Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Tourism Competitiveness of Rural Areas: Evidence from a Region in Poland
Agriculture 2020, 10(11), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10110569 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 18
Abstract
The aim of the article is to present the analysis of tourism competitiveness of the rural areas of the Eastern Poland microregion (Podlaskie, Warmińsko–mazurskie, Lubelskie, Świętokrzyskie, Podkarpackie provinces). To group the rural communes in terms of tourism competitiveness, a cluster analysis with Ward’s [...] Read more.
The aim of the article is to present the analysis of tourism competitiveness of the rural areas of the Eastern Poland microregion (Podlaskie, Warmińsko–mazurskie, Lubelskie, Świętokrzyskie, Podkarpackie provinces). To group the rural communes in terms of tourism competitiveness, a cluster analysis with Ward’s method was applied. To do so, the data provided by the Central Statistical Office (Warsaw) in Poland of 2019 were used. The analyses provided in the article confirm the dependence between the size of the areas of outstanding natural beauty and the region’s tourism competitiveness. The results can be applied by the representatives of various institutions and organizations supporting the development of tourism in those areas. Full article
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Article
Changes in Soil Erosion Intensity Caused by Land Use and Demographic Changes in the Jablanica River Basin, Serbia
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080345 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
The aim of this research is to determine the change in the spatial distribution of erosion intensity in the territory of the Jablanica River Basin in the period 1971–2016 caused by land use and demographic changes. The Erosion Potential Method (EPM) was used [...] Read more.
The aim of this research is to determine the change in the spatial distribution of erosion intensity in the territory of the Jablanica River Basin in the period 1971–2016 caused by land use and demographic changes. The Erosion Potential Method (EPM) was used to quantify changes in erosion intensity and to estimate the total annual sediment yield. The research results show that the value of the erosion coefficient decreased from 0.432 in 1971 to 0.360 in 2016. Specific annual gross erosion in the Jablanica River Basin was 654.41 m3/km2/year in 1971, while in 2016 it was 472.03 m3/km2/year. The analysis of proportional changes was used to determine demographic changes and land use patterns in the basin area. In terms of the scale and intensity of the erosion process, three types and one sub-type of population dynamics of settlements and land use changes were distinguished, respectively: progressive, stagnant, regressive and dominant regressive. It was concluded that the results show the significance of demographic and land use changes in the control of the intensity of erosion. The Soil Erosion Map may be useful to planners and land use managers to take appropriate decisions for soil conservation in the basin. Full article
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Article
Corn Grain Yield Estimation from Vegetation Indices, Canopy Cover, Plant Density, and a Neural Network Using Multispectral and RGB Images Acquired with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070277 - 08 Jul 2020
Cited by 18
Abstract
Corn yields vary spatially and temporally in the plots as a result of weather, altitude, variety, plant density, available water, nutrients, and planting date; these are the main factors that influence crop yield. In this study, different multispectral and red-green-blue (RGB) vegetation indices [...] Read more.
Corn yields vary spatially and temporally in the plots as a result of weather, altitude, variety, plant density, available water, nutrients, and planting date; these are the main factors that influence crop yield. In this study, different multispectral and red-green-blue (RGB) vegetation indices were analyzed, as well as the digitally estimated canopy cover and plant density, in order to estimate corn grain yield using a neural network model. The relative importance of the predictor variables was also analyzed. An experiment was established with five levels of nitrogen fertilization (140, 200, 260, 320, and 380 kg/ha) and four replicates, in a completely randomized block design, resulting in 20 experimental polygons. Crop information was captured using two sensors (Parrot Sequoia_4.9, and DJI FC6310_8.8) mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for two flight dates at 47 and 79 days after sowing (DAS). The correlation coefficient between the plant density, obtained through the digital count of corn plants, and the corn grain yield was 0.94; this variable was the one with the highest relative importance in the yield estimation according to Garson’s algorithm. The canopy cover, digitally estimated, showed a correlation coefficient of 0.77 with respect to the corn grain yield, while the relative importance of this variable in the yield estimation was 0.080 and 0.093 for 47 and 79 DAS, respectively. The wide dynamic range vegetation index (WDRVI), plant density, and canopy cover showed the highest correlation coefficient and the smallest errors (R = 0.99, mean absolute error (MAE) = 0.028 t ha−1, root mean square error (RMSE) = 0.125 t ha−1) in the corn grain yield estimation at 47 DAS, with the WDRVI index and the density being the variables with the highest relative importance for this crop development date. For the 79 DAS flight, the combination of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), normalized difference red edge (NDRE), WDRVI, excess green (EXG), triangular greenness index (TGI), and visible atmospherically resistant index (VARI), as well as plant density and canopy cover, generated the highest correlation coefficient and the smallest errors (R = 0.97, MAE = 0.249 t ha−1, RMSE = 0.425 t ha−1) in the corn grain yield estimation, where the density and the NDVI were the variables with the highest relative importance, with values of 0.295 and 0.184, respectively. However, the WDRVI, plant density, and canopy cover estimated the corn grain yield with acceptable precision (R = 0.96, MAE = 0.209 t ha−1, RMSE = 0.449 t ha−1). The generated neural network models provided a high correlation coefficient between the estimated and the observed corn grain yield, and also showed acceptable errors in the yield estimation. The spectral information registered through remote sensors mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles and its processing in vegetation indices, canopy cover, and plant density allowed the characterization and estimation of corn grain yield. Such information is very useful for decision-making and agricultural activities planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Neural Networks in Agriculture)
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Article
ANN-Based Continual Classification in Agriculture
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050178 - 18 May 2020
Cited by 24
Abstract
In the area of plant protection and precision farming, timely detection and classification of plant diseases and crop pests play crucial roles in the management and decision-making. Recently, there have been many artificial neural network (ANN) methods used in agricultural classification tasks, which [...] Read more.
