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Agriculture, Volume 9, Issue 1 (January 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) On the terraces of the Nepalese Himalayas, we evaluated rhizobium inoculants, micronutrients (Mo, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Land Use and Land Cover on Hydraulic and Physical Soil Properties at the Cerrado Agricultural Frontier
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010024 - 21 Jan 2019
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Abstract
Western Bahia is one of the most active agricultural frontiers in the world, which raises concern about its natural resources conservation, especially regarding water availability. This study evaluated the influence of five different land uses and land covers on physical and hydraulic soil [...] Read more.
Western Bahia is one of the most active agricultural frontiers in the world, which raises concern about its natural resources conservation, especially regarding water availability. This study evaluated the influence of five different land uses and land covers on physical and hydraulic soil properties, and developed pedotransfer functions to derive regional hydraulic properties. Significant changes between physical and hydraulic soil properties under agricultural areas and under natural vegetation cover were found, reinforcing that agricultural activity may influence the soil water balance. Cerrado and Forest formation areas have higher infiltration rates ( K s a t ) compared to managed areas, with average values of 16.29 cm h−1, and 14.47 cm h−1, while irrigated croplands, rainfed croplands and pasture areas have much smaller infiltration rates, with K s a t equal to 3.01 cm h−1, 6.22 cm h−1 and 5.01 cm h−1, respectively. Our results suggest that the agriculture practices do not directly affect the vertical nature of hydrological flowpath, except in the case of intensive irrigated agriculture areas, where K s a t reduction can lead to erosive processes favoring organic matter losses, and decreases in productivity and soil quality. Impacts of land use change on hydraulic and physical soil properties are a reality in the Cerrado agriculture frontier and there is an urgent need to monitor how these changes occur over time to develop effective mitigation strategies of soil and water conservation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Past, Present, and Future of Barley Yellow Dwarf Management
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010023 - 18 Jan 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 838
Abstract
Barley yellow dwarf (BYD) has been described as the most devastating cereal grain disease worldwide causing between 11% and 33% yield loss in wheat fields. There has been little focus on management of the disease in the literature over the past twenty years, [...] Read more.
Barley yellow dwarf (BYD) has been described as the most devastating cereal grain disease worldwide causing between 11% and 33% yield loss in wheat fields. There has been little focus on management of the disease in the literature over the past twenty years, although much of the United States still suffers disease outbreaks. With this review, we provide the most up-to-date information on BYD management used currently in the USA. After a brief summary of the ecology of BYD viruses, vectors, and plant hosts with respect to their impact on disease management, we discuss historical management techniques that include insecticide seed treatment, planting date alteration, and foliar insecticide sprays. We then report interviews with grain disease specialists who indicated that these techniques are still used today and have varying impacts. Interestingly, it was also found that many places around the world that used to be highly impacted by the disease; i.e. the United Kingdom, Italy, and Australia, no longer consider the disease a problem due to the wide adoption of the aforementioned management techniques. Finally, we discuss the potential of using BYD and aphid population models in the literature, in combination with web-based decision-support systems, to correctly time management techniques. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Irrigation Water Regimes on Yield of Tetragonia Tetragonioides
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010022 - 15 Jan 2019
Viewed by 818
Abstract
The main purpose of this experiment was to study the effect of several irrigation water regimes on Tetragonia tetragonioides (Pall) O. Kuntze in semi-arid regions. During the experiment period, it was measured that several irrigation regimes were affected in terms of growth, biomass [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this experiment was to study the effect of several irrigation water regimes on Tetragonia tetragonioides (Pall) O. Kuntze in semi-arid regions. During the experiment period, it was measured that several irrigation regimes were affected in terms of growth, biomass production, total yield, mineral composition, and photosynthetic pigments. The experiment was conducted in the greenhouse at the University of Algarve (Portugal). The study lasted from February to April in 2010. Three irrigation treatments were based on replenishing the 0.25-m-deep pots to field capacity when the soil water level was dropped to 70% (T1, wet treatment), 50% (T2, medium treatment), and 30% (T3, dry treatment) of the available water capacity. The obtained results showed that the leaf mineral compositions of chloride and sodium, the main responsible ions for soil salinization and alkalization in arid and semi-arid regions, enhanced with the decrease in soil water content. However, the minimum amounts of chlorophyll, carotenoids, and soluble carbohydrates in the leaf content were obtained in the medium and driest treatments. On the other hand, growth differences among the several irrigation regimes were very low, and the crop yield increased in the dry treatment compared to the medium treatment; thus, the high capacity of salt-removing species suggested an advantage of its cultivation under dry conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Irrigation)
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Open AccessArticle
Sulfur-Enriched Bone Char as Alternative P Fertilizer: Spectroscopic, Wet Chemical, and Yield Response Evaluation
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010021 - 14 Jan 2019
Viewed by 686
Abstract
Phosphorus- (P) rich bone char (BC) could be an alternative P fertilizer in sustainable agriculture; however, it has a low P solubility. Therefore, sulfur-enriched BC (BCplus) was tested for chemical composition and fertilization effects in a pot experiment. In BCplus [...] Read more.
