Special Issue "Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress"

A special issue of AgriEngineering (ISSN 2624-7402).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pablo Martín-Ramos
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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, EPS, Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Ciencias Ambientales de Aragón (IUCA), Universidad de Zaragoza, Carretera de Cuarte, s/n, 22071 Huesca, Spain
Interests: sensors and actuators; biorrefineries; photocatalysis; waste management and valorization; soil pollution; life cycle analysis; nanomaterials applied to agriculture
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Prof. Francisco J. García-Ramos
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Guest Editor
Escuela Politécnica Superior - Campus de Huesca, University of Zaragoza, Carretera de Cuarte, s/n, 22071 Huesca, Spain
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. José Antonio Cuchí-Oterino
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Guest Editor
Escuela Politécnica Superior - Campus de Huesca, University of Zaragoza, Carretera de Cuarte, s/n, 22071 Huesca, Spain
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 2017, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued a report on the challenges that Agriculture is facing and will face into the 21st century, which can be summarized in one question: will we be able to sustainably and effectively feed everyone by 2050 and beyond, while meeting the additional demand for agricultural commodities due to non-food uses? Agricultural engineers can contribute in this process by releasing the biological and technical constraints on crop and animal productivity, reducing the contribution of the agricultural sector to environmental degradation, and enabling agricultural practices to adapt to environmental changes. To achieve optimal results for agribusiness and the society, the expertise of agricultural engineers must be integrated with expertise from other sciences: breakthrough technologies are needed for agricultural enterprises to meet the increasing list of standards and norms in the areas of energy, animal welfare, product quality, water, and volatile emissions. Recognition of trends in society and networking and participation in debates have thus become important activities for agricultural engineers.
The Iberian Agroengineering Congress series brings together Spanish and Portuguese engineers, researchers, educators and practitioners to present and discuss innovations, trends, and solutions to the aforementioned challenges in the interdisciplinary field of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. This biennial congress, jointly organized by the Spanish Society of Agroengineering and the Specialized Section of Rural Engineering of the Sociedade de Ciências Agrárias de Portugal, is an excellent opportunity to network and discuss future developments. In its 10th edition, the Congress will be held from 3-6 September in Huesca (Spain), at the Escuela Politécnica Superior, located on the Huesca Campus of the University of Zaragoza. The topics of the Congress include the main areas of Agricultural Engineering: Mechanization; soils and water; animal production technology and aquaculture; rural constructions; energy; information technologies and process control; projects, environment, and territory; postharvest technology; educational innovation in agroengineering. Additional information can be found at http://agroing2019.org.

Dr. Pablo Martín-Ramos
Prof. Francisco J. García-Ramos
Prof. José Antonio Cuchí-Oterino
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. AgriEngineering is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Agronomy
  • crop
  • food systems
  • irrigation and drainage
  • renewable energy
  • rural engineering
  • postharvest
  • precision farming
  • sustainable agriculture
  • technology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperCommunication
UAV Detection of Sinapis arvensis Infestation in Alfalfa Plots Using Simple Vegetation Indices from Conventional Digital Cameras
AgriEngineering 2020, 2(2), 206-212; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2020012 - 31 Mar 2020
Abstract
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer excellent survey capabilities at low cost to provide farmers with information about the type and distribution of weeds in their fields. In this study, the problem of detecting the infestation of a typical weed (charlock mustard) in an [...] Read more.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) offer excellent survey capabilities at low cost to provide farmers with information about the type and distribution of weeds in their fields. In this study, the problem of detecting the infestation of a typical weed (charlock mustard) in an alfalfa crop has been addressed using conventional digital cameras installed on a lightweight UAV to compare RGB-based indices with the widely used Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) index. The simple (R−B)/(R+B) and (R−B)/(R+B+G) vegetation indices allowed one to easily discern the yellow weed from the green crop. Moreover, they avoided the potential confusion of weeds with soil observed for the NDVI index. The small overestimation detected in the weed identification when the RGB indices were used could be easily reduced by using them in conjunction with NDVI. The proposed methodology may be used in the generation of weed cover maps for alfalfa, which may then be translated into site-specific herbicide treatment maps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of RGB Vegetation Indices to Estimate Chlorophyll Content in Sugar Beet Leaves in the Final Cultivation Stage
AgriEngineering 2020, 2(1), 128-149; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2010009 - 02 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Estimation of chlorophyll content with portable meters is an easy way to quantify crop nitrogen status in sugar beet leaves. In this work, an alternative for chlorophyll content estimation using RGB-only vegetation indices has been explored. In a first step, pictures of spring-sown [...] Read more.
