operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Agriculture Mechanization)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Diversity of Cropping Patterns and Factors Affecting Homegarden Cultivation in Kiboguwa on the Eastern Slopes of the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090141
Received: 4 June 2018 / Revised: 29 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 13 September 2018
Viewed by 263 | PDF Full-text (5941 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study investigated what kind of diversities of cropping patterns observed in home gardens distributed on the eastern slopes of the Uluguru Mountains in central Tanzania, and how the diversity come into occurred. The major focus included the differences in ecological environment due
[...] Read more.
This study investigated what kind of diversities of cropping patterns observed in home gardens distributed on the eastern slopes of the Uluguru Mountains in central Tanzania, and how the diversity come into occurred. The major focus included the differences in ecological environment due to elevation, the impacts of the Ujamaa policy, and the characteristics of household members. Participatory observation with a one year stay in the study village was conducted to collect comprehensive information and to detect specific factors about formation of diversity cropping patterns of homegardens. The features of cropping patterns of the homegardens were assessed in an area distributed at altitudes of 650–1200 m. Many of the tree crops in this village originated from outside regions around the period of Tanzanian independence, and their cultivation spread throughout the village after the implementation of the Ujamaa policy. At present, village districts with many distributed homegardens with numerous tree crops are those that were confiscated from clans by the village government at the time of the Ujamaa policy and then redistributed to individuals. Cultivation of trees crops was very few at altitude of 900 m or more, because of cultivation characteristics of tree crops in this village were suitable for low altitude. In addition, since homegardens are considered to be abandoned for one generation only, their cropping patterns tended to easily reflect the ages and preferences of the members of the households living on them. The cropping patterns of the homegardens differed remarkably even between neighboring households owing to the cumulative effects of these multiple factors. Analysis using an inductive method—considering the background against which the phenomenon becomes evident after collecting the information from the target area in this manner—is thought to lead to an essential understanding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Vegetable Crops, A Living Heritage)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Durum Wheat Quality, Yield and Sanitary Status under Conservation Agriculture
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090140
Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 27 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
Viewed by 531 | PDF Full-text (955 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Mediterranean environments the adoption of Conservation Agriculture (CA) would allow growers to achieve environmental, agronomic and economic sustainability. We investigated the effect of different combination of crop establishment treatments and crop sequence (conventional tillage (CT) and durum wheat monocropping (WW); conventional tillage
[...] Read more.
In Mediterranean environments the adoption of Conservation Agriculture (CA) would allow growers to achieve environmental, agronomic and economic sustainability. We investigated the effect of different combination of crop establishment treatments and crop sequence (conventional tillage (CT) and durum wheat monocropping (WW); conventional tillage (CT) and durum wheat following faba beans (WF); zero tillage (ZT) and durum wheat monocropping (WW); zero tillage (ZF) and durum wheat following faba beans (WF) on yield, grain quality traits as well as on disease incidence and severity in durum wheat (var. Saragolla). The results of two years of data of a long-term experiment (seven-year experiment; split-plot design) are discussed. The CA approach (ZT + WF), which always induced the highest grain yields (6.1 t ha−1 and 3.3 t ha−1 in 2016 and 2017) thanks to an increased number of spikes m−2 (296 vs. 269 and 303 vs. 287 spikes m−2 in 2016 and 2017, respectively) as well as a more pronounced ear length, demonstrated significantly positive influences in terms of grain quality. It promoted grain protein accumulation (12.1% for ZT + WF vs. 11.4% for ZT + WW and 12.4% for ZT + WF vs. 10.6% for ZT + WW in 2016 and 2017) and improved the gluten quality (in terms of sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS) sedimentation test) and colour of the grain. The abundance of crop residues determined a higher incidence and severity of Zymoseptoria tritici leaf symptoms under the CA system; nevertheless, the late appearance of infection was the main reason for not affecting yield and quality traits. The presence of faba beans (WF) in the rotation significantly reduced leaf symptoms in Z. tritici. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Crop Production Intensification)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The O3-Farm Project: First Evaluation of a Business Process Management (BPM) Approach through the Development of an Experimental Farm Management System for Milk Traceability
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090139
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 20 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
Viewed by 459 | PDF Full-text (5355 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The modeling of farm workflows, and the use of a business process management (BPM) paradigm, could enable improvement in the development of farm management information systems (FMIS). A rapid design of software applications could be possible and quick development, intrinsically service oriented, could
[...] Read more.
