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Agronomy, Volume 13, Issue 4 (April 2023) – 234 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This article evaluates some vital elements of sunflower downy mildew disease management and analyzes the current challenges. Integrated pest management (IPM) is considered as an essential approach against sunflower downy mildew caused by Plasmopara halstedii (Farl.) Berl. et de Toni; however, the pathogen variability repeatedly affects the efficacy of control measures. We outlined the options for the future integration of recent research and achievements related to sunflower downy mildew to achieve more sustainable sunflower production. Finally, a SWOT analysis was performed to consider internal factors, such as strengths (S) and weaknesses (W), and external factors, such as opportunities (O) and threats (T), connected to the topic. View this paper
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10 pages, 1713 KiB  
Article
The Production of Oxalate by Aspergillus niger under Different Lead Concentrations
by Yijun Huang, Liangliang Zhang, Shijia Yuan, Wenpei Liu, Chaochun Zhang, Da Tian and Xinxin Ye
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1182; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041182 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1488
Abstract
In this study, using a typical acid-producing fungi, Aspergillus niger (A. niger, CGMCC 23272), we investigated the capacity of organic acid production under different lead (Pb) concentrations. A. niger has a high Pb tolerance, which can maintain the growth of hypha [...] Read more.
In this study, using a typical acid-producing fungi, Aspergillus niger (A. niger, CGMCC 23272), we investigated the capacity of organic acid production under different lead (Pb) concentrations. A. niger has a high Pb tolerance, which can maintain the growth of hypha at 1500 mg/L Pb concentration. Oxalic acid is the primary organic acid produced by A. niger. A. niger was shown to maintain the ability to produce oxalic acid under different Pb concentrations, which ranged from 522.8 to 1130.5 mg/L. The formed lead oxalate also confirmed the production of oxalic acid by A. niger. Meanwhile, the formation of lead oxalate minerals dominated the resistance of Pb toxicity by A. niger. More than 95% of Pb cations were removed by A. niger under different Pb concentrations. The high Pb toxicity (1500 mg/L) could stimulate pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme activities, which increased from 0.05 to 0.13 nmol/min/g after three days of incubation. The low Pb toxicity (500 and 1000 mg/L) could improve the production of oxalic acid by A. niger. This indicates that the metabolism of organic acid by A. niger can be improved by a high Pb concentration via the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Full article
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16 pages, 2654 KiB  
Article
Applying the SIMPLE Crop Model to Assess Soybean (Glicine max. (L.) Merr.) Biomass and Yield in Tropical Climate Variation
by Quang V. Pham, Tanh T. N. Nguyen, Tuyen T. X. Vo, Phuoc H. Le, Xuan T. T. Nguyen, Nha V. Duong and Ca T. S. Le
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1180; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041180 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1816
Abstract
Soybean Glicine max. (L.) Merr. is one of the most major food crops. In some areas, its responses to different climates have not been well studied, particularly in tropical countries where other crops are more dominant. Accordingly, we adopted the SIMPLE crop model [...] Read more.
Soybean Glicine max. (L.) Merr. is one of the most major food crops. In some areas, its responses to different climates have not been well studied, particularly in tropical countries where other crops are more dominant. Accordingly, we adopted the SIMPLE crop model to investigate the responses of soybeans to the climate. We conducted two experiments on crop growth in the Summer–Autumn season of 2020, and Winter–Spring 2021 in the Hoa Binh Commune, in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, which is an area that is vulnerable to climate change impacts, to obtain data for our model input and assessment. The assessment was concerned with the effects of climate variables (temperature and CO2) on soybean biomass and yield. The results indicated that the SIMPLE model performed well in simulating soybean yields, with an RRMSE of 9–10% overall. The drought stress results showed a negative impact on the growth and development of soybeans, although drought stress due to less rainfall seemed more serious in Spring–Winter 2021 than in Summer–Autumn 2020. This study figured out the trend that higher temperatures can shorten biomass development and lead to yield reduction. In addition, soybeans grown under high CO2 concentrations of 600 ppm gave a higher biomass and a greater yield than in the case with 350 ppm. In conclusion, climate variance can affect the soybean yield, which can be well investigated using the SIMPLE model. Full article
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12 pages, 2857 KiB  
Article
Molecular Basis of Resistance to Bensulfuron-Methyl in a Smallflower Umbrella Sedge (Cyperus difformis L.) Population from China
by Shanshan Yin, Wei Hu, Yin Chai, Minghao Jiang, Jingxu Zhang, Haiqun Cao, Ning Zhao and Min Liao
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041179 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1322
Abstract
Smallflower umbrella sedge (Cyperus difformis L.) is an invasive weed, and infestations of C. difformis are increasing in rice (Oryza sativa L.) fields in China. Bensulfuron-methyl is a widely used sulfonylurea herbicide that inhibits the acetolactate synthase (ALS) enzyme and [...] Read more.
Smallflower umbrella sedge (Cyperus difformis L.) is an invasive weed, and infestations of C. difformis are increasing in rice (Oryza sativa L.) fields in China. Bensulfuron-methyl is a widely used sulfonylurea herbicide that inhibits the acetolactate synthase (ALS) enzyme and has been used in recent years for effectively controlling annual weeds in the Cyperaceae family. In this study, a suspected resistant population of C. difformis (BBHY1) was collected from a rice field in Huaiyuan County, Anhui Province, China, that survived treatment with bensulfuron-methyl at the field-recommended rate (FRR). Single-dose tests and whole-plant bioassays confirmed that the BBHY1 population was resistant to bensulfuron-methyl and had evolved a high level of resistance, with a resistance index (RI) of 12.87. Sequencing of the ALS gene revealed a CCT to CAT point mutation at codon 197, which caused a P-to-H substitution in the resistant plants. Analysis of the relative expression of ALS revealed no significant differences between the resistant and susceptible populations. Inhibiting the activity of cytochrome P450s (P450s) or glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) had no significant effect on bensulfuron-methyl resistance. The BBHY1 population exhibited cross-resistance to pyrazosulfuron-ethyl, penoxsulam, and bispyribac-sodium, with RIs ranging from 5.48 to 20.63, but remained susceptible to MCPA sodium, florpyrauxifen-benzyl, and bentazon, with RIs of <1.00. These herbicides could be potentially used as alternatives for controlling resistant populations and managing herbicide resistance in other aggressive weeds in rice fields. Full article
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13 pages, 3061 KiB  
Article
Modeling the Kinematic Response of Rice under Near-Ground Wind Fields Using the Finite Element Method
by Xiaodan Hu, Huifen Li, Han Wu, Bo Long, Zhijie Liu, Xu Wei and Jiyu Li
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1178; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041178 - 21 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1330
Abstract
Plant protection drones are commonly encountered in agricultural fields. Their downwash airflow can agitate flexible crops (e.g., rice and wheat) or even cause wind-induced losses. To predict the wind-induced responses of rice under wind fields, herein, a wind-induced rice response model (RWRM) was [...] Read more.