Estimation of chlorophyll content with portable meters is an easy way to quantify crop nitrogen status in sugar beet leaves. In this work, an alternative for chlorophyll content estimation using RGB-only vegetation indices has been explored. In a first step, pictures of spring-sown ‘Fernanda KWS’ variety sugar beet leaves taken with a commercial camera were used to calculate 25 RGB indices reported in the literature and to obtain 9 new indices through principal component analysis (PCA) and stepwise linear regression (SLR) techniques. The performance of the 34 indices was examined in order to evaluate their ability to estimate chlorophyll content and chlorophyll degradation in the leaves under different natural light conditions along 4 days of the canopy senescence period. Two of the new proposed RGB indices were found to improve the already good performance of the indices reported in the literature, particularly for leaves featuring low chlorophyll contents. The 4 best indices were finally tested in field conditions, using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-taken photographs of a sugar beet plot, finding a reasonably good agreement with chlorophyll-meter data for all indices, in particular for I2 and (R−B)/(R+G+B). Consequently, the suggested RGB indices may hold promise for inexpensive chlorophyll estimation in sugar beet leaves during the harvest time, although a direct relationship with nitrogen status still needs to be validated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Factors Constraining Organic Farming Expansion in Lis Valley, Portugal
AgriEngineering 2020, 2(1), 111-127; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2010008 - 10 Feb 2020
Abstract
Organic farming can play an important role in rural development and food production, by reinforcing the trend toward sustainable agriculture and its purpose of ecosystem conservation. The agribusiness of organic farming is particularly relevant in family farming, given the labor availability and the [...] Read more.
Organic farming can play an important role in rural development and food production, by reinforcing the trend toward sustainable agriculture and its purpose of ecosystem conservation. The agribusiness of organic farming is particularly relevant in family farming, given the labor availability and the short marketing circuits. The innovative techniques of organic farming, namely with soil fertility, weed and pest control, opens a wide range of possibilities in its development and extension. The expectation of organic farming profitability in small-scale family farming, supported by known successful examples, were the theme of a field study on Lis Valley Irrigation District to assess the constraints to its expansion in order to outline the procedures for the acquisition of technical knowledge, the adaptation of technologies, the support for the conversion of production models, and the specialized training of farmers for action. Results revealed that the: (i) farmer’s land structure, (ii) their mature age, (iii) low education level, and (iv) markets, are the main constrains for organic farming development. Furthermore, other uncertainties were identified, namely: (i) the certification process, (ii) the knowledge of new technologies, especially of crop protection, and (iii) the marketing problems to guaranteeing profitability. This study concludes that organic farming has significant potential for development in the Lis Valley and that the efforts and resources of the various stakeholders, namely the state, need to be harmonized to deliver effective support to farmers to promote organic farming that prioritizes: (i) rural development policies, (ii) supporting land restructuring, (iii) modernization of irrigation, (iv) stimulation of young farmers, (v) conversion and implementation of innovative technologies, (vi) the organization of farmers for better productive efficiency, and (vii) to facilitate market access. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress)
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Open AccessArticle
Developing Irrigation Management at District Scale Based on Water Monitoring: Study on Lis Valley, Portugal
AgriEngineering 2020, 2(1), 78-95; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2010006 - 05 Feb 2020
Abstract
Irrigation districts play a decisive role in Portuguese agriculture and require the adaptation to the new water management paradigm through a change in technology and practices compatible with farmers’ technical know-how and economic sustainability. Therefore, improvement of water management, focusing on water savings [...] Read more.
Irrigation districts play a decisive role in Portuguese agriculture and require the adaptation to the new water management paradigm through a change in technology and practices compatible with farmers’ technical know-how and economic sustainability. Therefore, improvement of water management, focusing on water savings and increasing farmers’ income, is a priority. In this perspective, an applied research study is being carried out on the gravity-fed Lis Valley Irrigation District to assess the performance of collective water supply, effectiveness of water pumping, and safety of crop production due to the practice of reuse of drainage water. The water balance method was applied at irrigation supply sectors, including gravity and Pumping Irrigation Allocation. The average 2018 irrigation water allocated was 7400 m3/ha, being 9.3% by pumping recharge, with a global efficiency of about 67%. The water quality analysis allowed identifying some risk situations regarding salinization and microbiological issues, justifying action to solve or mitigate the problems, especially at the level of the farmers’ fields, according to the crops and the irrigation systems. Results point to priority actions to consolidate improved water management: better maintenance and conservation of infrastructure of hydraulic infrastructures to reduce water losses and better flow control; implementation of optimal operational plans, to adjust the water demand with distribution; improvement of the on-farm systems with better water application control and maintenance procedures; and improvement of the control of water quality on the water reuse from drainage ditches. The technological innovation is an element of the modernization of irrigation districts that justifies the development of multiple efforts and synergies among stakeholders, namely farmers, water users association, and researchers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress)
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Open AccessCommunication
In Vitro Antifungal Activity of Chitosan-Polyphenol Conjugates against Phytophthora cinnamomi
AgriEngineering 2020, 2(1), 72-77; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2010005 - 24 Jan 2020
Abstract
Phytophthora cinnamomi is responsible for radical rot in a wide range of hosts, resulting in large economic and ecological losses worldwide. In Spain, it is responsible for diseases such as the oak decline or the chestnut blight. In this study, different polyphenol-stevioside inclusion [...] Read more.