The modeling of farm workflows, and the use of a business process management (BPM) paradigm, could enable improvement in the development of farm management information systems (FMIS). A rapid design of software applications could be possible and quick development, intrinsically service oriented, could be achieved through the use of a software suite for the implementation of BPM diagrams. As the first evaluation of this paradigm, an experimental FMIS was developed considering a “use-case” whose target was to develop a hardware and software solution for the traceability of milk. The outcomes of this activity have shown that the software application developed (O3-Farm) was able to provide all features of the database application previously used for the traceability of milk. At the same time, it was able to provide some new features such as increased usability, portability and efficiency. Also, the chance to integrate it with other possible software applications was increased as a result of a better sharing of agricultural data. This seems to suggest that a design, and a software suite, based on the BPM paradigm, could be a valid way for the development of FMIS also in line with the farm software environment models if its abilities to describe, use and deploy, workflows and software services are taken into consideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Knowledge and Techniques Application in Agriculture)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Weed Management in Cranberries: A Historical Perspective and a Look to the Future
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090138
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 29 August 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
Viewed by 444 | PDF Full-text (555 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Integrated weed management (IWM) has been part of cranberry cultivation since its inception in the early 19th century. Proper site and cultivar selection, good drainage, rapid vine establishment, and hand weeding are as important now for successful weed management as when the industry
[...] Read more.
Integrated weed management (IWM) has been part of cranberry cultivation since its inception in the early 19th century. Proper site and cultivar selection, good drainage, rapid vine establishment, and hand weeding are as important now for successful weed management as when the industry first started. In 1940, Extension publications listed eight herbicides (e.g., petroleum-based products, inorganic salts and sulfates) for weed control. Currently, 18 herbicides representing 11 different modes of action are registered for use on cranberries. Nonchemical methods, such as hand weeding, sanding, flooding, and proper fertilization, remain integral for managing weed populations; new tactics such as flame cultivation have been added to the toolbox. Priority ratings have been developed to aid in weed management planning. Despite many efforts, biological control of weeds remains elusive on the commercial scale. Evaluation of new herbicides, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), image analysis, and precision agriculture technology; investigation of other management practices for weeds and their natural enemies; utilization of computational decision making and Big Data; and determination of the impact of climate change are research areas whose results will translate into new use recommendations for the weed control of cranberry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Horticultural Practices for Berry Crops)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Integrated Assessment of the EU’s Greening Reform and Feed Self-Sufficiency Scenarios on Dairy Farms in Piemonte, Italy
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090137
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 4 September 2018
Viewed by 546 | PDF Full-text (5110 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Specialised dairy farms are challenged to be competitive and yet respect environmental constrains. A tighter integration of cropping and livestock systems, both in terms of feed and manure flows, can be beneficial for the farm economy and the environment. The greening of the
[...] Read more.
Specialised dairy farms are challenged to be competitive and yet respect environmental constrains. A tighter integration of cropping and livestock systems, both in terms of feed and manure flows, can be beneficial for the farm economy and the environment. The greening of the direct payments, which was introduced in the European Union’s greening reform in 2013, is assumed to stimulate the transition towards more sustainable systems. The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess the impacts of greening policies on important economic and environmental indicators of sustainability, and explore potential further improvements in policies. The Farm System SIMulator (FSSIM) bioeconomic farm model was used to simulate the consequences of scenarios of policy change on three representative dairy farms in Piedmont, Italy, i.e., an ‘intensive’, an ‘extensive’, and an ‘organic’ dairy farm. Results showed that in general, there is a large potential to increase the current economic performance of all of the farms. The most profitable activity is milk production, resulting in the allocation of all of the available farm land to feed production. Imposing feed self-sufficiency targets results in a larger adaptation of current managerial practice than the adaptations that are required due to the greening policy scenario. It was shown that the cropping system is not always able to sustain the actual herd composition when 90% feed self-sufficiency is imposed. Regarding the greening policies, it is shown that extensive and organic farms already largely comply with the greening constrains, and the extra subsidy is therefore a bonus, while the intensive farm is likely to sacrifice the subsidy, as adapting the farm plan will substantially reduce profit. The introduction of nitrogen (N)-fixing crops in ecological focus areas was the easiest greening strategy to adopt, and led to an increase in the protein feed self-sufficiency. In conclusion, it is important to note that the greening policy in its current form does not lead to reduced environmental impacts. This implies that in order to improve environmental performance, regulations are needed rather than voluntary economic incentives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Policies: Experiences and Challenges)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication “Naturalness” and Its Relation to Animal Welfare from an Ethological Perspective
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090136
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 31 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
Viewed by 661 | PDF Full-text (19567 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Here we view naturalness from the point of view of proximate behavioural control. The mechanisms of behaviour control have evolved in order that animals reach a specific goal after they have performed motivated behaviour. This goal was closely related to a function at
[...] Read more.