Plant protection drones are commonly encountered in agricultural fields. Their downwash airflow can agitate flexible crops (e.g., rice and wheat) or even cause wind-induced losses. To predict the wind-induced responses of rice under wind fields, herein, a wind-induced rice response model (RWRM) was proposed using the finite element method. With the RWRM, the rice displacement and critical wind speed (CWS) were calculated at different wind speeds, considering the morphological and mechanical properties of rice, and the accuracy was experimentally verified and compared to that of an existing model. The results indicated that the mean paired difference and mean error in rice displacement amplitude prediction under 2~5 m/s wind speeds were 13.48 mm and 42.46 mm, respectively, and the predicted and measured values were highly correlated at the 1% significance level. Moreover, the CWS values for four rice species could be calculated with the model with an average of 3.57 m/s, and the difference between the simulated and theoretical values was 0.368. The strength of the wind-induced rice responses was primarily correlated with the mechanical properties, and to a lesser extent the morphology. The rice yield has a negative correlation with rice responses. Within a certain range, a bigger displacement and lower CWS could result in a higher rice yield. The RWRM achieved favorable modeling accuracy for the wind-induced responses of rice and could provide a simulation reference for balancing the wind-induced loss and rice yield. Full article
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12 pages, 1221 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Ethanedinitrile as a Potential Fumigant against Plasmodiophora brassicae, the Clubroot Pathogen
by Usha Rani Patar, Marie Manasova, Jonas Hnatek, Jana Wenzlova and Miloslav Zouhar
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1177; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041177 - 21 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1624
Abstract
Clubroot, caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, is one of the most challenging diseases to control in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) and other crucifers globally. Ethanedinitrile (EDN) is a promising fumigant shown to be effective against various pests and soil-borne pathogens. However, [...] Read more.
Clubroot, caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae Woronin, is one of the most challenging diseases to control in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) and other crucifers globally. Ethanedinitrile (EDN) is a promising fumigant shown to be effective against various pests and soil-borne pathogens. However, its efficacy against P. brassicae is yet to be tested. Therefore, the current study is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of EDN against P. brassicae at different rates, applied for different durations of exposure. Clubroot-susceptible oilseed rape plants, grown in fumigated soil, were evaluated for disease severity and growth parameters in greenhouse conditions. EDN exhibited good efficacy against the pathogen, with 81.39% disease suppression compared to the control. Complete control of the disease was achieved at the rates of 42 g/m3 and 50 g/m3 as well as in the treatment variant of 35 g/m3-48 h. In addition, EDN improved plant health by increasing shoot weight by 58.24%. However, the combination of a prolonged fumigation period and higher rates resulted in a decline in the seedling emergence rate and plant shoot weight, indicating a potential adverse residual effect of higher rates and longer durations of exposure in plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Integrated Pest Management of Crops)
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19 pages, 1200 KiB  
Article
Impact of Sandy Soil Amendment with Dairy Slurry Treated through pH Adjustment on Nutrient and Coliform Leaching
by Joana Rodrigues, Rita Fragoso, Luísa Brito and David Fangueiro
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1176; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041176 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1527
Abstract
Livestock farming produces high volumes of animal slurry that can be sanitized using low-cost treatments by pH adjustment, reducing pathogen contamination, and promoting slurry valorization as a safe fertilizer. This work aims to evaluate the impact of sandy soil amendment with dairy slurry [...] Read more.
Livestock farming produces high volumes of animal slurry that can be sanitized using low-cost treatments by pH adjustment, reducing pathogen contamination, and promoting slurry valorization as a safe fertilizer. This work aims to evaluate the impact of sandy soil amendment with dairy slurry treated by pH adjustment on the potential release of nutrients and coliforms into groundwater. A laboratory soil column leaching experiment was conducted and the surface application of six treatments was tested: raw dairy slurry, dairy slurry acidified with H2SO4, dairy slurry alkalinized with KOH, alkalinized/neutralized dairy slurry, mineral fertilizer, and a control. The fertilizer application rate was 0.08 g N kg−1 dry soil. Leachates were analyzed for pH, electrical conductivity, N-NH4+ and N-NO3, macro- and micronutrients, and fecal coliforms. Results showed that amendment with dairy slurry led to significantly lower nitrate leaching potential than mineral fertilizer (maximum 16.1 vs. 50.4%). The use of hygienized slurry by alkalinization decreased the potential leaching of coliforms relative to raw slurry. However, incomplete sanitization by acidification strongly promoted coliform leaching and the risk of groundwater contamination. It can be concluded that the use of alkalinized dairy slurry is a safer solution than raw slurry with regard to the risk of groundwater pollution. Full article
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14 pages, 2561 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Inoculation Methods for Determination of Winter Wheat Resistance to Fusarium Head Blight
by Hrvoje Šarčević, Miroslav Bukan, Ana Lovrić and Marko Maričević
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1175; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041175 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1618
Abstract
One of the most severe winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) diseases is Fusarium head blight (FHB). It is believed that selection for resistance to FHB is better in high disease pressure environments, for which various methods of artificial inoculation are used. The [...] Read more.
One of the most severe winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) diseases is Fusarium head blight (FHB). It is believed that selection for resistance to FHB is better in high disease pressure environments, for which various methods of artificial inoculation are used. The standard spray method of artificial inoculation is believed to be technically demanding and labour intensive. Therefore, scattering Fusarium-infected maize stalks onto trial plots after wheat emergence is suggested as a suitable alternative. The aim of this study was to compare the mean values and heritability of the visual rating index (VRI) and the percentage of Fusarium-damaged kernels (FDK) between the two abovementioned methods of artificial inoculation and natural infection, and to determine the phenotypic correlations between the three methods for the studied traits. The achieved levels of VRI and FDK were comparable for the two methods of artificial inoculation and considerably lower under natural conditions. Heritability for VRI ranged over four years from 0.68 to 0.91 for the spray method, from 0.73 to 0.95 for the infected maize stalks, and from 0.26 to 0.65 for natural infection, whereas for FDK it ranged from 0.56 to 0.85, 0.38 to 0.83, and 0.11 to 0.44 for the three inoculation methods, respectively. The strong positive correlation between the two applied methods of artificial inoculation for studied traits suggests that scattering infected maize stalks could serve as a reliable supplement for the technically and labor-intensive spray method of artificial inoculation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treatment and Management of Fusarium Disease in Wheat)
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18 pages, 824 KiB  
Article
Nano-Hydroxyapatite and ZnO-NPs Mitigate Pb Stress in Maize
by Bushra Ahmed Alhammad, Awais Ahmad and Mahmoud F. Seleiman
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041174 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1570
Abstract
Heavy metals (HMs) stress, particularly lead (Pb) stress, is one of the most hazardous environmental stresses that can negatively affect plants’ growth, yield, and quality. Therefore, the effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs; 50 mg L−1), nano-hydroxyapatite (HP-NPs; 50 mg kg [...] Read more.