Phosphorus- (P) rich bone char (BC) could be an alternative P fertilizer in sustainable agriculture; however, it has a low P solubility. Therefore, sulfur-enriched BC (BCplus) was tested for chemical composition and fertilization effects in a pot experiment. In BCplus sulfur, concentrations increased from <0.1% to 27% and pH decreased from 8.6 to 5.0. These modifications did not change P solubility in water, neutral ammonium citrate, and citric acid. A pot experiment with annual rye grass (Lolium multiflorum L.) and treatments without P (P0), BC, BCplus and triple superphosphate (TSP) was set up. The cumulative dry matter yield of the BC treatment was similar to P0, and that of BCplus similar to TSP. The plant P uptake was in the order P0 = BC < BCplus < TSP. Consequently, the apparent nutrient recovery efficiency differed significantly between BC (<3%), BCplus (10% to 15%), and TSP (>18%). The tested equilibrium extractions, regularly used to classify mineral P-fertilizers, failed to predict differences in plant yield and P uptake. Therefore, non-equilibrium extraction methods should be tested in combination with pot experiments. Additionally, particle-plant root scale analyses and long-term experiments are necessary to gain insights into fertilizer-plant interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phosphorus in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Rhizobium Inoculants and Micronutrients as Technologies for Nepalese Common Bean Smallholder Farmers in the Real-World Context of Highly Variable Hillside Environments and Indigenous Farming Practices
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010020 - 12 Jan 2019
Viewed by 1370
Abstract
Studies have shown the potential of rhizobia and associated micronutrients to enhance symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes. Tens of millions of smallholder farmers, however, farm on mountain hillsides in highly variable soil and microenvironments, with different crop rotations, inputs and cultural practices. Here, [...] Read more.
Studies have shown the potential of rhizobia and associated micronutrients to enhance symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes. Tens of millions of smallholder farmers, however, farm on mountain hillsides in highly variable soil and microenvironments, with different crop rotations, inputs and cultural practices. Here, on the terraces of the Nepalese Himalayas, we evaluated rhizobium inoculants (local, exotic), micronutrients (molybdenum, boron) and their combinations as technologies for smallholder farmers under highly variable microenvironments and traditional practices. The study was conducted as a series of participatory on-farm trials with 39 terrace farmers in two mid-hill districts of Nepal (Dhading, Kaski) from 2015 to 2017. Plots were measured for relevant agronomic traits. As expected, when comparing treatment plots with adjacent control plots within each farm, the results demonstrated tremendous farm-to-farm variability for nodulation, vegetative biomass, shoot nitrogen content, grain yield, and grain N content. Despite the variation observed, the data showed that the number of farms that showed yield increases from the rhizobium interventions, compared to those that suffered yield losses, was generally 2:1. We discuss potential experimental and socio-agronomic reasons for the variable results, including rainfall, which appeared critical. The results demonstrate the promise of rhizobium interventions for hillside smallholder farmers, even in a highly variable context. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Agriculture in 2018
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010019 - 11 Jan 2019
Viewed by 837
Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Development of an Autonomous Electric Robot Implement for Intra-Row Weeding in Vineyards
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010018 - 10 Jan 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1132
Abstract
Intra-row weeding is a time consuming and challenging task. Therefore, a rotary weeder implement for an autonomous electrical robot was developed. It can be used to remove the weeds of the intra-row area of orchards and vineyards. The hydraulic motor of the conventional [...] Read more.
Intra-row weeding is a time consuming and challenging task. Therefore, a rotary weeder implement for an autonomous electrical robot was developed. It can be used to remove the weeds of the intra-row area of orchards and vineyards. The hydraulic motor of the conventional tool was replaced by an electric motor and some mechanical parts were refabricated to reduce the overall weight. The side shift, the height and the tilt adjustment were performed by linear electric motors. For detecting the trunk positions, two different methods were evaluated: A conventional electromechanical sensor (feeler) and a sonar sensor. The robot performed autonomous row following based on two dimensional laser scanner data. The robot prototype was evaluated at a forward speed of 0.16 ms−1 and a working depth of 40 mm. The overall performance of the two different trunk detection methods was tested and evaluated for quality and power consumption. The results indicated that an automated intra-row weeding robot could be an alternative solution to actual machinery. The overall performance of the sonar was better than the adjusted feeler in the performed tests. The combination of autonomous navigation and weeding could increase the weeding quality and decrease power consumption in future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
In-Season Major Crop-Type Identification for US Cropland from Landsat Images Using Crop-Rotation Pattern and Progressive Data Classification
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010017 - 09 Jan 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 901
Abstract
Crop type information at the field level is vital for many types of research and applications. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides information on crop types for US cropland as a Cropland Data Layer (CDL). However, CDL is only available at [...] Read more.