Here we view naturalness from the point of view of proximate behavioural control. The mechanisms of behaviour control have evolved in order that animals reach a specific goal after they have performed motivated behaviour. This goal was closely related to a function at the time when the mechanism evolved. Function and goal may be de-coupled in a novel environment such as artificial housing conditions. We argue that an animal that can perform the behaviour it wants and can reach the goals it likes can behave according to what is “in-its-nature” even under human influenced conditions. We illustrate this argument using abnormal sucking behaviour in calves and piglets as well as dehorning in cattle and goats. We conclude that a minimal welfare standard is ensured for animals that are given the opportunity to behave as is in-their-nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethology and Animal Welfare)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Comparison of Herbicides for Control of Diclofop-Resistant Italian Ryegrass in Wheat
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090135
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 24 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
Viewed by 391 | PDF Full-text (916 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Diclofop-resistant Italian ryegrass (Lolium perenne L. ssp. Multiflorum (Lam.) Husnot) is a dominant weed problem in non-irrigated winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in mid-south USA. Field studies were conducted from 2001 to 2007 to evaluate the efficacy of herbicides for diclofop-resistant
[...] Read more.
Diclofop-resistant Italian ryegrass (Lolium perenne L. ssp. Multiflorum (Lam.) Husnot) is a dominant weed problem in non-irrigated winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in mid-south USA. Field studies were conducted from 2001 to 2007 to evaluate the efficacy of herbicides for diclofop-resistant ryegrass control and effect on wheat yield. In 2001 through 2004, chlorsulfuron/metsulfuron at 0.026 kg ha−1 preemergence (PRE) followed by (fb) mesosulfuron at 0.048 kg ha−1 at 4-leaf to 2-tiller ryegrass provided 89% control of diclofop-resistant Italian ryegrass, resulting in the highest wheat yield (3201 kg ha−1). Flufenacet/metribuzin at 0.476 kg ha−1 applied at 1- to 2-leaf wheat had equivalent Italian ryegrass control (87%), but lesser yield (3013 kg ha−1). In 2005–2006, best treatments for Italian ryegrass control were chlorsulfuron/metsulfuron, 0.013 kg ha−1 PRE fb mesosulfuron 0.015 kg ha−1 at 3- to 4-leaf ryegrass (92%); metribuzin, 0.280 kg ha−1 at 2- to 3- leaf wheat fb metribuzin at 2- to 3-tiller ryegrass (94%); chlorsulfuron/metsulfuron (0.026 kg ha−1) (89%); and flufenacet/metribuzin at 1- to 2-leaf wheat (89%). Chlorsulfuron/metsulfuron fb mesosulfuron provided higher yield (3515 kg ha−1) than all other treatments, except metribuzin fb metribuzin. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Pruning and Training Systems Impact Yield and Cold Hardiness of ‘Marion’ Trailing Blackberry
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090134
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 24 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
Viewed by 374 | PDF Full-text (223 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The floricane-fruiting, trailing blackberry (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus, Watson) cultivar Marion was evaluated in two plantings for the impact of floricane pruning date. This included leaving the dead canes unpruned and training new primocanes over the dead wood (new-over-old), primocane topping
[...] Read more.