In the area of plant protection and precision farming, timely detection and classification of plant diseases and crop pests play crucial roles in the management and decision-making. Recently, there have been many artificial neural network (ANN) methods used in agricultural classification tasks, which are task specific and require big datasets. These two characteristics are quite different from how humans learn intelligently. Undoubtedly, it would be exciting if the models can accumulate knowledge to handle continual tasks. Towards this goal, we propose an ANN-based continual classification method via memory storage and retrieval, with two clear advantages: Few data and high flexibility. This proposed ANN-based model combines a convolutional neural network (CNN) and generative adversarial network (GAN). Through learning of the similarity between input paired data, the CNN part only requires few raw data to achieve a good performance, suitable for a classification task. The GAN part is used to extract important information from old tasks and generate abstracted images as memory for the future task. Experimental results show that the regular CNN model performs poorly on the continual tasks (pest and plant classification), due to the forgetting problem. However, our proposed method can distinguish all the categories from new and old tasks with good performance, owing to its ability of accumulating knowledge and alleviating forgetting. There are so many possible applications of this proposed approach in the agricultural field, for instance, the intelligent fruit picking robots, which can recognize and pick different kinds of fruits; the plant protection is achieved by automatic identification of diseases and pests, which can continuously improve the detection range. Thus, this work also provides a reference for other studies towards more intelligent and flexible applications in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Artificial Neural Networks in Agriculture)
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Article
The Role of Soil N2O Emissions in Agricultural Green Total Factor Productivity: An Empirical Study from China around 2006 when Agricultural Tax Was Abolished
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050150 - 04 May 2020
Cited by 25
Abstract
The decision in 2006 to abolish the agricultural tax, which had lasted for thousands of years, contributed to the prosperity of agriculture, and with it the growing importance of soil N2O emissions in China. However, most of the previous literature ignored [...] Read more.
The decision in 2006 to abolish the agricultural tax, which had lasted for thousands of years, contributed to the prosperity of agriculture, and with it the growing importance of soil N2O emissions in China. However, most of the previous literature ignored soil N2O emissions due to their too small share in total agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This paper attempts to take soil N2O emissions as an important variable in the measurement of agricultural green total factor productivity (AGTFP), which incorporates environmental pollution into the analytical framework of agricultural production efficiency. Three impressive results were found. Firstly, soil N2O emissions play an increasingly important role in agricultural GHG emissions. The proportion of soil N2O emissions in agricultural GHG emissions increased from 4.52% in 1998 to 4.83% in 2006, and then to 5.36% in 2016. Secondly, the regional difference of soil N2O emissions in AGTFP is visible. In 2016, although soil N2O emissions accounted for a small proportion (about 5%) of the total agricultural GHG emissions in China, the AGTFP including soil N2O emissions was much lower than that excluding soil N2O emissions, especially in areas with high agricultural and population density. Finally, over time, soil N2O emissions have had an increasing effect on AGTFP. Compared with 1998–2006, the impact of excluding soil N2O emissions on AGTFP in 2007–2016 was more evident than that including soil N2O emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thematic of Soil Ecological Functions in Agriculture)
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Article
Analysis of Plant Height Changes of Lodged Maize Using UAV-LiDAR Data
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050146 - 01 May 2020
Cited by 15
Abstract
Lodging stress seriously affects the yield, quality, and mechanical harvesting of maize, and is a major natural disaster causing maize yield reduction. The aim of this study was to obtain light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data of lodged maize using an unmanned aerial [...] Read more.
Lodging stress seriously affects the yield, quality, and mechanical harvesting of maize, and is a major natural disaster causing maize yield reduction. The aim of this study was to obtain light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data of lodged maize using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) equipped with a RIEGL VUX-1UAV sensor to analyze changes in the vertical structure of maize plants with different degrees of lodging, and thus to use plant height to quantitatively study maize lodging. Based on the UAV-LiDAR data, the height of the maize canopy was retrieved using a canopy height model to determine the height of the lodged maize canopy at different times. The profiles were analyzed to assess changes in maize plant height with different degrees of lodging. The differences in plant height growth of maize with different degrees of lodging were evaluated to determine the plant height recovery ability of maize with different degrees of lodging. Furthermore, the correlation between plant heights measured on the ground and LiDAR-estimated plant heights was used to verify the accuracy of plant height estimation. The results show that UAV-LiDAR data can be used to achieve maize canopy height estimation, with plant height estimation accuracy parameters of R2 = 0.964, RMSE = 0.127, and nRMSE = 7.449%. Thus, it can reflect changes of plant height of lodging maize and the recovery ability of plant height of different lodging types. Plant height can be used to quantitatively evaluate the lodging degree of maize. Studies have shown that the use of UAV-LiDAR data can effectively estimate plant heights and confirm the feasibility of LiDAR data in crop lodging monitoring. Full article
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Article
Enzymatic Activity of Loess Soil in Organic and Conventional Farming Systems
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040135 - 18 Apr 2020
Cited by 17
Abstract
This study was conducted over the period 2017–2019 in Czesławice (central Lublin region, Poland). The aim of the present study was to compare chemical soil quality parameters (soil pH, available P and K, organic carbon, and total nitrogen content) and soil enzymatic activity [...] Read more.