Phytophthora cinnamomi is responsible for radical rot in a wide range of hosts, resulting in large economic and ecological losses worldwide. In Spain, it is responsible for diseases such as the oak decline or the chestnut blight. In this study, different polyphenol-stevioside inclusion compounds dispersed in a hydroalcoholic solution of chitosan oligomers have been investigated, with a view to their application as natural bioactive complexes to replace conventional systemic fungicides against this fungus. The polyphenols tested in vitro were curcumin, ferulic acid, gallic acid and silymarin. Three concentrations (125, 250 and 500 µg·mL−1) were assayed, with and without silver nanoparticles (AgNPs), and notable differences were found in the inhibition of mycelium growth, with EC50 and EC90 values ranging from 171 to 373.6 µg·mL−1, and from 446.2 to 963.7 µg·mL−1, respectively. The results obtained showed that the addition of AgNPs, despite their antimicrobial activity, did not always lead to synergies. In the case of P. cinnamomi, an unexpected antagonistic behavior was found for two of the polyphenols (curcumin and silymarin), while an additive behavior for ferulic acid and a synergistic behavior for gallic acid were attained. In view of their inhibitory power, the preparations based on ferulic acid with AgNPs and on silymarin without AgNPs are proposed for applications in crop and forests protection against P. cinnamomi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress)
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Open AccessArticle
Applying Remote Sensing Technologies in Urban Landscapes of the Mediterranean
AgriEngineering 2020, 2(1), 27-36; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2010002 - 05 Jan 2020
Abstract
There has been increasing pressure on water resources in cities due to the proliferation of urban green areas. In the Mediterranean climate, only a small part of the plants’ water needs is supplied by rainfall during the winter months. Thus, in Algarve (Portugal) [...] Read more.
There has been increasing pressure on water resources in cities due to the proliferation of urban green areas. In the Mediterranean climate, only a small part of the plants’ water needs is supplied by rainfall during the winter months. Thus, in Algarve (Portugal) irrigation of the urban landscapes is required almost all year round. The aims of this study were to evaluate the maintenance of the urban landscapes of São Brás de Alportel (Algarve) during a year, based on the characterization of the vegetation of the urban gardens, the climate data, the analysis of the irrigation systems, the calculation of the plants water requirements and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). By crossing all this information, it was possible to understand if the current maintenance level is the most suitable for sustainable irrigated urban landscapes. In most of the gardens, it was possible to establish a relationship between the gross irrigation water requirements and NDVI. In general, the NDVI allowed us to study the urban landscape, through the monthly observation of the differences in the appearance and development of the vegetation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress)
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Open AccessArticle
Integration of Soil Electrical Conductivity and Indices Obtained through Satellite Imagery for Differential Management of Pasture Fertilization
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(4), 567-585; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1040041 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Dryland pastures in the Alentejo region, located in the south of Portugal, normally occupy soils that have low fertility but, simultaneously, important spatial variability. Rational application of fertilizers requires knowledge of spatial variability of soil characteristics and crop response, which reinforces the interest [...] Read more.
Dryland pastures in the Alentejo region, located in the south of Portugal, normally occupy soils that have low fertility but, simultaneously, important spatial variability. Rational application of fertilizers requires knowledge of spatial variability of soil characteristics and crop response, which reinforces the interest of technologies that facilitates the identification of homogeneous management zones (HMZ). In this work, a pasture field of about 25 ha, integrated in the Montado mixed ecosystem (agro-silvo-pastoral), was monitored. Surveys of apparent soil electrical conductivity (ECa) were carried out in November 2017 and October 2018 with a Veris 2000 XA contact sensor. A total of 24 sampling points (30 × 30 m) were established in tree-free zones to allow readings of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and normalized difference water index (NDWI). Historical time series of these indices were obtained from satellite imagery (Sentinel-2) in winter and spring 2017 and 2018. Three zones with different potential productivity were defined based on the results obtained in terms of spatial variability and temporal stability of the measured parameters. These are the basis for the elaboration of differentiated prescription maps of fertilizers with variable application rate technology, taking into account the variability of soil characteristics and pasture development, contributing to the sustainability of this ecosystem. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from 10th Iberian Agroengineering Congress)
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