Crop type information at the field level is vital for many types of research and applications. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides information on crop types for US cropland as a Cropland Data Layer (CDL). However, CDL is only available at the end of the year after the crop growing season. Therefore, CDL is unable to support in-season research and decision-making regarding crop loss estimation, yield estimation, and grain pricing. The USDA mostly relies on field survey and farmers’ reports for the ground truth to train image classification models, which is one of the major reasons for the delayed release of CDL. This research aims to use trusted pixels as ground truth to train classification models. Trusted pixels are pixels which follow a specific crop rotation pattern. These trusted pixels are used to train image classification models for the classification of in-season Landsat images to identify major crop types. Six different classification algorithms are investigated and tested to select the best algorithm for this study. The Random Forest algorithm stands out among selected algorithms. This study classified Landsat scenes between May and mid-August for Iowa. The overall agreements of classification results with CDL in 2017 are 84%, 94%, and 96% for May, June, and July, respectively. The classification accuracies have been assessed through 683 ground truth data points collected from the fields. The overall accuracies of single date multi-band image classification are 84%, 89% and 92% for May, June, and July, respectively. The result also shows higher accuracy (94–95%) can be achieved through multi-date image classification compared to single date image classification. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biomass-Derived Carbonaceous Adsorbents for Trapping Ammonia
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010016 - 09 Jan 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 721
Abstract
The preparation of low-cost carbonaceous adsorbents for nitrogen recovery is of interest from agricultural and waste management perspectives. In this study, the gaseous ammonia (NH3) and aqueous ammonium (NH4+) sorption capacities have been measured for different types of [...] Read more.
The preparation of low-cost carbonaceous adsorbents for nitrogen recovery is of interest from agricultural and waste management perspectives. In this study, the gaseous ammonia (NH3) and aqueous ammonium (NH4+) sorption capacities have been measured for different types of carbonaceous chars produced under different conditions. The study includes a comparison of an oak-based hydrochar produced from hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) at 250 °C with two biochars produced from slow pyrolysis at 450 °C and 650 °C, respectively. The chars were also chemically modified with H2SO4, H3PO4, H2O2, and KOH to investigate the potential for sorption enhancement. The highest sorption capacities for NH3 were observed for the hydrochars with typical uptake capacities ranging from 18–28 mg g−1 NH3. Sorption capacity for oak biochars is significantly lower and ranges from 4–8 mg g−1 for biochars produced at 450 °C and 650 °C, respectively. Hydrochar showed a substantially higher sorption capacity for NH3 despite its lower surface area. The CaCl2 extractable NH4+ following ammonia adsorption is incomplete. Typically, only 30–40% of the N is released upon washing with CaCl2 in form of NH4+. Post chemical modification of the chars resulted in only limited enhancement of char NH3 and NH4+ sorption. H3PO4 treatment showed the greatest potential for increasing NH3/NH4+ sorption in biochars, while KOH and H2O2 treatment increased NH3 sorption in the hydrochar. As only marginal increases to char surface area were observed following char treatment, these findings suggest that char surface functionality is more influential than surface area in terms of char NH3/NH4+ sorption. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of Mitigation Measures to Reduce Phosphorus Losses: The Vestre Vansjø Pilot Catchment
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010015 - 08 Jan 2019
Viewed by 535
Abstract
Diffuse phosphorus loss from agricultural fields is an important contributor to the eutrophication of waterbodies. The objective of this study was to evaluate a pilot project for the implementation of mitigation measures to reduce P losses. The pilot project is situated in southwestern [...] Read more.