This study was conducted over the period 2017–2019 in Czesławice (central Lublin region, Poland). The aim of the present study was to compare chemical soil quality parameters (soil pH, available P and K, organic carbon, and total nitrogen content) and soil enzymatic activity (dehydrogenase, acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, urease, protease) in organic and conventional farming systems. The experimental design included two crop rotations (organic and conventional) in which identical plant species were grown: sugar beet-spring barley-red clover-winter wheat-oats. The loess soil on which the experiment was conducted was characterized by the grain size distribution of silt loam, and this soil was categorized as good wheat soil complex (soil class II). The experiment was set up as a split-plot design in triplicate in plots with an area of 40 m2. Soil sampling was carried out using a soil auger within an area of 0.20 m2 (from the 0 to 20 cm layer) in each plot during the autumn period. Over the 3-year study period, it was found that the organic system contributed to an increased soil content of organic carbon and total nitrogen. Moreover, a significantly higher soil pH value and a favorable narrow C/N ratio were found under the organic system (regardless of the crop species). Under the conventional system, in turn, a higher soil phosphorus and potassium content was observed. Enzymatic tests of the soil in the five-field crop rotation proved significantly higher activity of all the enzymes studied (in particular that of dehydrogenase, protease, and urease) in the organic system relative to the conventional one, regardless of the crop plant. Among the plants grown in crop rotation, sugar beet, and red clover had the most beneficial effect on the activity of the soil enzymes, followed by oats (especially under the organic system). The activity of the studied enzymes in the organic system was positively correlated (statistically significantly) with favorable soil pH, a higher content of organic C, and total N, and C/N ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Agricultural Soils)
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Article
Alpha and Beta-diversity of Microbial Communities Associated to Plant Disease Suppressive Functions of On-farm Green Composts
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040113 - 04 Apr 2020
Cited by 11
Abstract
Green waste composts are obtained from agricultural production chains; their suppressive properties are increasingly being developed as a promising biological control option in the management of soil-borne phytopathogens. The wide variety of microbes harbored in the compost ecological niches may regulate suppressive functions [...] Read more.
Green waste composts are obtained from agricultural production chains; their suppressive properties are increasingly being developed as a promising biological control option in the management of soil-borne phytopathogens. The wide variety of microbes harbored in the compost ecological niches may regulate suppressive functions through not yet fully known underlying mechanisms. This study investigates alpha- and beta-diversity of the compost microbial communities, as indicators of the biological features. Our green composts displayed a differential pattern of suppressiveness over the two assayed pathosystems. Fungal and bacterial densities, as well as catabolic and enzyme functionalities did not correlate with the compost control efficacy on cress disease. Differences in the suppressive potential of composts can be better predicted by the variations in the community levels of physiological profiles indicating that functional alpha-diversity is more predictive than that which is calculated on terminal restriction fragments length polymorphisms (T-RFLPs) targeting the 16S rRNA gene. However, beta-diversity described by nMDS analysis of the Bray–Curtis dissimilarity allowed for separating compost samples into distinct functionally meaningful clusters and indicated that suppressiveness could be regulated by selected groups of microorganisms as major deterministic mechanisms. This study contributes to individuating new suitable characterization procedures applicable to the suppressive green compost chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Composting and Organic Soil Amendments)
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Article
Influence of Harvest Stage and Rootstock Genotype on Compositional and Sensory Profile of the Elongated Tomato cv. “Sir Elyan”
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030082 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
The present experiment addressed the effects of two harvest stages, namely breaker (S1) and turning (S2), on compositional and sensory profile of grafted, greenhouse elongated tomatoes cv. “Sir Elyan”. The rootstocks “He-Man”, “Interpro”, and “Armstrong” were used. The S [...] Read more.
The present experiment addressed the effects of two harvest stages, namely breaker (S1) and turning (S2), on compositional and sensory profile of grafted, greenhouse elongated tomatoes cv. “Sir Elyan”. The rootstocks “He-Man”, “Interpro”, and “Armstrong” were used. The S1 fruits showed a higher dry matter content, firmness and titratable acidity when compared to the S2 ones (by 6%, 3%, and 15%, respectively). They showed, also, the highest L-ascorbic acid concentration and antioxidant activity. Differently, soluble solid content, lycopene and β-carotene increased in the S2 fruits (by 4%, 92%, and 26%, respectively). Excepting methyl salicylate, all the volatiles detected peaked in the S2 fruits, which were scored by panelists as sweeter and more flavorful than the S1 ones. Among the rootstock genotypes, “He-Man” promoted fruits firmness, carotenoids concentration and antioxidant activity, irrespective of the harvest stage. “Interpro” enhanced the sensory attributes of the S1 fruits in terms of bitterness, sourness, sweetness and flavor. Differently, sweetness, sourness, and tomato flavor of the S2 fruits were promoted by “Armstrong”. The results highlight the influence of rootstock genotype on the nutraceutical and sensorial profile of “Sir Elyan” fruits harvested at early ripening stages. Full article
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Article
The Effects of Preharvest 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) Treatment on the Fruit Quality Parameters of Cold-Stored ‘Szampion’ Cultivar Apples
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030080 - 15 Mar 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Postharvest treatment by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) for ‘Szampion’ cultivar apples inhibits ripening of climacteric fruit by blocking ethylene receptors, preventing ethylene from binding and eliciting its action. It is also possible to apply 1-MCP preharvest, which so far has not been studied for the [...] Read more.
Postharvest treatment by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) for ‘Szampion’ cultivar apples inhibits ripening of climacteric fruit by blocking ethylene receptors, preventing ethylene from binding and eliciting its action. It is also possible to apply 1-MCP preharvest, which so far has not been studied for the ‘Szampion’ cultivar. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of preharvest 1-MCP treatment on the fruit quality parameters of cold-stored ‘Szampion’ cultivar apples in a Polish experiment. Two identical groups of apple trees (6 years, experimental orchard in Warsaw) were included, to obtain studied apples (preharvest 1-MCP treatment with HarvistaTM, 150 g/ha, 7 days before the optimum harvesting window, OHW) and control apples (1-MCP not applied). Apples for the studied group were harvested twice—on 28 September (OHW) and 24 October (delayed harvesting)—and for control group once—on 28 September, as before 24 October the majority of apples fell from trees. Afterwards, apples were stored in an Ultra Low Oxygen chamber (1.2% CO2, 1.2% O2). Apples were assessed in the preharvest period (weekly, six measurements for the studied group, and five measurements for the control group) and postharvest period (monthly, three measurements separately for each harvest time for the studied group and control group). The following parameters were assessed: internal ethylene content (IEC), firmness, total soluble solids (TSS) content, starch index, Streif index, titratable acidity (TA), and color for blush. For the preharvest period, statistically significant differences between the studied group and the control group were observed for IEC, the a* coordinate of color (p < 0.05; for apples treated with 1-MCP lower results), firmness, Streif index, TA (p < 0.05; higher results), and starch index (p < 0.05; no defined trend). For the postharvest period, statistically significant differences between the studied group and the control group were observed for apples harvested in the OHW for firmness (p < 0.05; for apples treated with 1-MCP higher results) and IEC (p < 0.05; no defined trend), while for delayed harvesting the differences were only minor. It may be concluded, that preharvest 1-MCP application makes it possible not only to obtain better results for ‘Szampion’ cultivar apples’ quality parameters, but also allows delayed harvesting without deterioration in quality. Full article
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Article
Secondary Metabolites Produced by Macrophomina phaseolina Isolated from Eucalyptus globulus
Agriculture 2020, 10(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10030072 - 11 Mar 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
In the course of investigations on the role of secondary metabolites in plant-microbe interactions, the production of secondary metabolites by Macrophomina phaseolina isolates from Eucalyptus globulus, was studied. This fungus is responsible for several plant diseases which affect crop productivity and industry. [...] Read more.