Heavy metals (HMs) stress, particularly lead (Pb) stress, is one of the most hazardous environmental stresses that can negatively affect plants’ growth, yield, and quality. Therefore, the effects of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs; 50 mg L−1), nano-hydroxyapatite (HP-NPs; 50 mg kg−1), and their combination on growth, physiological, and yield traits of maize grown in soil contaminated with Pb (i.e., 100 mg kg−1) were investigated. The results showed that Pb stress significantly reduced plant leaf area by 50.9% at 40 days after sowing (DAS), 55.5% at 70 DAS, and 54.2% at 100 DAS in comparison to the unstressed plants (control). However, the combined application of ZnO-NPs (50 mg L−1) + HP-NPs (50 mg kg−1) reduced the adverse effects of Pb on plant growth in terms of increasing leaf area by 117.6% in plants grown in Pb-contaminated soil (100 mg kg−1). Similarly, the combined application of ZnO-NPs + HP-NPs resulted in increments in the total chlorophyll content by 47.1%, photosynthesis rate by 255.1%, and stomatal conductance by 380% in comparison to that obtained from maize stressed with Pb. On the other hand, antioxidants such as sodium dismutase (SOD; 87.1%), peroxidase (POX; 90.8%), and catalase (CAT; 146%), and proline content (116%) were significantly increased as a result of Pb stress compared to unstressed plants. Moreover, N, P, K, and Zn contents in the whole plant grown under Pb stress were decreased by 38.7%, 69.9%, 46.8%, and 82.1%, respectively, compared to those obtained from the control. Whereas the combined treatment of ZnO-NPs (50 mg L−1) + HP-NPs (50 mg kg−1) resulted in increased uptake of plant nutrients and, consequently, the highest values of ear weight, grain yield, and harvest index were obtained. Furthermore, the combined application of HP-NPs + ZnO-NPs in contaminated soil reduced Pb uptake in plant biomass by 77.6% and grains by 90.21% in plants exposed to Pb stress. In conclusion, the combined application of ZnO-NPs and HP-NPs significantly improved growth, physiological traits, antioxidants, and yield as well as elemental uptake of maize grown under Pb stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cutting Edge Research of Nanoparticles Application in Agriculture)
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36 pages, 1102 KiB  
Review
Breeding Wheat for Powdery Mildew Resistance: Genetic Resources and Methodologies—A Review
by Theresa Bapela, Hussein Shimelis, Tarekegn Terefe, Salim Bourras, Javier Sánchez-Martín, Dimitar Douchkov, Francesca Desiderio and Toi John Tsilo
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1173; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041173 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3449
Abstract
Powdery mildew (PM) of wheat caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici is among the most important wheat diseases, causing significant yield and quality losses in many countries worldwide. Considerable progress has been made in resistance breeding to mitigate powdery mildew. Genetic host [...] Read more.
Powdery mildew (PM) of wheat caused by Blumeria graminis f. sp. tritici is among the most important wheat diseases, causing significant yield and quality losses in many countries worldwide. Considerable progress has been made in resistance breeding to mitigate powdery mildew. Genetic host resistance employs either race-specific (qualitative) resistance, race-non-specific (quantitative), or a combination of both. Over recent decades, efforts to identify host resistance traits to powdery mildew have led to the discovery of over 240 genes and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) across all 21 wheat chromosomes. Sources of PM resistance in wheat include landraces, synthetic, cultivated, and wild species. The resistance identified in various genetic resources is transferred to the elite genetic background of a well-adapted cultivar with minimum linkage drag using advanced breeding and selection approaches. In this effort, wheat landraces have emerged as an important source of allelic and genetic diversity, which is highly valuable for developing new PM-resistant cultivars. However, most landraces have not been characterized for PM resistance, limiting their use in breeding programs. PM resistance is a polygenic trait; therefore, the degree of such resistance is mostly influenced by environmental conditions. Another challenge in breeding for PM resistance has been the lack of consistent disease pressure in multi-environment trials, which compromises phenotypic selection efficiency. It is therefore imperative to complement conventional breeding technologies with molecular breeding to improve selection efficiency. High-throughput genotyping techniques, based on chip array or sequencing, have increased the capacity to identify the genetic basis of PM resistance. However, developing PM-resistant cultivars is still challenging, and there is a need to harness the potential of new approaches to accelerate breeding progress. The main objective of this review is to describe the status of breeding for powdery mildew resistance, as well as the latest discoveries that offer novel ways to achieve durable PM resistance. Major topics discussed in the review include the genetic basis of PM resistance in wheat, available genetic resources for race-specific and adult-plant resistance to PM, important gene banks, and conventional and complimentary molecular breeding approaches, with an emphasis on marker-assisted selection (MAS). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Crop Powdery Mildew—Series II)
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15 pages, 3383 KiB  
Article
Improved Water Use of the Maize Soil–Root–Shoot System under the Integrated Effects of Organic Manure and Plant Density
by Li-Chao Wei, Hua-Ping Zhang, Xiao-Lin Wang and Sui-Qi Zhang
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041172 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1379
Abstract
On the Loess Plateau of China, water shortage and serious soil erosion are the key factors that restrict local agricultural development, especially in terms of crop yield. In order to expound the effect of treatment with organic manure in root growth, water transpiration [...] Read more.
On the Loess Plateau of China, water shortage and serious soil erosion are the key factors that restrict local agricultural development, especially in terms of crop yield. In order to expound the effect of treatment with organic manure in root growth, water transpiration and evaporation, biomass allocation and grain yield and WUE (water use efficiency), we took maize (Zheng Dan 958) sown for four years with three replicates at three densities. The results show that the highest rate of maize grain yield increase with organic manure is about 9.99% for a density of 90,000 plants/ha; at the same time, ET (evapotranspiration) and WUE also achieved marked increments, which the highest values of 415.47 mm with a density of 75,000 plants/ha and 7.92% with a density of 90,000 plants/ha, respectively. The results also demonstrate the obvious effect of organic manure in enhancing root growth and in the maximization of water transpiration and evaporation, and water use plays a vital and valuable role in biomass allocation. The results also serve as orientation for methods to increase maize yield and a reference for other crops in the relation of water and manure to their growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving Fertilizer Use Efficiency)
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18 pages, 3297 KiB  
Article
Comparison of the Soil Water, Vapor, and Heat Dynamics between Summer Maize and Bare Fields in Arid and Semi-Arid Areas
by Wande Gao, Xiuhua Liu, Ce Zheng, Yudong Lu, Junqi He and Yi He
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041171 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1282
Abstract
In arid and semi-arid areas, water vapor transport is an important form of soil water movement and plays a crucial role in the overall water and energy balance. For better prediction of soil water and heat fluxes and understanding of root zone soil [...] Read more.