The floricane-fruiting, trailing blackberry (Rubus L. subgenus Rubus, Watson) cultivar Marion was evaluated in two plantings for the impact of floricane pruning date. This included leaving the dead canes unpruned and training new primocanes over the dead wood (new-over-old), primocane topping and suppression date in alternate year (AY) and every year (EY) production systems at various planting densities. The presence of primocanes during fruit development did not affect yield of the floricane in the current season but suppressing primocanes to June 30 in Oregon, USA, led to insufficient time for primocane growth, reducing yield of the floricane the following year by 36% relative to no primocane suppression. Pruning out senescing floricanes immediately after fruit harvest or later—thus allowing more time for remobilization of nutrients or reserves—had no impact on yield. However, yield in the new-over-old system was higher, likely due to less training damage to primocanes in this treatment. All of the AY treatments studied led to lower berry weight compared to EY production but this has not been an issue in the processed fruit market to date. Plants in AY production produced more canes per plant than in EY but at the industry standard spacing of 1.5 m, AY plants yielded only 60% to 66% more than EY plants in these studies, despite evidence of plants in AY production having greater cold hardiness. There was no significant effect of planting at higher density (0.6 and 0.9 m) on cumulative yield over 4 years. However, planting at 0.6 m and topping the primocanes to the top trellis wire (1.8 m) increased yield significantly compared to other AY treatments. This alternative production system may offer economic advantages to the 1.5 m EY or AY production systems through reducing management costs and allowing for mechanical pruning and training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Horticultural Practices for Berry Crops)
Open AccessReview SOC Stock Changes and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Following Tropical Land Use Conversions to Plantation Crops on Mineral Soils, with a Special Focus on Oil Palm and Rubber Plantations
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 133; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090133
Received: 15 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
Viewed by 595 | PDF Full-text (2188 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The increasing global demand for vegetable oils has resulted in a significant increase in the area under oil palm in the tropics during the last couple of decades, and this is projected to increase further. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil discourages the
[...] Read more.
The increasing global demand for vegetable oils has resulted in a significant increase in the area under oil palm in the tropics during the last couple of decades, and this is projected to increase further. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil discourages the conversion of peatlands to oil palm and rubber plantations. However, our understanding of the effects on soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of land use conversion is incomplete, especially for mineral soils under primary forests, secondary forests, rubber and other perennial plantations in the tropics. In this review we synthesised information on SOC stocks and GHG emissions from tropical mineral soils under forest, oil palm and rubber plantations and other agroecosystems across the tropical regions. We found that the largest SOC losses occurred after land use conversion from primary forest to oil palm and rubber plantations. Secondary forest and pasture lands showed lower SOC losses as well as total GHG (CO2, N2O and CH4) emissions when converted to oil palm and rubber plantations. However, due to the limited data available on all three GHG emissions, there remains high uncertainty in GHG emissions estimates, and regional GHG accounting is more reliable. We recommend long-term monitoring of oil palm and other perennial plantations established on tropical mineral soils on different soil types and regions on SOC stock changes and total GHG emissions and evaluate appropriate management practices to optimise production and sustainable economic returns, and minimise environmental impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Organic Carbon)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle A Field Study on the Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Endoparasites in Beef Suckler Cow Herds in Germany
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090132
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 25 August 2018 / Published: 28 August 2018
Viewed by 427 | PDF Full-text (599 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Endoparasites are one of the major health issues in beef suckler cows and can cause economic losses. As studies on the parasitological status of beef suckler cow herds are rare, the aim of this study was to evaluate the status quo of the
[...] Read more.
Endoparasites are one of the major health issues in beef suckler cows and can cause economic losses. As studies on the parasitological status of beef suckler cow herds are rare, the aim of this study was to evaluate the status quo of the parasite burden in herds at four representative locations in Germany. Additionally, the farmers’ pasture management and deworming strategies were documented. Based on these data, the second aim of the study was to develop recommendations for improved deworming and pasture hygiene management. A total of 708 faecal samples were examined with parasitological routine methods. Results revealed Fasciola hepatica, gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), Eimeria species (spp.), Moniezia spp. and Dictyocaulus viviparus as the most frequent findings. Clinical signs of parasitic diseases were not found during the farm visits. Statistical analyses showed a significant effect of the age status of the animal on the parasitological status in general. Due to the percentage of occurrence, detailed statistical analysis was performed for Eimeria, GIN and Fasciola hepatica, confirming the effect of age status. Assessing the parasitological status of beef suckler cows as routine procedure could help to establish an improved parasite-control management on a farm-individual basis. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Economic Reality of Underutilised Crops for Climate Resilience, Food Security and Nutrition: Assessing Finger Millet Productivity in India
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090131
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 20 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 27 August 2018
Viewed by 522 | PDF Full-text (504 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In spite of the considerable potential contribution of neglected and underutilised crops to climate resilience, food security and nutrition; widespread adoption of these crops remains a challenge. Uptake is inhibited by poor economic performance due to low yields, compounded further by various social
[...] Read more.