In the course of investigations on the role of secondary metabolites in plant-microbe interactions, the production of secondary metabolites by Macrophomina phaseolina isolates from Eucalyptus globulus, was studied. This fungus is responsible for several plant diseases which affect crop productivity and industry. Although secondary metabolites may play a role in disease development, there are very few reports on M. phaseolina metabolomics and, as far as we know, isolates from eucalypts have not been investigated for secondary metabolites production. In the present paper, metabolites typical of fungi, from the family Botryosphaeriaceae, were identified for the first time as products of M. phaseolina. Furthermore, the isolate under examination was grown in the presence and absence of host stem tissue, and metabolite profiles were compared. Five products are reported for the first time in this species and azelaic acid was exclusively produced in the presence of eucalypt stem. Finally, phytotoxicity and cytotoxicity tests of culture filtrates and crude organic extracts were also performed. Key Contribution: Lipophilic metabolites produced by M. phaseolina might play a role in the plant-fungus interactions responsible for serious diseases of E. globulus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Secondary Metabolites in Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Article
The Economic Sustainability of Farms under Common Agricultural Policy in the European Union Countries
Agriculture 2020, 10(2), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10020034 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 22
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to determine the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy’s (CAP) subsidies on the level of economic sustainability of farms by means of three-fold study. To determine the economic sustainability of farms the authors applied the income gap [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to determine the influence of the Common Agricultural Policy’s (CAP) subsidies on the level of economic sustainability of farms by means of three-fold study. To determine the economic sustainability of farms the authors applied the income gap ratio. Next, the level of income differentiation between farms of various economic classes was established. The last part consisted of the recognition of statistically significant CAP schemes that shape agricultural income in farms of different size and in assessing how the respective subsidies should increase or decrease to fill the recognized gap, based on the coefficients of panel regression. The spatial scope covered all EU countries in 2005–2015. Results show that due to the CAP’s support the average income of farms has approached the average non-agricultural income, but distribution of this support favored the largest farms, increasing disparities within the sector. Full article
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Article
Differential Response of Sugar Beet to Long-Term Mild to Severe Salinity in a Soil–Pot Culture
Agriculture 2019, 9(10), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9100223 - 13 Oct 2019
Cited by 38
Abstract
Attempts to cultivate sugar beet (Beta vulgaris spp. vulgaris) in the sub-tropical saline soils are ongoing because of its excellent tolerance to salinity. However, the intrinsic adaptive physiology has not been discovered yet in the sub-tropical climatic conditions. In this study, [...] Read more.
Attempts to cultivate sugar beet (Beta vulgaris spp. vulgaris) in the sub-tropical saline soils are ongoing because of its excellent tolerance to salinity. However, the intrinsic adaptive physiology has not been discovered yet in the sub-tropical climatic conditions. In this study, we investigated morpho-physiological attributes, biochemical responses, and yield of sugar beet under a gradient of salinity in the soil–pot culture system to evaluate its adaptive mechanisms. Results exhibited that low and high salinity displayed a differential impact on growth, photosynthesis, and yield. Low to moderate salt stress (75 and 100 mM NaCl) showed no inhibition on growth and photosynthetic attributes. Accordingly, low salinity displayed simulative effect on chlorophyll and antioxidant enzymes activity which contributed to maintaining a balanced H2O2 accumulation and lipid peroxidation. Furthermore, relative water and proline content showed no alteration in low salinity. These factors contributed to improving the yield (tuber weight). On the contrary, 250 mM salinity showed a mostly inhibitory role on growth, photosynthesis, and yield. Collectively, our findings provide insights into the mild–moderate salt adaptation strategy in the soil culture test attributed to increased water content, elevation of photosynthetic pigment, better photosynthesis, and better management of oxidative stress. Therefore, cultivation of sugar beet in moderately saline-affected soils will ensure efficient utilization of lands. Full article
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Article
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 12
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)
Article
Sorption to Biochar Impacts β-Glucosidase and Phosphatase Enzyme Activities
Agriculture 2018, 8(10), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8100158 - 10 Oct 2018
Cited by 24
Abstract
Extracellular enzymes catalyze biogeochemical reactions in soil, cycling carbon and nutrients in agricultural systems. Enzymes respond quickly to soil management, including organic amendment inputs, such as biochar, a charcoal-like solid byproduct of bioenergy production. In a previous agricultural field trial, a pine biochar [...] Read more.