In arid and semi-arid areas, water vapor transport is an important form of soil water movement and plays a crucial role in the overall water and energy balance. For better prediction of soil water and heat fluxes and understanding of root zone soil water dynamics for effective crop management, soil moisture, temperature, soil texture and micrometeorological data have been collected from field trials. Based on the data collected, a Hydrus 1D model was established to simulate the coupled transport of liquid water, water vapor and heat under summer maize (summer maize treatment; SMT) and bare soil (bare soil treatment; BT) for a 100 cm soil profile. Calibration and validation data for the model revealed a good level of agreement between simulated and measured data. Results indicated that the isothermal vapor flux was close to zero throughout the profile, while the isothermal water flux dominated the soil water movement for both SMT and BT. The vapor flux was mainly contributed by thermal vapor flux and increased with soil desiccation. Evaporation and transpiration showed two distinct phases, increasing immediately after irrigation and decreasing gradually as soil water content decreased. SMT had lower evaporation rates due to the protection provided by crop canopy. Irrigation significantly altered the dynamic characteristics of thermal liquid water and thermal vapor fluxes in the vadose, emphasizing the importance of considering the coupled transport of liquid water, vapor, and heat transport at interfaces in the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum for accurate estimates of water flux, especially under prolonged drought conditions. Full article
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14 pages, 723 KiB  
Article
Silicon Calcium Fertilizer Application and Foliar Spraying with Silicon Fertilizer Decreases Cadmium Uptake and Translocation in Rice Grown in Polluted Soil
by Shuai Yuan, Can Cui, Yu Han, Pingping Chen, Naimei Tu and Zhenxie Yi
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1170; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041170 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1194
Abstract
Rice cultivated in Cd-polluted acidic paddy soil poses important health risks in China. Decreasing Cd accumulation in rice is important for food safety and human health. Early rice cultivar ZY-819 and late rice cultivar XWX-13 with low Cd-accumulation potentials, and early rice cultivar [...] Read more.
Rice cultivated in Cd-polluted acidic paddy soil poses important health risks in China. Decreasing Cd accumulation in rice is important for food safety and human health. Early rice cultivar ZY-819 and late rice cultivar XWX-13 with low Cd-accumulation potentials, and early rice cultivar LY-996 and late rice cultivar YZX with high Cd-accumulation potentials, were grown in mildly polluted double-cropping paddy fields (Cd content 0.3–0.6 mg kg−1). The effects of adding biochar (10 t ha−2), lime (1500 kg ha−2), and silicon–calcium fertilizer (SC; 2250 kg ha−2) and foliar spraying with silicon fertilizer solution (Si; 1500 g ha−2) on Cd uptake and transport in rice, were assessed in plot experiments. The soil amendments and foliar spraying decreased the Cd content of brown rice from the high Cd-accumulation potential cultivars. The soil amendments decreased the Cd content of LY-996 and YZX brown rice by 25.24–32.40% and 32.99–44.16%, respectively, and SC decreased the Cd content most. Foliar spraying with Si decreased the Cd content of LY-996 and YZC brown rice by 23.79% and 26.40%, respectively. When soil amendments and foliar spraying were combined, the Cd content of brown rice was decreased most by the SC–Si treatment. Compared with the control, the SC–Si treatment decreased the Cd content of LY-996, ZY-819, YZX, and XWX-13 brown rice by 45.63%, 35.67%, 52.79%, and 32.03%, respectively. Soil amendments can effectively decrease Cd uptake by rice roots and Cd migration from roots to shoots. Compared with the control, the soil amendments increased the soil pH and decreased Cd availability. The strongest effects were for the lime and SC treatments. Foliar spraying with Si can effectively decrease Cd translocation through stems and leaves to brown rice. Applying SC fertilizer and foliar spraying with Si is the best method for decreasing the Cd content of rice grown in mildly Cd-polluted paddy fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Memory of Professor Longping Yuan, the Father of Hybrid Rice)
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16 pages, 6361 KiB  
Communication
Hybrid CNN-SVM Classifier Approaches to Process Semi-Structured Data in Sugarcane Yield Forecasting Production
by Debnath Bhattacharyya, Eali Stephen Neal Joshua, N. Thirupathi Rao and Tai-hoon Kim
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1169; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041169 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1760
Abstract
Information communication technology (ICT) breakthroughs have boosted global social and economic progress. Most rural Indians rely on agriculture for income. The growing population requires modern agricultural practices. ICT is crucial for educating farmers on how to be environmentally friendly. It helps them create [...] Read more.
Information communication technology (ICT) breakthroughs have boosted global social and economic progress. Most rural Indians rely on agriculture for income. The growing population requires modern agricultural practices. ICT is crucial for educating farmers on how to be environmentally friendly. It helps them create more food by solving a variety of challenges. India’s sugarcane crop is popular and lucrative. Long-term crops that require water do not need specific soil. They need water; the ground should always have adequate water due to the link between cane growth and evaporation. This research focuses on forecasting soil moisture and classifying sugarcane output; sugarcane has so many applications that it must be categorized. This research examines these claims: The first phase model predicts soil moisture using two-level ensemble classifiers. Secondly, to boost performance, the proposed ensemble model integrates the Gaussian probabilistic method (GPM), the convolutional neural network (CNN), and support vector machines (SVM). The suggested approach aims to correctly anticipate future soil moisture measurements affecting crop growth and cultivation. The proposed model is 89.53% more accurate than conventional neural network classifiers. The recommended models’ outcomes will assist farmers and agricultural authorities in boosting production. Full article
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22 pages, 1497 KiB  
Article
Part II—Aroma Profile of Twenty White Grapevine Varieties: A Chemotaxonomic Marker Approach
by Ángela Díaz-Fernández, Emilia Díaz-Losada, José Manuel Domínguez and Sandra Cortés-Diéguez
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041168 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2023
Abstract
The importance of white wines in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula has led to study on the aromatic profiles of 20 white grapevine varieties along three consecutive vintages. Volatile compounds were evaluated through solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry methodology (SPME-GC-MS). The [...] Read more.
The importance of white wines in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula has led to study on the aromatic profiles of 20 white grapevine varieties along three consecutive vintages. Volatile compounds were evaluated through solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry methodology (SPME-GC-MS). The main aims of this study were as follow: test if their aromatic profile could be used as a potential chemotaxonomic tool to differentiate among grapevine varieties, evaluate if there is any relationship among the aromatic characteristics and the genetic origin of the varieties studied and try to bring out aromatically interesting varieties that could trigger diversified wine production in the study area. Free and bound volatile profiles were tentatively identified in each variety, grouping all identified compounds into thirteen volatile families to allow for a better discussion of the results obtained. Significant differences were found for terpenes among varieties in the free fraction and for acids, aldehydes, terpenes and norisoprenoids in the glicosidically bound fraction. Good differentiation among varieties was achieved by free and glicosidically bound profiles in the principal component analysis (PCA), as well as some clustering of varieties belonging to the same genetic reconstructed populations (RPP). Varietal aromatic profiling could be expected to be a good chemotaxonomic tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant-Crop Biology and Biochemistry)
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16 pages, 970 KiB  
Review
Current Optical Sensing Applications in Seeds Vigor Determination
by Jian Zhang, Weikai Fang, Chidong Xu, Aisheng Xiong, Michael Zhang, Randy Goebel and Guangyu Bo
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1167; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041167 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1925
Abstract
Advances in optical sensing technology have led to new approaches to monitoring and determining crop seed vigor. In order to improve crop performance to secure reliable yield and food supply, calibrating seed vigor, purity, germination rate, and clarity is very critical to the [...] Read more.