Diffuse phosphorus loss from agricultural fields is an important contributor to the eutrophication of waterbodies. The objective of this study was to evaluate a pilot project for the implementation of mitigation measures to reduce P losses. The pilot project is situated in southwestern Norway and, covers a 14-year period (2004–2018). It included data on the implementation of mitigation measures and water quality monitoring for six small catchments. The mitigation measures consisted of no tillage in autumn, reduced P fertilizer application, grassed buffer zones, and sedimentation ponds. Extra efforts were made to reduce diffuse P losses during the period from 2008 to 2010. The project comprised economic incentives, an information campaign, and farm visits. Data from 2004 and 2010 showed that the use of P fertilizer during this period decreased by 80% and the area of no-till in autumn increased in all six catchments and covered 100% of the area in three of the six catchments in 2010. However, with decreased economic incentives after 2010, the degree to which the mitigation measures were implemented was reversed; P-fertilization increased, and no-till in autumn decreased. No significant effects of mitigation measures on total P and suspended sediment concentrations were detected. We conclude that economic incentives are necessary for the comprehensive implementation of mitigation measures and but that it is not always possible to show the effect on water quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phosphorus in Agriculture)
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Open AccessReview
Glassworts: From Wild Salt Marsh Species to Sustainable Edible Crops
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010014 - 08 Jan 2019
Viewed by 724
Abstract
Halophytes are naturally adapted in saline environments, where they benefit from the substantial amounts of salt in the growth media. The need for salt-tolerant crops increases as substantial percentages of cultivated land worldwide are affected by salinity. There are few protocols, guidelines, or [...] Read more.
Halophytes are naturally adapted in saline environments, where they benefit from the substantial amounts of salt in the growth media. The need for salt-tolerant crops increases as substantial percentages of cultivated land worldwide are affected by salinity. There are few protocols, guidelines, or trials for glasswort (Salicornia (L.) and Sarcocornia (Scott), belong to the Amaranthaceae) field cultivation. The high salt tolerance and content in bioactive compounds make glassworts one of the most important candidates for future use both for fresh and processed food, due to their functional and health properties. This review describes the glassworts respect to their biodiversity and the most important factors affecting propagation, salt tolerance traits, agro-techniques and yields, food uses and nutraceutical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Options for Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Modified Over-the-Row Machine Harvesters to Improve Northern Highbush Blueberry Fresh Fruit Quality
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010013 - 08 Jan 2019
Viewed by 909
Abstract
Improved blueberry mechanical harvesting (MH) equipment that maintains fresh market quality are needed due to rising costs and decreasing availability of laborers for harvesting by hand. In 2017, a modified over-the-row (OTR) blueberry harvester with experimental catch surfaces and plates designed to reduce [...] Read more.
Improved blueberry mechanical harvesting (MH) equipment that maintains fresh market quality are needed due to rising costs and decreasing availability of laborers for harvesting by hand. In 2017, a modified over-the-row (OTR) blueberry harvester with experimental catch surfaces and plates designed to reduce fruit bruising was evaluated. The catch surfaces were made of neoprene (soft catch surface; SCS) or canvas (hard catch surface; HCS) and compared to hand-picked fruit (control). Early- and early/mid-season ‘Duke’ and ‘Draper’, respectively, were evaluated in Oregon, while late-season ‘Elliott’ and ‘Aurora’ were evaluated in Washington. Harvested berries were run through commercial packing lines with fresh pack out recorded and bruise incidence or fresh fruit quality evaluated during various lengths of cold storage. The fresh pack out for ‘Duke’ and ‘Draper’ were 83.5% and 73.2%, respectively, and no difference was noted between SCS and HCS. ‘Duke’ fruit firmness was highest among MH berries with SCS, but firmness decreased in storage after one week. Firmness was highest among hand harvested ‘Draper’ followed by MH with SCS. For ‘Elliott’ and ‘Aurora’, fruit firmness was the same across harvesting methods. ‘Draper’ exhibited more bruising than ‘Duke’, but bruise ratings and the incidence of bruising at ≤10% and ≤20% were similar between hand and MH ‘Draper’ with SCS after 24 h of harvest. ‘Aurora’ berries had similar bruise ratings after 24 h between hand harvesting and MH with SCS, while ‘Elliott’ showed more bruise damage by MH with both SCS and HCS than hand harvested fruit. Although our studies showed slightly lower fresh market blueberry pack outs, loss of firmness, and increased bruise damage in fruit harvested by the experimental MH system compared to hand harvested fruit, higher quality was achieved using SCS compared to HCS. We demonstrated that improved fresh market quality in northern highbush blueberry is achievable by using modified OTR harvesters with SCS and fruit removal by either hand-held pneumatic shakers or rotary drum shakers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Horticultural Practices for Berry Crops)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Comparison of Two Free-Farrowing Systems and a Conventional Farrowing Crate System with Special Regard to Air Hygiene
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010012 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 746
Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyze the air quality in two different commercially available free-farrowing systems in comparison with a conventional farrowing crate system. A group housing system for six lactating sows (GH) and a single loose-housing system (LH) were tested [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyze the air quality in two different commercially available free-farrowing systems in comparison with a conventional farrowing crate system. A group housing system for six lactating sows (GH) and a single loose-housing system (LH) were tested against systems with farrowing crates (FC) under similar conditions. In eight evaluated batches with 148 farrowings, measurements were performed at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the occupancy period of 33 days. The mean dust concentration was significantly higher in GH than in LH and FC at the mid-point. The mean ammonia concentration was significantly higher in GH compared to LH and FC at the beginning of occupancy. The mean concentration of endotoxins was significantly higher in FC than in LH and GH at the end of occupancy. Furthermore, the systems did not differ significantly from each other. Spearman’s analysis revealed correlations between dust and time of occupancy, between ammonia and carbon dioxide, and between ammonia and the inside temperature and outside temperature. The new husbandry systems offer animals more opportunities to move without endangering animal welfare through deteriorated air hygiene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Farm Animal Welfare)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Wilting Intensity, Dry Matter Content and Sugar Addition on Nitrogen Fractions in Lucerne Silages
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010011 - 05 Jan 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 782
Abstract
Pre-ensiling treatments can significantly influence the composition of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) silages (LS). Besides dry matter (DM) content and availability of water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), wilting intensity may exert a strong impact on the crude protein (CP; nitrogen [N] × 6.25) fractions. [...] Read more.