Extracellular enzymes catalyze biogeochemical reactions in soil, cycling carbon and nutrients in agricultural systems. Enzymes respond quickly to soil management, including organic amendment inputs, such as biochar, a charcoal-like solid byproduct of bioenergy production. In a previous agricultural field trial, a pine biochar amendment caused an approximately 40% decrease in the enzyme activities of β-glucosidase (BG) and phosphatase (PHOS). The large surface area of the pine biochar has the potential to sorb nutrients and other organic molecules. To test if sorption caused decreased enzyme activity, we used a laboratory assay to quantify the activity of two sorbed enzymes: BG and acid PHOS, involved in the cycling of carbon and phosphorous. The enzymes were incubated with three solid phases: (1) the high surface area pine biochar, (2) the agricultural soil, and (3) a low surface area grass biochar, for an additional comparison. We quantified the sorbed enzymes at pH 6, 7, and 8, using a Bradford protein assay, and measured the immobilized enzyme activities via high-throughput fluorometric analysis. After sorption onto pine biochar, detectable BG and PHOS activity levels dropped by over 95% relative to the soil, supporting direct sorption as one mechanism that reduces enzyme activity in biochar amended soil. This laboratory assay demonstrated that sorption could account for the lack of priming of native soil organic matter and changes in soil phosphorous cycling after pine biochar addition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biochar and Soil: What Is behind Its Impacts?)
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Article
A Novel Machine Learning Method for Estimating Biomass of Grass Swards Using a Photogrammetric Canopy Height Model, Images and Vegetation Indices Captured by a Drone
Agriculture 2018, 8(5), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8050070 - 17 May 2018
Cited by 71
Abstract
Silage is the main feed in milk and ruminant meat production in Northern Europe. Novel drone-based remote sensing technology could be utilized in many phases of silage production, but advanced methods of utilizing these data are still developing. Grass swards are harvested three [...] Read more.
Silage is the main feed in milk and ruminant meat production in Northern Europe. Novel drone-based remote sensing technology could be utilized in many phases of silage production, but advanced methods of utilizing these data are still developing. Grass swards are harvested three times in season, and fertilizer is applied similarly three times—once for each harvest when aiming at maximum yields. Timely information of the yield is thus necessary several times in a season for making decisions on harvesting time and rate of fertilizer application. Our objective was to develop and assess a novel machine learning technique for the estimation of canopy height and biomass of grass swards utilizing multispectral photogrammetric camera data. Variation in the studied crop stand was generated using six different nitrogen fertilizer levels and four harvesting dates. The sward was a timothy-meadow fescue mixture dominated by timothy. We extracted various features from the remote sensing data by combining an ultra-high resolution photogrammetric canopy height model (CHM) with a pixel size of 1.0 cm and red, green, blue (RGB) and near-infrared range intensity values and different vegetation indices (VI) extracted from orthophoto mosaics. We compared the performance of multiple linear regression (MLR) and a Random Forest estimator (RF) with different combinations of the CHM, RGB and VI features. The best estimation results with both methods were obtained by combining CHM and VI features and all three feature classes (CHM, RGB and VI features). Both estimators provided equally accurate results. The Pearson correlation coefficients (PCC) and Root Mean Square Errors (RMSEs) of the estimations were at best 0.98 and 0.34 t/ha (12.70%), respectively, for the dry matter yield (DMY) and 0.98 and 1.22 t/ha (11.05%), respectively, for the fresh yield (FY) estimations. Our assessment of the sensitivity of the method with respect to different development stages and different amounts of biomass showed that the use of the machine learning technique that integrated multiple features improved the results in comparison to the simple linear regressions. These results were extremely promising, showing that the proposed multispectral photogrammetric approach can provide accurate biomass estimates of grass swards, and could be developed as a low-cost tool for practical farming applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Agricultural System)
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Review

Review
The Thin Line between Pathogenicity and Endophytism: The Case of Lasiodiplodia theobromae
Agriculture 2020, 10(10), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10100488 - 21 Oct 2020
Cited by 13
Abstract
Many fungi reported for endophytic occurrence are better known as plant pathogens on different crops, raising questions about their actual relationships with the hosts and other plants in the biocoenosis and about the factors underlying the lifestyle shift. This paper offers an overview [...] Read more.
Many fungi reported for endophytic occurrence are better known as plant pathogens on different crops, raising questions about their actual relationships with the hosts and other plants in the biocoenosis and about the factors underlying the lifestyle shift. This paper offers an overview of the endophytic occurrence of Lasiodiplodia theobromae (Dothideomycetes, Botryosphaeriaceae), a species known to be able to colonize many plants as both an endophyte and a pathogen. Prevalently spread in tropical and subtropical areas, there are concerns that it may propagate to the temperate region following global warming and the increasing trade of plant materials. The state of the art concerning the biochemical properties of endophytic strains of this species is also examined with reference to a range of biotechnological applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occurrence and Functions of Endophytic Fungi in Crop Species)
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Review
Herbaceous Oil Crops, a Review on Mechanical Harvesting State of the Art
Agriculture 2020, 10(8), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10080309 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
The sustainable production of renewable energy is a key topic on the European community’s agenda in the next decades. The use of residuals from agriculture could not be enough to meet the growing demand for energy, and the contribution of vegetable oil to [...] Read more.