Advances in optical sensing technology have led to new approaches to monitoring and determining crop seed vigor. In order to improve crop performance to secure reliable yield and food supply, calibrating seed vigor, purity, germination rate, and clarity is very critical to the future of the agriculture/horticulture industry. Traditional methods of seed vigor determination are lengthy in process, labor intensive, and sometimes inaccurate, which can lead to false yield prediction and faulty decision-making. Optical sensing technology offers rapid, accurate, and non-destructive calibration methods to help the industry develop accurate decisions for seed usage and agronomic evaluation. In this review, we hope to provide a summary of current research in the optical sensing technology used in seed vigor assessments. Full article
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10 pages, 2760 KiB  
Communication
Control of Bacterial Canker in Stone Fruit Trees by Chemical and Biological Products
by Agata Broniarek-Niemiec, Jorunn Børve and Joanna Puławska
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041166 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2073
Abstract
Bacterial canker, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae and pv. morsprunorum, is one of the most important diseases of stone fruit trees (Prunus spp.). The pathogen infects buds, flowers, fruitlets, leaves and shoots, from which the disease spreads to the branches, [...] Read more.
Bacterial canker, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae and pv. morsprunorum, is one of the most important diseases of stone fruit trees (Prunus spp.). The pathogen infects buds, flowers, fruitlets, leaves and shoots, from which the disease spreads to the branches, boughs and trunks, causing necrosis and cankers. The efficacy of different chemical and biological products for the control of bacterial canker on stone fruit trees was tested in 2018–2021. The experiments were conducted in sour cherry, plum and sweet cherry orchards in central Poland. Foliar application of the tested preparations was performed three times a season. The biological efficacy of the tested products in the control of bacterial canker was evaluated on sour cherry on the basis of infected leaves and fruits and on plum and sweet cherry on the basis of infected leaves. The highest efficacy was observed for products containing various forms of copper—copper oxide, copper oxychloride and copper hydroxide—as well as fertilizers with copper gluconate and the fungicide Luna Care 71.6 WG (fluopyram and fosetyl-Al). However, the biological preparations were significantly less effective. The conducted studies showed that preparations based on copper gluconate can be a valuable alternative to typical copper fungicides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pest and Disease Management)
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21 pages, 2313 KiB  
Article
Laboratory Investigation of Five Inert Dusts of Local Origin as Insecticides against the Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata [Say])
by Luka Batistič, Tanja Bohinc, Aleksander Horvat, Iztok Jože Košir and Stanislav Trdan
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041165 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1187
Abstract
The Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is an economically important pest on potatoes, which can cause significant damage if not controlled. Our laboratory trial was conducted to study the efficacy of five types of inert dusts (diatomaceous earth, quartz sand, Norway spruce wood ash, [...] Read more.
The Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is an economically important pest on potatoes, which can cause significant damage if not controlled. Our laboratory trial was conducted to study the efficacy of five types of inert dusts (diatomaceous earth, quartz sand, Norway spruce wood ash, zeolite, and tree of heaven leaf dust) against the CPB. Efficacy was tested using three modes of application (MoA): MoA 1, in which the used inert dusts were applied to both leaves and insects; MoA 2, where just the leaves were pre-dusted; and MoA 3, where only the pests were pre-dusted. All three modes were tested on larvae (L1/L2 and L3/L4) and adults of CPB. Among the inert dusts applied to the adults, the highest efficacy was recorded for the diatomaceous earth treatment (13.3 ± 3.3%) in the first MoA and the wood ash treatment (6.7 ± 3.3%) in the second MoA after 7 days of exposure. Defoliation results for adults were most promising in the A. altissima leaf dust treatment in the first and second MoA (45.3 ± 8.2%) after 7 days of exposure. For the old larvae, wood ash was the most promising in regards to efficacy (26.7 ± 7.3%) and defoliation (app. 70.0%) after 7 days of exposure in the third MoA. For the young larvae, the most promising results at the end of the 7-day exposure period for efficacy were obtained from the treatment of diatomaceous earth (65.7 ± 22.9%). Defoliation rates for young larvae were also high, but most promising in the treatment of A. altissima leaf dust (41.0 ± 4.2%) in the second MoA. The results showed that the inert dusts were not very effective in controlling the CPB, with the exception of wood ash and diatomaceous earth, which showed some limited control. A. altissima leaf dust generated a low defoliation rate, possibly due to an antifeedant effect on the beetles. Full article
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16 pages, 2488 KiB  
Perspective
Amenity Grasses—A Short Insight into Species, Their Applications and Functions
by Barbara Wiewióra and Grzegorz Żurek
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041164 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1768
Abstract
This article presents perennial grasses, without whose presence it is impossible to imagine the natural environment as well as agriculture, recreation, sport, and satisfactory aesthetics of the environment. Grasses have by far the widest distribution of all flowering families, grow on every continent, [...] Read more.
This article presents perennial grasses, without whose presence it is impossible to imagine the natural environment as well as agriculture, recreation, sport, and satisfactory aesthetics of the environment. Grasses have by far the widest distribution of all flowering families, grow on every continent, and are part of all the major biomes of the terrestrial world. They not only occur in almost all types of natural landscapes but also find a prominent place in the agricultural landscape. Grasses are not only a source of food for people (wheat, rice, maize, millet, etc.) and feed for livestock, but also a source of energy, building materials, a component of paper pulp, etc. Moreover, grasses have numerous uses to enhance the beauty of the surrounding landscape, bring relaxation, health, and comfort to people (i.e., gardens, parks, and sports facilities), and support land protection. This article describes just these, not often mentioned, and characterized grass uses, with an emphasis on the relationship between different species of perennial grasses and their functionality. The aim is to show the various aspects of the amenity use of grasses in the context of species diversity and their future under the conditions of a changing climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Turfgrass Simulation for Increased Performance in Changing Climate)
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19 pages, 2701 KiB  
Article
Groundwater Depth and Nitrogen Application Amount Jointly Regulate the Water and Residual Soil Nitrate Accumulation in Agricultural Soil Profile
by Fangfang Bai, Xuebin Qi, Ping Li, Zhenjie Du and Wei Guo
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041163 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1312
Abstract
Despite the known influence of groundwater conditions and nitrogen application on crop growth and the soil microenvironment, less information is available on the influence of groundwater depth and nitrogen application amount on the movement and accumulation of soil water and residual nitrate in [...] Read more.