Pre-ensiling treatments can significantly influence the composition of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) silages (LS). Besides dry matter (DM) content and availability of water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), wilting intensity may exert a strong impact on the crude protein (CP; nitrogen [N] × 6.25) fractions. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of DM level, wilting intensity, and sucrose addition on N compounds and fermentation products in LS. Pure lucerne stand (cultivar Plato) was wilted with either high or low intensity to DM contents of 250 and 350 g kg−1, respectively, and ensiled with or without the addition of sucrose. Non-protein-N (NPN) concentration in LS was affected by all pre-ensiling treatments and with 699 g kg−1 CP, NPN was lowest in high-intensity wilted high-DM LS with sucrose addition. No effects were observed on in vitro-estimated concentrations of utilizable CP at the duodenum, a precursor to metabolizable protein. Sucrose addition and higher DM level decreased acetic acid and ammonia-N concentration in the silages. Therefore, the present study demonstrated the beneficial manipulation of CP fractions in LS by high-intensity wilting to higher DM contents and that the provision of WSC may be necessary for sufficient silage fermentation and protein preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality and Production of Forage)
Open AccessReview
Cold Hardiness and Options for the Freeze Protection of Southern Highbush Blueberry
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010009 - 04 Jan 2019
Viewed by 587
Abstract
Southern highbush blueberries (SHB; Vaccinium corymbosum interspecific hybrid) are a low chill species of blueberry that are commercially grown in sub-tropical climates. Due to the nature of SHB, the flowering and fruit set occur in mid-winter to early spring and are susceptible to [...] Read more.
Southern highbush blueberries (SHB; Vaccinium corymbosum interspecific hybrid) are a low chill species of blueberry that are commercially grown in sub-tropical climates. Due to the nature of SHB, the flowering and fruit set occur in mid-winter to early spring and are susceptible to freeze damage. The most effective use of freeze protection is based on climatic conditions. Identification of advective or radiative freeze, intensity of the freeze event, and the equipment deployed are the key elements for deciding if the crop can be protected and justifying the expense to operate the system. Of the various methods used in frost protection, applying overhead irrigation water is the most promising. During a freeze event, an application of 6.3 mm ha−1 (0.10 in A−1) of water per hour is required to protect blueberries from −2.8 °C (27 °F) temperature with winds from 0 to 16 km h−1 (0 to 10 mph). This is 25.4 kL h−1 ha−1 (2715 gal h−1 A−1) of water. Overhead irrigation freeze protection is dependent on large volumes of water. This paper will review methods of freeze/frost protection, importance of weather patterns, and critical temperatures based on phenology of flowering to fruit set. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Horticultural Practices for Berry Crops)
Open AccessReview
A Global Review of Farmers’ Perceptions of Agricultural Risks and Risk Management Strategies
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010010 - 04 Jan 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1582
Abstract
Farmers around the world face and manage a wide range of enterprise-related risks. These risks are increasing due to a range of factors including globalisation, increased trade in agricultural products, and climate change, jeopardising agricultural enterprises and forcing farmers to adjust their production [...] Read more.