In spite of the considerable potential contribution of neglected and underutilised crops to climate resilience, food security and nutrition; widespread adoption of these crops remains a challenge. Uptake is inhibited by poor economic performance due to low yields, compounded further by various social factors. Using farm survey data and aggregated time-series data from four states in southern India, this study examines factors influencing productivity in finger millet cultivation. A farm-level yield gap analysis is complemented by an analysis of total factor productivity (TFP) growth between 1999 and 2014 to better understand the role of research and innovation. Results suggest that there is considerable potential for improved growing practices to achieve better yields, but also education levels and technical support emerge as crucial factors for boosting finger millet productivity. The TFP analysis indicates a moderate level of growth, with a high variability and conflicting trends between states, suggesting a need to invest more in research and development, extension and infrastructure. Sustained productivity gains will require research efforts that respond to the needs expressed by farmers and that finger millet forms part of an overall strategy for sustainable intensification. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Linking Sustainability with Geographical Proximity in Food Supply Chains. An Indicator Selection Framework
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090130
Received: 15 July 2018 / Revised: 15 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
Viewed by 405 | PDF Full-text (1187 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite policymakers’ promotion of food relocalization strategies for burden mitigation, the assumption that local food chains are more sustainable than the global ones might not hold. This literature review tries to highlight a possible framework for exploratory analyses that aim at associating sustainability
[...] Read more.
Despite policymakers’ promotion of food relocalization strategies for burden mitigation, the assumption that local food chains are more sustainable than the global ones might not hold. This literature review tries to highlight a possible framework for exploratory analyses that aim at associating sustainability with the geographical proximity of food supply chains. The purpose of the article is identifying a set of communicative and information-dense indicators for use by evaluators. Bread is the selected test food, given its importance in human nutrition and the relevance of some of its life cycle phases for land use (cereal farming) and trade (cereal commercialization). Article searching (including keyword selection, explicit inclusion/exclusion criteria, and computer-assisted screening using the NVivo® software) was carried out over the Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases, and returned 29 documents (refereed and non-refereed publications). The retrieved literature shows varied research focus, methods, and depth of analyses. The review highlighted 39 environmental, 36 economic, and 27 social indicators, along the food chain. Indicators’ reporting chains are heterogeneous; even the comparison of standard procedures, e.g., Life Cycle Assessment, is not straightforward. Holistic approaches are missing. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Patterns of Genetic Diversity and Implications for In Situ Conservation of Wild Celery (Apium graveolens L. ssp. graveolens)
Agriculture 2018, 8(9), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8090129
Received: 26 May 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 16 August 2018 / Published: 22 August 2018
Viewed by 417 | PDF Full-text (5144 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In Germany, the wild ancestor (Apium graveolens L. ssp. graveolens) of celery and celeriac is threatened by genetic erosion. Seventy-eight potentially suitable genetic reserve sites representing differing ecogeographic units were assessed with regard to the conservation status of the populations. At
[...] Read more.
In Germany, the wild ancestor (Apium graveolens L. ssp. graveolens) of celery and celeriac is threatened by genetic erosion. Seventy-eight potentially suitable genetic reserve sites representing differing ecogeographic units were assessed with regard to the conservation status of the populations. At 27 of the 78 sites, 30 individual plants were sampled and genetically analyzed with 16 polymorphic microsatellite makers. The Discriminant Analysis of Principal Components (DAPC) was applied to identify clusters of genetically similar individuals. In most cases (25 out of 27 occurrences) individuals clustered into groups according to their sampling site. Next to three clearly separated occurrences (AgG, AgUW, AgFEH) two large groups of inland and Baltic Sea coast occurrences, respectively, were recognized. Occurrences from the coastal part of the distribution area were interspersed into the group of inland occurrences and vice versa. The genetic distribution pattern is therefore complex. The complementary compositional genetic differentiation Δj was calculated to identify the Most Appropriate Wild Populations (MAWP) for the establishment of genetic reserves. Altogether 15 sites are recommended to form a genetic reserve network. This organisational structure appears suitable for promoting the in situ conservation of intraspecific genetic diversity and the species’ adaptability. As seed samples of each MAWP will be stored in a genebank, the network would likewise contribute to the long-term ex situ conservation of genetic resources for plant breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity of Vegetable Crops, A Living Heritage)
Figures

Figure 1

Back to Top