Despite the known influence of groundwater conditions and nitrogen application on crop growth and the soil microenvironment, less information is available on the influence of groundwater depth and nitrogen application amount on the movement and accumulation of soil water and residual nitrate in deep soil in summer maize–winter wheat rotation systems. Therefore, a large lysimeter experiment was conducted to examine how groundwater depth and nitrogen application amount influence the transport and accumulation of soil water and nitrate in the summer maize (Zea mays L.)–winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) rotation system. The results showed that nitrogen reduction increased soil water storage both in the summer maize and winter wheat fields. The residual soil nitrate accumulation in the entire soil profile of summer maize and winter wheat under deeper groundwater depth treatment was higher than that of shallow groundwater depth treatment. Hence, the deeper the groundwater depth, the longer the nitrate transport path, and the nitrate that would have entered the groundwater accumulates in deep soil. The residual soil nitrate accumulation in the whole soil profile of winter wheat was 76.05–130.11 kg ha−1 higher than that of summer maize. Structural equation models (SEMs) showed that the nitrogen application amount not only exhibited a directly positive effect on the residual soil nitrate accumulation but also indirectly influenced it by regulating total soil nitrogen; groundwater depth only exhibited a directly negative effect on residual soil nitrate accumulation; and soil depth had an indirect positive effect on residual soil nitrate accumulation through the regulation of soil water storage. Together, our findings prove that groundwater depth and nitrogen application amount jointly regulate the residual soil nitrate accumulation in agricultural soil rotated with winter wheat and summer maize. Therefore, in formulating a fertilization strategy for regional agricultural green development, it is necessary to consider the fertilizer application amount rate and the groundwater depth. Full article
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17 pages, 1802 KiB  
Article
Diversity in Coffea arabica Cultivars in the Mountains of Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Regarding Bean and Leaf Nutrient Accumulation and Physical Fruit Traits
by Niquisse J. Alberto, José C. Ramalho, Ana I. Ribeiro-Barros, Alexandre P. Viana, Cesar A. Krohling, Sional S. Moiane, Zito Alberto, Weverton P. Rodrigues and Fábio L. Partelli
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041162 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1340
Abstract
Genetic characteristics and their interaction with environmental conditions, including nutritional management, determine coffee productivity and quality. The objective of this study was to evaluate fruit traits and nutrient accumulation in the fruit, husk, and bean, as well as in the leaves of different [...] Read more.
Genetic characteristics and their interaction with environmental conditions, including nutritional management, determine coffee productivity and quality. The objective of this study was to evaluate fruit traits and nutrient accumulation in the fruit, husk, and bean, as well as in the leaves of different Coffea arabica cultivars cropped in the Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. The experiment evaluated nine coffee cultivars in a randomized block design, with four replicates. Fruit and leaf samples were collected over two months (June and July 2021), in the fruit maturation phase, oven-dried and analyzed, namely, through a clustering unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA). The characterization of ripe and dried coffee bean indicated differences in the performance of the cultivars. The accumulation of the macronutrients N, K, and Ca and micronutrients Fe, Mn, and B was highest in the bean, husk, fruit, and leaves of the evaluated cultivars. Nutrient concentrations and accumulation in the different evaluated organs have a direct influence on the nutritional crop management. This is crucial for a nutritional diagnosis that ensures high yields, but such mineral levels are also a result of the existing genetic diversity among cultivars, which must be taken into account for management and breeding purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coffee—from Plant to Cup)
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11 pages, 307 KiB  
Article
Energetic Properties and Biomass Productivity of Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) under Agroecological Conditions in Northwestern Croatia
by Božidar Matin, Josip Leto, Alan Antonović, Ivan Brandić, Vanja Jurišić, Ana Matin, Tajana Krička, Mateja Grubor, Mislav Kontek and Nikola Bilandžija
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041161 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1204
Abstract
Biomass as a renewable energy source includes energy crops that are not used for food but solely for biomass production with the goal of conversion to various forms of biofuel. Switchgrass, a perennial grass native to North America, has been explored as an [...] Read more.
Biomass as a renewable energy source includes energy crops that are not used for food but solely for biomass production with the goal of conversion to various forms of biofuel. Switchgrass, a perennial grass native to North America, has been explored as an energy crop for many years. It is suitable because it does not require much agrotechnical input, is highly resistant to pest infestation and disease development, and can provide very high biomass yields. The aim of this work was to determine the biomass quality of the mentioned plant in relation to the autumn and spring harvest, considering its use in direct combustion processes. Significant differences were found in the percentages of ash, carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and water, as well as in the percentages of micro and macro elements, in the harvest dates studied. Compared to the autumn, the moisture content decreased from 33.88% to 10.95% and ash content from 4.59% to 3.1% in the spring harvest, while the carbon content increased from 47.02% to 47.49%, dry matter from 38.91% to 89.22%, and heating value from 18.60 MJ kg−1 to 18.73 MJ kg−1. Shifting the harvest date from autumn to spring resulted in the production of higher quality biomass for use in combustion processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant-Crop Biology and Biochemistry)
14 pages, 4877 KiB  
Article
Spectroscopic and Microscopic Analysis of Humic Acid Isolated from Stabilized Leachate HSs Fractionation
by Zaber Ahmed, Mohd Suffian Yusoff, Nurul Hana Mokhtar Kamal, Hamidi Abdul Aziz and Maria Roulia
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041160 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1749
Abstract
Refractory humic substances (HSs), which include humic and fulvic acid as well as hydrophilic portion, are the prime pollutants of stabilized landfill leachate with a concentrated color and chemical oxygen demand (COD). Spectroscopic and microscopic analysis of humic acid remaining in stabilized leachate [...] Read more.
Refractory humic substances (HSs), which include humic and fulvic acid as well as hydrophilic portion, are the prime pollutants of stabilized landfill leachate with a concentrated color and chemical oxygen demand (COD). Spectroscopic and microscopic analysis of humic acid remaining in stabilized leachate as a pollutant contributor were conducted in this study. Microfiltration and centrifugation processes were applied to fractionate the humic acid from the HSs of stabilized leachate. The three-stage isolation process recovered a maximum of 1412 ± 2.5 mg/L (Pulau Burung leachate), 1510 ± 1.5 mg/L (Alor Pongsu leachate) at pH 1.5 and 1371 ± 2.5 mg/L (PBLS), and 1451 ± 1.5 mg/L (APLS) of humic acid (about 42% of the total COD concentration) at pH 2.5, which eventually indicates the efficiency of the process. The spectroscopic analysis of isolated humic acid through scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) significantly indicates the existence of identical elements in the recovered humic acid. The subsequent reduction (around 37%, 36%, and 39%) in ultra-violet absorbance values (UV254, UV280), COD, and color in the humic acid isolated leachate indicates the acid’s significant contribution as a toxic pollutant through aromaticity and conjugated double-bond compounds. Full article
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19 pages, 3862 KiB  
Article
Modeling Soil Organic Carbon Dynamics of Arable Land across Scales: A Simplified Assessment of Alternative Management Practices on the Level of Administrative Units
by Felix Witing, Martin Volk and Uwe Franko
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041159 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1252
Abstract
Regional assessments of soil organic carbon (SOC) trends and the carbon sequestration potential of alternative management practices (AMP) are highly relevant for developing climate change mitigation strategies for the agricultural sector. Such studies could benefit from simplified SOC modeling approaches on the scale [...] Read more.