Farmers around the world face and manage a wide range of enterprise-related risks. These risks are increasing due to a range of factors including globalisation, increased trade in agricultural products, and climate change, jeopardising agricultural enterprises and forcing farmers to adjust their production and management strategies. Here we present results of a systematic literature review, following PRISMA protocol, of farmers’ perceptions of, and responses to, agricultural risks. Using data reduction method (factor analysis) and descriptive statistics, we analysed 197 studies and found that weather-related risk (55%), biosecurity threats (48%), and human risk (35%) are the significant risks perceived by farmers for their agricultural enterprises. Diversification of crop and animal production (28%) and pests and diseases monitoring and prevention (20%) were the preferred agricultural risk management strategies employed by farmers. Few studies have investigated socio-economic factors that explain risk perceptions (18%) or factors that influence how farmers manage agricultural risks (11%). The main barriers to successfully managing agricultural risks were limited access to information and formal low-interest loan systems, especially in developing countries. We identified a mismatch between perceived risk sources and risk management strategies, highlighting a need to improve understanding of why particular management responses are employed to address the various risks. This review suggests areas for future research to improve understanding of the perceptions of risks held by farmers, and to support efforts to manage and reduce these risks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antioxidant Response to Salinity in Salt-Tolerant and Salt-Susceptible Cultivars of Date Palm
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010008 - 02 Jan 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1028
Abstract
The salinity tolerance mechanism in date palm through antioxidation has not been completely deciphered to date. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the role of various antioxidants in salinity tolerance. Two date palm cultivars, contrasting in salinity tolerance, were used as model plants [...] Read more.
The salinity tolerance mechanism in date palm through antioxidation has not been completely deciphered to date. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the role of various antioxidants in salinity tolerance. Two date palm cultivars, contrasting in salinity tolerance, were used as model plants in a comparative study designed to detect changes in growth, Na+ and K+ uptake, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and antioxidant accumulations, when plants were exposed to salt stress. The results showed that salinity treatment had a more substantial negative effect on the growth and photosynthetic pigmentation of the susceptible ‘Zabad’ cultivar than on the tolerant ‘Umsila’ cultivar, probably due to the ability of ‘Umsila’ to accumulate less Na+ and more K+, to maintain a normal concentration of ROS and to produce more non-enzymatic antioxidants, including glutathione, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and proline. Under salinity, ‘Umsila’ could also activate more superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and ascorbate peroxidase (APX) than ‘Zabad’. These results suggest that the tolerance of ‘Umsila’ is partially due to the balanced Na+ and K+ uptake and to the relatively high concentration of ROS-scavenging metabolites. Together, these results indicate that the antioxidant mechanism is crucial for salinity tolerance in date palms. However, other mechanisms may also be involved in this trait. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Response and Tolerance of Agricultural Crops to Salinity Stress)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Insecticide Susceptibility of Field Populations of Tomato Leaf Miner (Tuta absoluta) in Northern Nigeria
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010007 - 01 Jan 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1088
Abstract
In 2016, northern Nigeria experienced a devastating infestation by the tomato leaf miner, leading to soaring in prices of tomatoes across the country. Unfortunately, information on the resistance status of this pest is lacking in northern Nigeria, hampering appropriate control measures. Here, we [...] Read more.
In 2016, northern Nigeria experienced a devastating infestation by the tomato leaf miner, leading to soaring in prices of tomatoes across the country. Unfortunately, information on the resistance status of this pest is lacking in northern Nigeria, hampering appropriate control measures. Here, we identified to species level and, using bioassays, characterised insecticide susceptibility profile of a field population of a tomato leaf miner from northern Nigeria. Highest resistance was observed with λ-cyhalothrin (a Type II pyrethroid) with a low mortality (18.52% at 56 h) and LD50 of 7461.474 ppm. Resistance was also established toward propoxur and chlorpyrifos-methyl with average mortalities each of 56% and LD50s of 1023.51 ppm and 106.351 ppm, respectively. Highest susceptibility was observed from abamectin with mortality of 86% and LD50 of 0.034 ppm. Pre-exposure to the synergist piperonylbutoxide significantly recovered λ–cyhalothrin susceptibility ((mortality~90%, χ2 = 98.35, p < 0.0001) and LD50 = 0.92 ppm) implicating P450 monoxygenases. No significant changes were observed on pre-exposure to diethyl maleate and triphenylphosphate-inhibitors of glutathione S-transferases and carboxylesterases, respectively. Sequencing of domain II of the voltage-gated sodium channel established 1014F kdr mutation 100% fixed in both λ-cyhalothrin-alive and dead larvae. These findings highlight the challenges for control of this invasive agricultural pest in northern Nigeria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated Pest Management in Agricultural Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Yields Response to Shading in the Field-to-Forest Transition Zones in Heterogeneous Landscapes
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010006 - 01 Jan 2019
Viewed by 917
Abstract
In crop modeling and yield predictions, the heterogeneity of agricultural landscapes is usually not accounted for. This heterogeneity often arises from landscape elements like forests, hedges, or single trees and shrubs that cast shadows. Shading from forested areas or shrubs has effects on [...] Read more.