The sustainable production of renewable energy is a key topic on the European community’s agenda in the next decades. The use of residuals from agriculture could not be enough to meet the growing demand for energy, and the contribution of vegetable oil to biodiesel production may be important. Moreover, vegetable oil can surrogate petroleum products in many cases, as in cosmetics, biopolymers, or lubricants production. However, the cultivation of oil crops for the mere production of industrial oil would arise concerns on competition for land use between food and non-food crops. Additionally, the economic sustainability is not always guaranteed, since the mechanical harvesting, in some cases, is still far from acceptable. Therefore, it is difficult to plan the future strategy on bioproducts production from oil crops if the actual feasibility to harvest the seeds is still almost unknown. With the present review, the authors aim to provide a comprehensive overview on the state of the art of mechanical harvesting in seven herbaceous oil crops, namely: sunflower (Heliantus annuus L.), canola (Brassica napus L.), cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L.), camelina (Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz), safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.), crambe (Crambe abyssinica R. E. Fr.), and castor bean (Ricinus communis L.). The review underlines that the mechanical harvesting of sunflower, canola and cardoon seeds is performed relying on specific devices that perform effectively with a minimum seed loss. Crambe and safflower seeds can be harvested through a combine harvester equipped with a header for cereals. On the other hand, camelina and castor crops still lack the reliable implementation on combine harvesters. Some attempts have been performed to harvest camelina and castor while using a cereal header and a maize header, respectively, but the actual effectiveness of both strategies is still unknown. Full article
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Review
Pig Farming in Alternative Systems: Strengths and Challenges in Terms of Animal Welfare, Biosecurity, Animal Health and Pork Safety
Agriculture 2020, 10(7), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070261 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 9
Abstract
In pig production, the widespread conventional indoor system with a slatted floor currently dominates. However, this production system is becoming less socially acceptable. In addition to general environmental protection issues, animal welfare, the absence of suffering and distress, and the management of pain [...] Read more.
In pig production, the widespread conventional indoor system with a slatted floor currently dominates. However, this production system is becoming less socially acceptable. In addition to general environmental protection issues, animal welfare, the absence of suffering and distress, and the management of pain also constitute societal concerns. In this context, alternative production systems are gaining ground. Although they are popular with consumers and other citizens, these alternative systems have their critical points. Here, we reviewed the international scientific literature to establish the state of the art of current knowledge regarding welfare, biosecurity, animal health and pork safety in this type of farming system. In general, alternative farms give pigs the opportunity to express a broader range of behaviours than conventional farms. However, the management of feeding, watering, temperature and predators is often more complicated in these outdoor systems. In addition, biosecurity measures seem to be applied less strictly in alternative farms than in conventional farms, especially in free-range systems, where they are more difficult to implement. On the other hand, pigs kept in these farming systems seem to be less affected by respiratory diseases, but parasitism and piglet crushing (in farrowing units) both remain a real challenge. Furthermore, the higher prevalence of many zoonotic pathogens in these farms may represent a risk for human health. Full article
Review
Automatic Detection and Monitoring of Insect Pests—A Review
Agriculture 2020, 10(5), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10050161 - 09 May 2020
Cited by 27
Abstract
Many species of insect pests can be detected and monitored automatically. Several systems have been designed in order to improve integrated pest management (IPM) in the context of precision agriculture. Automatic detection traps have been developed for many important pests. These techniques and [...] Read more.
Many species of insect pests can be detected and monitored automatically. Several systems have been designed in order to improve integrated pest management (IPM) in the context of precision agriculture. Automatic detection traps have been developed for many important pests. These techniques and new technologies are very promising for the early detection and monitoring of aggressive and quarantine pests. The aim of the present paper is to review the techniques and scientific state of the art of the use of sensors for automatic detection and monitoring of insect pests. The paper focuses on the methods for identification of pests based in infrared sensors, audio sensors and image-based classification, presenting the different systems available, examples of applications and recent developments, including machine learning and Internet of Things. Future trends of automatic traps and decision support systems are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Analysis Techniques in Agriculture)
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Review
A Systematic Review on Case Studies of Remote-Sensing-Based Flood Crop Loss Assessment
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040131 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 12
Abstract
This article reviews case studies which have used remote sensing data for different aspects of flood crop loss assessment. The review systematically finds a total of 62 empirical case studies from the past three decades. The number of case studies has recently been [...] Read more.
This article reviews case studies which have used remote sensing data for different aspects of flood crop loss assessment. The review systematically finds a total of 62 empirical case studies from the past three decades. The number of case studies has recently been increased because of increased availability of remote sensing data. In the past, flood crop loss assessment was very generalized and time-intensive because of the dependency on the survey-based data collection. Remote sensing data availability makes rapid flood loss assessment possible. This study groups flood crop loss assessment approaches into three broad categories: flood-intensity-based approach, crop-condition-based approach, and a hybrid approach of the two. Flood crop damage assessment is more precise when both flood information and crop condition are incorporated in damage assessment models. This review discusses the strengths and weaknesses of different loss assessment approaches. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Landsat are the dominant sources of optical remote sensing data for flood crop loss assessment. Remote-sensing-based vegetation indices (VIs) have significantly been utilized for crop damage assessments in recent years. Many case studies also relied on microwave remote sensing data, because of the inability of optical remote sensing to see through clouds. Recent free-of-charge availability of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) data from Sentinel-1 will advance flood crop damage assessment. Data for the validation of loss assessment models are scarce. Recent advancements of data archiving and distribution through web technologies will be helpful for loss assessment and validation. Full article
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Review
Mitigating the Effects of Habitat Loss on Solitary Bees in Agricultural Ecosystems
Agriculture 2020, 10(4), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10040115 - 05 Apr 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
Solitary bees and other wild pollinators provide an important ecosystem service which can benefit both the agricultural economy and the sustainability of many native ecosystems. Many solitary bees, however, are experiencing decreases in their populations and ranges, resulting in an overall loss of [...] Read more.
Solitary bees and other wild pollinators provide an important ecosystem service which can benefit both the agricultural economy and the sustainability of many native ecosystems. Many solitary bees, however, are experiencing decreases in their populations and ranges, resulting in an overall loss of pollinator species richness in many areas. Several interacting factors have been implicated in this decline, including increased pesticide use, climate change, and pathogens, but habitat loss remains one of the primary drivers. The widespread conversion of natural habitats into agricultural landscapes has decreased the availability of adequate nesting sites and floral diversity for many bee species. Large monocultures with intensive production systems often cannot support the populations of wild bees (particularly species with short foraging ranges) necessary to ensure adequate pollination of animal-pollinated crops. Diversifying agricultural landscapes through the incorporation of wildflower plantings, as well as the preservation of remaining natural habitats, may offer a solution, as it has been shown to increase both bee diversity and abundance and the pollination of nearby crops. In this review article, we discuss the various effects of habitat loss on solitary bees and different ways to mitigate such effects in order to conserve bee diversity and populations in agricultural landscapes. Full article
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Review
Methods for Management of Soilborne Diseases in Crop Production
Agriculture 2020, 10(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10010016 - 11 Jan 2020
Cited by 47
Abstract
The significant problems caused by soilborne pathogens in crop production worldwide include reduced crop performance, decreased yield, and higher production costs. In many parts of the world, methyl bromide was extensively used to control these pathogens before the implementation of the Montreal Protocol—a [...] Read more.