Regional assessments of soil organic carbon (SOC) trends and the carbon sequestration potential of alternative management practices (AMP) are highly relevant for developing climate change mitigation strategies for the agricultural sector. Such studies could benefit from simplified SOC modeling approaches on the scale of administrative units as this often corresponds to the level of policy-making and data availability. However, there is a risk of systematic errors in such scaling operations. To overcome this problem, we performed a scaling experiment where we simulated the SOC dynamics of the arable soils of the State of Saxony (Germany) across a series of scales using the CANDY Carbon Balance (CCB) model. Specifically, we developed model set-ups on four different administrative levels (NUTS1, NUTS2, NUTS3, and LAU) and evaluated the simulation results of the upscaled models against a 500 m grid-based reference model. Furthermore, we quantified the carbon sequestration potential of selected AMP scenarios (addressing field grass, cover crops, and conservation tillage) across all scales. The upscaled model set-ups adequately simulated the SOC trends of Saxon arable land compared to the grid-based reference simulation (scaling error: 0.8–3.8%), while providing significant benefits for model application, data availability and runtime. The carbon sequestration potential of the AMP scenarios (1.33 Mt C until 2050) was slightly overestimated (+0.07–0.09 Mt C) by the upscaled model set-ups. Regardless of the scale of model set-up, we showed that the use of aggregated statistical input data could lead to a systematic underestimation of SOC trends. LAU and NUTS3 levels were shown to be a suitable compromise for effectively quantifying SOC dynamics and allowed for an acceptable spatial prioritization of AMPs. Such simplified, scale-adapted assessments are valuable for cross-regional comparisons and for communication to and among decision-makers, and might provide a quantitative basis for discussions on the effectiveness of AMPs in various stakeholder processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Precision and Digital Agriculture)
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15 pages, 5517 KiB  
Article
Peanut Defect Identification Based on Multispectral Image and Deep Learning
by Yang Wang, Zhao Ding, Jiayong Song, Zhizhu Ge, Ziqing Deng, Zijie Liu, Jihong Wang, Lifeng Bian and Chen Yang
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041158 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1420
Abstract
To achieve the non-destructive detection of peanut defects, a multi-target identification method based on the multispectral system and improved Faster RCNN is proposed in this paper. In terms of the system, the root-mean-square contrast method was employed to select the characteristic wavelengths for [...] Read more.
To achieve the non-destructive detection of peanut defects, a multi-target identification method based on the multispectral system and improved Faster RCNN is proposed in this paper. In terms of the system, the root-mean-square contrast method was employed to select the characteristic wavelengths for defects, such as mildew spots, mechanical damage, and the germ of peanuts. Then, a multispectral light source system based on a symmetric integrating sphere was designed with 2% nonuniformity illumination. In terms of Faster RCNN improvement, a texture-based attention and a feature enhancement module were designed to enhance the performance of its backbone. In the experiments, a peanut-deficient multispectral dataset with 1300 sets was collected to verify the detection performance. The results show that the evaluation metrics of all improved compared with the original network, especially in the VGG16 backbone network, where the mean average precision (mAP) reached 99.97%. In addition, the ablation experiments also verify the effectiveness of the proposed texture module and texture enhancement module in peanut defects detection. In conclusion, texture imaging enhancement and efficient extraction are effective methods to improve the network performance for multi-target peanut defect detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Precision and Digital Agriculture)
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14 pages, 1825 KiB  
Article
Potassium Application Alleviated Negative Effects of Soil Waterlogging Stress on Photosynthesis and Dry Biomass in Cotton
by Li Huang, Jinxiang Li, Pan Yang, Xianghua Zeng, Yinyi Chen and Haimiao Wang
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041157 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1899
Abstract
Soil waterlogging is one of the most serious abiotic stresses on plant growth and crop productivity. In this study, two potassium application levels (0 and 150 kg K2O hm−2) with three types of soil waterlogging treatments (0 d, 3 [...] Read more.
Soil waterlogging is one of the most serious abiotic stresses on plant growth and crop productivity. In this study, two potassium application levels (0 and 150 kg K2O hm−2) with three types of soil waterlogging treatments (0 d, 3 d and 6 d) were established during cotton flowering and boll-forming stages. The results showed that soil waterlogging markedly reduced RWC (relative water content), gas exchange parameters and cotton biomass. However, potassium application considerably improved the aforementioned parameters. Specifically, 3 d soil waterlogging with potassium increased Pn (net photosynthetic rate), Gs (stomatal conductance), Ci (intercellular CO2 concentration) and Tr (transpiration rate) by 4.55%, 27.27%, 5.74% and 3.82%, respectively, compared with 3 d soil waterlogging under no potassium, while the abscission rate reduced by 2.96%. Additionally, the number of bolls and fruit nodes under 6 d soil waterlogging with potassium increased by 16.17% and 4.38%, compared with 6 d soil waterlogging under no potassium. Therefore, it was concluded that regardless of 3 d or 6 d soil waterlogging, potassium application alleviated the negative effects of waterlogging by regulating the plant water status, photosynthetic capacity and plant growth in cotton. These results are expected to provide theoretical references and practical applications for cotton production to mitigate the damage of soil waterlogging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Crop Ecophysiology: From Lab to Field)
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16 pages, 10184 KiB  
Article
An Information Entropy Masked Vision Transformer (IEM-ViT) Model for Recognition of Tea Diseases
by Jiahong Zhang, Honglie Guo, Jin Guo and Jing Zhang
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041156 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1185
Abstract
Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. The rapid and accurate recognition of tea diseases is of great significance for taking targeted preventive measures. In this paper, an information entropy masked vision transformation (IEM-ViT) model was proposed for the [...] Read more.
Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. The rapid and accurate recognition of tea diseases is of great significance for taking targeted preventive measures. In this paper, an information entropy masked vision transformation (IEM-ViT) model was proposed for the rapid and accurate recognition of tea diseases. The information entropy weighting (IEW) method was used to calculate the IE of each segment of the image, so that the model could learn the maximum amount of knowledge and information more quickly and accurately. An asymmetric encoder–decoder architecture was used in the masked autoencoder (MAE), where the encoder operated on only a subset of visible patches and the decoder recovered the labeled masked patches, reconstructing the missing pixels for parameter sharing and data augmentation. The experimental results showed that the proposed IEM-ViT had an accuracy of 93.78% for recognizing the seven types of tea diseases. In comparison to the currently common image recognition algorithms including the ResNet18, VGG16, and VGG19, the recognition accuracy was improved by nearly 20%. Additionally, in comparison to the other six published tea disease recognition methods, the proposed IEM-ViT model could recognize more types of tea diseases and the accuracy was improved simultaneously. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue AI, Sensors and Robotics for Smart Agriculture)
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15 pages, 476 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Rotational Pasture Management for Farm-Bred Fallow Deer (Dama dama) on Fodder Quality in the Context of Animal Welfare
by Mariusz Kulik, Katarzyna Tajchman, Antoni Lipiec, Maciej Bąkowski, Aleksandra Ukalska-Jaruga, Francisco Ceacero, Monika Pecio and Żaneta Steiner-Bogdaszewska
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041155 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1639
Abstract
Extensive breeding of farmed cervids, similarly to other livestock, affects the vegetation of grasslands in different seasons. For this reason, the impact of the rotational grazing of fallow deer on the chemical and species composition of the pasture sward was assessed, along with [...] Read more.