In crop modeling and yield predictions, the heterogeneity of agricultural landscapes is usually not accounted for. This heterogeneity often arises from landscape elements like forests, hedges, or single trees and shrubs that cast shadows. Shading from forested areas or shrubs has effects on transpiration, temperature, and soil moisture, all of which affect the crop yield in the adjacent arable land. Transitional gradients of solar irradiance can be described as a function of the distance to the zero line (edge), the cardinal direction, and the height of trees. The magnitude of yield reduction in transition zones is highly influenced by solar irradiance—a factor that is not yet implemented in crop growth models on a landscape level. We present a spatially explicit model for shading caused by forested areas, in agricultural landscapes. With increasing distance to forest, solar irradiance and yield increase. Our model predicts that the shading effect from the forested areas occurs up to 15 m from the forest edge, for the simulated wheat yields, and up to 30 m, for simulated maize. Moreover, we estimated the spatial extent of transition zones, to calculate the regional yield reduction caused by shading of the forest edges, which amounted to 5% to 8% in an exemplary region. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Conservation Agriculture for Rice-Based Intensive Cropping by Smallholders in the Eastern Gangetic Plain
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010005 - 22 Dec 2018
Viewed by 984
Abstract
We review the recent development of Conservation Agriculture (CA) for rice-based smallholder farms in the Eastern Gangetic Plain (EGP) and the underpinning research on agronomy, weed control, soil properties and greenhouse gas emissions being tested to accelerate its adoption in Bangladesh. The studies [...] Read more.
We review the recent development of Conservation Agriculture (CA) for rice-based smallholder farms in the Eastern Gangetic Plain (EGP) and the underpinning research on agronomy, weed control, soil properties and greenhouse gas emissions being tested to accelerate its adoption in Bangladesh. The studies are based mostly on minimum soil disturbance planting in strip planting (SP) mode, using the Versatile Multi-crop Planter (VMP), powered by a two-wheel tractor (2WT). One-pass SP with the VMP decreased fuel costs for crop establishment by up to 85% and labour requirements by up to 50%. We developed strip-based non-puddled rice (Oryza sativa) transplanting (NPT) in minimally-disturbed soil and found that rice grain yield increased (by up to 12%) in longer-term practice of CA. On farms, 75% of NPT crops increased gross margin. For non-rice crops, relative yield increases ranged from 28% for lentil (Lens culinaris) to 6% for wheat (Triticum aestivum) on farms that adopted CA planting. Equivalent profit increases were from 47% for lentil to 560% for mustard (Brassica juncea). Moreover, VMP and CA adopting farms saved 34% of labour costs and lowered total cost by up to 10% for production of lentil, mustard, maize (Zea mays) and wheat. Effective weed control was obtained from the use of a range of pre-emergent and post-emergence herbicides and retention of increased crop residue. In summary, a substantial body of research has demonstrated the benefits of CA and mechanized planting for cost savings, yield increases in many cases, increased profit in most cases and substantial labour saving. Improvement in soil quality has been demonstrated in long-term experiments together with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Conservation Agriculture)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Adjustment of Irrigation Schedules as a Strategy to Mitigate Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture in Cyprus
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010004 - 21 Dec 2018
Viewed by 744
Abstract
The study aimed at investigating eventual deviations from typical recommendations of irrigation water application to crops in Cyprus given the undeniable changes in recent weather conditions. It focused on the seasonal or monthly changes in crop evapotranspiration (ETc) and net irrigation requirements (NIR) [...] Read more.
The study aimed at investigating eventual deviations from typical recommendations of irrigation water application to crops in Cyprus given the undeniable changes in recent weather conditions. It focused on the seasonal or monthly changes in crop evapotranspiration (ETc) and net irrigation requirements (NIR) of a number of permanent and annual crops over two consecutive overlapping periods (1976–2000 and 1990–2014). While the differences in the seasonal ETc and NIR estimates were not statistically significant between the studied periods, differences were identified via a month-by-month comparison. In March, the water demands of crops appeared to be significantly greater during the recent past in relation to 1976–2000, while for NIR, March showed statistically significant increases and September showed significant decreases. Consequently, the adjustment of irrigation schedules to climate change by farmers should not rely on annual trends as an eventual mismatch of monthly crop water needs with irrigation water supply might affect the critical growth stages of crops with a disproportionately greater negative impact on yields and quality. The clear increase in irrigation needs in March coincides with the most sensitive growth stage of irrigated potato crops in Cyprus. Therefore, the results may serve as a useful tool for current and future adaptation measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Irrigation)
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Open AccessArticle
Animal Welfare Payments and Veterinary and Insemination Costs for Dairy Cows
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010003 - 21 Dec 2018
Viewed by 774
Abstract
To promote the provision of animal-friendly housing and management exceeding the minimal legal standards, the Swiss government offers direct payments through two programs for several farm animal species. In dairy cows the BTS program pays for group housing systems with a comfortable lying [...] Read more.