The significant problems caused by soilborne pathogens in crop production worldwide include reduced crop performance, decreased yield, and higher production costs. In many parts of the world, methyl bromide was extensively used to control these pathogens before the implementation of the Montreal Protocol—a global agreement to protect the ozone layer. The threats of soilborne disease epidemics in crop production, high cost of chemical fungicides and development of fungicide resistance, climate change, new disease outbreaks and increasing concerns regarding environmental as well as soil health are becoming increasingly evident. These necessitate the use of integrated soilborne disease management strategies for crop production. This article summarizes methods for management of soilborne diseases in crop production which includes the use of sanitation, legal methods, resistant cultivars/varieties and grafting, cropping system, soil solarization, biofumigants, soil amendments, anaerobic soil disinfestation, soil steam sterilization, soil fertility and plant nutrients, soilless culture, chemical control and biological control in a system-based approach. Different methods with their strengths and weaknesses, mode of action and interactions are discussed, concluding with a brief outline of future directions which might lead to the integration of described methods in a system-based approach for more effective management of soilborne diseases. Full article
Review
Sustainable Management of Olive Orchard Nutrition: A Review
Agriculture 2020, 10(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10010011 - 03 Jan 2020
Cited by 17
Abstract
Intensification of olive orchard management entails increased use of fertilizers, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In this review, plant responses to nutritional aspects, as well as environmental considerations, are discussed. Nutrient deficiency impairs production, whereas over-fertilization may reduce yields and oil quality, and [...] Read more.
Intensification of olive orchard management entails increased use of fertilizers, especially nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In this review, plant responses to nutritional aspects, as well as environmental considerations, are discussed. Nutrient deficiency impairs production, whereas over-fertilization may reduce yields and oil quality, and increase environmental hazards and production costs. The effect of irrigation on nutrient availability and uptake is very significant. Application of organic matter (e.g., manure, compost) and cover crops can serve as substitutes for mineral fertilization with additional benefits to soil properties. Recycling of the pruned orchard material, olive pomace and olive mill wastewater, as well as the use of recycled wastewater for irrigation, are all potentially beneficial to olive orchard sustainability, but present the risk of environmental pollution. Some considerations regarding optimization of olive orchard nutrition are discussed. Full article
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Review
Perennial Energy Grasses: Resilient Crops in a Changing European Agriculture
Agriculture 2019, 9(8), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9080169 - 01 Aug 2019
Cited by 28
Abstract
This review describes the multiple utilization of perennial grasses as resilient crops for a multifunctional agriculture. Beyond its role of producing food, feed and fiber, the concept of multifunctional agriculture includes many other functions, such as ecosystem services, renewable energy production and a [...] Read more.
This review describes the multiple utilization of perennial grasses as resilient crops for a multifunctional agriculture. Beyond its role of producing food, feed and fiber, the concept of multifunctional agriculture includes many other functions, such as ecosystem services, renewable energy production and a contribution to the socio-economic viability of rural areas. Traditionally used for feed, some perennial grasses—known as perennial energy grasses (e.g., miscanthus—Miscanthus × giganteus Greef et Deuter, giant reed—Arundo donax L., switchgrass—Panicun virgatum L., reed canary grass—Phalaris arundinacea L.)—have been recommended as a biomass source for both energy and non-energy applications, and ecosystem services. Perennial grasses are lignocellulosic, low-cost feedstock, able to grow in variable environments including marginal lands. Due to their high yield, resilient traits, biomass composition, energy and environmental sustainability, perennial grasses are a candidate feedstock to foster the bio-based economy and adapt to a changing agriculture. However, perennial grasses for biomass production are largely undomesticated crops, or are at early stages of development. Hence, a great potential for improvements is expected, provided that research on breeding, agronomy, post-harvest logistic and bioconversion is undertaken in order to deliver resilient genotypes growing and performing well across a broad range of environmental conditions, climatic uncertainty, marginal land type and end-use destinations. Full article
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Review
The Interactions of Rhizodeposits with Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria in the Rhizosphere: A Review
Agriculture 2019, 9(7), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9070142 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 49
Abstract
Rhizodeposits, root exudates, and root border cells are vital components of the rhizosphere that significantly affect root colonization capacity and multiplication of rhizosphere microbes, as well as secretion of organic bioactive compounds. The rhizosphere is an ecological niche, in which beneficial bacteria compete [...] Read more.
Rhizodeposits, root exudates, and root border cells are vital components of the rhizosphere that significantly affect root colonization capacity and multiplication of rhizosphere microbes, as well as secretion of organic bioactive compounds. The rhizosphere is an ecological niche, in which beneficial bacteria compete with other microbiota for organic carbon compounds and interact with plants through root colonization activity to the soil. Some of these root-colonizing beneficial rhizobacteria also colonize endophytically and multiply inside plant roots. In the rhizosphere, these components contribute to complex physiological processes, including cell growth, cell differentiation, and suppression of plant pathogenic microbes. Understanding how rhizodeposits, root exudates, and root border cells interact in the rhizosphere in the presence of rhizobacterial populations is necessary to decipher their synergistic role for the improvement of plant health. This review highlights the diversity of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) genera, their functions, and the interactions with rhizodeposits in the rhizosphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Microbe Interactions)
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Review
A Critical Review on Soil Chemical Processes that Control How Soil pH Affects Phosphorus Availability to Plants
Agriculture 2019, 9(6), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9060120 - 08 Jun 2019
Cited by 119
Abstract
Occasionally, the classic understanding of the effect of pH on P uptake from soils is questioned through the claim that maximum P uptake occurs at a pH much lower than 6.5–7. The purpose of this paper was to thoroughly examine that claim and [...] Read more.