Extensive breeding of farmed cervids, similarly to other livestock, affects the vegetation of grasslands in different seasons. For this reason, the impact of the rotational grazing of fallow deer on the chemical and species composition of the pasture sward was assessed, along with the possibility of using these animals for grasslands conservation. The species composition of the pastures was analysed through the botanical-weight method. A quality index and mineral concentration test by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry were used to evaluate the feed. The highest proportion of valuable grasses, such as Dactylis glomerata, Poa pratensis and Lolium perenne, was recorded in the summer pens (65.7–66.1%), while the smallest proportion was recorded in the control area (46.1%). The estimated yield potential was relatively large, from 5.74 to 7.02 t ha−1 dry matter. The lowest total protein content occurred in the control area in the spring and autumn. The summer pens, including the sown one, had a better fodder quality, depending on the species composition. All pens were characterised by a high production potential and similar floristic composition, without the participation of undesirable plant species, which confirms the hypothesis that, under extensive grazing conditions, fallow deer can be used for grassland conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance in Grassland Productivity and Sustainability)
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18 pages, 10880 KiB  
Article
High-Throughput Classification and Counting of Vegetable Soybean Pods Based on Deep Learning
by Chenxi Zhang, Xu Lu, Huimin Ma, Yuhao Hu, Shuainan Zhang, Xiaomei Ning, Jianwei Hu and Jun Jiao
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041154 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1531
Abstract
Accurate identification of soybean pods is an important prerequisite for obtaining phenotypic traits such as effective pod number and seed number per plant. However, traditional image-processing methods are sensitive to light intensity, and feature-extraction methods are complex and unstable, which are not suitable [...] Read more.
Accurate identification of soybean pods is an important prerequisite for obtaining phenotypic traits such as effective pod number and seed number per plant. However, traditional image-processing methods are sensitive to light intensity, and feature-extraction methods are complex and unstable, which are not suitable for pod multi-classification tasks. In the context of smart agriculture, many experts and scholars use deep learning algorithm methods to obtain the phenotype of soybean pods, but empty pods and aborted seeds are often ignored in pod classification, resulting in certain errors in counting results. Therefore, a new classification method based on the number of effective and abortive seeds in soybean pods is proposed in this paper, and the non-maximum suppression parameters are adjusted. Finally, the method is verified. The results show that our classification counting method can effectively reduce the errors in pod and seed counting. At the same time, this paper designs a pod dataset based on multi-device capture, in which the training dataset after data augmentation has a total of 3216 images, and the distortion image test dataset, the high-density pods image test dataset, and the low-pixel image test dataset include 90 images, respectively. Finally, four object-detection models, Faster R-CNN, YOLOv3, YOLOv4, and YOLOX, are trained on the training dataset, and the recognition performance on the three test datasets is compared to select the best model. Among them, YOLOX has the best comprehensive performance, with a mean average accuracy (mAP) of 98.24%, 91.80%, and 90.27%, respectively. Experimental results show that our algorithm can quickly and accurately achieve the high-throughput counting of pods and seeds, and improve the efficiency of indoor seed testing of soybeans. Full article
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17 pages, 3834 KiB  
Article
Hyperspectral Technique for Detection of Peanut Leaf Spot Disease Based on Improved PCA Loading
by Qiang Guan, Dongxue Zhao, Shuai Feng, Tongyu Xu, Haoriqin Wang and Kai Song
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041153 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1283
Abstract
Leaf spot disease is a dangerous disease that affects peanut growth, and its severity can significantly impact peanut yield. Hyperspectral-based disease detection technology is a popular non-destructive technique due to its high efficiency, objectivity, and accuracy. In this study, peanut leaf spectra at [...] Read more.
Leaf spot disease is a dangerous disease that affects peanut growth, and its severity can significantly impact peanut yield. Hyperspectral-based disease detection technology is a popular non-destructive technique due to its high efficiency, objectivity, and accuracy. In this study, peanut leaf spectra at different levels of severity of leaf spot disease were collected in Liaoning Province, China, in mid-August. This study analyzed the differences in wavelengths using mean spectral reflectance and sensitivity. Using improved principal component analysis loading (I-PCA loading) based on the contribution weight assignment approach, we identified three feature wavelengths of 570 nm, 671 nm, and 750 nm. We evaluated the ability of these feature wavelengths to detect the severity of leaf spot disease using k-nearest neighbor (KNN), support vector machine (SVM), and back-propagation (BP) neural network classifiers. Our experimental results showed that our improved PCA loading method achieved higher classification accuracy with fewer wavelengths than the seven commonly used feature selection methods. Among these classifiers, the SVM achieved the highest accuracy, with an overall accuracy (OA) of 96.88% and a Kappa of 95.81%. Therefore, our proposed method can accurately detect the severity of peanut leaf spot disease and provide scientific and technical support for accurately managing peanut crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Application of Near-Infrared Spectroscopy in Agriculture)
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12 pages, 1629 KiB  
Article
Competitiveness of Bensulfuron-Methyl-Susceptible and -Resistant Biotypes of Ammannia auriculata Willd. in Direct-Seeded Rice
by Siyu Yang, Jie Liu, Rui Liu, Guojun Zhou, Chang Chen, Weijun Zhou, Basharat Ali, Wenjun Gui, Jinwen Zhu and Antonio DiTommaso
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041152 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1084
Abstract
Ammannia auriculata Willd. (eared redstem) has become one of the most troublesome weeds in paddy rice in China. Resistance to bensulfuron-methyl (BSM) has spread extensively in this species. Greenhouse and field experiments were conducted to determine how the eared redstem biotype and density [...] Read more.
Ammannia auriculata Willd. (eared redstem) has become one of the most troublesome weeds in paddy rice in China. Resistance to bensulfuron-methyl (BSM) has spread extensively in this species. Greenhouse and field experiments were conducted to determine how the eared redstem biotype and density affect competition against rice. In the greenhouse experiment, five treatments were tested: a BSM-susceptible biotype at low density (58 plants m−2, SL), a BSM-susceptible biotype at high density (288 plants m−2, SH), a BSM-resistant biotype at low density (RL), a BSM-resistant biotype at high density (RH), and a control without eared redstem (CK). Eared redstem grew slowly until 15 days after sowing (DAS); however, growth accelerated after 20 DAS, and the eared redstem plants were taller than the rice from 55 DAS on. The SH and RH treatments were associated with greater intraspecific competition: eared redstem plants in the SH and RH treatments had fewer branches, fewer capsules, and less shoot dry weight per individual plant relative to the SL and RL treatments. The SH and RH treatments also caused greater reductions in the rice yield. The dry weight of rice at 141 DAS was reduced by 73% in the SL treatment, 98% in the SH treatment, 51% in the RL treatment, and 82% in the RH treatment, all relative to the CK. At 141 DAS, BSM-resistant plants were smaller than BSM-susceptible plants, suggesting a fitness cost of herbicide resistance in the absence of a herbicide. In the field study, eared redstem densities as low as 5 plants m−2 reduced the rice yield by 22%. A density of 50 eared redstem plants m−2 reduced the rice yield by 70%. Overall, these findings demonstrate that eared redstem is a highly aggressive weed species and threatens the rice yield even at a low density. However, the findings also demonstrate that BSM-resistant populations are less competitive. There is an urgent need to develop integrated management programs for this aggressive weed, which may include tactics to shift competitive dynamics in favor of rice. Additionally, this research provides the theoretical basis for the damage level, resistance risk evaluation, and management strategy of eared redstem in rice cropping systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptive Evolution in Weeds: Molecular Basis and Management)
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