To promote the provision of animal-friendly housing and management exceeding the minimal legal standards, the Swiss government offers direct payments through two programs for several farm animal species. In dairy cows the BTS program pays for group housing systems with a comfortable lying area separated from the feeding area. The other program, the RAUS, requires that cows receive regular exercise in an outdoor run in the winter and a pasture during summer. The aim of the study was to analyze the relationship between the two Swiss direct payment programs and the veterinary and insemination costs for dairy cows. We used a large sample of more than 21,000 dairy farm observations from 2004 to 2014 obtained from the Swiss Farm Accountancy Data Network. A propensity score weighting was combined with a linear regression model to estimate the doubly robust treatment effects of the BTS and/or RAUS programs on dairying and breeding. Compared to the control group, that is, farms participating in neither program, farms in the RAUS tended to reduce their veterinary costs by 2% (CHF 4.71). Participation in both the BTS and RAUS programs resulted in a 10% cost reduction (CHF 19.32). An analysis of the effects of participation in both programs, with farms participating in only the RAUS as the control group, indicated a cost reduction of 7% for the farms participating in both programs (CHF 13.54). In contrast, participation in the RAUS only or in the RAUS and the BTS did not have a significant effect on insemination costs. The results thus indicate that the implementation of higher welfare standards can have a positive effect on the economic situation of a farm. Full article
Open AccessArticle
On the Evolution of Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards: The Role of Trade Agreements
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010002 - 21 Dec 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 681
Abstract
Trade agreements and trade measures are policy instruments thought to favour trade by providing a degree of harmonisation among members. We analyse how the agri-food trade and the incidence of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPSs) have evolved within countries sharing agreements. We examine, [...] Read more.
Trade agreements and trade measures are policy instruments thought to favour trade by providing a degree of harmonisation among members. We analyse how the agri-food trade and the incidence of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPSs) have evolved within countries sharing agreements. We examine, through a regression discontinuity design, whether the approval of agreements affects the evolution of trade and SPSs over time, and quantify the trade effects of SPSs. We also provide differences before and after the introduction of agreements, and among the most regulated agri-food products. Findings show that trade agreements tend to favour the increase of trade and the reduction of policy measures between members. However, regulation inequalities exist across trade agreements covering different geo-economic areas: after the approval of agreements, the existence and the importance of SPSs become relevant among developing countries, whereas the pervasiveness of SPSs becomes less stringent between developed and developing countries. Our analyses also prove that trade agreements and trade measures are trade-enhancing only at aggregate level: product-specific analyses show that cereal is the only sector that benefits from the joint influence of trade agreements and SPSs. The harmonisation of SPSs within agreements may be determinant in avoiding distortions in favour of members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agriculture Policies: Experiences and Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle
Acquisition of Sorption and Drying Data with Embedded Devices: Improving Standard Models for High Oleic Sunflower Seeds by Continuous Measurements in Dynamic Systems
Agriculture 2019, 9(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9010001 - 20 Dec 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 832
Abstract
Innovative methods were used to determine both sorption and drying data at temperatures typically found in the handling of agricultural products. A robust sorption measurement system using multiple microbalances and a high precision through flow laboratory dryer, both with continuous data acquisition, were [...] Read more.
Innovative methods were used to determine both sorption and drying data at temperatures typically found in the handling of agricultural products. A robust sorption measurement system using multiple microbalances and a high precision through flow laboratory dryer, both with continuous data acquisition, were employed as the basis for a water vapor deficit based approach in modeling the sorption and drying behavior of high oleic sunflower seeds. A coherent set of data for sorption (Temperature T = 25–50 °C, water activity aw = 0.10–0.95) and for drying (T = 30–90 °C, humidity of the drying air x = 0.010–0.020 kg·kg−1) was recorded for freshly harvested material. A generalized single-layer drying model was developed and validated (R2 = 0.99, MAPE = 8.3%). An analytical solution for predicting effective diffusion coefficients was also generated (R2 = 0.976, MAPE of 6.33%). The water vapor pressure deficit-based approach allows for an easy integration of meaningful parameters recorded during drying while maintaining low complexity of the underlying equations in order for embedded microcontrollers with limited processing power to be integrated in current agro-industrial applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors Application in Agriculture)
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