Occasionally, the classic understanding of the effect of pH on P uptake from soils is questioned through the claim that maximum P uptake occurs at a pH much lower than 6.5–7. The purpose of this paper was to thoroughly examine that claim and provide a critical review on soil processes that control how soil pH affects P solubility and availability. We discuss how individual P retention mechanisms are affected by pH in isolation and when combined in soils, and how both real and apparent exceptions to the classic view can occasionally occur due to dynamics between mechanisms, experimental techniques (equilibration time, method of soluble P extraction, and pH adjustment), and plant species that thrive under acidic conditions. While real exceptions to the rule of thumb of maximum P availability at near neutral pH can occur, we conclude that the classic textbook recommendation is generally sound. Full article
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Review
The Multi-Level Perspective in Research on Sustainability Transitions in Agriculture and Food Systems: A Systematic Review
Agriculture 2019, 9(4), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture9040074 - 10 Apr 2019
Cited by 41
Abstract
The multi-level perspective (MLP) is a prominent transition framework. The MLP posits that transitions come about through interaction processes within and among three analytical levels: niches, socio-technical regimes and a socio-technical landscape. This systematic review provides an overview on the use of the [...] Read more.
The multi-level perspective (MLP) is a prominent transition framework. The MLP posits that transitions come about through interaction processes within and among three analytical levels: niches, socio-technical regimes and a socio-technical landscape. This systematic review provides an overview on the use of the MLP in research on agro-food sustainability transitions. In particular, it analyses the understanding, conceptualisation and operationalisation of niches, regimes and landscapes. Niches considered in the selected papers include agro-ecology, organic agriculture, permaculture, conservation agriculture, integrated farming, and alternative food networks. Regime refers to industrial, conventional agriculture. The researched regime is often not clearly described and its operationalisation is a matter of deliberation. Landscape level is generally overlooked; when it is considered it refers to international trends and developments. Many scholars highlight the inadequacy of transition pathways in the MLP for the agro-food sector. Moreover, transition impacts are rarely addressed and the research field generally overlooks the analysis of the sustainability of niches and, consequently, of transitions. Research on transitions in the agro-food sector borrows from the MLP its generalizability and poor empirical operationalisation of niche, regime and landscape concepts. Therefore, integrative conceptualisation and operationalisation of the MLP elements is required to accommodate the complexity of sustainability transition processes and the peculiarities of the agro-food system. Full article
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Review
Advancing Intercropping Research and Practices in Industrialized Agricultural Landscapes
Agriculture 2018, 8(6), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8060080 - 08 Jun 2018
Cited by 52
Abstract
Sustainable intensification calls for agroecological and adaptive management of the agrifood system. Here, we focus on intercropping and how this agroecological practice can be used to increase the sustainability of crop production. Strip, mixed, and relay intercropping can be used to increase crop [...] Read more.
Sustainable intensification calls for agroecological and adaptive management of the agrifood system. Here, we focus on intercropping and how this agroecological practice can be used to increase the sustainability of crop production. Strip, mixed, and relay intercropping can be used to increase crop yields through resource partitioning and facilitation. In addition to achieving greater productivity, diversifying cropping systems through the use of strategic intercrops can increase yield stability, reduce pests, and improve soil health. Several intercropping systems are already implemented in industrialized agricultural landscapes, including mixed intercropping with perennial grasses and legumes as forage and relay intercropping with winter wheat and red clover. Because intercropping can provide numerous benefits, researchers should be clear about their objectives and use appropriate methods so as to not draw spurious conclusions when studying intercrops. In order to advance the practice, experiments that test the effects of intercropping should use standardized methodology, and researchers should report a set of common criteria to facilitate cross-study comparisons. Intercropping with two or more crops appears to be less common with annuals than perennials, which is likely due to differences in the mechanisms responsible for complementarity. One area where intercropping with annuals in industrialized agricultural landscapes has advanced is with cover crops, where private, public, and governmental organizations have harmonized efforts to increase the adoption of cover crop mixtures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Crop Production Intensification)
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Review
Macro and Micronutrient Storage in Plants and Their Remobilization When Facing Scarcity: The Case of Drought
Agriculture 2018, 8(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture8010014 - 16 Jan 2018
Cited by 36
Abstract
Human mineral malnutrition or hidden hunger is considered a global challenge, affecting a large proportion of the world’s population. The reduction in the mineral content of edible plant products is frequently found in cultivars bred for higher yields, and is probably increased by [...] Read more.
Human mineral malnutrition or hidden hunger is considered a global challenge, affecting a large proportion of the world’s population. The reduction in the mineral content of edible plant products is frequently found in cultivars bred for higher yields, and is probably increased by intensive agricultural practices. The filling of grain with macro and micronutrients is partly the result of a direct allocation from root uptake and remobilization from vegetative tissues. The aim of this bibliographic review is to focus on recent knowledge obtained from ionomic analysis of plant tissues in order to build a global appraisal of the potential remobilization of all macro and micronutrients, and especially those from leaves. Nitrogen is always remobilized from leaves of all plant species, although with different efficiencies, while nutrients such as K, S, P, Mg, Cu, Mo, Fe and Zn can be mobilized to a certain extent when plants are facing deficiencies. On the opposite, there is few evidence for leaf mobilization of Ca, Mn, Ni and B. Mechanisms related to the remobilization process (remobilization of mineral forms from vacuolar and organic compounds associated with senescence, respectively) are also discussed in the context of drought, an abiotic stress that is thought to increase and known to modulate the ionic composition of grain in crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Nutrient Dynamics in Stressful Environments)
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